The following is my response to two letters I received from two siblings after the sermon I preached out of Romans 1:24-32 (you can find the video and the transcript by clicking here). I have included the initial letter from Benji, followed by Rosie’s response, then my reply, and the cycle repeats with Benji’s next letter, Rosie’s response, and my final reply.
Hi to you,
My name is Benji, I live in South Africa, and am interested in your statement that transgender people will go to hell and must repent. Would you also be so kind as to include your cell number on your returning email? I have included my sister Rosie in our mail.
I am looking forward to hear from you.
Thank you for copying me in on the email Benji.
Pastor Hughes, unlike my sister, I am not interested in your opinion regarding transgender people who are doomed to hell.
As a pastor you should know better than to condemn people based on your opinion. Our basic calling as Christians is not to condemn but to show them the way to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can convict someone of sin.
According to John 3:17 Jesus did not come to the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. I am not entirely sure why your dogma lead you astray but it is evident that you need guidance in this regard. It is important for you to note that you do not have higher authority than Jesus to decide that people must be condemned on grounds of their actions. Did you read the Bible where Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery? He requested the bystanders to throw a stone, whoever is without sin, but none of them were. The only one ever qualified to throw a stone, didn’t.
So, as a follower of Christ myself, it is important for me to distance myself from your unprofessional, unkind and unhealthy conduct towards others, irrespective of who they are or what they believe. In my opinion you are misrepresenting God and causing a stumbling block to others, which is a major sin.
I will remember you in my prayers that the Holy Spirit will convict you to change your ways to become a true representation of God’s love and grace. You absolutely have NO RIGHT to stop people from finding Christ by misrepresenting who God is by nature.
May God Almighty bless you with the necessary wisdom you need to see beyond your own limited views and attitude of condemnation. May you have sufficient time to alter your ways and confess your desire to be like God and your evident pride and self destructive behavior and may He forgive you accordingly.
Greetings, Rosie and Benji
Peace from God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Am I correct in assuming this is in response to my sermon from Romans 1:24-32? If you have not heard it, you can find it here. I am not certain where you got the impression that I have condemned anyone based on my opinion, for I have not. All I have stated is what the Bible says. It is my responsibility as a pastor to “exhort in sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we read, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexual immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor revilers, nor drunkards, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Whom our fallen culture labels “transgender” would be among the sexually immoral, effeminate, and homosexuals mentioned in this passage. If they will not inherit the kingdom of God, where will they go? They will go to hell.
I am showing you the way to Christ. How could I say I love my neighbor if I knew of the judgment that is to come and I did not warn you? If you are walking in sexual immorality—having sex outside of marriage, believing marriage can be between two people of the same sex, or even pretending to be female when you are male, etc.—how can you call yourself a follower of Jesus? You are not walking with the Lord; you are under condemnation. It is not I who condemn you. The Bible says you condemn yourselves.
Regarding your use of John 3:17, read the next verse: “He who believes in Him is not condemned. He who does not believe is condemned already, for he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (v.18). Jesus did not come to condemn; the world was already self-condemned. Skip down to verse 36: “He who has the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
I fear that is where you both are, and you will perish under His judgment if you do not repent. Jesus is coming back a second time, “and in righteousness, He judges and wages war” (Revelation 19:11). His return will be in judgment. He will save those who have been clothed in His righteousness, but the sexually immoral He will throw “into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (21:8). Jesus says, “Therefore, repent. But if not, I am coming quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2:16).
It is out of love and care for you that I tell you again: repent. Turn to Jesus Christ. He will forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He will give you a new heart and a new mind; no longer going after the perverse passions of your diseased flesh, but your desire will be for God and His righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 6:18 and 20 says to Christians, “Flee sexual immorality… For you were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body.”
It is not I who is laying stumbling blocks, but you. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). I pray you will stop misrepresenting God, and that the Holy Spirit will indeed convict you of your sin. May God Almighty lead you to repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth, that you may come to your senses and escape from a snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
The bible also states: “It is the goodness of God that leads a man to repentance,” and if you lift up the name of Jesus HE will draw all men unto himself. We need to walk in Love. Bless you, your family and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love always in Christ.
I couldn’t help to smile when I received your message pastor Gabriel. You misinterpreted my email as you clearly misinterpret the Bible. Neither me nor my sister are transgender. We are in actual fact still unmarried and leading lives of abstinence.
We were merely attempting to bring to your attention that harsh words and apparent hatred is not a way to get people to repent, irrespective of what their sin is. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a Pastor’s responsibility to judge people. You judged us based on an email and total lack of background regarding the situation. You even condemned us to hell in your response.
To be honest, I would like to clarify that your sermon regarding the subject cause extreme heartache to someone we love dearly. The amount of internal turmoil and conflict this person experienced as a result of your interpretation or rather presentation of the Bible is inexcusable. Why not rather tell people about the limitless love of God and showing mercy and grace towards people if you feel they lost the way?
What’s up with the horror stories and doom and gloom about the lake of fire? Everyone knows that, but instead of pointing the way to destruction, why not rather lead the way to everlasting life? I’m not entirely sure why you are of the opinion that enforcing the Bible’s condemnation will lead people to repentance, but I totally differ. If I was lost and received your email, it would have caused more harm than good.
My only request is that you attempt to treat all people with the necessary love and respect they deserve. Even if the Bible condemns certain actions, it does not mean we should condemn the person. We should attempt to lead them to Christ which is the only way, the truth and the life.
Your sermon or parts thereof is being used as hate speech and inciting violence based on your evident preference for preaching doom and gloom instead of love and grace. May God be present in this conversation as He is the only one who has the last say on who goes where. Please try not to react in spite and vengeance as horror stories will not convince me, or anyone else that our end will be to burn in a lake of fire.
We love God with all our hearts and your perception of reality or careful selection of Bible verses can NEVER convince us to do the contrary or EVER separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Greetings again, Rosie and Benji
Thank you for your reply. I respond again in the peace of Christ. I’m not so certain what there is to “smile” about regarding sexual immorality. You seem to be approaching these serious issues rather flippantly [and making false accusations of me].
To draw your attention to the third sentence in my third paragraph, I said, “If you are walking in sexual immorality,” and I gave three examples of sexual immorality. I made no assumptions; everything I said was true, whether it applies to you or another. Perhaps you yourselves are not actively participating in sexually immoral sins, but you are speaking as they who “give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32, at the end of my sermon). By twisting the Scriptures, ignoring the parts you don’t like, and permitting sin, you are putting stumbling blocks before people and turning them to hell.
I assure you, hell is a real place, and no one in the Bible talked about it more than Jesus did. He warned about hell so you would not go there. In Matthew 23:13-15, He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven to people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in… You travel around on land and sea to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
You say there was someone who experienced “extreme heartache” after listening to my sermon. Why is that bad? As we are told in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world brings about death.” Are you trying to discourage others from feeling bad about their sin? I pointed people to the gospel. Woe to you who prevents anyone from coming to the cross that they might be forgiven their sin and cleansed of their unrighteousness.
You claim that my sermon “is being used as hate speech and inciting violence.” But what’s more violent than you encouraging someone in sin that would lead them to hell? Malachi 2:17 says, “You have wearied Yahweh with your words. But you say, ‘How have we wearied Him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of Yahweh, and He delights in them.'”
If you care about the people you love, you will think on what I have said, you will repent, and you will call others to repentance. They will know the grace of God when they know what they deserve for their sin and God sent a Savior. Jesus said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Luke 24:46-47). I speak not my own truth but God’s.
If you refuse to repent, this will be my final correspondence. Titus 3:10-11 says, “Reject a factious person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinning, being self-condemned.”
Blessed in Christ
P.S. Don’t ask a married man for his cell number.