When it came time to change the church letter board, a local pastor spelled out his religious message. However, as soon as the community saw what the sign read, the church forced the preacher to resign.
As America’s culture drifts further into the realm of leftism, behaviors that society once considered immoral are now being hailed as courageous and admirable. As such, the concept of absolute, unwavering truths is quickly becoming an outdated belief ironically in the name of tolerance and love.
For Pastor Justin Hoke, leading a congregation includes preaching the truth as the Bible outlines, both without apology or superficiality. While many Christian nuances are unabashedly conveyed, such as forgiveness and charity, other aspects of God’s commands are often ignored or even refuted by so-called believers out of fear of a social backlash.
Having noticed that our culture has begun praising certain lifestyles that the Bible calls sin, Pastor Hoke decided that his community needed a reminder of what God says. Unable to reach the outside world from his pulpit alone, Hoke took to the church message board, erecting a glaringly obvious message that the Church has preached for millennia. Unfortunately, it was this simple reference to scripture that cost the obedient pastor his career.
In an effort to remind the community that what God has called sin is still sin, Pastor Hoke spelled out an unmistakable message on the Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church letter board, which read, “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
As soon as the message was spelled out, people began accusing the church and Pastor Hoke of intolerance. According to SFGate, “a couple dozen” community members organized a protest against calling the LGBT lifestyles sinful. Decrying the apparently bigoted sign, the “Shastina Love Rally” drew several dozen demonstrators led by local resident Amelia Mallory.
Mallory wrote: “We are there to support the LGBTQ+ community in a positive way. Debating with any church members isn’t the goal. We are not there for them. Some of us on our side of the street still are also religious. All of us are capable of treating everyone with respect, even if we disagree. Do not engage anyone trying to escalate the situation to violence.”
Days later, the sign was unsurprisingly vandalized. However, Pastor Hoke stood firm on these biblical truths, reposting the same message as before. He also reiterated his position online, according to The Daily Wire.
In an article published just several days ago, Yahoo Lifestyle quoted Pastor Hoke, who said: “We believe that Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine. We also believe that salvation is only for sinners. Jesus said he came to call sinners, not the righteous. If we give in to cultural demands to stop calling sin ‘sin,’ then we are robbing people of opportunity to hear the truth.”
Although this biblical concept has remained consistent for thousands of years, Pastor Hoke’s distinct reminder apparently ruffled the feathers of church members who were more concerned with what the community might think than what God thinks. Just days after the vocal minority expressed their disapproval of God’s word, the church decided that Hoke should leave and take his beliefs with him.
As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church.After much prayer and counsel, I have…
As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church.
After much prayer and counsel, I have decided that it is best to briefly communicate what has taken place.
1. I was informed by our other elder that he felt he could no longer follow my lead as Pastor of TBPC.
2. I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor of TBPC.
3. Our other elder and the couple felt that those who left would likely return if I would leave.
4. Our other elder was agreeable to stay and assume the pastoral responsibilities.
Therefore it was determined that it would be in the best interest of the local body for us (TBPC and the Hoke family) to part ways.
Hoke later told The Daily Wire that he was inspired to post the message after he saw a news story in which a biological male who identifies as a woman “threw a fit because a clerk had accidentally referred to him with the masculine gender [pronoun].”
Hoke said that because “the culture has drawn a line in the sand and dared [Christians] to step over,” he came to the conclusion that the church should accept the challenge — not with hate, but by simply preaching “the gospel.”
Hoke clarified that the church didn’t fire him but that he stepped down in order to prevent the congregation from facing a potential division. However, his exit from the church may just be the defining factor that forces his former flock to make the difficult decision of either remaining in a church that has turned from preaching the scripture or follow their pastor’s lead.
Despite the world’s claim, Pastor Hoke didn’t preach this simple biblical concept because he hates anyone living these lifestyles but because he loves them. Only when we truly care for the spiritual wellbeing of an individual do we take on the uncomfortable and risky task of warning them about the harm in their decisions.
It’s easy to tolerate sin and call it loving the person, which is exactly the route the world takes. It is much more difficult and costly to go to those people in love and plead with them to turn from what God calls sin. This is the definition of a pastor’s job.
Christians must stand up for this pastor and the biblical truths he espouses before we too are prohibited from speaking them.