Progressive Community Church Stockton, Ca. is DANGEROUS (Open Letter)

The following EMAIL was sent to Rev. Howard and Pastor Shields on 4/4/15. For whatever reason, they refused to respond, and in the name of transparency I decided to share it with the world (as I have nothing to hide).

Dear Pastor Shields,

          The seriousness of these matters are extreme and I should hope that you take them as such.  They come in love, and with a Christ-like spirit. I pray that you would read every word of this email as to make you a better man, better Christian, better leader, better counselor, better Pastor, and to help fix your Church. No ONE, nor no CHURCH is perfect. If that truth makes you angry or uneasy then we might have even bigger issues that I previously thought. The fact is, we can all get better, we can all grow, and we can all learn. Even you.

A.) You have told my wife that it's ok to have unrepentant homosexuals as friends:

I have spoken to numerous biblical scholars on this matter, as well as prominent Christian theologians, who whole heartedly disagree with that message.  Furthermore, I cannot find any scriptural evidence to support such a stance. What I have been abler to do however, is compile numerous scriptures which point to the contrary position. Instead of arguing back and forth and never finding truth, I would love it if you could break down what the following verses mean to YOU so I can attempt to see how you decipher Gods word. I am not looking for any opinions “outside” of the scripture, only your opinion as they pertain to each one of these verses individually. Thank you.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 Paul writes - "I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you’’

[[I am under the impression that this means do not associate (for general purpose) with any person who is claiming to be a Christian but is unrepentant in their sexual immorality, etc.  "To such a man do not EVEN EAT," Paul writes. God will judge the people outside the church, but you must expel the wicked (unrepentant) people from being around you & inside the church. This is known as church discipline and is covered in Mathew]]

Matthew 18:17 “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

[[Unrepentant homosexuals take pride in their sin. They do not care about finding salvation through Jesus Christ, asking for forgiveness, or following Gods word even though they have read and heard it. Scriptures says we should tell the church about such a brother (or sister), and if they are still unrepentant, we are to disassociate from them. The disassociation process is in love to hopefully lead them to Christ, as they will feel saddened by the excommunication.]]

2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

[[An unrepentant homosexual (who acts like a Christian) is denying the power of salvation through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he is denying Gods word while taking pride and maintaining his unrepentant nature. Scripture says we should have nothing to do with such people.]]

2 John 1:10 “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.”

[[The teaching is that Jesus was sent to Earth, humilated, tortured, and died for our sins so we can find salvation and ever lasting life in God. Unrepentant homosexuals do not live these teachings and therefor cannot bring them to you in any meaningful way. Therefore you should not take them into your home or welcome them.

James 4:4 - "Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of GOD!”

[[Evil, injustice, malice, abomination, things that do not lift up the kingdom, things that are not holy, and unrepentant sinners are “the world.” If you are a friend to the world you are an enemy to God. Surely you do not counsel people to be friends with Child Rapists.]]

1 Cor 6:11  “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

[[All of us are sinners. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. No on is perfect!! Jesus is the only person who ever walked this Earth that was without sin. Jesus died for my sins and I can find salvation because I repent and ask for forgiveness. Homosexuals are unrepentant however and not washed or sanctified in the spirit of our God. In these passages homosexuals (unrepentant) are listed among the wicked who will not inherit the kingdom of God—they will be lost. But you’ll also notice that these people can be washed, sanctified, justified in the name of Jesus. Homosexuals can be saved, but they will need to surrender their lustful thoughts and gay/lesbian lifestyle.]]

2 Cor 6:14 “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

[[Self explanatory. We should have no fellowship with unrighteousness. Unrepentant homosexuality is unrighteousness at its finest. Biblical Scholar Matthew Henry says this extends beyond marriage: “The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?]]

2 Thessalonians 3:6 - "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every (so called) believer who does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”

[[This verse is very clear in that God commands us to stay away from other people (claiming to be Christians) who do not repent for their sins. Unrepentant Homosexuals included. It is not asking us to keep away from “every” so called believer who sins, because we all sin, and that would mean we would have to keep away from every Christian on Earth. Instead the verse is talking about those who do not live according to the teaching. The teaching is that we will all fall short of the glory, but we must repent and ask for forgiveness. That is why Jesus died for our sins. So we may repent and find salvation in him. Anyone claiming to be a Christian, but refuses to repent for their errors (taking pride in them, etc) must be kept away from!]]

Psalm 1:1 - "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”

[[God wants us to be happy. To be healthy. To live full, prosperous, blessed lives. God is advising us that you will be blessed if you do not walk in step with the wicked. In other words, walking around and associating with unrepentant homosexuals is not a blessing unto you.]]

Proverbs 6:27 - "Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?"

[[This verse is a direct question for the Christian, which asks, how can you be around someone who commits detestable abominations in the eyes of the lord and they not rub off on you in some fashion? This verse shows God does not think it's possible. No matter how strong minded you are, or what a great Christian you think you are, being around unrepentant sinners will have an effect on you. You will get burned.]]

Proverbs 25:26 - "Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”

[[Self explanatory]]

2 Corinthians 6:15-17 “God hath said: I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

[[We have already talked about verses that show it's wrong to associate with Unrepentant Homosexuals who call themselves Christian, but this verse proves that we should not socialize with non believing homosexuals either. Clearly God does NOT want us hanging out with them or being part of their circle. That is why he says HE will walk with them, but we should be away from them and be separate!! That is, unless of course we were preaching the gospel to them, restoring them, or trying to bring them to Christ. This means do not eat with them. Socialize with them. Go out with them. Be friend them for general purposes, etc.The bible is very clear on this. Homosexuality is wrong, and it is also wrong for Christians to associate with non-believing homosexuals.]]

1 Corinthians 15:33 -  “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”

[[Self explanatory.]]

Proverbs 13:20 - "Walk with the wise and become wise, or a companion of fools suffers harm.”

[[Self explanatory]]

Proverbs 27:17 - "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

[[Self explanatory]]
You cannot be sharpened by unrepentant sinners. Rather, if you surround yourself with them as friends to socialize and learn from, you will be made dull and slip into the cracks of Satans deception. The meeting of two, together in the Lord’s name, will always guarantee blessing. It is a means of grace that the Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them (Matthew 18:20). Also, we see a similar meaning in Malachi for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard (Malachi 3:16). When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

Ephesians 2:1-2 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

[[This shows that unrepentant homosexuals and other unrepentant sinners are actually the living dead. They are dead in their transgressions right now as we speak.]]

B.) I have heard it said at Progressive that we are not supposed to JUDGE. However, I am under the impression that we are actually commanded BY GOD to judge. We are commanded to do so righteously and un-hypocritically. Meaning if I were a thief, it is not ok for me to judge other thieves. Here are the scriptures that command us to judge, and some of the bible commentary from biblical scholars. Maybe you can show me my error in interpreting them. 

B1.) Jesus Judged others. He did this so people could find salvation and he could restore them. We are supposed to be like Christ.

B2.) How can you get people to heaven if you don't tell them what they are doing is wrong? Would you tell your friend not to drive home if he was drunk? If you loved him and cared about him you would. If you were a bad person or didn't care what happened to your friend you might let him do whatever he wants. Remember you cannot warn someone unless you first judge their actions as being unprofitable.

B3.) The Bible (Gods word) tells us to Judge (just not judge hypocritically or unrighteously) - Ezekiel 3:18, Proverbs 26:26, Ephesians 5:11, John 7:24, John 4:1, 2 Chron. 19:6, Proverbs 31:9, Zechariah 3:7, Lev 19:15, Deut 1:16, Deut 16:18, Judges 2 16-19, Ezra 7:25, Isaiah 1:17, Ezekiel 23:45, 1 Kings 3 9-13, Jeremiah 5:1,Psalms 7:11, 2 Kings 17:18, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention all the verses that command us to do things which would be logically impossible to do without making a judgement on our neighbor.

B4.) Ezekiel 33:7-9…"so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved."

B5.) John 7:24..."Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement."

B6.) Proverbs 31:9..."Open you mouth and judge righteously."

B7.) Ezekiel 3:18..."When I say to a wicked person, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood."

B8.) Ephesians 5:11..."Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, rather EXPOSE them."

B9.) Matthew 7:1-5..."Judge, but do so without hypocrisy."

I could go on and on but hopefully you get the point. Judging people is commanded by God and mentioned very clearly numerous times in scripture.

C.) I heard that Progressive does NOT believe in Church Discipline.  I also heard it preached last Sunday that the church is not a “country club” for certain sinners and not for others. That seems to be an anti-biblical statement. Scripture is clear that corrective discipline is part of Christianity!! Yet for some reason, I frequently see unrepentant homosexual members in the church and even believe that your family is one of them. Perhaps you could show me how I am misinterpreting the scriptures as it pertains to this topic or where biblical scholars have gotten it wrong.

On occasion a Christian will wander away from the fellowship of other believers and find himself ensnared by sin through ignorance or willful disobedience. It then becomes necessary for the church, and particularly it's shepherds, to actively seek the repentance and restoration of that Christian. As shepherds of the flock, the elders love the sheep and are also held accountable by God for their spiritual welfare, including that of the wandering sheep. As in Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:3-8, it is a time of joy, both in heaven and within the church, when the wandering Christian truly repents.

In Matthew 18, the Lord explains to His disciples how to respond when a fellow believer sins. The principles He sets forth must guide the body of Christ as she seeks to implement discipline in the church today.

Corrective Discipline is for:

Troublemakers and those who sow discord. (Romans 16:17)The unruly and disorderly. (1st Thessalonians 5:14) Those who are unrepentant and disobey the great doctrines of the faith. (2nd Thessalonians 3:13-14) Those who deny the great doctrines of the faith. (1st Timothy 6:3-4)

Procedures in Church Discipline (commanded in scripture):

Arrange a private meeting with the offender. (Matthew 18:15)
If a private meeting fails, meet with them and several witnesses. (Matthew 18:16)
Admonish and warn them. (Titus 3:10)
As a final resort, bring the matter up to the whole church. (Matthew 18:17)
Remove their membership, and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Be ready to forgive them when repentance occurs. (2nd Corinthians 2:7)

Purpose of Discipline:

To maintain the standards of the church to a watching world. (Matthew 5:13-16)
To keep sin from spreading throughout the church. (Joshua 7:3); (1st Corinthians 5:6-7) Help the guilty person find their way to God. (2nd Corinthians 2:6-8)To escape God's judgment upon habitually sinning saints. (1st Corinthians 11:30)

D.) I tried to contact you and Rev. Howard for over 10 months. I reached out to you through various email outlets, social media, phones numbers, and even spoke to your wife (Yvette) about contacting me. I really needed you at this time. Yet for some reason, in over 10 months not a single word or reply from you. Perhaps you can show me where in the bible is says that is the way of a pastor. You may have assumed I would be unreasonable to talk to, or assumed I would be argumentative, or assumed I am not worthy of your time.  Maybe you felt disrespected by me or something that I did which I am unaware of. I am not sure. However we are supposed to be men of God.  I have intellectual conversations with my professors all the time and when we disagree there are never any ill feelings or harsh feelings. Despite what you may believe, If I you can show me where I have taken any scripture out of context or misinterpreted it erroneously, I would gladly re-evaluate my positions. I would also expect a man of integrity such as yourself to be willing to take the same intellectual honest route and be open to further understanding. As I do not think it’s your belief that you are all knowing and have nothing further to learn.

E.) Should not the things that are detestable to GOD also be detestable to us?? Let me explain my point. God lists Homosexuality right alongside Bestiality. (Leviticus 18: 22-30). Now before I arrive at my point, you might be saying Leviticus is part of the Old Testament and we are no longer under the OT Law. However, what you must remember is that there are 3 parts to the OT Law. The Ceremonial, Moral, and Civil Law. The “Moral laws” of the Old Testament are eternal (Meaning they still stand today, as Gods morality never changes), while the Ceremonial and Civil laws are temporary and were washed away when Jesus ushered in the new covenant.

Now that that is out of the way, let me get to my point. Surely unrepentant child rapists are detestable to you. Meaning you view them as an abomination and you would not hang around/befriend them for general purposes.  But for some reason you are saying you would hang around and befriend homosexuals even though God says homosexuals are detestable abominations to HIM.  Does this mean you have bought into the lie that society has taught you? That homosexuals really aren’t SO BAD? That they are for some reason not as detestable as someone who rapes children or has sex with animals, even though the bible suggests otherwise? Should you not want to adhere to the same standards God has set forth? Are we not called to be Christ like and see Gods morality as our ultimate standard?

Let us look further at how God takes the time to show us how just how disgusting and terrible he thinks homosexuals are:

(Romans 1:28-32)
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

I know of no other sin that God goes into such detail about to show just how abhorrent it is. They have been given over to a depraved mind. That means there is nothing of value that is coming out of them or their mouths. They are filled with wickedness. Who should be around that?? They are God haters, and full of slander and malice. Is this good for your soul to be around for general purpose? No!!

F.)  Jesus hung around sinners!! Not so fast…The bible teaches us that Jesus went around sinners, but he did so in an attempt to preach the gospel to them, save their souls, restore them, and bring them to salvation. There is no scripture (which I am aware of) that shows Jesus hanging out with or befriending sinners for general purposes. For example (in todays society), Jesus may have went to an abominations house for dinner in an attempt to preach the gospel, but he would not have been over at their house every night playing playstation while failing to bring up the gospel.

If we befriend and socialize with homosexuals (abominations), sinners, or evil doers for general purposes, not only are we going against the scripture and giving the onlooking world a false vision of Christianity, but there is now doubt their sins will rub off on us and desensitize us. We cannot stop this. The verses mentioned in section (A) of this email show that. Moreover, Jesus didn't have this same problems we have as part of the fallen creation. For Example, Even Satan himself could not tempt or change Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus was without sin and therefore could not influenced consciously or subconsciously by the people following him around. Hebrews 4, "We have a high priest who was tempted in every point like we are, yet without sin.” We on the other hand cannot help but be influenced no matter how strong minded we think we are. This is shown in the verses above. Let us look at some of the verses where Jesus and sinners came into contact.

• Peter 2:22
• Luke 5:29-32
• John 2:1-2

Jesus was not hanging out with sinners to befriend them for general purposes. He was putting himself in their midst to provide the platform to preach to them the gospel and try to restore them.

G.) You told my wife Alicia not to live for me. I agree wholeheartedly!! She should live for GOD, not for me!! It is my strong opinion that all men should want a women who loves God above all else. This includes loving God more than their spouse. Similarly she should not live for her Church or for her Pastor. She should live for God and his word only!! She should find the lord and find truth. When truth is compromised that when I have an issue.

H.) I heard it said at Progressive that ALL sin is the same. I am under the impression however this is simply an anti-biblical teaching. 

Perhaps you can explain to me which part of the following logic is in error. Sins are only the same in that they all lead to death...But that is not to say that God feels the same about all sin, or that God views all sin on an equal level. He does NOT!!

Have a look at a few Examples:

H1) There are only Ten Commandments but there are more than 10 sins.

H2) Certain sins are called detestable shameless abominations, while others are not. (God says Homosexuality is a shameless perversion which is a detestable abomination.)

H3) Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for specific sins and not others. God never burned and entire city of people alive for cursing.

H4) Sexual immorality is an example of being different than other sins because its a sin against your own flesh. (1 Corinthians 6:18) -  "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body."

H5) Some sinners we are commanded to not eat or associate with, while other types of sinners are not mentioned.

I.) I heard it said at Progressive that God DOESN’T hate, and that it’s wrong for Christians to HATE. However I have seen MULTIPLE scriptures that suggests otherwise. Possibly you can tell me which scripture I am misinterpreting so I can discover clarity on the matter. Before we begin let me remind you that to hate something only means that you passionately dislike it

Prov. 6:16-19, Psalm 11:5, Lev. 20:23, Hosea 9:15, Romans 9:13, Psalm 5:5, Etc.

Now let me ask you this:
Am I called to be like Christ (Who is God in the flesh)?? Yes!!
Is Christ is God??Yes!!
God hates (scriptures provided), so I am allowed to HATE (Passionately dislike)?? Yes!!

Now let me ask you if you passionately dislike child rapists. If you say no then we have even bigger issues. If you say yes then you have proven that you think it's ok to hate certain people. The issue then becomes that you are subjectively deciding who to hate, instead of hating who God tells us to hate.

J.)  We need to have an honest conversation about Christians calling other Christians hypocrites simply because they judge them:

What is a HYPOCRITE:
"a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs"

I absolutely detest when self proclaiming Christians, call other Christians who judge them, hypocrites. Did you not know....

J1.) Christians are commanded by God to judge. If I don't judge you then God says I am the one in error. (Ezekiel 3:18)

J2.) To be a hypocrite would be to pass judgment over someone for the "same" sin you commit. For example, if i'm a thief and I keep telling you to stop stealing, then my judgment of you would be hypocritical and unrighteous. Despite the lies society will tell you however, it is NOT hypocritical to be a sinner and show other sinners their error. Furthermore, pointing out the error of a fellow sinner is not only Christ-like and commanded in scripture, but it's how you save souls. Would you not tell your friend if they are doing something you know causes cancer? Would you not tell your child to stop playing with knives while they jump on their bed? We are in the business of winning souls, not letting people remain hand in hand with the devil in a weak attempt to not offend them. If you are offended by my judgement, don't call me a hypocrite, call me a Christian.

J3.) If it's hypocritical to be a sinner and judge the errors of other sinners, then every pastor in this country is a hypocrite. Why? Because there is no pastor who has ever walked planet Earth that has not sinned. Yet we see them constantly saving people and bringing them to salvation by getting them out of their sin and onto the right path. You cannot win souls unless you get people to follow Gods word. And you cannot get people to live by Gods word unless you share with them what that word is!!

J4.) We are all sinners!! No one is God!! No one is Jesus!! We all need help. No one is perfect. A Christian (me) who judges another Christian (you) is not saying he is better than you. He actually is showing he loves you, cares about you, and is trying to help you. If he didn't care he wouldn't mind you going to hell for eternity and continuing right along down your path of destruction. Immaturity comes in many forms, but feeling attacked (because of your emotional instability), when someone is trying to save your soul, could be one of the most childish acts that exists.

****I welcome judgment (and so should you). Matter of fact I yearn for it. I beg for judgment and open discussion!! I want it so I can be a better version of myself. To do better. To know better. To speak better. So please, don't be afraid to judge me. I know you are commanded by GOD to do it, and even more than that, I am thankful you care enough about me to help show me Gods plan.*****

K.) You have spoken numerous times at bible study about not watching shows like Scandal. You went into depth about how he was initially caught up in it, but then realized it wasn't promoting the kingdom of God in a positive light. You also talked about how we as a society have become desensitized to sin, and that no matter how strong of Christians we think we are, it ultimately effects us in a negative way.

When you watch shows like EMPIRE and SCANDAL:
1.) You are supporting those who seek to annihilate biblical morality and make sin the norm.
2.) You are not being Christ like as commanded by scripture. Christ would not sit and watch homosexual activity or entertainment.
3.) You are giving the devil the ratings he desires and providing the platform for him to promote his filth.
4.) You are desensitizing your mind to sin. After awhile if everyone does this, sin won't look that bad. Then it Starts to become the normalized. Which you can see happening now.
5.) You are promoting the progression of an ungodly society.
6.) You are not building the kingdom of God or what is holy.
7.) You are not being a good role model for children or weaker Christians who are more easily influenced.
8.) Would you watch a show that openly promoted beastality or child rape and normal acceptable behavior? NO. Don't subjectively make your own moral code for right and wrong. Follow Gods code and standards!!


That which is disgusting to God should also be disgusting to you!!

L.) I would say that over 70% of the church is still watching these shows despite these facts, and despite you telling them to stop. Why??? You can take the easy way out and say you cannot control what people do in the privacy of their own homes (which is true), but I believe there is a much deeper problem at hand here. Progressive does not know God hates things. Progressive does not know that unrepentant people should be being disciplined. Progressive does not know that you shouldn't eat or associate with certain unrepentant persons who call themselves Christians. Progressive does not know that unrepentant homosexuals should not be worshipping next to them in church. Progressive does NOT know that they should be judging people. Progressive does not understand church discipline. ETC. Their pastor (you) apparently doesn’t even know this, so why would you expect them to?? 

Progressive is taught that God is all love, and we are hypocrites if we judge one another. Progressive is taught tolerance and acceptance without repercussion. This is not true biblical teaching and it is NOT the word of GOD. This is why you see things like over 70% of the congregation still watching shows like EMPIRE and Scandal and becoming more and more desensitized to the evil of this world.  The see it as “not so bad, everyone sins.” I suggest you all take a big hard look in the mirror and re-evaluate your knowledge of scripture as it pertains to these topics, so you are not progressing the evil which is taking over our society. 

I doubt you will write back, but this information had to be available to the public and to anyone who might be contemplating joining this church.

Praying for you
God Bless - 


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