For Today Guitarist Mike Reynolds Leaves Band After Firestorm Over Anti-Gay Comments
For Today guitarist Mike Reynolds stirred up quite a bit of controversy responding on Twitter about the decision of President Barack Obama choosing Rev. Louie Giglio to deliver the benediction at his inauguration. Giglio's past anti-gay messages resulted in pressure from the LGBT community, and the Reverend has since bowed out of the opportunity. Reynolds' commentary turned into his own views on homosexuality and religion and sparked quite a bit of outrage.
After reading a Dallas Voice article on the situation, Reynolds offered a series of tweets that read, "Don't be deceived, homosexuality is a sin. This sin with all other sins is what Jesus died for. He conquered so that we would be free. No such thing as a gay Christian, the same as there is no such thing as a Christian who loves his sin. Don't be fooled by the formation of a state church as though the government is being converted, they only use the name Jesus for their progressive liberal agenda. If you are a Christian then separate yourself from this civil religion that advocates sin. Be true to God."
The comments sparked some outrage online, including a commentary from Enter Shikari vocalist Rou Reynolds (no relation). "The thought that we actually toured and shared the same stage as this musician in 2011 now makes me feel a bit nauseous," said the outraged singer. "There is obviously no place in our modern metal, punk, hardcore, rock (whatever you want to call it) scene for homophobia. In fact, there should be no place for these views anywhere full stop, especially not in music." The vocalist would add, "Music is a beautiful tool to educate ourselves with … so to anyone spouting these divisive and disgusting views, I say simply but vehemently, please educate yourself or put down your instrument." To read Reynolds full commentary, click here.
After quite a bit of backlash that resulted in a band statement and singer Mattie Montgomery's own video apology to their fans (which can be viewed below), the For Today guitarist stepped down from the group. A statement from the band read:
Mike Reynolds is no longer a part of For Today. He has decided that now is the time for he and his wife to put their plans in motion to enroll in Bible college, and to begin working toward full-time missions work in the Middle East. Mike will be replaced by longtime friend of the band, and former In the Midst of Lions guitar player, Sam Penner, who will be appearing with the band as they headline their upcoming Fight The Silence tour.
Update: Former For Today guitarist Mike Reynolds attempted to clarify his past comments in a Facebook posting. His statement reads as follows:
My sole concern is not what I said, but that via social network there is a huge chasm between what is being said and the tone of voice that I would use to say it face to face. There is an apparent disconnect between tone and the statement I made. I would enjoy this dialogue in person, but as a blanket statement via twitter it is quite insufficient and is heard as though I am picketing a funeral rather than expressing what I believe to be true. My intention was not to isolate the LGBT community (there has been enough of that), but to express that Christianity is not an 'everyone is welcome and not required to change' kind of an organism. The essence of Christianity is that the One True God has intervened in the broken cycle of human affairs and made a way for them to know Him and as a byproduct of knowing Him, be given true life. To say that there is no such thing as a gay Christian is simply to state that the initial requirement for a person to come to God is repentance. Repentance means to change your mind, when a person repents they change their mind. In the case of following Jesus, repentance is simply that a person who thinks their way is the best way would be required to think that Gods way is the best way. No one can follow Jesus without repenting of their sin, so no one can be a Christian without repenting from sin.
When I met my wife I surrendered any and all appetites for other women, she became my last romantic attraction. The basic rules of relationship like truth, love, sincerity, etc are intended to sustain the health of the relationship. There is a rule in our marriage that we are to be faithful to one another and not have any other partners. This rule is not a bad thing because I know how wonderful she is, but if I understood my wife to be an unreasonable hag then this rule would be a burden. When I observe how wonderful and faithful my wife is then I say simply, 'whatever you say goes.' We exist inside of this understanding of mutual love for one another.
So it was when I met Jesus Christ, at first I saw a figure in history who wanted to brainwash, manipulate, and twist people to feed an egotistical hunger of some sort. With this understanding of Jesus of Nazareth I was unable to know Him, I couldn’t look at any of His commands without feeling a weight and burden of obeying someone that I didn’t love. However, God intervened in my life and I saw Him in His true light, I see the One who loves me enough to correct me when I am wrong and to affirm me when I am right. He is wonderful and I have repented of my past life and come to this conclusion, 'whatever He says goes.' He died for me, I will joyfully live for Him. Does this mean that absolutely no mistakes are allowed in the Christian life? Absolutely not, I am a man who is familiar with making mistakes. The reality however is that they are in fact, mistakes. This IS a learning process that I myself am in, I have not figured out all of what it means to follow Jesus, but I am willing to spend my life on learning. He is worthy of my life, my time, my everything and He faithfully leads me along this road called life. He is my everything and without Him I could not go through the things that I am required to go through.
I love every member of the LGBT community and in no way want to simply isolate any individual group of people, but to remain true to the word of God that, 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.' I desire for them to know God AS I desire for all people to know God through Jesus Christ.
To sum this up, I am not isolating homosexuality, but stating that ALL sin must be left behind to follow Jesus as Jesus Himself prescribed. Greed, selfishness, pride, envy, dishonesty, and any others you can think of must be surrendered for Gods way of honest relationship with Him. Homosexuality is not the ONLY sin and I would never say anything of the sort, but it is an issue in our day and at this time. My desire is for Christian men and women to understand what sin is and to offer the only one true solution to that sin, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, this is only good news to someone who has been enabled by the grace of God to stop loving their sin, no matter what that sin is. If a man or woman loves their sin then they cannot obey the requirement of Jesus to repent and to follow Him. This is not something that human beings are intended to do in their own strength, on the contrary, God is to be glorified because He alone is the only One who can love us out of our mess.
Leave the burden behind, let go of those things that so easily distract you, God has demonstrated His love towards us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, to set us free from sin and from death. Follow Him.
'Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.
If you have read this far, thank you, I love you and would be willing to respond to emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch For Today Singer Mattie Montgomery's Apology