Bill Gaither Issues Press Release Regarding Marsha Stevens
ALEXANDRIA, IN (Press Release) - Apparently, a visit by Marsha Stevens to a Gaither Homecoming concert in 2002 is being misrepresented and misused by her and others. Marsha Stevens is an outspoken lesbian singer-songwriter who operates an organization called Born Again Lesbian Music (BALM Ministries). Her story is a sad one.
In 1969, as the 16 year-old leader of what many consider to be the first contemporary Christian music group, Children of the Day, Marsha wrote "For Those Tears I Died," which quickly became one of the most popular songs of the so-called Jesus Movement. Featured on "Maranatha's "The Everlasting Living Jesus Music Concert" album, her song became one of the best known Christian folk songs of the decade.
Gloria and I, along with hundreds of churches around the country have sung that song for years. Unfortunately, in more recent years Marsha publicly declared herself to be lesbian and took her music and work in a very different direction from where it started.
In December 2002, we had a Gaither Homecoming concert in Phoenix, where someone told us she was in attendance and asked if she could come backstage and say hello. Mark Lowry and I greeted Marsha and her partner and someone snapped a photograph of the four of us, a picture Marsha has exploited on her Web site ever since. False reports of what transpired at the concert have also surfaced on various Web sites so we pulled the videotape of the concert and reviewed it. Here is exactly what happened.
Note from Mary: The picture is hardly a "snapshot". It was clearly posed, as Marsha stated.
Gloria and I were celebrating our 40th anniversary that night and we sang a number of songs that had been special to us over the years, including, "For Those Tears I Died." I mentioned, from the platform, that the woman who wrote that song "is here tonight." I then said that I love that song because someone "may have seen a grownup with a Jesus that maybe is pushing you away, that wouldn't let you in. And you were never good enough. The only Christ I know is the Christ in that song, with His arms out very wide, saying, "Come to the water, That's the only Christ I know -- come as you are."
We then continued the concert without any further mention of Marsha or this song. Any other report of this concert is simply and sadly false. I regret that this brief exchange has apparently been used to suggest some sort of endorsement of Marsha and her current life and work. Clearly I do not endorse or support either, though I believe God can, and does still use this song to minister to people. I pray for Marsha and encourage others to do the same.
From left to right: Cindy Pino, Marsha Stevens, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry
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