A Michigan pastor whose church recently invited teen girls for a discussion over LGBT thoughts has said that the backlash has hit extreme levels, with people threatening to kill his family and burn his church down.
Metro City Church, a non-denominational independent Christian church, directed The Christian Post to a YouTube video published by head Pastor Jeremy Schossau on Monday, where he reacts to the accusations that his ministry is trying to force teenagers into "conversion therapy."
Schossau says in the video that the church has been targeted by "unbelievable hate, vulgarity; filled with stuff that I just can't understand or believe."
The pastor said that people have "threatened to kill me and my family, to burn my house down, burn our church down," describing the developments as "absolutely crazy."
The controversy stems from Metro City Church announcing earlier this month in a now-deleted Facebook post that it will be hosting an Unashamed Identity Workshop, made for "girls only (by birth), 12-16 years old, for those struggling with the thoughts that they are trans, bi, gay or other. It doesn't have to be this way."
"Through thoughtful, relevant and biblical counsel we will help your girl be unashamed of her true sexual identity given to her by God at birth," the post added.
The post stirred outrage on social media, however, with people accusing the church of offering "conversion therapy," and suggesting that it was forcefully trying to change young people's sexual orientation. LGBT activists have also been planning a demonstration outside the church.
Nothing could be further from the truth, said Schossau in the video shared with CP.
"A whole bunch of people have come up with this sort of idea that we are offering conversion therapy," he said, arguing that they don't understand what is being offered.
"We are about conversation, not conversion necessarily. We believe that sexuality is a choice, we believe that you can be what you want to be and do what you want to do," he added, clarifying that the church is in no way forcing anyone to attend such workshops.
"We find it incredibly odd that a community that has been so vocal about tolerance, about understanding someone else's perspective, about freedom, about choice, a community that has been so pro-choice, is seemingly so anti-choice when it comes to sexuality," he continued.
The pastor said that the workshop is not aimed at making judgments or trying to "fix" anyone.
"This particular workshop is about the parent and the child coming and saying, 'we want to talk.' We don't force the kids to be there, they are there because they want to be there. They are struggling, they are looking for some counsel, someone to listen to them."
Schossau added that it's "pure hypocrisy" for the gay community to declare that one can move from heterosexuality into homosexuality, but not from homosexuality into heterosexuality.
He positioned that there are thousands of organizations that help people come out as gay, and questioned what is so different about celebrating someone who makes the opposite decision.
"If they go in a direction that we don't want them to go, we don't throw them out, we don't shut the door, or throw things at them, or hate them; we love them and care about them," the pastor explained.
He clarified that "we are a traditional Bible believing Christian church with a traditional view of human sexuality."
"We celebrate people's choice, and if they want to come and have a conversation, we want to be there for them," Schossau concluded.
Anchored North, an online ministry that in December posted a video that went viral with over 2.3 million views about an ex-lesbian Christian blogger, also received death threats for its efforts.
Greg Sukert of Anchored North told CP in January that such threats are "unsettling," especially when directed at the staff's families.
"However, they ultimately serve to advance the glory of God," he said, adding that they are "living proof" of Jesus' warnings that the world will hate His followers.