Excerpts from Paul Edwards:
The mainstream media wants you to believe that a conservative evangelical church deep in the Bible belt has refused to bury a Gulf War veteran because he was gay. Some in the Christian media want you to believe that the church hasn’t shown the love of Jesus to a dead man’s family. Neither is anywhere near the truth.
Here are the facts. High Point Church, a non-denominational church in Arlington, Texas, had been praying for Cecil Sinclair after Cecil’s brother, Lee (the only member of the Sinclair family who was a member of the church) requested prayer for his brother who had been awaiting a heart transplant. When Cecil Sinclair’s health became critical last week, the family called a staff member from the church to be with them at the hospital. In the hospital, in the moments immediately following Mr. Sinclair’s death, the family asked the staff member if the church would be open to holding a memorial service for their loved one. The staff member assured them the church would be available to help the family in any way appropriate, a response any pastor would give in that situation.
Cecil Sinclair was not a member of High Point Church, yet this church selflessly and sacrificially ministered to his family in the wake of his death, preparing and delivering food for the family and one hundred relatives and friends, along with many other expressions of kindness. The church offered to produce a video retrospective of Mr. Sinclair’s life for use during the memorial service. When the family provided the pictures to the church it was then that the church learned of their intention to make the memorial service a celebration of Cecil Sinclair’s gay lifestyle. One of the photos provided by the family “showed a man with his hand touching another man’s genitalia,” along with other inappropriate photos, according to a statement on the High Point Church website.
The family also requested that “an associate of an openly homosexual choir” officiate at the service and that the homosexual choir sing during the service. “It became clear to the church staff that the family was requesting an openly homosexual service at High Point Church - which is not our policy to allow,” the statement on the church’s website said. After initially agreeing to host the memorial service, the church informed the family it could not do so based on the direction they were taking service. The church then secured - and paid for - another location for the memorial service, which the family declined. The church also produced the memorial video without the inappropriate photos.
High Point Church did not refuse to host the funeral of a gay man, as is being widely reported in the mainstream media. The church refused on biblical principle to allow a celebration of the homosexual lifestyle in its sanctuary, a decision most theologically sound churches would make under similar circumstances. ...
The church did not refuse to host the memorial service because Cecil Sinclair was gay. They refused to host the memorial service because the family was turning it into a celebration of the man’s sin - his homosexual lifestyle. Churches and ministers bury sinners every day. But we don’t highlight their sin on the big screen while we are doing it. We exalt Christ. We proclaim the gospel. And we celebrate the triumph of the cross over sin and death, none of which the family had in mind for Cecil Sinclair’s memorial service.