Divorce your wife or leave the church
A North Carolina church has taken the state’s new LGBT laws to tell a lesbian member – divorce your wife or you’ll be kicked out.
Kelly Toney received the letter from her church last Thursday (March 30) that said her actions were “contrary to the nature and character of Christ”.
The letter seems to coincide with the Tar Heel State’s new anti-LGBT law on religious freedom passed by the legislature last month and signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory.
In the letter, she was told that her actions were sinful and violated the “Marriage and Sexuallity Policy” the church had chosen to adopt.
It also states that members of the church must give “personal testimony of true profession of faith in Christ”.
It finishes by stating that she shouldn’t be upset by the letter because it was all done out of love.
Kelly, who had been openly gay with a number of members of the church and married her wife 14 months ago, told Outsports: “I have attended the church since I was born. I was always in church Sunday morning and every Wednesday.
“I’m hurt and shocked. I have written them a letter to gladly remove my membership.
“I intended on posting it on my page as well as their [sic: Facebook] page. I want to make sure my letter is read correctly to the congregation when it is mailed to them.”
Many church members and as well as a large number of people who have seen the letter have taken to the church’s Facebook page to blast its decision.
Read the letter in full below
This letter is being forwarded to you on behalf of the membership of First Baptist Church, Bostic. The purpose is to address to you our concern regarding out understanding of your entering into a homosexual marital relationship and to communicate to you the position of the Church and the Scriptures on this subject.
As redeemed members of the Body of Christ, we can in no way endorse, support, condone, encourage, or approve of any form of sin or immorality, as such behavior is contradictory to Scripture. While we understand that no follower of Jesus is perfect and without sin, a born-again believer will develop and possess a deep desire to altogether avoid any practice and behavior that the Bible identifies as sin and that is contrary to the nature and character of Christ. During their life the true believer progresses in spiritual growth and sanctification and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of their lives where there is opposition to the World of God. To sincerely follow Jesus and identify ourselves as a believer means that we strive to abstain from sin and instead pursue holiness, purity, and Christ-likeness.
To be in fellowship and good standing with this Church means to have a personal testimony of true profession of faith in Christ that is accompanied by the demonstration of evidence of genuine repentance of sin and a desire to live a life in accordance to the teachings and principles of Scripture.
Above the matter of your fellowship with this church is the concern that Scripture plainly warns that those who practice ongoing sin and continue in open rebellion against the commandments of God deceive themselves by believing that they are in righteous standing before the Lord. The Bible repeatedly warns that those who willingly choose to live in unrepentant sin will have no part in the eternal kingdom of God and pleads with those who continue in sin to flee from it to embrace the grace and mercy of Christ.
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Enclosed is a copy of the Marriage and Sexuality Policy that has been adopted by our Church. The Policy does not dictate or determine our beliefs, as our beliefs are found in the Scripture; but the policy does describe the process of implementation of those beliefs in the practical daily administration and function of the Church. We are prayerfully asking you to consider the many clear teachings of Scripture that are referenced in the Policy that plainly describe homosexual behavior as a sin and as conduct that is not in any way permissible for those who would call themselves believers.
If there is no willingness on your part to receive this appeal and display repentance and abandonment of this area of open immorality, then the Church will have no choice but to take appropriate and prayerful action to address the standing of your fellowship with this Body at such a time that will be determined by the leadership and members of this congregation.
This intent and purpose of this letter is not to condemn or cast down, but it is humbly given by sincere believers aware of their own imperfections but who join in agreement concerning the teachings and commandments of Scripture. If it is received and seen in any way other than in the outreach of Christian love and genuine spiritual concern, then the true nature of this letter has been misinterpreted.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter personally with you if you are willing and so choose.
Pastor and Deacons
First Baptist Church, Bostic