A Texas pastor is apologizing for a viral sermon illustration in which he described the physical appearance of a woman.
Jonathan Pokluda, the lead pastor at Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, went viral last month for a sermon illustration about a woman at a restaurant who expressed interest in him despite his married status. The woman wanted to buy him a drink; Pokluda said he fled temptation.
Pokluda, though, was criticized on social media for saying the woman "was perfect" and "beautiful" and "everything was in the right place."
He apologized during a sermon last week.
"Recently, in a message on adultery, I hurt some people," Pokluda said. "When I was describing an interaction with a woman that I had 18 years ago, I did so in a way that was careless and wrong. And I was efforting to display my mind 18 years ago, which was an addict in recovery and absolutely thought those things. But I don't think it was fruitful to say it in that way without that clarity.
A couple of weeks ago, I called out @JPokluda for a sermon illustration that was objectifying of women. I asked him, both publicly and privately, to apologize.— Jacob Huneycutt (@jacobhuneycutt_) March 3, 2023
I just found out that he did so, with specificity, last Sunday. I feel like sharing it is the courteous thing to do. pic.twitter.com/BhK7DsP1oQ
"I'm concerned," Pokluda said, "that it hurt women in making them feel objectified and could give men permission to do so. … It was wrong and I'm sorry. Truly, heartily sorry. Not because it cost me – but because it hurt some of you. I do not like hurting people. So I want to ask you forgiveness. Will you please forgive me for being careless with my words, in that message, and specifically that illustration?"
In that earlier sermon illustration, Pokluda said he fought off temptation by realizing that the woman didn't truly love him and only wanted "a few minutes of ecstasy." The woman, he said, wanted to ruin his family. "She wants to take my life and burn it to the ground," he said, he thought.
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Photo courtesy: ©Ben White/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.