Josh Butler, an American author and pastor who sparked criticism for likening sex to Christ and the Church earlier this year, has resigned from leading Redemption Tempe in Arizona, USA.
In March, Butler published an article on The Gospel Coalition (TGC) comparing the sexual union of a husband and wife to that of Christ and the church, describing sex as “an icon of salvation”.
The article, an insert of Butler’s new book ‘Beautiful Union’, caused a firestorm online, with many Christians condemning the language used and describing it as “heresy”.
Following the backlash, TGC removed the article replacing it with an apology and the announcement that Butler had resigned as a fellow of the center.
Now, in a letter addressed to the congregation and leaked to social media, Butler said he had decided to resign as he didn’t want to drag the church into the “public conversation” his book had sparked.
“I am resigning as co-lead pastor of Redemption Tempe,” Butler said. “I have processed this with our elders and am writing this together with them, with a desire to share my reasons for resigning with you.”
He continued: “We have found ourselves in an impossible situation…On the one hand, I feel called to step more into these public conversations…On the other hand, I don’t want to drag Redemption into that public conversation with me.”
Butler also apologised to anyone who had been hurt by the contents of his article and said he was committed to a “process of repair with any members of Redemption who desire it”.
“I’ve loved leading at Redemption Tempe,” Butler concluded.
“I love you all as my church family, and am looking forward to what God has in store for the season ahead. I look forward to worshiping together with you next Sunday.”