In my cover story this week regarding Mariners Church in Irvine, I make reference to a sermon that Pastor Kenton Beshore (pictured) made before his congregation in 2001 to announce the firing of the church's worship pastor, Bob Gunn, for his homosexuality. The words said that day led to a lawsuit that's been fought in courts for the past six years. Below is the text of Beshore's sermon
I have some sad news to talk to you about right now. A few weeks ago, we talked about a sad moment in our daughter church at Rock Harbor and I mentioned that often, families have crisis and part of being a part of a family is that you go through a crisis together. We have something that is sad and a crisis to talk about this morning for our church. Bob Gunn, our Worship Director, has been released of all of his duties as of Tuesday, this last week. Bob met with me and admitted to moral and sexual actions which according to the Bible, are sin and disqualify him from leadership and ministry in our church. The Board met in a special meeting this last week, Tuesday, and removed Bob from all his duties. We met with the staff this past week, we met with the choir ministry that he works closest with, and spent more time talking to them about what had happened, and some of the issues, and so, which we felt was appropriate. But we felt that it was important to talk to you about it. We are a redemptive community and we are commited to Bob and we want to reach out and hel him in ways that are appropriate. We want to help out the other person in the situation too, and are reaching out that way. And so, and it's something that is important to talk about. I know sometimes you think, why do we have to talk about it on Sunday. Well, part of it is because we want to hold to the biblical standards of leadership, and when someone in leadership has dissqualified themselves and there has been a breakdown in character, we need to be honest with each other and talk about that, and then pray for each other with it. But also, it is a way of protecting you in the sense of there doesn't need to be gossip; you now understand and you know what you need to know, and so you can when someone stats to talk about, you go, I know what happened, and that's it. There's always more details, but they are not helpful to you. And so, during this time, we are holding tightly to Galatians, chapter 6, verse 1-2. I would like to read that to you. It says, brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin you who are spiritual should restore him or her gently, but watch yourself so that you are not also tempted. Carry each other's burdens and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Let's pray together: Father, in moments like these we come and we are so sad. We are sad for our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of our world, and we are reminded how often we are foolish and we are caught. And we are so sad for what sin does in our lives and we don't want to be cavalier and pretend that in any way that we are not sinful people. And yet at the same time, we don't want to go to the place where we are casual with your directives and what you tell us to do. And so as people who fall, and are sinful people, we come to you humbly, and we hold Bob before you and we ask that you help him and comfort him and be with him at this very difficult and challenging time. We pray that you will heal and and would bring restoration and that you would bring life. And Lord, in our own lives, we ask that you would again remind us of what sin does in our lives and the broken-ness that it creates and that we would live lives pure and honorable before you, and we would walk with you…and when we fall, Lord, that we would get up and we would get your forgiveness and we would live again the way that you want us to. Lord, we are so grateful for your grace and your love and forgiveness that you bring as soon as we turn away and say, Oh Lord, forgive. You do, and you extend it to us and you make us anew. Thank you Lord, in Jesus' name, Amen.