A Portadown-born evangelical minister – strongly opposed to the gay and lesbian lifestyle – has denied newspaper reports that he claims to cure what he terms “the sin of homosexuality”.
Pastor Mark Bradfield (50) said, “I can’t cure the sin of homosexuality any more than I can cure sins like adultery, stealing, adultery or murder. But sinners who turn to God can be led away from their sins. The Bible says these sins are wrong, but God can lead all lost sinners back to the paths of righteousness – the liar, the adulterer, the murderer and the sexual deviant.”
Ex-Portadown College student Pastor Bradfield, of Bethel Independent Baptist Church in Campsie, Londonderry, led a protest gospel rally against the Derry Pride Parade in the city on Saturday.
He said, “If I had the gift of curing, I could empty the hospitals and resolve all the issues of the NHS, but I don’t – neither can I forgive sins. The power of saving sinners is open for sinners who turn to God, and the sin of homosexuality is spelt out in the Bible as wrong, along with the rest.
“The gay lobby is brilliant at propaganda, but the Bible is firm that homosexuality is a sin. God can take and change them. I know of activists who have been changed. The gay lobby doesn’t like to hear that message.”
The gospel rally in Derry lasted about an hour during the Gay Pride event, and consisted mainly of members of the Campsie Church and Londonderry Free Presbyterian Church. They held up ‘sinners’ placards and preached via a loud hailer system.
Pastor Bradfield, who worked in the ICT sector until 12 years ago, said it was the “falsehood of the gay propaganda that led me to the evangelical Christian ministry”.
Ironically, he was baptised at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church. The current minister Rev Christina Bradfield rocked the Presbyterian Church in Ireland when she agreed with the result of the referendum in the Republic which came out in favour of same-sex marriage. She described it as compassionate and supporting equality.
Pastor Bradfield said, “I was re-baptised 12 years ago into the true evangelical church and reject Mrs Bradley’s statement which shows a disregard for the Scriptures. Homosexuality is a sin.”
Foyle Gay Pride Festival organisers described Pastor Bradfield’s remarks as “dangerous and damaging”, with spokesman Sha Gillespie claiming, “When you consider the rate of suicides among young gay people, comments like these are far from helpful”.
Hundreds attended the parade with the organisers claiming that political parties, trade unionists, human rights activists and people of religious faith took part.