Christian Emergency League Update on the Orchard EV Free Church
Christian Emergency League Update on the Orchard EV Free Church
Written By Brandon Myers   |   08.23.23
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Written by Brandon Myers

…for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Cor. 11:19)

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. (Ps. 101:3-4)

Love…does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (1 Cor. 13:6)

In this recent dialogue local Chicagoland area Pastors Calvin Lindstrom, James Pittman and Brandon Myers give an update on The Orchard Evangelical Free Church (EFC).

To recap, The Orchard EFC is one of the largest and most influential evangelical churches in the Chicagoland area.

Yet, tragically, over the last few years it has become increasingly difficult to deny the Orchard EFC’s massive compromise with the world and their rejection of the sufficiency and authority of the God-breathed Scriptures.

How so?

Orchard pastors and leaders have been repeatedly willing to tolerate, deflect and defend the public sins of longstanding Orchard EFC member and civil magistrate Thomas Hayes (Mayor of Arlington Heights). Three years in a row, Thomas Hayes has cowardly compromised with the deceptive spirit of the age issuing public Pride Proclamations that call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).

As if celebrating what God opposes were not enough (James 4:6), in his same Proclamations decades long Orchard EFC member Thomas Hayes urges everyone to join him in celebrating and promoting these sexual immoralities and idolatrous identities that enslave and destroy so many.

(This and more is detailed here in this video where Pastor Calvin and James define the issue at the Orchard EFC along with steps taken privately by local Chicagoland pastors in prior to the release of any public videos– see the documentation with Dr. David Wenkel’s excellent rebuttal to why this is not a matter of conscience on the last page here).

But is this Orchard EFC issue really the business of other local churches?

In this short video, Pastor Lucas O’Neill addressed why other faithful local churches must care about the issue at The Orchard EFC.

But shouldn’t we let fellow Christians who are members of The Orchard EFC handle this? Sadly a few members of The Orchard EFC who did raise concerns over the last couple years were marginalized or dismissed, told by Orchard EFC leaders this was a matter of conscience.

(Watch this sobering interview a former Orchard EFC’s member, who had been employed and faithfully served as a pastoral intern and ministry staff, share about how he how and his wife as Orchard members were penalized by some pastors of The Orchard).

But is what Orchard EFC member Thomas Hayes and what The Orchard EFC leadership did really so bad? It’s hard to be a politician and politics is all about compromise right?

In another video, former Orchard EFC pastor Brandon Myers answers this and shares why this is a matter of grave biblical concern, challenging current Orchard EFC members, leaders and pastors.

Since these videos were put out, a group of Chicagoland pastors put on the event ,“God’s law and gospel and LGBT,” (you can listen freely here) and they explore these issues more generally.

And, in this latest roundtable discussion (you can listen to here), an update on what has happened lately is given by three local pastors on The Orchard EFC issue.

Orchard EFC member Thomas Hayes’ proclamations do not glorify God.

They mock God.

They do not tell the truth.

They promote deception.

In a day and age when virtually every celebrity, politician, athlete and most businesses are strong armed to celebrate perversities (or functionally perish in their career), Orchard EFC member Thomas Hayes’ Proclamation joins the side that opposes God and elevates man’s idolatries.

The Orchard EFC allows a member of their church to remain in good standing even as they penalize and marginalize concerned members. These actions and inactions confuse people and contradict Scripture. They encourage people—even vulnerable and impressionable children toward experimenting with their sinful desires  and even practicing their shameful sexual immoralities.

Orchard EFC member Thomas Hayes’ proclamations do not love one’s neighbors as oneself.

They divide the people of God and the people in our country.

Tom’s proclamations do not promote righteousness or justice.

They promote unrighteousness and injustice. God who alone is perfectly righteous and altogether holy hates sins and He will punish sins.

Tom’s proclamations bless sin and encourage sin. They are ambiguous in a day when clarity is needed.

These are not sins to be treated lightly including the refusal to practice basic church discipline in love, calling Thomas Hayes to repentance for his sins.

These are not simply matters of conscience or differences in how Christians approach and engage with culture. Rather, these are vile sins so vile that, according to the living God in His holy Word, these are sins that Israel was warned against practicing since God vomited the pagan people out of the land for engaging in (Lev. 18:22).

Truly faithful Christians—those who by God’s grace in Christ have been born again to a new and living resurrection hope, have been humbled by God to behold and believe in Christ’s cross work. Christians know that all that is needed to be reconciled to God is God’s grace in Christ—it is a free gift and we were bought with a price and do not want to mislead anyone.

Christians are those who fear, love and walk with the Lord. True Christians rightly desire the advance of the gospel of the Jesus Christ to God’s glory and Christians will not stand for open errors and egregious sins (especially in their own local church) to be tolerated.

These things mock God and ignore God’s call to be holy and obedient according to the Word. In Romans 1, we see these sins represent (along with others) the judgment of God and the very denial of God’s Lordship as Creator and King. Refusal to practice basic church discipline and be holy as God is holy in favor for partnership with and friendship with the world is something no Christian can or should do (Js. 4:4; Eph. 5:7; Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 6:14).

The Orchard EFC’s tragic compromise has already greatly harmed their witness and, unaddressed, will continue to erode any claim they make to want to glorify God and grow in faith, hope and love. Their refusal to stand consistently under the Lord Jesus Christ according to and unashamed of the sufficient Word of God on the vital matters of marriage, sexuality and gender is no small matter.

All this should prompt the church of Christ to be in constant prayer and more vigilant than ever to humbly, but boldly, speak the truth in love, unashamed of Jesus and His words or the cost of following Christ. As J.C. Ryle memorably put it,

Better to confess Christ 1000 times now and be despised by men, than be disowned by Christ before God on the day of Judgment.”

Horatius Bonar aptly put it this way:

“If you are a Christian, then be a consistent Christian! Be a Christian every hour, in every place. Beware . . .
of half-hearted discipleship,
of compromise with evil,
of conformity to the world,
of trying to serve two masters,
of attempting to walk in both the narrow and the broad ways.
It is impossible!
Half-hearted Christianity will only end in misery

Indeed, and may none of us be found in this place.

May it please the Lord to glorify Himself through His people according to the whole counsel of His Word. Even though it may be painful and costly, the Lord through His Word has been and will continue to sift those who profess to be His church, yet do not possess saving faith in Christ as they refuse to be doers of the Word.

May those with ears to hear know that God will not be mocked. May any and every self-professing Christian shamefully defending what is contrary to God-breathed Scripture stop instantly.

May those who claim the name of Christ but embrace what God hates or justify what God condemns realize any and every cowardly compromise with the world is a sin and sin begets sin begets sin.

Flee to Christ and repent of these sins. Find refuge and strength to stand in this evil day and make the most of every opportunity.

God is willing and glad to forgive and restore. May all who name Christ follow the Lord and His Word faithfully and consistently, walking in a manner worthy of the gospel (Eph. 4:1).

Soli Deo Gloria

More from the Christian Emergency League:

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Brandon Myers
In the Lord’s providential kindness, Brandon first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ from his mother and father, extended family, and many other brothers and sisters in his parent’s local church. When he was a boy, the Lord convicted Brandon of his sin and led him to repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. He was baptized a few years later within the church he grew up. Brandon is blessed to be married to Kaiti, his wonderful wife, and God has granted them two daughters and three sons. He is the Senior Pastor of...
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