Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Grace Bible Church Distances Itself From Bishop's Homophobic Comments

The Grace Bible Church in Soweto has distanced itself from a sermon delivered by a homophobic bishop at its church on Sunday.

"Should people choose an alternative relationship with the same sex, it's their choice. They don't need an endorsement from the church. It is their right. It is within the Constitution of the country that in no way has any implication on us," Grace Bible Church Pastor Ezekiel Mathole told News24 on Monday.

Mathole was speaking after the #GraceBibleChurch hashtag began trending on Sunday.

Local celebrity Somizi Mhlongo sent Twitter abuzz after he posted on Instagram that he stormed out of the church after Ghanaian-born Bishop Dag Heward-Mills made homophobic comments.

Discussing the soul and sins, Heward-Mills said homosexuality was unnatural.

"You don't find two male dogs or two male lions, two male… impalas, two male cats, even lizards, two male elephants, two male... There's nothing like that in nature, it's unnatural," he said.

A biblical stance on relationships
Asked whether the church would invite Heward-Mills back again, Mathole said: "I think that is something we would have to sit down as a church to discuss. We would discuss if there is a need to bring him back."

According to Mathole the church "would not discriminate against anybody".

"All people are welcome to attend our church."

He went on to say that he "acknowledges there is diversity at our church" and that some of the congregants were homosexual.

However, Mathole said the church took the biblical view on marriages and only recognises unions between heterosexual couples.

He added: "The same way we have freedom of religion they have the same rights. Our opinion does not count on their relationships. And their rights are not based on our opinion."

Mathole, addressing Heward-Mills' comments, said: "What we are saying is that that is his perspective. You can contact him to talk about it."
Grace Bible Church Distances Itself From Bishop's Homophobic Comments
News24 sent a query to Heward-Mills' media team on Monday but had not received a response at the time of publishing.
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