Independent Adventist seminar speaker Herb Montgomery, who describes himself as “an author, internationally recognized speaker, and director of Renewed Heart Ministries,” has aligned with SDA Kinship, a homosexual organization that, among other activities, holds Kinship Kampmeeting each summer. Montgomery, who is married with three children and lives in West Virginia, was a featured speaker at last week's Kinship Kampmeeting.
Kinship's promotional blurb states that Montgomery's “journey began as a teenager when he discovered a series of 'Bible studies' about the end of the world while rummaging around in his grandmother's attic. Through these lessons, Herb entered what he calls a very fear-based, performance oriented, outward focused, 'legal' religious experience. Two years after this beginning, Herb encountered the teaching of Jesus for the very first time. Today, Herb has little interest in most things religious. He endeavors now to simply be a follower of Jesus. 'It's about a person, not a religion,' Herb says.”
Montgomery spoke at the morning session of Kinship Kampmeeting on July 17 and 18, and at the evening session on Sabbath, July 19. His title for the latter talk was, “A Jew, a Hindu, and a Baptist Minister from the South walk into a Gay Bar.”
Other speakers included Todd Leonard, the senior pastor at Glendale City Church, who delivered the Sabbath morning sermon, and Eliel Cruz, co-founder of the “Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition,” one of whose talks was entitled, “Bi the Way.”
On his website, Montgomery glowingly describes his experience at Kinship Kampmeeting:
For two decades now, I have been traveling from place to place within Adventism, and never before have I witnessed an environment that involved such healing authenticity, such love for Jesus (and one another) and such wrestling with Jesus as I experienced being among this group of Christian brothers and sisters who identify also as LGBTIQ (or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer; “alphabet people.”)
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On the long journey home, I came to the inescapable conclusion that if Jesus were speaking at a Kinship Kampmeeting this past summer, he would have preached, “Blessed are those who are gay, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn as result of how they are treated for identifying as lesbian, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the “erased” bisexuals, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who identify as transgender, who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled. Blessed are those who identify as intersex, yet show mercy to their oppressors, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, regardless of whether they are mostly straight or mostly queer, for they will see God.
The producer of the film “Seventh-Gay Adventist,” Daneen Akers, has listed Herb Montgomery, along with SDA Kinship and Church 1.0 (an independent congregation in San Francisco pastored by Marcos Apolonio) as entities to whom those sympathetic to her cause should donate funds. She states that Renewed Heart Ministries:
“is a teaching ministry featuring Herb Montgomery (author of “Finding the Father” who is passionate about following the radical, non-violent, enemy-loving example of Jesus, and that includes speaking up about the injustices faced by LGBT people in the church and society, even when that has a financial cost attached. He needs your support and encouragement!”
The Kinship/Akers/Montgomery approach to homosexuality is laudable in that they reflect that every person, regardless the nature of their sexual temptations, is a child of God for whose salvation Jesus died. What is missing from their approach is any acknowledgment that God created us male and female, and that gender confusion and homosexual attraction are not of God's created order, but a result of the Fall, and not God's plan for his children. There is no recognition that same-sex sexual acts are sinful, and that Jesus in His unbounded love will supply power to live as overcomers. Jesus would have us become more like Him, rather than being guided by our carnal "feelings," which Satan can sway.
As indicated by Montgomery's twitter feed, he re-tweets many comments from Kinship, as well as from a variety of other sources. He re-tweeted this Todd Leonard tweet:
“@gycweb Remove your damaging presentation calling practicing gay people demon-possessed. Jesus was called demon-possessed” #UnpardonableSin
Montgomery also re-tweeted Eliel Cruz's tweet:
“It pains me that some churches would lose out on some of this incredible musical talent just because of the musicians' sexuality.” #kmtg14
And this SDA Kinship tweet:
“Blessed are you who are gay, for yours is the kingdom of heaven,” #kmtg14
And he re-tweeted this from Eliel Cruz:
“I love that a pastor is preaching from a pulpit with a rainbow flag draped over it.” #kmtg14
Montgomery's tweets are not limited to the homosexual/SDA Kinship issue. He has embraced a number of liberal/progressive enthusiasms. He tweeted:
“Nonviolence threatens a position of privilege because positions of privilege themselves are dependent on violence to be maintained.”
“Saying feminist theology hurts men = saying to Jesus, 'if the rich guy sells everything, that's going to hurt his net worth.'” #privilege
“One person's #terrorist is another person's #freedom fighter. Only #nonviolent solutions have a chance.”
Montgomery's philosophy of non-violence is informed by his belief that God never uses force. Montgomery argues that all the negative results of sin are intrinsic, natural results, and that God does not and will not add extrinsic punishment to sin's natural consequences. Montgomery’s website includes a link to a presentation he gave at the Loma Linda University Church, “Intrinsic or Imposed,” in which he argues that the SDA Church has misunderstood those Scriptures that seem to indicate that, at the end of time after the Millennium, punishment is imposed upon the unsaved. But Montgomery's approach does not square with the sanctuary/investigative judgment doctrine, and the Adventist understanding of eschatology, which includes an extended juridical process and a final imposition of unquestionably extrinsic punishment.
This weekend, Montgomery is a featured speaker at the Illinois Conference Camp meeting at Camp Akita, which began yesterday evening. Do the Illinois Conference officers know of Montgomery's doctrinal innovations? If they know, do they care?