ESA Statement on the Dismissal of Paul Alexander by the Assemblies of God
Today, we grieve with our leader, colleague, and brother, Paul Alexander, who has been dismissed by the Assemblies of God for his stated views on gay marriage. Paul was a licensed minister, as well as a fourth generation member, who was raised in, educated by, and served alongside the denomination both in the U.S. and abroad for more than four decades.
Paul was removed from his position in the church because he dared to express a viewpoint with which the Assemblies of God disagrees. We grieve for the body of Christ, which would rather cut out a faithful member than engage and challenge one another in civil, honest, and loving dialogue. We grieve for a church that demands conformity of thought in order to participate in the life of the body. We grieve for a church that swiftly suppresses the smallest hint of dissent, instead of embracing opportunities to engage. We grieve for a church that finds more significance in differences of doctrine than in a shared commitment to serving the risen Christ.
While the church has the right and even the need to maintain doctrinal and ethical standards, we grieve that this particular issue has become the litmus test in this denomination.
ESA is committed to civil dialogue, loving discipleship, and honest reflection. It is this commitment that fuels our Oriented to Love dialogues and the PRISM issue that gathered stories from gay Christians who have come to various conclusions about how God calls them to live out their sexuality. We are a team of theologically and politically diverse Christ followers, who incidentally also believe differently regarding the issue of homosexuality. It isn’t always easy to work side by side while in disagreement, but we are profoundly enriched when we allow the Holy Spirit to stretch and transform us through these deep and challenging relationships, and we are committed to loving one another, listening to one another, and learning from one another with reciprocity and humility.
It is in light of this commitment that we stand in support of Paul Alexander, ESA’s co-president, in the face of this dismissal. Paul and the other members of the ESA team will continue the Kingdom-building work of engaging diverse groups in the difficult task of being the Church.