On Sunday, Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC gave a sermon about homosexuality and made remarks that were so controversial they have spread across the internet. The backlash against his statements has been so great that he has written an official statement of retraction.
Here is a sample of what the pastor told his congregation followed by audio from Sunday:
“So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do.’ You get out the camera, and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female, and then you upload it to YouTube, and everybody laughs about it, and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid, is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.”
If you’re unable to catch the audio or don’t have the time or care to listen to what was said here are further quotes:
“Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Okay? ‘You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.'”
“And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, ‘Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'”
During the audio members of the church can be heard laughing when Harris tells them, “Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.”
It’s not difficult to understand why this inflammatory speech has outraged so many. In the sake of forgiveness and fairness Sean has issued a retraction via his blog and I thought I would share it and let you be the judge if you feel he is sorry for what he said:
The purpose of this document is to issue an official statement of retraction of any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate for any and all types of behaviors including (but not limited to) effeminacy and sexual immorality of all types. I should not have said what I said about “cracking,” “punching,” and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words “special dispensation.” I did not say that children should be squashed. I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion. The gospel is the only source of power sufficient to deliver anyone from the power, penalty, and presence of all forms of sin including, but not limited to, all forms of sexual immorality including homosexuality.
I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended. I did not say anything to intentionally offend anyone in the LGBT community. My intent was to communicate the truth of the Word of God concerning marriage. My words were not scripted. It is unfortunate I was not more careful and deliberate. I can understand how these words could be misunderstood without the context of years of ministering to the people of God at Berean Baptist Church. I have received nothing but notes of appreciation and support from the people within the church. To those in the greater body of Christ in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the world–I seek your forgiveness if I have offended or hurt the cause of Christ. I have learned from this and will seek to be more articulate and deliberate with my words in the future.
However, I do not apologize for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God. Nothing in this official statement of retraction should be perceived as an apology for the overarching intent and message of the sermon and the need to define marriage as one man and one woman and to maintain the gender distinctions that God created from the beginning when He made them male and female (Genesis 1). I recognize that there are those in the LGBT community who believe that their sexual behavior is not sin. I do not agree with them and this official retraction should not be misunderstood as an apology for the gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God.
I do not apologize for the manner in which I emphasized the importance of one man and one woman getting married and staying married for the benefit of their children and society.
I am confident that if the state of North Carolina was not in a state constitutional battle to define marriage as one man and one woman, this sermon would not have received the media attention it has through the intentional framing of my words without the context of the entire sermon on various blogs.
If you would like to share your feelings with Sean he can be reached via Twitter, his handle is @Pastor_Sean.