Pastor challenges fellow clergy

| July 2, 2013
Pastor Michael Latham

Pastor Michael Latham (Photo: Michael Patterson)

Frost Illustrated Staff Report

Click here to watch parts of the video interview

FORT WAYNE—Pastor Michael Latham of Renaissance Baptist Church has a saying: “When God calls you do something, you really don’t want to do it.”

According to Latham, who’s been in the ministry nearly 40 years, a person knows when God has asked him or her to perform an important task because it’s difficult and seemingly impossible until one realizes that He will provide the means to get the job done.

The local minister said he knows because he’s been given such a task.

“So, I have to challenge preachers. Do I want to do it? No. I’m a pastor. I want to just love them and be with a pastoral group that we’re all on the same page, enjoying each other,” said the Rev. Latham. “And for me to have to say what I’ve said, and I know how they’re going to feel, they’re going to be angry, they’re going to be upset. Those that will be, it’s like a pile of dogs you would see in a group—you throw a rock. The one that you hit is going to cry out. So every pastor that responds negative, I think, to my comments, I think there’s going to be some guilt, basically, putting out and they’re going to be attacking me.”

In a recent seven-part video interview with Frost Illustrated, Pastor Latham talked at length about a number of issues he’s been challenging fellow clergy on, including, to name just a few:

• Sexual abuse of their flocks;

• Putting money and material success before saving souls;

• General abuse of power in the pulpit;

• Irresponsible and ineffectual leadership from local clergy, and

• What happened to the $386,000 the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance received on behalf of the community from the sale of land granted them by the now-closed Adams Center Landfill.

He said this God-ordained mission has gained him a number of enemies in clergy groups.

“Whenever I’m in a room with pastors, I receive negative comments.… There’s already nine pastors that have already claimed they’ll have nothing else to do with me and they have not. And that’s fine because I’m a called man so I’m not worried about relationships with folk—I’m worried about the community and I’m disappointed in pastoral leadership. Not all pastoral leadership. There’s a lot of great pastors in this town and I know who they are. There’s some praying men in this town. But, there’s about 10 that I can think of and that I know that have been so disrespectful and so supportive of individuals that have committed undoubtful sin in front of this community and we’re still stamping the church name on its support toward those individuals. That suggests to me that birds of a feather ‘flop’ together.”

He’s said he’s even been threatened about his outspokenness in those groups.

“I’ve been threatened by pastors right in this town.… I’ve been told they’re going to whip my butt. I won’t say who they were but they told me that.… A couple of them were supposed to pay crack heads, they so said, to come and attack me to discover whether I was gay or not. If I was gay, it wouldn’t be no crack head,” said Latham

He said that group of preachers has pushed that rumor to silence him and to keep him from shining light on misdeeds in pulpits around town. He said that’s not going to stop him from doing what God told him to do.

“And if I’m gay or not, I know where I am. I am not but I don’t give a red nickel what folks think,” he said.

In addition, Latham opened up about personal trials, including:

• A critical illness that changed his life and attitude toward God’s work;

• Recognizing himself in the Bible and understanding his own failings to better serve Christ’s flock, and

• Those rumors about his sexuality and abuse he suffered as a child.

During the next few weeks, Frost Illustrated is scheduled to present the Rev. Latham’s interview, with extensive sections in upcoming print editions along with uncut video portions here at frostillustrated.com.

Click here for printed excerpts from parts 3 and 4 of the interview, from the July 10 print edition.

 

This article originally appeared in the July 3 print edition.

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Category: Local, Spiritual Matters

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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