KYLE, Texas — A now former Assemblies of God (AG) “church” in Texas has announced that its elder board has decided to allow practicing homosexuals to serve in all capacities, including as pastors, and that pastors will be permitted to officiate same-sex ceremonies if so desired. The district office of the AG says it “moved swiftly” when it learned of the decision, and that the church is no longer affiliated with the denomination.
Dan Matlock, who leads Eikon Church in Kyle, presented several messages throughout the month of February in a “Clarity” series, where he also explained to the congregation that he himself had come to “a place of full affirmation” of homosexuals in the Church.
“We felt led by the Spirit this direction,” he claimed during his Feb. 6 message, asserting that he saw “bad fruit” coming from “unaffirming theology.”
He outlined that in 2018, two lesbian women who attend Eikon approached him and asked unabashedly if he would officiate their same-sex ceremony.
“I realized that if I were to tell them, ‘No, theologically, I’m bound by my conscience. I can’t do the wedding. I can’t do that,’ they would have been devastated. They would have been blindsided,” he stated. “They would have felt, ‘Wait, you’ll take my attendance, you’ll take my money, you’ll take my service, but you won’t take me in this pivotal moment of [my] life?'”
“That would have been so harmful to them because they didn’t expect that,” Matlock continued. “But I realized that at the same time, had I responded, ‘Sure! Absolutely. I’d love to do your wedding. Where is it?’ and then I were to perform said wedding, and then word would get out about the wedding … it would not have gone well. Right? Let’s be honest. There’d be a lot of people in the church who’d be going, ‘What? Dan did [what]? Excuse me?'”
He said that he realized that Eikon had not been clear on where it stood to those on either side of the issue.
Matlock then told those gathered that there is disagreement among professing Christians about homosexuality, but opined that he finds it “unhealthy” both for Christians who view homosexuality as sinful to be labeled as “haters” and for those who affirm same-sex relationships to be considered apostate. He explained that even leadership has varying views on the matter.
He presented a chart featuring a “spectrum” of beliefs about homosexuality and asked those present to contemplate which category corresponds to them.
Matlock also told those gathered that he believes those who affirm homosexuals have not thrown out the Scriptures, but simply view the text as referencing some other practice, such as temple prostitution or pedophilia, as it does not “clearly” condemn homosexuality.
In further presenting the views of those who are affirming, Matlock said that other issues in the New Testament are viewed by some as only cultural and not for modern times, such as Paul’s words on women in church leadership, or short hair on ladies, or exhortation about slaves obeying their masters. Matlock stated that Jesus said that remarriage following divorce is a sin, and most Christians don’t view remarriage as being tantamount to adultery.
“We have to acknowledge this: It’s not that Christians with a traditional view just don’t love gay people. They came to those beliefs very honestly. And at the same time, people with this more affirming bend, they didn’t come to that place just because they don’t care what the Scriptures say. Many of them came to this place honestly,” he asserted. “And it doesn’t make either one true or not true, but it’s helpful to understand how these people came to the conclusions they did.”
Matlock pointed to Romans 14, noting that Jews and Gentiles in the early Church were locked in various disagreements, that Christians today should “pursue unity over uniformity” in the midst of disagreement about the sinfulness of homosexuality.
“We all think very differently. We don’t believe the same thing about everything. Are you kidding me?” he said. “I’ve talked to people who have problems with how we do communion or when we do communion or how often we do it, about baptism — there’s lots of things that we’re not uniformity over. But in spite of those things, we say we want to have unity.”
He asserted that despite varied beliefs, the church had to reach a conclusion on what would be its “consistent practice,” however. Matlock advised that he went to the elder board last year and said that the church needed to be clear on what its practices will be, which launched nearly a year of discussion as to whether or not Eikon would be “fully inclusive” of homosexuals.
“That means they can serve in any capacity in the church from a greeter in the parking lot to a pastor on staff,” he outlined, adding that the board also contemplated whether leadership should be allowed to officiate same-sex ceremonies, if desired, and whether they could speak about their beliefs on the issue.
“On Sept. 8, 2019, elders of Eikon church decided that yes, Eikon church will be a fully inclusive church for the LGBT community,” Matlock said to some applause.
He then acknowledged that while the decision would please homosexual members and their advocates, it would also disturb other members of the congregation.
“You have to understand that to that community, this is a big deal for them — that they finally have a place where they can really be welcome in every area, not with an asterisk,” he said. “But I also recognize the confusion that you might be feeling, the tension that you might be feeling. That as excited as they are that they got a church, you’re realizing ‘I may have lost my church.'”
“I get it. I understand. And I’m sorry,” Matlock stated.
He then outlined to those gathered that he himself wrestled with the issue of homosexuality in 2015 and 2016, but that he “landed in a place of full affirmation.”
“I do believe that God can and does bless same-sex relationships, that God can and does bless same-sex marriages,” Matlock claimed.
According to the site Juicy Ecumenism, Eikon has now parted ways with the Assemblies of God denomination as a result of its decision.
“Dan Matlock has announced that he and Eikon Church will no longer be affiliated with the Assemblies of God,” Assemblies of God Senior Director of Public Relations and Communications Mark Forrester told the outlet. “The North Texas District moved swiftly and in accordance with processes outlined in the General Council Bylaws when first aware of the departure from the Assemblies of God’s position on marriage, sexual orientation, and gender identity — which is the only permissible stance for Assemblies of God churches and ministers.”
“The North Texas District is committed to helping members of Eikon Church find church families that continue to embrace the biblical views consistent with statement of faith originally embraced by Eikon Church,” he said.
As previously reported, while a common argument among those who struggle with homosexual feelings is that they were “born this way,” the Bible teaches that all are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent feelings and inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves.
“All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way,” Isaiah 53:6 reads, “and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Scripture outlines that Jesus came to be the propitiation for men’s sins (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10), a doctrine in Christianity known as substitutionary atonement, and to save men from the wrath of God for their violations against His law (Romans 4:25, Romans 5:9, Romans 5:16), a doctrine known as justification.
The Bible also teaches about regeneration, as in addition to sparing guilty men from eternal punishment, Christ sent his Holy Spirit to make those who would repent and believe the gospel new creatures in the here and now, with new desires and an ability to do what is pleasing in the sight of God by His indwelling and empowerment (Ezekiel 11:19, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 3:5).
Jesus said that men must be born again, and be transformed by the Spirit from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8).
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them,” Ezekiel 36:26-27 reads.
In regard to marriage, Jesus also outlined in Mark 10:6-8, “But from the beginning of the Creation, God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.”