To the editor:
The Oberlin News-Tribune’s July 16 front-page article, “A House Divided” addressed the division of Oberlin churches on the U.S. Supreme Courts’ decision on same-sex unions. While the article sought to make it clear who would and who would not perform gay marriages (a personal contact or telephone call to pastors was made by the Tribune) not all pastors were able to respond. It is the intent of this writing to express the view of the Oberlin Pastors Prayer Fellowship, a consortium of pastors who have formed a fellowship on these basic principles:
• The lordship of Jesus Christ as the son of God and the only way to the father (John 14:6).
• The absolute authority of the word of God (II Timothy 3:16).
• The call to holy living (I Peter 1:13-18).
• The ministry of the church in the world (Matthew 5:13-16, I Peter 1:9).
While we have different theological positions on peripheral subjects we all agree on these fundamental foundational truths. The Holy Bible (in its original languages) condemns homosexual behavior and is clear that those who practice such will not inherit the kingdom of God (Romans 1:18-32, I Corinthians 6:18-20, Galatians 5:16-21). We are straightforward in our position: We will not perform same-sex unions and neither will our houses of worship be used for such ceremonies. In a letter to the editor in the May 14 edition of the Oberlin News-Tribune, it was stated, “Some churches support same-sex unions” and that these churches welcome LGBT people fully into the lives of our congregations. We believe that such a welcome is what the scriptures call us to and that Christians of all sexual orientations stand equally before God.”
OPPF holds that the Church of Jesus Christ is a spiritual hospital, a place to address and treat all expressions of the sinful nature; it is the purpose of the new birth or being born of God to transform believers into the image of Christ. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature (creation) old things have passed away behold all things are new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore, old habits and life-styles are changed and are transformed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (II Corinthians 3:9-18)
We lovingly and compassionately welcome worshippers into our houses of worship to hear the Word of God preached and taught, to experience the life-changing effect of God’s word and to return to the world as witnesses of Jesus Christ! OPPF pastors are “compassionate without compromise,” ready to minister to the whole world the whole word and the golden text of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Pastor Laurence E. Nevels, Sr. President
Editor’s note: I have allowed the Rev. Nevels to pen a longer letter to the editor than normally allowed under our editorial policy. This was done partly in respect to his standing in the community, partly due to his good-faith efforts to revise his letter’s length prior to publication, and partly because he writes on behalf of a large number of Oberlin pastors.