After he offended his local community by posting an offensive sign, Pastor Justin Hoke of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California will no longer be delivering the Good Word there. The pastor was attempting to express his anti-LGBTQ views to the population but encountered a lot of resistance after a photo of the sign went viral on social media.
The pastor’s sign reads: “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
On January 6, two years before Donald Trump’s supporters would attack the US Capitol Building, locals gathered to protest the sign. Amelia Mallory, a local resident who helped organize the demonstration against the pastor’s signage, was among the organizers. The “Shastina Love Rally” was held in support of LGBTQ people and was open to all who wished to join.
On the second Sunday, a second demonstration was planned. According to an event page on Facebook, dozens of people were expected to attend, while hundreds more expressed their interest in lending their support.
The demonstration was planned as part of the Love Rally Facebook group. Mallory said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Pastor Hoke stood by his sign in the face of all the outrage – but he was subsequently forced out of his ministry after a vote.
“We believe that Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine,” the disgraced pastor stated. “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 the opportunity to hear the truth.”
Hoke, on the other hand, was alone on an island. Even after Hoke’s resignation was announced on Facebook by his own church:
“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.”