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A Tennessee pastor who was accused of saying that “liberal society” was to blame “for banning the stoning of LGBT people” during a sermon on TV first by Raw Story then by other media says he does not believe Christians should stone homosexuals.

A review by this reporter of the video (VIEW BELOW) used to support the idea by some media that he condones stoning homosexuals never shows the pastor inferring such a belief and his comments were in reference to Old Testament history.

“From the outset, please understand that I do not believe Christians should stone homosexuals,” said Pastor Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee, in a statement sent by email. “I did not teach this in any of my sermons. This idea would be directly opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of love in the New Testament (John 3:16: Mt. 5:21).

“Likewise, I do not believe that our liberal society is the reason homosexuals are not stoned today. Again, I’ve never taught this in any lessons, and this would be opposed to the teaching of the New Testament. The Raw Story article took an excerpt from a recent sermon that aired on THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TV program. Based on this small excerpt, some are being led to believe things that I did not teach in that sermon nor do I believe.”

Bailey said he does not support violence. When asked about the statement by media that reported he “even went as far as saying that people belonging to the LGBT community are deserving ‘to be stoned’ as punishment for their alleged sin” he responded, “That’s completely, 100 percent distorted. If that’s journalism I don’t know where we are in the world today because it’s the poorest journalism I’ve ever seen.”

Spinoffs of the Raw Story article headlined, “Tenn. pastor lashes out at ‘liberal society’: Stoning gays is part of ‘the mindset of God’” included equally sensationalized headlines such as “God wants gay people to be stoned, pastor claims” (PinkNews) and “WATCH: Biblical Basis for Stoning of Gays, Says Tennesee Minister” (Advocate.com).

Two-thirds of evangelicals say sex between two people of the same gender remains sinful, whether it is legal or not, according to a recent study by LifeWay Research.  Among those who say they have gay or lesbian friends, 62 percent of evangelicals agree.

The study showed that by contrast, 6 in 10 (59 percent) non-evangelicals support gay marriage. Just over a third (38 percent) say sex between people of the same gender is sinful.

That leaves evangelicals at odds with American culture, said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“Culture is dramatically shifting on the issue,“ explained Stetzer. “Yet, evangelicals are the most resistant group to that change.”

LifeWay Research reports that the study confirmed that Americans remain polarized over the question of gay marriage and apparently, whether homosexual behavior is a sin.

Bailey said he clearly recognizes and teaches that Christians are not living under the Old Testament Law. In the same sermon used to extract a sound bite for the Raw Story article, he says that just moments before the section on the sin of homosexuality, he “clearly stated this principle.”

“I quoted from John 12:48 and clearly emphasized we are going to be judged by the Words of Christ. I then quoted from Colossians 3:17 which states we must have the authority of Christ in all that we do. The Scriptures affirm that Jesus established His New Testament (Heb. 9:15). The Old Testament has been nailed to the cross and is not the binding law on Christians today (Col. 2:14ff; Eph. 2:14ff).”

Bailey requested that his 1-page response to the accusations that he condones stoning be published in its entirety if used for quoting him. Below is the entire statement.

In a recent rawstory article several things were reported about me that are not true and that I do not believe. Please allow me a moment to clear the air as to what I do believe and teach.

 From the outset, please understand that I do not believe Christians should stone homosexuals. I did not teach this in any of my sermons. This idea would be directly opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of love in the New Testament (John 3:16: Mt. 5:21).

 Likewise, I do not believe that our liberal society is the reason homosexuals are not stoned today. Again, I’ve never taught this in any lessons, and this would be opposed to the teaching of the New Testament. The rawstory article took an excerpt from a recent sermon that aired on THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TV program. Based on this small excerpt, some are being led to believe things that I did not teach in that sermon nor do I believe.

 Here is what I did say in that sermon. The Scriptures do teach that homosexuality is a sin. The Holy Spirit says, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Rom. 1:26-27).

 God has always taught that homosexuality is a sin. Under the Old Testament homosexuality was a sin. In Leviticus 18:22 God said, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination.” Under the Old Testament this was a sin deserving of stoning as the punishment (Lev. 20:13). Friend, I hope you will listen very carefully to this…for this is where I have been greatly misrepresented.

 I clearly recognize and teach that Christians are not living under the Old Testament Law. In the above mentioned sermon, just moments before the section on the sin of homosexuality, I clearly stated this principle. I quoted from John 12:48 and clearly emphasized we are going to be judged by the Words of Christ. I then quoted from Colossians 3:17 which states we must have the authority of Christ in all that we do. The Scriptures affirm that Jesus established His New Testament (Heb. 9:15). The Old Testament has been nailed to the cross and is not the binding law on Christians today (Col. 2:14ff; Eph. 2:14ff).  

 After having shown we are going to be judged by the Words of Christ, I then stated in my lesson that “under the Old Testament” stoning was the penalty binding on Old Testament Jews. This principle was mentioned to show the gravity of the sin by illustrating the punishment incurred then – not today.

 Those who are trying to promote the idea that I believe we should stone homosexuals are putting words in my mouth. I never said Christians should stone homosexuals for I believe this too would be a violation of God’s New Covenant Law (Gal. 6:10; John 13:34-35).

 How should Christians feel about homosexuals? We should love them, teach them the truth, do good to them, and look for ways to reach them with the Gospel so that they may find the salvation that is in Christ (John 14:6). God loves all men and wants them to be saved from their sin, and this is my main motivation in everything I teach and preach (1 Tim. 2:4; John 3:16; Eph. 4:15; Gal. 4;16).

 While I am thankful for the opportunity to clear the air, I don’t want this misrepresentation to take away from the real issue. Although I love homosexuals and want them to repent and go to Heaven, the Bible clearly teaches homosexuality is a sin. God’s Word teaches that homosexuality is vile, unnatural, shameful and an error (Rom. 1:26-29). The Scriptures clearly teach, along with a list of other sins, that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

 My plea, out of love, is for homosexuals to turn from the sin of homosexuality and turn to God (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19).

 Ben Bailey, Church of Christ evangelist (Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:2-5)

 www.thegospelofchrist.com

Copyright 2015 GOSPEL OF CHRIST. This statement may be used only if it is used in its entirety.