In a blog entry [anjelico] entitled "Militant Christians", it was alleged that two lesbians <anj> and <kai> were escorted by the ushers after the church service from the overflow room (not the main service) to the prayer and healing room where a Pastor Matthew had a strong word to them. Being cautious to ensure that they were not new comers, the Pastor allegedly questioned whether they had been saved! (since it was unlikely that gays who are unrepentent sinners could be "saved") before proceeding to make it clear that their "relationship" was unacceptable especially in the sight of the church members. In the conversation, it was alleged that Pst Matthews then tried to get an admission from the lesbians, after all they are clearly guilty of "leaning on each others shoulders and holding hands". It was alleged that according to Pastor Matthews "people were observing [them] and [they] were causing others to stumble through their display of affections". "Why can’t you give me an answer?!" apparently demanded Pst Matthews when the Lesbians replied that they were not disturbing anybody. But this apparently was not enough, and the Deacon apparently said to them “Don’t eat meat in front of the vegetarians.” Not wanting to make a drama out of it, <anj> apparently reply the obvious that lots of girls hold hands and lean on each others shoulders, to which Pst Matthews replied that “Maybe i am living in the dark ages.”
Why are gays still going back to NCC? NCC is one of the few mega churches that hitherto has not been significantly obsessed by the gay issue, ie their sermons, speakers, website, and publications would not have many gay adverse comments or positional statements. So, it does attract many gay people. I would believe that many would just want to "survive" and hang on to their faith in view of the opposition against their sexual orientation and the messages by Pst Joseph Prince at NCC appear to have really blessed them. I believe that one could not compartmentalised easily his/her sexual orientation. Even the Rev Ted Haggard found it difficult. Instead, I believe that they would choose the "best" church to give them the faith and spirituality they require whilst keeping hidden. It really takes a lot of courage to go out of this comfort zone when Christian GLBT people faced so much challenges.
It is really a sad day for New Creation Church, perhaps likewise the early church was grace based but soon gyrate to Law based just as NCC seem to be slipping into if not careful. If after 10 years of Pastor Joseph Prince preaching the grace message (since 1997) and still the members are not trusted to show grace and be so easily "stumbled" by an effectionate lesbian couple, then fear has entered NCC and this lack of trust of the Word of God can lead to a stiffling of God's annointing. The same condemnation under Law which Pastor Prince alleged that he had suffered from in his teens, he now put the heavy burden on the Lesbian couple. Perhaps the lesson has not been learnt.
The alleged use of the term "stumbled others" by Pst Matthews, the others being the NCC congregation is very damaging considering the original context in the bible. The Jews were so adamant of following the law, that any food being offered to the idols were strictly forbidden. Therefore, if our eating of these food offends others, we will stumble them even though as Christians we are at liberty to eat food offered to idols and not under the law. Why should we be judged as Paul said by the conscience of the law minded Jew who sincerely albeit being wrong believed that eating food offered to idols was wrong. When applied to the context of NCC, is there a fear that the people there are so Law minded that they will take offence at the Lesbians for breaking the Mosaic Laws!. The context of the stumbling applies to "non Christians" and not to Christians! because we should not by our liberty stumbled them and cause offence that they will be "stumbled" from accepting Jesus Christ. To apply it to the congregation is not biblical unless of course they were not "Christians".
As Paul said we do all things to God's glory and as Christians who represent the "Church of God" should not give offence to the outside world - both the Jews and the gentile Greeks. I would not imagine that NCC congregation would be "stumbled" by the Lesbian couple but as the blog now goes through the Internet, it will stumbled many Gays, most of whom are not Christians. They may now not be coming to Church and will not know God's grace of salvation. We have stumbled the Gay tribe. People have been badly offended by the liberty of Christians who used this liberty recklessly to sin and cause great offence. Does it give God the glory?
In the pride parade in Taiwan, many gay men were very scantily dressed. Such youths were mentioned in Mark 14:50-52 which seems to make no sense at all in the context of Jesus' followers unless of course it is somehow sanitized. Mark implies that there were scantily dressed young men amongst the followers of Christ! Could there be a longer version of Mark, less sanitized and edited to give a better meaning. It is alleged in the reference to "secret Gospel of Mark" by Clement of Alexandria found by Professor Morton Smith in Christian Orthodox Monastery of Mar Saba that additional verses were added. The longer version of Mark between Mark 10.34 and 35, according to Clement of Alexandria, to a scantily dressed yound men with Jesus. Whilst we are not implying that Jesus was gay, it does raise a stronger possibility that some of Jesus' followers might be gay. Perhaps, the early Christians needed to edit this portion of the bible as "not to stumble" the believers.
The drama at NCC, has not given glory to God and has become an offence and a stumbling stone to many non Christians. When we detour away from preaching Jesus and Christ alone and mixed it with law, we caused much hurt. Imagine, a negro couple coming to church and the pastor would call upon them after the church service not to come back because they were black as not to stumble the mainly white congregation. Whose fault is it? the negro couple for being black or the white church goers for not understanding that all are equal under the new covenant of Jesus Christ? Such events did happened in 60s in the days of segregation. Are we returning the dark ages, where we segregate the House of God, or are all peoples truly welcome into God's House. There are many gays in NCC and by God's grace, Pastor Joseph Prince message has upheld their faith and has been a great blessing. If NCC ever follows the churches in Singapore and become actively and openly anti-gay forcing many gays to leave (even though they are hiding), then a measure of God's grace may also leave the Church. This has nothing to do with "imperfect" pastors but how much we treasure God's glory and annointing. When we become little gods and judge people, we take on the cloak of self righteouness.
God's Grace be to you.