A pastor in Cornwall has been advised by the police not to offend LGBT people after he celebrated the cancellation of a gay pride event on Facebook.
When Cornwall Pride announced its annual march would not go ahead this year following concerns about social distancing, Pastor Josh Williamson of Newquay Baptist Church called it “Wonderful news”.
When challenged, he said it was because he did not like to see sin celebrated, and quoted from the Bible to support his position.
Posting on his own Facebook account the pastor also wrote: “Hallelujah!! We prayed at our prayer meeting on Tuesday night that this event would be cancelled. We also prayed that the Lord would save the organisers. One prayer answered, now we wait for the second prayer to be answered.”
Cornwall Pride responded by sharing this with its supporters, as well as negative comments about Pride made by people who do not appear to be connected to the church, leading to threats against Williamson and his wife.
Christian Concern, which is supporting Williamson, said that LGBT activists threatened to protest his Sunday services, and to get the pastor deported to his native Australia.
It said Cornwall Pride also encouraged its supporters to report Williamson to the police for a ‘hate crime’.
Following this, the pastor was invited to meet with members of Cornwall Pride to talk about his views. Williamson attended and handed out copies of a tract debunking arguments commonly used to argue for LGBT affirmation in the church.
This was shared widely online and culminated in activists threatening to burn the church or hold orgies in it.
When Williamson reported the threats to Devon and Cornwall Police, he was told the situation was “complex” and that they did not think the threats were serious.
Instead it told him that in future he should avoid offending anyone in the LGBT community to ensure he did not break the law, and instead keep his views in a “safe environment”.
Pastor Williamson said: “My family and I, and our church community, have been very concerned by the level of anti-Christian abuse and threats of violence that we have been targeted with over the past few weeks.
The Bible proclaims a message of repentance which calls on all people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ
“The police have not formally spoken to me about any hate crime or sought a witness statement to look at the various online comments which have included threats to burn down our church.
“As Christians we seek to speak the truth in love and would readily welcome all people to our services. The Bible, however, proclaims a message of repentance which calls on all people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ.”
‘God loves sinners’
He added: “It would be unloving for us to remain silent about what God’s Word says in relation to human sin, including all forms of sexual sin. We therefore, must proclaim the truth that homosexuality is a sin, but that God loves sinners and Jesus can forgive all our sins.
“Newquay Baptist Church is made up of sinners who have been forgiven by a wonderful Saviour; since this is the case, we would invite all people, including the LGBT community, to come to our services. Our desire is that all would come to know and love Jesus.”
Our desire is that all would come to know and love Jesus