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Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Wisconsin Pastors Summit

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
  • 2006 May 16
  • Comments

Today I am in Madison, WI speaking at a Pastors Summit for the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin. I was asked to tell the story of the "God Speaks Today" sermon series in September 2004 that led to our church being picketed one Sunday by three different Gay Rights groups.

The following links are provided primarily for those attending the summit, but the material will be useful for any church facing a similar situation.

Leadership Journal provided an overview: When Gay Activists Came to Calvary.

It all started with a five-part series called God Speaks Today. Here are the five sermons in the series:

Is Marriage Really Made in Heaven?
Staying Pure in an X-Rated World
The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage
Real Hope for Lasting Change
Christ-Like Love in a World of Hate

During the summer of 2004 I preached through 1 Peter. Here are links to two sermons that show how I tried to explain things to our congregation:

Strangers in a Strange Land
God Guarantees Our Salvation

Here are links to weekly columns I wrote for our church bulletin:

A Line in the Sand
Should We Use the Bible in the Marriage Debate?
Amending Our Church Constitution to Define Marriage

From May-September 2004 I wrote about the issues relating to the "God Speaks Today" series on my Crosswalk weblog. Entries are listed in order of their writing. The importance of the weblog entries is that they were read by people all across the country, thus raising awareness of the series. Note the entry called “God Speaks Today" Postcard. It contains photos of the postcard we mailed out to everyone in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park (over 40,000 addresses).

Every Church Must Take a Stand on Gay Marriage
Can Homosexuals Go to Heaven?
Answering My Mail
Standing for the Truth--What Your Church Can Do
The Wrong Kind of Repentance
Modern-Day Baal Worship
Answering My Mail--Round Two
Is Evangelism a Hate Crime?
Truth Matters
God Speaks Today
"God Speaks Today" Postcard
Becky Pippert on Repenting and Rejoicing
"We Are Fervently Praying for You"
Good News for Oak Park
Is God Really Speaking This Sunday?
Bold Truth and Sweet Grace
Notes from Stephen Bennett's Talk
Should We Allow Sinners to Come to Church?

In mid-July Pastor Davis Duggins prepared this summary list of events/proposed budget/to-do list for the Calvary leadership team.

In August we sent a letter to the congregation telling them about the series. We also put this detailed insert in the bulletin in August.

A few days before I preached on same-sex marriage, the Oak Park Lesbian and Gay Association sent this press release to the local papers encouraging all Oak Park residents to come to Calvary to hear my sermon.

Here are some samples of how the local media covered the event:

Chicago Tribune
Trapeze (student newspaper of Oak Park-River Forest High School)
Channel 7
Oak Leaves

Jim Bowman, a former Chicago Tribune columnist, noted author, and an Oak Park resident, attended Calvary on the day the picketers showed up. His report appeared in the Wednesday Journal a week later. You can read it here.

The Wednesday Journal printed a long excerpt from my September 26 sermon. That particular issue was distributed to every home in Oak Park.

You can reach the author at  ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.