SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Two women who are involved in a lesbian relationship recently contacted the media after receiving a letter from their now-former pastor who advised that their church membership had been revoked as they remained unrepentant.
“Hmmmmm, ok whatever. Going to a better church now. Love my wife and Christ! ‘Nough said,” Mary Catherine Trollinger also wrote to social media on Wednesday in posting a photograph of the letter.
Trollinger told Local Memphis that she met Olivia while attending Gracewood Baptist Church in Southaven, Mississippi and serving as a college director. Both her family and officials at her church sought to advise them that the relationship was inappropriate and unbiblical.
Last year, the two were reportedly advised that they were no longer members in good standing, and so they left. Trollinger also says that her mother told her that same day that she couldn’t continue living in her parents’ home.
Last week, the two received notification that their membership had officially been revoked as a year had passed without repentance and the two had gone on to “marry.”
“At the outset, I kindly but firmly reminded both of you that a homosexual relationship is forbidden in Scripture and against God’s original design,” the letter signed by pastor Barry Baker states. “For a professing Christian to live openly and unremorsefully in sin is degrading to the name of Christ, defiling to his/her church family, and destructive to himself/herself.”
“I told you that the church could not allow you to live in unrepentant disobedience without addressing it. We love you too much to neglect you,” Baker continued. “I had hoped you would repent. However, after numerous attempts by family, church members, and friends to convince you of your error, you have remained resistant.”
He advised that the deacons consequently voted on July 14 to terminate her membership, and on August 7, the congregation likewise voted unanimously to discontinue her membership.
“Upon your request and evidence of repentance and reformation, however, you may be restored to full fellowship at Greenwood by the vote of the body,” Baker explained. “As the Father rejoices over one ‘lost sheep’ being found, we will celebrate your ‘homecoming.’ We will pray and wait expectantly.”
Olivia told Local Memphis that she didn’t think the letter was written with a spirit of love because it was personalized.
“It’s one thing if you send out a letter that’s generic, just a template, but it’s another thing to personalize the letter,” she opined. “In that sense, all the things that were said — it wasn’t out of love, it was more out of spite.”
Trollinger remarked that “everyone has their own relationship with Jesus” and others should know that “God’s not mad” with them.
However, as previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the exact same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature and are therefore “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law and will of God and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves (Job 14:4).
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and that they might be “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9) — taking out of the way for those who are saved both the penalty for, and the power of, sin.
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. This work of the Holy Spirit is known in Christianity as the doctrine of regeneration.
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life,” Romans 6:22-23 explains. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In regard to church discipline, 1 Corinthians 5 teaches, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. … Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
“Sadly, some love their sin more than they love Christ and they will not repent. Others do not repent and find another church that accepts them in spite of their sin,” writes Steven Cole on the subject of church discipline. “Churches should not welcome those who are under the discipline of another church. But some will repent, which involves godly sorrow over their sin (2 Corinthians 7:8-10) and restitution where appropriate (Philemon 18-19). A person’s deeds should reflect repentance (Acts 26:20).”
“If the person expresses genuine repentance, then the church should be informed and the person should be forgiven and accepted back into the fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:8).”