A pastor is no longer the head of a California Presbyterian church after receiving backlash from within his congregation and the outside community over a sign stating that “homosexuality is a sin.”
Pastor Justin Hoke, who led Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California, is without a job after he posted a sign outside his church on December 31 stating, “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not”:
Hoke told The Daily Wire that he created the sign after reading a news story where a biological male who identifies as female lashed out at a store clerk who “had accidentally referred to him with the masculine gender [pronoun].”
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.
Some people resorted to vandalism, damaging the sign and the power box next to it, according to Hoke’s Facebook post on Wednesday:
Not too long after the protests and the vandalism incident, Hoke announced Saturday that he was stepping down as pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church due to internal conflicts with church leaders:
Despite the pushback from the community, hundreds of people commented on Hoke’s post in support of him for preaching the Gospel.
“I am sorry the church doesn’t support your stance. God bless you for being faithful to the Word of God, and not the ungodly secular culture,” one person commented.
“Brother, I am speechless but not surprised. You preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is hard to handle for most. I am praying for you and the family right now. God bless you and keep you,” another commenter remarked.
Although Hoke said he wishes he could return to the pulpit, he called those who protested against him “sincere” but wrong.
“I believe they’re sincere — sincerely wrong, but sincere. 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,” he said.