You foolish Lilydalians

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Matt Glover, freelance cartoonist and pastor, is an advocate for same-sex unions.

His church, Lilydale Baptist, is in turmoil. They've only just found out via this gay website or maybe this one?

A church meeting to deal with the issue was cancelled a few days ago. A newspaper report states confidently that Pastor Matt has the numbers.

I'd be surprised.

Matt assured the reporter that his church members were not "homophobic," just a bit uptight about public displays of affection between gay couples."

[Ed. I suppose if any church members were "homophobic" they may need psychiatric treatment. Homophobia is not to be confused with homilophobia (fear of sermons) or homichlophobia (fear of fog), or hobophobia (fear of beggars). Anyway, let's hope there's counselling and medication available for any sufferers out there].

I remember Lylidale Baptist as a thriving evangelical church of around 400 people, once active in planting churches like this one.

The article states that "Lilydale Baptist has a strong community presence, offering financial services, counselling, an opportunity shop [pictured above], cafe, food bank and welfare assistance. Besides the usual youth and play groups, it has a Burmese congregation and a Tuesday night meeting of 'hard-core'' music fans."

All these ministries were set up before Matt arrived by previous pastors who were evangelical.

Lilydale Baptist is in trouble. Expect the church community shrink, and the ministries above to become unsustainable, if they aren't already.

The tragedy is, this was all avoidable.

If you want to know what decline and decay looks like at a local church level, this is it. This story is being played out all around the western world, in mainstream churches, missional churches, theological seminaries, and denominational headquarters. The drift starts with the clergy who are less likely to uphold biblical orthodoxy than ordinary disciples.

Matt is not the only well known Baptist leader who has come out publicly in support of gay marriage. What has happened at Lilydale is part of a general trend in the local denominational leadership.

The slide gains momentum because nobody wants to admit there's an elephant in the room.

Decline and decay is always the result. There may be a time lag. But there are no exceptions.

You foolish Lilydalians. Get back to basics.

UPDATE

The Baptist Union of Australia has made it's position clear by defining marriage as  the union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life, although not all Baptist pastors, college lecturers and denominational executives agree.

UPDATE

Paul Kelly, editor of the Australian, on the political and social agenda behind the push for "marriage equality."

UPDATE

Rev Matt Glover is no longer the minister at Lilydale Baptist Church. The Age newspaper reports that he had been "sacked" at a "secret meeting." Rev Andrew Woff, acting Director of Ministries for the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV), denied Rev Glover had been sacked. Although Woff agreed the process was not "all fair." On behalf of the BUV, Woff stated, "He [Glover] is a competent and gifted minister, and there is no reason he can't be called by another church."

So where does the BUV stand on same-sex unions?