Witches, Pastors, and Fame.
One of my co-workers (non-Christian) pointed out an article in the on the cover of the Wall Street Journal today about Phil Wyman, an Evangelical pastor who was expelled from his denomination because of his outreach to the pagan community in Salem MA.
The story in the newspapers is fairly one sided. The Foursquare denomination declined to comment, correctly in my opinion. They probably see this as an internal matter, and treat it with a certain amount of care and respect. Mr. Wyman on the other hand is using this incident to generate a ton of publicity for his ministry.
It looks like a lot of bloggers are rushing to judgment and supporting this guy based on the information in the article.
Searching the The Gathering website for the word "Jesus" yields very few results. It is only mentioned on one of the 4 front pages. I dug pretty deep into the website, and didn't find anything too obvious outside of the "What we believe" page, which mirrored the denomination's doctrine.. Witches are people too, and they need the message of Christ, not a loaner stage for their festivals.
Looking at the pastor's musings, many of them are fictitious extra-biblical stories about God. I don't see any direct teaching from the Bible. For Halloween, the church was hosting a seminar on Dream Interpretation. Obviously some biblical heroes where gifted in this area, but I would be interested to know what Salem gathering teaches in these sessions.
It is unclear what the specific charges against this pastor are. It is clear from the article that his church was loaning equipment to the local Halloween festival. It is clear from the website that they promote the traditions that cross over easily from Witchcraft. (Dream interpretation, Meditation, etc.) The pastor describes himself as a practical mystic.
Looking at the "what we believe" parts of the website, there is no doubt that they subscribe to the Christian faith. (I am fairly sure that they lifted these tenets directly from foursquare.) Hopefully their ministry is fruitful. There is no reason that their overly apologetic and accommodating approach should be endorsed or supported by a denomination that is not ashamed of the name of Christ.
It will be interesting to see if the denomination responds. I wouldn't blame them either way.