Church on Main, a small Presbyterian church in Middletown, Delaware, sparked online debate over the weekend for flying both a pride flag and a Black Lives Matter flag on the outside of its building.
On Sunday (Oct 24), Executive Director of Operations for G3 Ministries Virgil Walker tweeted a picture of Church on Main, saying of the church, “If you’re headed to visit a church this morning, and you see this, keep driving. It’s not a church.”
Connected to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Church on Main describes itself as “LGBTQ+ Affirming, Justice-Minded, Christ-Centered.” In addition to a Sunday morning worship service, Church on Main hosts a Narcotics Anonymous group and offers a number of midweek activities, including Saturday morning yoga via Zoom. The church recently ordained a new pastor, Rev. Brooke A. Scott.
“This church has been given over to their sins, where the truth of the Gospel is not taught,” read one retweeted response.
On the other hand, Walker’s words also drew criticism. One response said, “To hate on a church offering love and inclusion is a really bonkers way to call yourself a christian (sic).” Another retweet said, “If you’re headed to visit a church, and you see on Twitter that a leader of the church just posted something like this to Twitter, keep driving. It’s not a church.”
More than one tweet referred to Walker by racial slurs.
Christian musical artist Derek Webb retweeted Walker’s tweet, saying, “i (sic) couldn’t disagree more. these flags are like the fruit on the tree. if it’s not there, the roots are dead. any ‘church’ that doesn’t radically welcome, celebrate, defend, and amplify the bodies, voices, and breath of marginalized people is no church.”
In turn, Darrell B. Harrison, who serves as Dean of Social Media for John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry, retweeted Webb’s response, saying, “I couldn’t disagree more. The Church existed long before those flags ever were conceived. The symbol of the church is the cross, where those who are truly repentant of their sins can find forgiveness because of the stripes Christ took upon His body, not the stripes on a flag.”
In a statement to ChurchLeaders, Rev. Brooke Scott, pastor of Church on Main, said, “Here at Church on Main, we believe in the Jesus who was found always making room for & centering the most marginalized and vulnerable people in his society. In our world today, the status quo is one that maintains oppressive systems, particularly to Black Americans & the LGBTQ+ community. The Church has often been the center of that damage. If the Gospel is not good news for those who have been most harmed throughout history, it cannot be the true Gospel.”