Senior Pastor Gregg Matte of Houston's First Baptist Church in Texas explained that he felt compelled by God to change his May 13 sermon, originally focused on Mother's Day, to address President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage.
"Earlier in the service I prayed and thought that God was going to give me something in the pulpit. And He did, and what happened was that I just couldn't go into the message," Matte explained in a video attached to the sermon on the Houston's First Baptist Church website.
"I just felt like God stopped me. I just felt like there was a wall between me and the message. And at that point I was just like, 'Lord, what are you going to do?" he added.
"So I called the church to prayer, I called the church to real walks with Jesus, and God began breaking hearts – people were weeping, people were at the altar – God can change any plan, and He did today, and we are so glad that He did."
Pastor Matte said last Sunday before 6,000 worshipers at Houston's First Baptist, "This past week we had a historic moment in our nation of our president publicly claiming – not any surprise to me that he would think that – but to declare for the first time in the history of our nation that homosexual marriage is the appropriate thing."
Before leading the congregation into prayer for guidance and worship that lasted longer than scheduled, Matte, supporting the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, expressed that many Christians were feeling "righteous anger" in response to the president's endorsement. But for him, the primary emotion was grief.
"When you lift man higher than God, human choices are higher than God's commands," Matte preached. "And so the issue of gay marriage has become a civil rights issue when it is truly a theological issue."
On the topic of how Christians should vote, the pastor explained: "We must first vote our theology. Then we vote our preferences on policy."
Matte explained that he still prays for and offers support for the homosexual community in his city, and wishes that they "would come to know Jesus Christ, that they would forgo a shortened lifespan to have eternal life in [God]."
"We pray the same for adulterers," he continued. "We pray the same for the immoral. We pray the same for the greedy, the swindlers, the drunkards – all of these things mentioned in First Corinthians."
The pastor was likely referring to 1 Corinthians 6:10, which states that "nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."