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Letter to the Editor: Clarifying position on love, hate and hell

To the Editor:

Pastor John Fredrick of Oak Street Church wrote in the Jan. 1 issue of Our Town that I believe members of the LGBTQ+ community “are going to hell for being queer.” That is not true.

First of all, I did not write that in my ad, nor have I ever believed that. As a Christian pastor I am sure he knows that no one “goes to hell” because of any particular sin, whether it be sexual or otherwise. What sends a person to hell, and rightfully so, is their rejection of God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness.

Because Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead (as proof that His sacrifice for our sins was accepted by God the Father) the issue is, “What will you do with Jesus?” If you accept Him as Lord by faith you will be forgiven. You may still have to face justice for your crimes, but you will no longer have to face God’s judgment. However, we are not rescued from our sins in order to keep on sinning. We are to “Go and sin no more!” as Jesus said to the prostitute.

It is not “love” for Pastor Fredrick to deny or distort what God has clearly told us about sexual sin in the Bible. All sexual acts, outside of marriage between one man and one woman, are sins against God’s glory. Such defiance of God’s good and wise purpose for sex is harmful to everyone who disobeys God. And it also harmful to many others in society.

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23). There are many ways to defy God. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Every kind of sin can be washed away and forgiven.

So, it is not “hate” for me to warn people that this true and living God, Who created all of us, will judge our sin. None of us will get away with anything in this world. Either we will pay for our own sins by dying and going to hell, or we will appropriate Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for our sins and allow us to go to be with God forever in heaven. I hope this clarifies the truth I actually believe and I would be happy to meet with anyone to discuss this important matter.

Gregg Harris, Pastor,
Gracious Cross Reformed Church,
Salem, Oregon

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