(Photo: The Christian Post via Fellowship Church)
Fellowship Church pastor Ed Young, facing accusations of mistreating animals, including a lion during live sermons at his Grapevine, Texas church, has blasted a local news channel for allegedly reporting falsehoods in a video titled "Uncaging the truth."
Pastor Young's "Wild" sermon series, which features exotic animals like giraffes and elephants, is part of Fellowship Church's initiative to teach children about animals and their role in God's creation. As the pastor demonstrated in his special Easter service sermon, which featured a caged lion and a young lamb, Jesus Christ is described in the Bible as the "lamb of God" as well as the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah."
The "Wild" sermons, however, have attracted criticism from observers wondering about the well-being of the animals, particularly the caged lion, and the Dallas-based WFAA television news station claimed that Fellowship Church had no permit for exhibiting the animals – which Pastor Young completely denies in the church-produced video.
The pastor began the video message by thanking the hundreds of thousands of Fellowship Church members for their support, and proclaimed that the past Easter weekend had been one of the "greatest weekends ever in the history of [the] church."
"I cannot tell you how many emails and letters and responses that we've received of life change. Fellowship is one of the most well-attended churches in America, and that is a total and complete God-thing," said Young.
The pastor said that Fellowship Church was creative in its ministry – because it is made in the image of the creative God. Young explained that the "Wild" presentations were part of this creative initiative, and argued that according to Scripture, and many of the illustrations and examples Jesus used, the church is supposed to be the most creative entity on the planet.
Young explained that bringing out a live lion and lamb on stage with him to illustrate how Christ fits both roles had gotten great responses – but warned, "When you are doing great, people hate."
He used as an example, WFAA news station, which he claims reported a completely incorrect story about Fellowship being denied a permit for the animals.
"Yet there are some who are always negative. I think about WFAA, a station here in Dallas that continues to attack the local church," he said.
Pastor Young showed a news recording of the station claiming that the city of Grapevine had denied Fellowship church a permit to exhibit the animals during sermons, and went on to insist that the report was completely and entirely false.
"We have never been denied a permit. We called prior to the Easter services, but there was not a permitting process in place. After the Easter services, we have been working with the city to help them in this process," Young said.
'WFAA continues to exaggerate, to falsify, to deal with fiction rather than fact," he added.
He also addressed accusations about the treatment of the animals, saying that he is the "biggest animal lover you'll find."
"My wife and I have five dogs – two are adopted. We're doing an enormous dog service, April 28 and 29, the largest pet service in the history, I believe, of Christianity. I'm going to talk about dogs from Scripture – it's going to be great," the pastor shared.