Pastor Justin Hoke found himself out of a job after his recent church sign caused uproar from both the community and the church members. Pastor Hoke was the minister at Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California.
In early January, he put up a sign that read: “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
On January 6, a number of community members came together to protest the sign. One of the protest’s organizers was Amelia Mallory, a local resident. The protest was named “Shastina Love Rally.”
There was a second protest on Sunday, which was organized through a Facebook invite page. 71 people responded that they were “going” to the event, while 182 others were “interested.”
In a message posted on the official Love Rally Facebook page, Mallory stated: “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.”
The sign was vandalized on or around Jan. 9.
Yahoo Lifestyle quoted Hoke in a recent article. He said: “We believe that Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine. 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 opportunity to hear the truth.”
There was no sign of any divisions within the church, which made Hoke’s Saturday evening Facebook post even more surprising. The post read:
“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.”
His post garnered more than a hundred comments, with many of the people supporting Hoke.
Some of the comments read:
“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.”
“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.”
“We are praying for you brother. You boldly spoke truth. Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”