In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.A month ago, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Douglas County preached to his 2,100-member congregation about integrity and grace in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard drugs-and-gay-sex scandal.
Now, the 54-year-old Barnes joins Haggard as a fallen evangelical minister who preached that homosexuality was a sin but grappled with a hidden life.
Barnes says he has struggled with homosexual thoughts since he was five years old. He is married and has adult daughters. His confession came after he received a phone call warning him that he might be outed.
Unlike Ted Haggard, who stepped down after he was outed by a male prostitute, Barnes was not politically active, either personally or from his pulpit. Like Haggard, Barnes started the church in his basement and it grew to 2,100 members over time.
It’s interesting that these outings are occurring during a time of increasing masculinization in the church, as though publicly denouncing the “limp-wristed,” as Mark Driscoll recently did, is going to keep the gay bogeyman out of the pulpit. It won’t. Sometime, the church is going to have to deal with this issue, and not in the way they have “dealt” with it until now.