Springfield Controversy

“I have forwarded this email from our General Superintendent and encourage you to read Pastor John Lindell’s comments.  Read the response from many local ministers in protest of his comments.  Ultimately, I’d would like for you to read Dr. Woods article.  It is no longer that we must face a fringe minority or even a liberal media but rather a majority of ministers.”–Pastor James A. McFadden

AG News Special Report
Important News Announcement
We would like to make you aware of an issue currently being discussed in the AG national office’s hometown of Springfield, Mo., which could impact you.

The Springfield City Council recently appointed a 15-member citizen task force to research a proposal that would add protections for gay and transgender residents to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

On April 22, fellow AG Pastor John Lindell, of James River Assembly, was invited to address this group, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Task Force, to offer “a theologically conservative viewpoint on the issue of the sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance.”

Pastor Lindell’s words were Biblical but loving, recognizing homosexuality as a sin no greater than any other with which we all struggle. A transcript of Pastor Lindell’s speech can be seen in full on his website at johnlindell.net.

In response, 23 local pastors from a variety of denominations drafted a letter, which was published in the Springfield News-Leader, claiming Pastor Lindell’s comments were hateful and outside of Scriptural context. The full letter is available here, sgfnow.co/ZYoudq.

While the issue of sin is never easy to address, Pastor Lindell involved himself because of its effect on the First Amendment right of Christians, including AG members and leaders, to operate their businesses without fear of legal action for refusing to hire or provide services based on sexual orientation. This includes examples such as a catering company declining to serve a homosexual wedding or celebration because of religious convictions.

The AG national office commends Pastor Lindell for his bold, Biblical stance and AG General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood has released a letter in his support. This was sent yesterday to the Springfield News-Leader for publication, but we were informed it was too long for their opinion section. Not wanting to minimize its importance by cutting it down, Dr. Wood provided the letter for Pastor Lindell to publish on his blog, johnlindell.net/?p=246.

While this is a local issue, we know that due to the political climate, contention over the issue and the Internet, it could soon escalate into a national conversation. If this happens, you could receive questions from your local congregation, friends and media representatives. Therefore, we wanted to make you aware, provide you with the facts and offer suggested responses.

It is very important with issues like this that we, as an association, speak with one voice so as to project a unified position and consistent messaging. Therefore, while there will be individuals who want to draw you into the debate through in-person interviews and comments or via social media vehicles, our preference is that you let the national headquarters speak on behalf of the AG to affirm our core Biblical values. We ask that you refer individuals or media representatives who have questions or would like comments to our Office of Public Relations via opr@ag.org and someone will be happy to assist them.

While each of you has a right to express your opinion, we encourage you to point all inquirers to the AG’s official position paper on homosexuality, which can be found under the “beliefs” section of the AG website, and Dr. Wood’s letter. We believe these two documents are sufficient responses to our association’s stance on the issue, and do not need additional explanation.

Dr. Wood’s engagement with this issue comes from a conviction to remain firm in our Biblical beliefs while loving toward all individuals. While we know some will disagree with these beliefs, our goal is to follow Jesus’ example of maintaining a civil discussion.

Should you have questions regarding this or the AG’s response, please contact us.

Our mandate is to proclaim the love of the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus commanded. We ask that you join us in prayer for Pastor Lindell, Dr. Wood and all AG pastors who may face persecution because of their beliefs.

 

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