A few weeks ago I wrote about a matter in the church which I attend, which has drawn
national attention. I think it’s appropriate for me to follow that
story up now, as our congregation has finished its investigation and
the principle figure involved is speaking publicly again.
First of all, to name names, my church is Hope Lutheran Church of Minneapolis,
and the subject of the story is our senior pastor, Tom Brock. Pastor
Brock fought a long battle with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
America, over issues like women’s ordination, abortion, and homosexual
marriage, before finally encouraging withdrawal from that church body
and affiliation with ours (The Association of Free Lutheran
Congregations) a few years back. He has a cable television show, and a
local radio talk show, in which he discusses religious issues. Through
these outlets he has made himself fairly prominent, and indeed (as we
have seen) a target.
A local homosexual publication called Lavender Magazine heard a
rumor that Pastor Brock was attending a Catholic support group called
Courage, a group for men struggling against same-sex attraction. A
freelance reporter then posed as a prospective member, attended a
meeting, and wrote an article for Lavender, in which he insinuated that
Pastor Brock was leading a secret “gay” life. This move has been
“viewed by many as journalistically unethical,” according to this AP story on the One News Now website.
Gee, ya think? Breaking the confidentiality of a Twelve Step Program?
Pastor Brock was placed on leave of absence while our congregation conducted an inquiry.
He appeared before the congregation again this past Sunday. He and
members of the elders explained that he has been exonerated by their
investigation. Among other things they spoke, with his permission, with
people in the Courage group in whom he had confided. They can find no
evidence that he has been living a secret sex life. They are satisfied
that Pastor Brock is celibate, which is all we ask of any man dealing
with this difficult problem.
Reports that Pastor Brock was “back in the pulpit” last Sunday are
technically true, but misleading. He did occupy the physical space
behind the pulpit when he talked, but he didn’t deliver the sermon. He
will be preaching again, but not right away. His intention is to resign
as Senior Pastor but stay on staff, concentrating on the radio and
television outreach that put him in the crosshairs in the first place.
I know Pastor Brock to say hello to. I do not know him well. But I
shook his hand on my way out of the sanctuary, and told him he’s a hero