Churches willing to overlook traditional scriptural beliefs with regards to homosexuality are experiencing growth in Brazil, according to a new report. However, they are being criticized by evangelical and Catholic Churches in the country as watering down scripture, with one apologist even calling them an "apostasy."
According to the BBC the study reveals that there are at least 10 different congregations that now accept and welcome homosexuality as a normal lifestyle. These churches, combined, have in excess of 10,000 registered attendants in the country, according to the BBC.
The churches are concentrated mainly in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and statistics reveal that they are comprised of mostly homosexuals. The growth of these gay activist churches commenced when some felt the Church's traditional teachings that homosexuality is a sin, was not "inclusive." So they set up churches to cater for those who wish to believe the church should accept homosexuality as a standard acceptable lifestyle.
A researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) has stated his strong support for these offshoot churches saying, "These churches allow the manifestation of faith in the Christian tradition regardless of sexual orientation," according to BBC Brazil.
Members of the rogue churches claim that they were unable to practice their faith and reveal their lifestyles openly, with some even claiming to have been expelled from previous churches. As a result they have been drawn to the idea of all-inclusive churches that encourages lifestyles no matter what a person's sexual preferences.
However, these all-inclusive churches face strong resistance from mainstream evangelical and Catholic churches in the country, who refuse to accept a watered-down version of scripture that would change to match modern day society.
Brazilian pastor and Christian apologist, João Flavio Martinez, has said that the attitude of all-inclusive churches is not actually one of inclusion, but rather one of "apostasy and disrespect" to the true body of Christ.
Martinez has told The Christian Post that the Church "has to love, but must not lose its firmness and convictions."
"The Brazilian Church must deal with it as the Bible teaches," he told CP, citing 1 Corinthians 5:11.
He disagrees with claims that homosexuals are forced to hide their sexual orientation, and denies any gay people have been expelled from their churches. He instead claims that in his experience those who have left have done so while advocating "ripping up the biblical truth."
Martinez claims that the Church will not participate in any distortion of scripture. He insisted, "Christ loves the sinner, but does not accept the sin."
The apologist urged Churches to speak out more boldly about sin and not to be reluctant in holding on to the truth of scripture. "The Church today finds it politically incorrect to speak out against sin. But we have no choice; only by the power of God's word can we free people from sin and redeem them by the grace of the Lord."