WATCH: Missouri Megachurch Pastor John Lindell Encourages Congregation to Vote Against Homosexual Rights Law

Pastor John Lindell leads a prayer service at James River Assembly in Ozark in 2013. (Photo: News-Leader file photo)
Pastor John Lindell leads a prayer service at James River Assembly in Ozark in 2013.
(Photo: News-Leader file photo)

The Rev. John Lindell has spoken. He did it from one of the most powerful places in Southwest Missouri — the pulpit of James River Church, where he leads an Assemblies of God congregation that often tops 9,000 worshipers on Sundays.

In a March 15 sermon, Lindell urged congregants to repeal Springfield’s sexual orientation and gender identity law on April 7.

“It is possible for someone who has practiced a life of adultery to stop,” he said in the sermon. “It is possible for someone who has been a life-long alcoholic to stop. It is possible for somebody who has a cutting tongue and a big mouth to stop. It is possible for someone who is engaged in homosexual behavior to stop.”

He urged Christians living in the city limits of Springfield to vote to repeal the law and to leave church with a Yes-On-Repeal yard sign. Lindell hit two main points: the Bible is clear in its condemnation of homosexuality as sin and the ordinance is an infringement on the religious rights of Christians who believe so.

“This ordinance reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship,” he said. “In other words, you can believe what you want within the confines of the four walls of the church as long as you don’t live it outside of the church.”

Lindell has expressed his views on the topic before. I am not surprised he is mobilizing his church, which packs a powerful political punch through the sheer number of members and, I believe, their commitment to vote.

But I am surprised he delivered his message from on high — the pulpit.

I have met Pastor Lindell once, months ago. He was engaging, funny and gracious.

He told me Tuesday that he has every right to campaign for repeal in a sermon. Years ago, he spoke from the pulpit against the expansion of casino gambling in Missouri.

“We cannot endorse a candidate and we cannot endorse a party,” he said. “But we can speak and encourage people to vote in terms of the morality of the issue.”

Over the next two Sundays he will continue to remind people to vote Yes and to take a Yes sign for their yard.

“Addressing this topic or the subject of the upcoming vote from the pulpit is not against the law in this country, although it may be in the future,” Lindell said in the sermon. “Nor is it outside the parameters of a gospel ministry.

“Martin Luther, the great reformer, said this: ‘If you preach the gospel in all aspects — with the exception of the issues which deal specifically with your time — you are not preaching the gospel at all.’ ”

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SOURCE: News-Leader
Steve Pokin

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