In response to the Current TV documentary, Missionaries of Hate, Canyon Ridge Christian Church (Las Vegas, NV) today issued this statement to me regarding their mission partner, Martin Ssempa.
The mission partners of Canyon Ridge Christian Church are more than just names on a bulletin board or a web site, they are our dearly loved friends and family. Because of this, we take seriously our commitment to them. When accusations or ill reports come to us about one of our partners and their ministry activities, we’re committed to do what the Bible instructs us to do; we go to our partners (when possible, going to see them face to face) and work through the issues with them personally. We don’t make public statements about our partners until we have worked through issues with them personally and brought those issues to resolution. We have been and are currently in conversation with Martin Ssempa and others regarding the controversy in Uganda and his activities in addressing it.
Martin Ssempa was featured prominently in Missionaries of Hate showing deviant porn to a stunned audience. He is shown praying with Islamic clerics for David Bahati, the author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This statement seems to move slightly away from their earlier position which was:
Canyon Ridge Christian Church partners with missionaries and ministry leaders around the world, including Martin Ssempa, for the purpose of reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing humanitarian aid where possible.
With the oversight of our elders and missions team, we constantly evaluate our ministry partners and their activities. We will only support those who engage in and promote activities consistent with the redemptive and grace-filled purposes of Jesus Christ in the world.
Canyon Ridge Christian Church does not wish to enter into the debate over the legislation in Uganda. We do encourage those involved to seek God’s leadership in humility and grace and to follow Jesus command to love one another as they wrestle with this difficult issue. Our prayers are for the good of the people Uganda.
It seems to me that Canyon Ridge has entered the debate through their mission partner. He has become one of the public faces of the bill around the world and has recently partnered with Islamic clerics on a renewed effort to promote the bill.