The Reverend Tom Brock, the Lutheran pastor placed on leave by his Minneapolis church after a local gay magazine reported that he attended a group for Christians struggling with same-sex attraction, has passed an investigation and returned to the pulpit, telling parishioners, "I am a 57-year-old virgin."
According to the Associated Press, the Hope Lutheran congregation was satisfied with Brock's admission that he is attracted to men but has never acted on his urges. The church broke with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America after the denomination adopted a policy allowing partnered gays to serve as clergy. Brock opposes gay leadership of congregations.
The AP reported that Brock returned to the pulpit Sunday and told his congregation, "I am a 57-year-old virgin."
Minnesota gay magazine Lavender generated controversy in recent months when it acted on a tip that Brock attended meetings of Courage, a Catholic support group for people struggling with same-sex attraction. Lavender sent a freelance reporter to the meetings undercover to expose Brock.
According to the AP, Brock plans to step down as senior pastor at Hope Lutheran, but he will remain affiliated with the church. He continues to believe that people are not born gay.
"Brock said even if scientists were to establish definitive proof that homosexuality is genetic, that wouldn't deter his views," reported the AP. "He said he believes people who engage in homosexual acts will go to hell, but he doesn't believe that makes him a bigot."