A Lutheran pastor in Minneapolis who opposes homosexuals being allowed to lead congregations said Monday he is attracted to men, but that he’s not a hypocrite because he never acted on his urges.
The Rev. Tom Brock told The Associated Press he has known for years he is sexually attracted to men, but doesn’t consider himself gay because he never acted on it.
In June, the Minnesota gay magazine Lavender reported that Brock was a member of a support group for Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. Brock’s church, the Hope Lutheran Church, placed him on leave while a task force looked into the matter. The Rev. Tom Parrish, the church’s executive pastor, said the investigation determined Brock’s story checked out.
“I am a 57-year-old virgin,” Brock told the Hope Lutheran congregation during services upon returning to the pulpit on Sunday.
Brock and Parrish would not share the full task force report, but Parrish said its members could find no evidence Brock ever had sex with men. They confirmed that Brock sought counseling and enlisted another minister as an “accountability partner” with whom he frequently discussed his struggles.
Brock said he intends to step down as senior pastor at Hope Lutheran, but will retain his affiliation with the church and still preach there from time to time. Having preached on Twin Cities cable access for about 20 years, he told the AP he hopes to take his broadcasts to a wider national audience with a new message: “You can have this struggle with same-sex attraction, say no to it, and still follow Christ.”
Brock said he does not believe people are born gay. “I think we’re all born heterosexual actually, and then stuff goes wrong,” he said.
Brock said even if scientists were to establish definitive proof that homosexuality is genetic, that wouldn’t deter his views. He said he believes people who engage in homosexual acts will go to hell, but he doesn’t believe that makes him a bigot.
“My message doesn’t change at all. I still think homosexual behavior is a sin,” Brock said. “Because I struggle with it doesn’t make it right.”