(Author’s Note: This is the final article of a four-part series. I would like to thank Justin Peters for his time in speaking and corresponding with me about this festival of apostasy that should grieve every true believer, Southern Baptist or otherwise, because it is assuredly grievous to our Lord. I’m grateful to Justin, and others who have spoken out, far too few though they are.
This Orlando fiasco represents a blatant mockery of Christ, a defilement of His Church, and contempt for His Word. The silence of Southern Baptist leaders speaks to their complicity in it. Their silence speaks volumes to the world. The message of their silence is that Southern Baptists no longer seek to magnify Christ, no longer trust His Word, willingly accept a false, damning “other” gospel from its pulpits, and are far too eager to make the church look like the world. Thus, it becomes, effectively, nothing more than yet another apostate denomination. May God convict and may the SBC repent. May those true believers and genuine shepherds within the SBC rise up to speak against the apostasy which is now serving as our witness to the world.)
“How can this happen? I was stunned. How could the pastor, Dr. Uth, have not stood up and put an end to this?” Justin Peters
The evening of June 14 saw Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Orlando, orchestrate an epic event of apostasy, perhaps singularly the greatest behavior of blasphemy ever to occur from a Southern Baptist Church, from a Southern Baptist pulpit. Here’s how Justin Peters puts it:
“It was the day that a flagship church of the Southern Baptist Convention, quite literally, sold its soul to the devil and trampled underfoot the Son of God.” Justin Peters
Uth and First Baptist Orlando hosted a prayer service in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Invited to attend was the “persecuted” LGBTQ “community” in Orlando, including the friends and families of those killed in the attack, and survivors of it. Invited to stand in First Baptist’s pulpit for the spiritually illicit endeavor (see 2 Corinthians 6) were an array of speakers, some “pastors”, who, based on their remarks, should have been vehemently denied pulpit privileges at any church claiming to be Southern Baptist, much less Christian.
In the first half of the twentieth century, A.W. Pink wrote regarding the woefully deceptive state of Christian evangelism in his contemporary church. His remarks bear consideration as we now observe the church in the first half of this new century, particularly in light of the goings-on perpetrated by Uth and FBC Orlando.
“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.” A. W. Pink
If we had the pleasure of Pink’s commentary today on First Baptist Orlando’s event, no doubt he would declare the entire enterprise to have been nothing but universalistic paganism. Unlike the evangelism that so fretted Pink in his day, in the case of this Orlando apostasy, not even a gospel warning of hell, or one promising escape from it, was proclaimed. What was proclaimed under Uth’s oversight was rank heresy proclaiming a false “Jesus loves everyone” gospel. (See video below as to the Biblical, theological problem with such a “gospel.”)
“At no point in the whole service was the Gospel ever presented, not even tangentially. In fact, the opposite of that. Universalism was not implied … it was directly taught.” Justin Peters
Beyond the false universalistic gospel, the orchestrated event included re-defining the “chief cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:6-7) not as Christ, but as the LGBTQ community itself. Such heresy, in centuries past, would have seen even the apostate Roman church put such a proclaimer to the consuming fires of a burning stake. But, we don’t burn heretics any more. (Though we’re sure God will do it later.) Instead, some, like Uth, invite them to speak in the pulpit.
One of those invited to FBC Orlando’s pulpit was Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of Northland Church in the Orlando area. Described as a “Florida-based congregation,” Northland boasts a membership of 20,000 that “worships worldwide via the web.” (Source) Among a variety of noble endeavors, perhaps, one discovers Hunter to be on the leadership boards of the World Evangelical Alliance and the National Association of Evangelicals. He also serves on a number of other advisory boards, including the theistic evolution organization, The BioLogos Foundation.
Given his impressive religious vitae, Hunter’s words at FBC’s pulpit seem, then, rather remarkable.
“When they asked me to pray for the LGBTQ community, at first I was honored and thrilled, and then, I was convicted. I’m not sure how to do that.” Dr. Joel Hunter
He’s not sure how to pray for the unregenerate souls seated before him? Really? How about first proclaiming the Gospel to them, and, as an ambassador for Christ, “implore them to be reconciled to God” by their repentance and belief? How about praying that God would use the proclamation of His Gospel as the “power of salvation” so that He might move to save the unregenerate, “already condemned” (John 3:18) souls sitting in those pews in front of him?
But, no, Hunter was merely playing to the crowd.
“I’ve never been a part of a vulnerable community. I’ve been a part of powerful communities all my life and have never been part of a persecuted community.” Dr. Joel Hunter
“That’s a rather interesting statement in light of 2 Timothy 3:12 which says that all of those who seek to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Well, I wonder if he knows his Bible because if he’s never been part of a persecuted community that would mean he’s never been part of the Christian community because, Biblically speaking, that is the only community that can be persecuted.” Justin Peters
But Hunter was just coddling a godless crowd, affirming a victim status born of their identification as community on the basis of their sin. He had no legitimate concern in sharing the saving truth of the Gospel with them.
Hunter, though, went on briefly to remark about two things “we always do” in light of such tragedies as the nightclub massacre. First, he said, we always wish we’d have built a better relationship with those now lost. Then, he said, we immediately ask the question, “Is there anything I did that was complicit in that loss?” His implication seems to be that the church, at large, shares some complicity in the losses incurred within the LGBTQ community by its poor relationships with them.
The fact is the entire event in which Hunter was participating represented the greatest possible act of complicity to perpetuate loss, of an eternal nature, for grieving LGBTQ persons. Withholding the Gospel was the greatest act of hatred possible under such circumstances.
Hunter’s affirming remarks, though, set the stage for the guest he was to introduce. Though he is a pastor of apparently some renown, who yet didn’t know how to pray for the LGBTQ community, Hunter reached out for someone who could share “with many of us who would not know how, what to pray for in that community.”
To the pulpit, then, came Victoria Kirby York. York has as equally impressive a resume in the secular, LGBTQ, social justice arena as Hunter does within the spurious evangelical one. She is the National Campaigns Director, Religious Exemptions and Welcoming Movements, for the National LGBTQ Task Force.
According to the Task Force website, York is the previous director of Organizing for Action and “has also served as a trustee for Howard University, a board member for the Center for Black Equity, the Next Generation Leadership Foundation, and a volunteer member of the Human Rights Campaign’s National Diversity & Inclusion Council and the National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) Leadership Advisory Council.”
Worth noting, as well, is a particular “faith-based” initiative under the oversight of the York’s National LGBTQ Task Force. Called the Institute for Welcoming Resources, the endeavor seeks to assist congregations in becoming “a truly safe and welcoming place for LGBT people.”
In direct contrast to multiple Biblical commands meant to protect the sanctity of God’s institution of marriage as between one man and one woman, the “Institute” claims a mission clearly defiant to Scripture.
“Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to be honored as a beloved child of God. Every person, no matter who they are, deserves to be welcomed and celebrated at Christ’s table. Yet, far too often our churches are neither welcoming nor honoring of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “Building an Inclusive Church” offers powerful tools to help the church be the church it is meant to be – just, loving and extravagantly welcoming.” (Source)
As we’ve seen with Dr. Swanson, Uth and FBC Orlando confirmed, wrongly, that” we will – each one – be gathered around the great banquet table of the Lord.” We’ve seen Dr. Mills affirm, again wrongly, the LGBTQ community as the new “chief cornerstone,” evicting Christ from His sovereign place. Indeed, Uth and First Baptist Orlando, by this event, seem to be perfectly aligned with the ambitions of the Tasks Force’s initiative.
With regards to York, the Task Force website also reports, incidentally, that she is originally from Brandon, Florida but now “she lives with her wife and their beagle in the Baltimore-Washington region.” (Emphasis added)
Understand … please … that the problem with this event is not the outreach of Uth to the LGBTQ “community.” It is his failure to do so in a biblically-compliant manner, accompanied by the clear declaration of the Gospel from his pulpit, that is the problem.
As Justin Peters noted on his radio broadcast, the unrepentant, homosexual sinner faces the same, certain, divine wrath as does the unrepentant heterosexual liar.
“People are not lost because they are homosexual. They are homosexual because they are lost. I am not singling out homosexuality as worse than other sins (though the earthly consequences certainly often are). Unrepentant heterosexual fornicators and unrepentant liars, thieves, etc. will go to Hell as well. We witness to homosexuals the same way in which we witness to anyone else – by sharing the Gospel.” Justin Peters
The Gospel is the only power of God by which He has chosen to save any from His ultimate, eternal, divine wrath. But Uth did not see to it that this event shared that Good News.
In case you’re wondering, this event, and the wilful relinquishment of a Southern Baptist pulpit to a homosexual political activist like York, was not a spontaneous gathering. It was planned.
“This was scripted. There was an order of service. People were invited. This could not have happened without Uth’s permission.” Justin Peters
For her part, York made much of her presence in a pulpit and pointed it out to those within earshot of her, particularly those within the LGBTQ community.
“I can tell you that standing up here right now looking at all of you is such a beautiful sight. I’m gonna talk to you a little bit about why it matters so much that the LGBTQ community, that each and every one of you, are here … in a church … in a church.” Victoria Kirby York
York’s “in a church” repetitiveness was based on her subsequent comment, bemoaning the apparent “persecution” of her community, not only by the gunman in a gay nightclub but also by the established church. “I look in the faces of so many people who have been kicked out and rejected by their churches,” she stated. Really? You mean there are churches that actually still practice church discipline?
“Our community, for far too many, has never witnessed a sight like this – a church where they can come be prayed over and not be forced to change who they are or who they love.” Victoria Kirby York
Well, as Joel Osteen might tell her, she better enjoy “her best life now” because, apart from repentance and belief in the true Gospel of Jesus, that momentary, un-salvific sight is an eternally meaningless one, homosexual or not. That a church may not require you to “change who you are or who you love” is far less important than the truth that Christ’s Gospel most assuredly will. The embrace of His love is as powerfully emphasized as His hatred of sin in the life of an authentic believer. But the “Jesus is love” false gospel doesn’t proclaim that.
York proclaimed herself to be a Christian, lauding the so frequently used, and so frequently used wrongly, famous verse from John’s Gospel.
“That verse I say to so many in the LGBTQ community … that beloved verse, John 3:16 … that whosoever shall believe shall have everlasting life … and that ‘whosoever’ has no asterisk. It didn’t say whosoever that’s black, or whosoever that’s white, or whosoever is Latino or Asian or indigenous. It didn’t say that whosoever is cisgender or transgender or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer or questioning. It’s ‘whosoever’ … full stop.” Victoria Kirby York
As with the other blasphemy proclaimers in the pulpit before her, York effectively stated that Christ’s blood was shed so that people may remain in their sin. Equating every flavor of sexual perversion within the rainbow kaleidoscope of carnal sin to the same level as those of nationality and race, York was allowed to stand in a Southern Baptist pulpit and implicitly remove sexual perversion from the certain list of damnable sins that God abhors and forbids. (1 Corinthians 6:9) She was allowed to “take away from the words of this book.” (Revelation 22:19) Apart from repentance, the promise of John 3:16 she touted is merely a quotable quote.
But again, Dr. Uth did not intervene to end this blasphemy. Instead, York was allowed to stand in the pulpit proclaiming heresy, and then … well … then she was permitted to even issue an altar call. However, it was not an altar call for repentance and salvation. It was an altar call to come forward, be prayed over … “to feel God’s love.”
Hunter, standing as a head-nodding backdrop to York’s Scripture-twisting, Scripture-altering utterances, came to the pulpit to orchestrate the next episode of the evening – the praying and laying on of hands on the LGBTQ altar guests.
“If there are people from that community that want to be prayed over, we would love to do that. Here’s what I want from the spiritual leadership, the Christian spiritual leadership that’s here. If you would, come up and lay hands … we have a tradition in our churches to lay hands and so, I want to pray a brief prayer, but I want all of the Christian community to be able to – or if there are other faiths here – to be able to bless and affirm and just symbolically show we’re all in this together.” Dr. Joel Hunter
The climactic moment of this evening of apostasy was that of unregenerate unbelievers standing on the platform behind FBC Orlando’s pulpit as Uth and the assembled “spiritual leaders” laid hands on them, prayed for them, and affirmed them. It was a show that was certain to have had demons laughing in glee, while the grieved Son of God was trampled underfoot by those who should most certainly have offered their lives to prevent such things.
Here, then, is a brief summary of the apostasy organized and overseen by Dr. David Uth and First Baptist Church of Orlando.
- Engaging in spiritual enterprises with known unbelievers in direct disobedience to apostolic, Scriptural commands – 2 Corinthians 6
- Proclaiming and allowing to be proclaimed “another gospel,” unfounded in Scripture
- Denying the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone, replacing Him with the LGBTQ community
- Allowing, inviting, and tolerating false teachers proclaiming known false teachings
- Failing to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”
- Falsely identifying unity as complementary between the world and the church
- Affirming a Biblically-anathematized behavior as acceptable to the church and to Christ
- Failing to show genuine Christian love by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners as their only hope
- Failing to call on sinners to “repent and believe”
But David Uth doesn’t care about these violations, nor does he care about any who might rise in objection to the apostasy he perpetuated in this Southern Baptist Church. On Sunday, June 19, five days following the apostasy promoted from his pulpit, Uth closed his sermon with the following words.
“We’re gonna take shots. Let me tell you the wounds that worry me the most. It’s not the wounds from people who don’t know Christ. I can deal with that. What worries me most are the wounds from brothers and sisters in Christ who will shoot us in the back while we’re trying to minister the love of Jesus Christ.” Dr. David Uth
Tell me, Dr. Uth, are those wounds in any way remotely comparable to those you have wrought on the church, on the body of Christ, on His Gospel? Indeed, are those wounds worth comparing to the eternity of damnation to which your refusal to share the Gospel could mean for sinners in your earshot that evening?
“And let me tell you why those wounds, why they’re so hard. Those wounds are so difficult, not because they bother me more than others – for me, I’m not worried about me. I don’t care what they think.” Dr. David Uth
Yes, it’s evident that Uth doesn’t care what those calling out his apostasy may think. Indeed, he spoke too much by saying “I don’t care what they think.” Uth should have stopped at “I don’t care,” because that is the evident message of the evening of blasphemy orchestrated by his apostasy-embracing ambitions. He doesn’t care about unregenerate sinners who are assured a certain, final, wrathful eternity … apart from the Gospel of Jesus, a Gospel he “didn’t care” enough to share with them.
“I don’t care what they think. I mean, I know they’re probably saved and going to heaven, and so it’d probably be better if God would go ahead and take them – get them out of the way.” Dr. David Uth
If you disagree with Uth on this matter, he has a solution. He wants you dead. If you dare raise a discerning voice against Uth and his apostasy, he thinks God should just kill you. A Southern Baptist pastor from a Southern Baptist pulpit in a Sunday morning service stated that anyone who disagrees with him should die.
Is anyone in the SBC paying attention? Hello? Florida Baptist Convention? First Baptist Orlando deacons? Members? Hello?
Well, his message of death to believers at least matches the message of death he gave, and allowed to be given, to the unregenerate souls filling his pews just a few nights prior.
Back to the “wounds” he’ll incur, and why the rebukes from believing dissenters are the worst, Uth continued:
“Here’s why that’s so hurtful. That’s the only wound I can’t explain to a lost world. That the wound that takes glory from Jesus when shots come from brothers and sisters who follow the same Jesus. That’s the ones [sic] I can’t explain to a world that desperately needs to know Jesus.” Dr. David Uth
Perhaps there’s another angle to this, Dr. Uth. If the “Jesus” you proclaimed to those in your illicit prayer service, is the same “Jesus” on which your faith is based … well, then … pastor, you’ve got the wrong Jesus. That Jesus doesn’t save. That Jesus doesn’t atone. That Jesus is not the Jesus of Scripture. That is not the Jesus of the Gospel.
If, in your high and mightiness seeking the death of those who rightfully, Scripturally, offer challenges, you believe it harms the “lost world” and you won’t be able to explain it to them, here’s a solution to your problem. You need to repent and believe. Otherwise, you’ll have adequate time to explain it to them as you share an eternity together trying to figure out what went wrong.
Failing to repent of his apostasy, First Baptist Church Orlando should remove this man from the pulpit. As Justin Peters says, “He is not qualified to be a pastor. He has disqualified himself from being a shepherd of that church.”
Failing the church’s removal of him, issuing their own statement of repentance and apology, the Southern Baptist Convention should sever ties with the apostate church of First Baptist Orlando.
“There is nothing more offensive to God than the distortion of His Word (cf. Rev. 22:18-19). To falsify facts about who God is and what He said – even promoting Satan’s lies as if they were God’s truth – is the basest form of hypocrisy. With eternity at stake, it is hard to believe that anyone would intentionally deceive other people, teaching them something that is spiritually catastrophic. Yet, such atrocious arrogance is exactly what characterizes the pseudo-ministries of false teachers.” John MacArthur
As Peters rightly pointed out, “this is a church full of people who are known as people of the Book.” It’s time for Southern Baptists to get back to the Book and to be obedient to the Book.
Otherwise, the SBC is showing itself to be merely another apostate denomination tolerating the pseudo-ministry of David Uth and FBC Orlando as together they hurl a false, damning gospel, accompanied by epic and blasphemous heresy, to dying souls that we should truly love enough, to tell the truth.
(Regarding the “God loves you unconditionally gospel,” please see the video below:)
- Justin Peters Program, First Baptist Orlando, Part One
- Justin Peters Program, First Baptist Orlando, Part Two
- Justin Peters Program, First Baptist Orlando, Part Three
- Worldview Weekend Report, June 22, 2016
- JD Hall, Polemics Report, June 24, 2016
- Pulpit & Pen, Pastor Equates Homosexuals to Jesus
- Click here for more information on Justin Peters Ministries.
Be sure to go here to like Pulpit & Pen on Facebook.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]
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