Prominent Pastor in Brazil Spreads Hate and Propaganda

Danilo,* 25 years old, who lives in the state of São Paulo, was washing the dishes when he received a video on his cell phone. When he watched it, he immediately had an anxiety attack. "My stomach started hurting and I had an attack of hiccups, so I could barely speak," he said to Zelota magazine. Priscila,* 31, who lives in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, also had a breakdown. "I stayed in bed all afternoon crying; it made my stomach churn," she said. "I didn't say anything to anyone because people wouldn’t understand, but I was sick all day."


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11618
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Now this is likely churning up a battle that will likely result in unending drama.

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I appreciate that the ministerial director referred the interviewer back to the person in question. If pastor Grudtner is a prominent and influential pastor in Brazil, as a matter of tactics, picking a battle with him might not be wise. People don’t become prominent and influential without significant support from members and administrators. If the goal is to destroy him because he is anti GLBT etc., that could backfire. It’s my understanding that jiu jitsu players in Brazil usually choose fights with people they and their coaches think they have a reasonable chance of beating.

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Stories such as this are becoming more and more common. Our GC sits by without comment. Many people, it seems, want to just wash their hands.

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Maybe giving tacit approval. The judeizers are out in force.

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Why are we surprised…this sounds like mainstream Adventism 1950s. If you scratch the surface even today, that’s what lies beneath. The SDA “magisterium” may be reticent to admit it, but this is Adventism at its heart.

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If this Zelota Magazine report is accurate, this pastor’s behavior is outrageous. He needs to be reined in by his administration, or fired, if his conviction is he’s called to name individuals as “devils,” or to advance the goals of the Brazilian Trump from the pulpit.

The Instagram image is, as a work of art, open to interpretation. Thus, while, to its gay author, it represents “our struggle for recognition and an embrace that I see in Jesus,” others are open to see it in other, even opposing, ways. This includes seeing it as a corruption of its original symbolic impetus, found in the covenantal narrative of Genesis 9:12-17:

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

HA

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It is time to recognize that because of interpretation that leads one to condemn sexual acts between people of the same gender, certain chapters and books of the Bible should be excluded as a pulpit. Will there ever come a day when the Christian church condemns and distances itself from these portions and embraces the clear reality that they are an excuse for hatred? The books written by Paul have encouraged slaves to obey their masters, the denigration of women from the pulpit, and the condemnation of sex between men. Whatever good is in them, it is overshadowed by this hatred and certainly not in line with the true teachings of our diety.

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Whether it is anti-vaccination propaganda, anti-women propaganda or issues with sexual orientation - all of which may be discussed theologically, if you want … I am concerned about the vehemence and hatred so far removed from Christ’s love. Frankly … THIS is NOT my church.

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This topic is a prime example of judging the past by today’s standards. How we handle these topics also depends on what we understand the Bible to be. Because it’s about God, we assume that, in His lofty position outside of time and space, God has taken control of its various authors and made them say thing they don’t understand - speaking into the future, as well as its present - ultimate truths - that what was right and wrong right out of the Eden gate, is right and wrong today in various evolved societies. Those of us who are sensitive enough to understand the deeper issues of “thou shalt love your neighbor” including when he/she is gay, should also be savvy enough to understand where the contrary attitudes have lingered from; and the inability of some to understand the difference. jIt’s not enough to extend the hand of fellowship to the LGBTQ to show everybody how up to date we are; but to also extend some understanding to those who are intolerant. If we don’t try to understand both sides, all we’re doing is taking the noose from around one neck, and placing it around another.

When it comes to same-sex reatiohships,taken from a very literal, fundamental level, sex in the Bible is meant for procreation - “Be ye fruitful and multiply”. That can’t happen for the LGBTQ; and seen as a rejection of the very first “mandate” ever. Add to that, the Hebrew self identity of being God’s special people, staying true to that identity meant not to squander that birth-right - hence the laws pertaining to sexual activity. Int some point it was also believed that semen contained a miniature, but full human being. Same-sex activity and masturbation was tantamount to genocide of sorts. Not everyone is aware of the background of everything mandated in the Bible and believe “The Bible says it; I believe it”. There may be a thin line between ignorance and faith. Who’s to say…

Happy sabbath! Having been on this forum for several years I think the “is homosexuality a sin” question isn’t too helpful at this point. But there’s another issue in this article that is larger than the LGBT topic.

  1. The issue is one that has gained more ground in recent years. It’s the notion that if something I say offends someone else, I should lose my right to say it. This idea is so dangerous that I hope we can all see that it does no good whatsoever. We see this on college campuses having “safe spaces”, where students are to be free from any kind of offense or opposition. I’m sorry but this idea is useless. A major part of becoming a responsible, well grounded, stable, confident adult is learning to deal with those that disagree with us or even openly and rudely oppose us. The world is not a safe space, we need to learn to deal with that. We cant be shielded from every voice we find offensive. Now, although i don’t agree that lgbt is acceptable to God, if that’s what you believe, then you’re going to have to learn to defend that stance and learn how to deal with opposition. Just like I have to learn to deal with people calling me hateful, bigoted, ignorant etc which has happened. Christians will bring the bitterest opposition, but somehow this generation seems incapable of dealing properly with any kind of resistance to their personal ideals.

I listened to the sermon and the pastor spent most of his criticism on defending the biblical standard of a monogamous heterosexual relationship as the only one approved by the Bible. He also said the art was blasphemous, which is how he interpreted it. I don’t think the son of the devil line was needed or helpful, his boss should discuss this with him, but let’s face it, even if he didn’t use that term, any minister openly opposing LGBT ideals will be deemed as hateful by the LGBT community, or at least a good portion of it.

We should present the truth in love. But the truth also offends and hurts and we can’t judge a message by whether someone is offended by it. I really hope that those mentioned in the article find peace in Jesus, but silencing ministers who oppose approval of the LGBT community won’t work and shouldn’t be a goal. I don’t know this pastor well, I definitely disagree with using the pulpit for politics etc. but it seems like any criticism of LGBT is trying to be silenced and that should concern everyone.

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The only safe course is to ensure that voices of hatred are shunned and not permitted to speak. Spectrum has done the right thing here.

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Can you be specific as to which chapters of the Bible should be omitted? Three topics were mentioned: slavery, MSM, and the subservience of women. Probably, a very few verses could be removed that deal with MSM. The one chapter in Romans might have to go, or a large portion of it. Slavery? Abraham’s biography in Genesis. would be gutted. If everything connected to Abraham Sarah and Hagar should be omitted, significant portions of Galatians and Romans would be on the cutting room floor. A bit of Peter as well. The roll of women? I guess it depends on how far you want to take it. I could see significant portions of the OT chopped. Suppose we kept only the 4 gospels as Scripture and destroyed the rest. Would that work for you?

Spectrum is free to print and speak whatever it wishes. But the point I’m making is that we can’t just shut down any voice we disagree with. And the definition of “hate speech” is becoming “whatever someone finds offensive”. We see this outside the sda world more and more and it should concern all of us. Me saying homosexuality is a sin isn’t hate speech. You criticizing me and my opinion isn’t hate speech. And the danger is that if we start shutting down voices, eventually yiu will be deemed the hateful one and someone will shut you down.

I get we’re a church and pastors can’t just say anything they want because they represent the denomination. But calling something a sin isn’t hate speech.

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Like sands through the hourglass, so are the SDAs of Our Lives.

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As I’ve expressed in some of my comments, Zelota is not a reliable, unbiased source of information. I am a Brazilian scholar fully abreast of these issues, even before some of the writers of Zelota were born. Zelota represents an extreme-left, socialist agenda at odds with Brazilian Adventism and society at large.

Take for example, this piece on Pastor Gilson Grüdtner whom I’ve known personally for over three decades; his wife is a childhood friend of mine. He is an all-around good guy, deeply spiritual, committed Christian, and loved by his congregations. He is an extremely irenic person and connecting “hate” to his ministry is a ridiculous, frivolous caricature by some with an agenda to label conservative views as “hate speech.” He is conservative, no doubt, as the majority of Brazilian pastors and could have expressed his views differently, but the attacks and calls for his sacking impinge on far larger questions of freedom of speech and religious liberty in Brazil.

Brazil is currently undergoing an institutional crisis with an activist, extreme-left leaning Supreme Court that frequently overruns its boundaries and takes unconstitutional legal positions in regards to freedom of speech. The court has even jailed politicians who criticized its justices and decisions.

The fact the pastors are no longer allowed to share their religious views from the pulpit, even conservative positions on sexuality, without fear of legal retaliation is a serious issue for freedom of speech and the separation of church and state in Brazil. This aspect was ignored in the piece, instead, we see a one-sided take on his views as objectionable, offensive, etc. His views and the way he expressed them may be to some, but his right to express those views to his community of faith who support him should be protected from outside interference. Despite his right to freedom of speech, he has become a target for expressing those views, as this piece indicates.

Mind you, Grüdtner did not call for violence or hatred against homosexuals as the title incorrectly suggests, he simply expressed a very conservative view of homosexual practice as contrary to God’s ideals. That a tiny minority was offended by this is not surprising, but his views one way or another reflect the vast majority of Adventists in Brazil who view homosexuality as incompatible with a Christian view of human sexuality. More importantly, his views had the support of his church board and congregation. And this position reflects that of the majority of Brazilian society who remain deeply conservative on the matter of homosexuality. The landslide election of center-right Bolsonaro as president who ran on an anti-homosexual agenda among other things in 2018 is indicative of this.

In sum, the problems facing Adventists in Brazil are far more complex than the biased takes expressed in these pieces. They represent an ever-diminishing minority of Adventists with socialist-communist-extreme-left views that are becoming less influential in the church and Brazilian society at large.

Bolsonaro’s sure reelection later this year will ensure that socialism-communism and extreme liberal views will continue to be rejected by Brazilians for the foreseeable future. They keep an eye on neighboring Venezuela and Cuba as stark reminders of what Brazil could become should Lula and his gang be allowed to return to power.

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Thanks so much for such a nuanced view. This article is extremely one-sided. It ignores the bigger cultural context of the Brazilian Church, as well as the historical, orthodox views of sexuality by Christianity.

Wanting to impose American ethos into a Brazilian context seems a bit like cultural imperialism.

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One word for you Andre: R E S P E C T

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One doesn’t have to call for violence or hatred in order to instill it into the listeners. We see that happening all over the world all the time. Just because a viewpoint is conservative doesn’t mean it is correct. Just because a viewpoint is liberal doesn’t mean it is wrong. Respect for those who are different is something, it seems, so many pastors in the SDA church are lacking.

I am thankful that Zelota exists and gives a different point of view than the one the church wants us to hear. We aren’t sheep who blindly follow those who truly don’t understand us or who refuse to walk in our shoes.

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One can’t control how people may misinterpret his/her words. Just because he expressed a conservative point of view on human sexuality doesn’t mean it’s “hate speech.” You may disagree with the point of view objectively, and that’s your right. However, if homosexuals want their civil rights protected (a valid concern, civilly speaking), they should also fight for the civil rights of others, including the right to freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech doesn’t end the moment I find opinions “offensive” to my personal views. That is precisely the struggle Brazilian society is currently fighting; the individual’s right to express opinions freely is being severly curtailed by unconstitutional decisions by the judiciary. Just yesterday, the Brazilian Attorney General filed charges against a cabinet member for “homophobia” simply because he expressed his opinion on homosexuality ex cathedra which didn’t come anywhere near “hate speech.” Such frivolous lawsuits are becoming more and more common in Brazil, and unfortunately pastor Grüdtner has also become a target. We should pray for him and his family during this difficult time.

Having known Grüdtner and his family personally for a long time, I can guarantee that he is averse to “hatred,” the same way Brazilian Adventists in general are irenic on social matters. The fact remains that this article is a prime example of bad journalism, a one-sided piece of extreme-left propaganda, and an unfortunate smear campaign against a good man. Spectrum should do the right thing and retract it, but I’m not holding my breath.

André Reis, PhD


P.S: The Andrews University Theological Seminary has published a solid document on homosexuality titled “An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care”. Every Adventist should study it.

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