Pastor Justin Hoke of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California, has lost his job as a result of the backlash created by a church sign that stated:
“Bruce Jenner is still a man
Homosexuality is still sin
The Culture may change
The Bible does not
Like many churches across the country, the small Presbyterian Church in far northern California near Mount Shasta has a sign with a lockable area enclosed by plexiglass that can hold several lines of block letters. In early January, Pastor Hoke composed the above message. Hoke told the Daily Wire that he was inspired to create the sign after seeing a news story in which a biological male who identifies as female threw a fit because a clerk had accidentally referred to him with the masculine gender pronoun.
The sign soon riled up the local LGBT community. On Sunday, January 6, a small rally with about a dozen people was organized. A second, larger protest with some 70 people was organized on Face Book later in the day.
On or around January 9, the sign was vandalized. Pastor Hoke wrote:
“I woke this morning to find that our sign had been vandalized. They broke not only the plexiglas and stole some of the Letters, they also busted the power box. I have not seen it up close yet as this picture was sent to me by a member of our congregation. Please pray that God would provide.”
On January 11, Pastor Hoke told Yahoo Lifestyle news:
“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.”
But Pastor Hoke’s congregation did not like the results of calling sin “sin.” The next day, Pastor Hoke posted on his Face Book page that he was unemployed. “As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church”:
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.
Regarding the protesters, Pastor Hoke told the Daily Wire that he believes they are sincere, but sincerely wrong, adding that “I believe that it is hypocritical that their position is taught in schools and pushed on children, while our position is asked to be kept within the walls of the church."
Hoke also stated that "within [the protesters’] midst, there are people whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life,” and that “all Christians are to preach the gospel faithfully, calling them to repentance and faith, that they might be changed by the Holy Spirit and brought into the family of God."
Sadly, his own church disagreed with him on that last point.