Witnessing at a Pride Parade

Ben Stahl

New Horizons: February 2024

Let Us Do Good to Everyone

Also in this issue

Let Us Do Good to Everyone

Equipping Presbytery Diaconal Committees

October 15, 2023, was a beautiful Sunday morning as over three hundred thousand people rose early and made their way by car, bus, and train to Atlanta. If one looked down from the penthouse of one of many skyscrapers nearby, one would see a great crowd waving flags. At street level, it would be evident that this event was not like other parades. Gathering at a time of day when most Christians in America were worshiping God, this group gathered to celebrate and promote the sins summarized by the letters LGBTQ+ and one word: “Pride.”

More than five thousand marchers made their way along the parade route. They carried signs promoting their company, church, or government organization in connection with Pride. The Atlanta United soccer team changed its name for the day to Pride United. Smirnoff and Salesforce, Microsoft and Micron, Grady Hospital and Google—all these and hundreds of others showed the city they celebrate Pride. The crosswalks of midtown were painted the colors of the Pride flag. Restaurants flew Pride flags and had Sunday brunch specials for participants. Curses were raised against God. Praises were offered to Satan. A Bible was publicly torn to shreds. Indeed, this beautiful Sunday morning gave light to every evil work that is done under the sun.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton designated June as the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and subsequent presidents have added bisexual, transgender, and queer to the list for celebration. Despite numerous warnings in Scripture, pride—the prerequisite for and precursor to destruction—is not only accepted but celebrated in cities around the world in June. Churches are widely represented at these events, marching in solidarity with Pride and preaching another gospel than the one preached by Jesus and the apostles. Sadly, almost absent are representatives of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. The darkness is very dark.

Bearing Witness to the Truth

On that Sunday morning, thirteen men from various Atlanta-area churches set their minds to worshiping and serving the Lord. They met together at the early service of a local PCA congregation, where God spoke to them through his Word and blessed them with his benediction. Then, accompanied by the prayers of churches around the country, the men headed for the parade route to bear witness to their Savior. Would they be mobbed and harassed like those who had witnessed in Athens, Georgia?

There was some harassment, but, when they opened the Bible, connected the microphone, and prayed, God closed the mouths of the proud. A silence rested among those gathered to observe the parade. The Word of God went out unhindered, declaring God’s glorious deeds. No sirens sounded. No groups destroyed their equipment. No mobs pressed in. For more than an hour, they proclaimed the gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ our Lord. Thousands were warned of sin and its curse, judgment, and torment in the lake of fire for all who will not believe on the name of the Son of God. Thousands were told of him who was sent by God to save sinners from their sin. The glory of the cross and the perfect salvation worked by God in Christ were made known. Life and salvation were freely offered. The call went out: repent of your sin and believe in the Son of God. The all-powerful God allowed his Word and gospel to burst forth into the darkness, and the darkness could neither comprehend nor stop it from advancing.

Yes, there were jeers, cursing, mocking, insults, lewd gestures, and threats. But these just showed that people were listening, and they helped focus attention where it was needed. In the midst of darkness, Christ is the light of the world, and nothing can thwart him from fulfilling all that he intends. The message of salvation through Christ alone, the Savior of sinners, is the most joyful, powerful message that can ever be proclaimed. The gospel of Christ is still the power of God unto salvation. By this gospel, the fornicator, idolater, homosexual, thief, covetous, drunkard, evil-doer, and extortioner were both warned and called from darkness to light.

The Spirit of power working through the Word of power still brings sinners to salvation. This is the way God has ordained to bring his light to those who walk in darkness. This is the way he has always done so and will continue to do so until he returns. Our belief is that the lost and dying world needs to hear both the public reading and the preaching of the Bible, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). This was the goal of those who bore witness to the truth on that Sunday morning in Atlanta.

Abortion’s Link with Pride

Witnessing to Pride parade participants is possible at sporadic events throughout the year, but, sadly, such opportunities present themselves at abortion clinics virtually every day. While one in four high school students currently identifies as LGBTQ+, according to the CDC, one in four women, coincidentally, will have an abortion by age forty-five, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Pride and abortion are linked in promoting death, attacking the image of God, and following the doctrine of demons (1 Tim. 4:1; see also Chuck and Donna McIlhenny’s insights on this topic in their memoir of ministry at an OP church in San Francisco in the 1990s, When the Wicked Seize a City). The promise of the Bible is that Christ is life and gives life; abortion and pride lead only to death. Proponents of both sins are therefore united in despising the living and true God of the Bible (John 3:19).

Proverbs links abortion and pride as things that are an abomination to the Lord: “a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17 NKJV). In Proverbs 8:36, God says, “All those who hate me love death” (NKJV). Inadvertently testifying to this truth, Planned Parenthood routinely allies itself with Pride events, leading the New York City Pride Parade, for example, in 2022.

Churches that have not wholly embraced Pride and abortion are few and far between. Surveys suggest that for those outside the church, most who have not engaged in these sins still consider themselves allies of those who have. The truth of 1 John 5:19 is all too unmistakable: “And the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (NKJV).

The Church’s Commission

As Jesus prepared to ascend into heaven, he gave his church her marching orders, her commission, her duty until he returns (Matt. 28:18–20). That commission begins with one simple word, “Go”! If the church remains inside her walls, she can maintain a measure of comfort and safety, but it comes at a massive cost in light of the degenerating world outside. Of the many problems with living life exclusively within those walls, consider these two:

First, Jesus did not say, “Stay here and make disciples.” He said, “Go therefore and make disciples . . . ” Will Christ’s church not pity the nations, even as she asks God to do? Will Christ’s church “go”? “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). He has commissioned his church for this mission—let us go!

Second, the Lord is at work in wonderful ways outside the four walls of the church. If we fail to go beyond them, we will miss out on glorious examples of his power. How it magnifies the Lord when a nurse comes out of an abortion clinic telling Christian witnesses she just quit because she was sinning against God and against these children! Do you want to know the power of God? Go!

All power and authority have been given to him who died and rose again, and behold he is with us always, even until the end of the age. More days are coming when the wicked will gather. Will we go to them and meet them with the proclamation of Christ crucified for sinners? What do we have to fear among the hosts of lost sinners all around us? “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

The author is a ruling elder at Redeemer OPC in Doraville, Georgia. New Horizons, February 2024.

New Horizons: February 2024

Let Us Do Good to Everyone

Also in this issue

Let Us Do Good to Everyone

Equipping Presbytery Diaconal Committees

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