Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars


Police stand by as activists threaten to burn down UK church over pastor calling out homosexual sin

It all began when pastor Joshua Williamson of Newquay Baptist Church posted on social media that it was 'wonderful news' that a local Pride celebration had been canceled.
Tue Sep 15, 2020 - 4:32 pm EST
Featured Image
Pastor Josh Williamson Christian Concern

September 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pink News, an online LGBT “news” outlet, has been frequently called out by none other than gay commentator Douglas Murray as a trashy hate rag primarily focused on grievance-peddling. All of that is true, but the most obvious attribute of those writing for the site is an utter lack of self-awareness. On September 8, for example, they published an attack on 34-year-old Joshua Williamson of Newquay Baptist Church under the headline “Hateful preacher insists there’s no such thing as a gay Christian while thanking God for cancelling Pride.”

Williamson’s sin (and it’s important to note that these activists do believe in sin, they’ve just flipped the script) is a social media post noting that Cornwall Pride in the UK had been cancelled with the comment “Wonderful news!” When someone asked him why he’d posted this, he responded that “I don’t think sin should be celebrated,” later referring to the biblical books of John, James, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He also noted that at a prayer meeting, he and the attendees had prayed both that the event would be cancelled and that “the Lord would save the organisers. One prayer answered, now we wait for the second prayer to be answered.”

Williamson, like all orthodox Christian pastors, opposes the celebration of sexual activity the Bible deems sinful. All relatively literate people once knew this. But this is 2020, and Williamson was immediately the target of a wave of hatred from those accusing him of hatred. Cornwall Pride put out a call for LGBT supporters to call the police and accuse Williamson of a hate crime, while others announced that they would be protesting his church services. There were also calls for Newquay Baptist Church to lose its charitable status, and for Williamson to be deported to Australia, where he was born. (Imagine the howl that would rise if this sort of thing was said about a Muslim imam?)

Despite this, Williamson accepted the invitation of a transgender community member to attend a meeting. At the hour-long meeting, Williamson shared his views, and invited any interested members of the LGBT community to come to his church. He then asked for permission to give them a pamphlet articulating the biblical position on homosexuality. This pamphlet was photographed and shared online, resulting in further backlash and renewed calls to the police demanding a hate crime investigation. 

According to Christian Concern, one social media user called on people to burn the church down. Another concurred, stating in all caps: “LET’S BURN A CHURCH! LET’S BURN A CHURCH.” Other comments included a suggestion that a mass orgy be performed at the church and that those distributing the pamphlet be assaulted. Another photoshopped the heads of Williamson and his wife onto a homosexual porn photo and put it online.

At this point, according to Christian Concern, Williamson reported “the threat to Devon and Cornwall Police, who are Cornwall Pride’s sponsor” and “was told the situation was ‘complex’ and that they did not believe the threat would materialise” and “also stated to Pastor Williamson that he should make sure he did not offend anyone in the LGBT community in order to avoid breaking the law.” He was further told that he should restrict his views to a “safe environment,” presumably inside the doors of his church.

Williamson’s statement in response to all of this is worth quoting in full:

My family and I, and our church community, have been very concerned by the level of anti-Christian abuse and threats of violence that we have been targeted with over the past few weeks. The police have not formally spoken to me about any hate crime or sought a witness statement to look at the various online comments which have included threats to burn down our church.

As Christians we seek to speak the truth in love and would readily welcome all people to our services. The Bible, however, proclaims a message of repentance which calls on all people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ. It would be unloving for us to remain silent about what God’s Word says in relation to human sin, including all forms of sexual sin. We therefore, must proclaim the truth that homosexuality is a sin, but that God loves sinners and Jesus can forgive all our sins. 

Newquay Baptist Church is made up of sinners who have been forgiven by a wonderful Saviour; since this is the case, we would invite all people, including the LGBT community, to come to our services. Our desire is that all would come to know and love Jesus.

Christian Concern is currently supporting Williamson, and chief executive Andrea Williams released a statement as well:

It’s becoming worryingly common in the UK to see threats and calls for violence against Christians for voicing their simple opposition to LGBT Pride. Police forces should show Christians they take this seriously by protecting their free speech against mob threats rather than by seeking to keep Christians quiet.

Christians are called to repay evil with good – I have no doubt that Pastor Williamson will continue to share the reality of sin and the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of Newquay.

None of the context—or statements from Williamson—made it into the coverage slapped online by Pink News. The hateful ones, to these activists, are not those who threatened to burn down a church (which frequently hosts families overnight), or assault people for passing out leaflets, or photoshopped a man and his wife into pornography. It is the pastor who stated publicly time and again that he loved those who hated him, and fervently prayed for their salvation. To that, the response has been simple and telling: To hell with him. The police, unfortunately, do not seem to disagree.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Alessandra Bocchi, an Italian journalist well-known for her freelance reporting all over the world. She believes the mainstream media is driven by ideology rather than a desire for truth. It’s “hard to find a nuanced and informed view” on current events, she says. Journalism today is “all about personalities and memes rather than substance.” It’s more concerned with “catering to [the progressive elite] as opposed to reporting the truth…they’ve lost their integrity and credibility in many respects.”

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

  christian concern, christian persecution, homosexuality, josh williamson, persecution, police, uk

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives

Share this article