Swedish Pentecostal preacher dismissed for promoting conversion therapy

19-06-2022

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Pastor Barkenbom in a video on Instagram. He apologised for his invitation to conversion therapy. Photo Screenshot Instagram, Josefemanuel

A Swedish pastor has been fired because of his invitation to conversion therapy. In a video, pastor Josef Barkenbom from the Pentecostal Church in Solna asked people to attend a midweek service in which therapy would be offered.

That is reported by Varlden iDag. Recently, Barkenboom posted a video on his Instagram account in which he said that people should come to church to receive therapy to "turn to Jesus." The treatment would not be one-on-one but by a preacher who based his sermon on the Bible, the pastor said. He welcomed everyone who wanted to come. "It's all right; I want to invite you a little extra if you want to come and see and see what it's about following Jesus."

Recently, it became known that Barkenboom had been fired from his parish leadership. He says to Varlden iDag that this happened after he posted his video on social media. "A few days later, I had a meeting with the chairman and director. I was told that I was laid off and that they did not want me to attend church anymore. I was very disappointed", Barkenbom told the newspaper. The spokesperson of the Solna Pentecostal Church did not want to confirm the reason for Barkenbom's dismissal.

Storm of critique

Barkenboom received a storm of critique and unpublished his video. One of the members of Parliament, Robert Hannah, even called for a stop of the subsidy payments to the Pentecostal Church, Dagen wrote. "If you are engaged in conversion therapy, then you should not have the taxpayers' money", Hannah said to Dagen.

Reaction to accusation Swedish newspaper

Soon after, Barkenboom deleted his video and published a new one in which he apologised. That is reported by Dagen. In the new video, he said that he realised that his post "might do more harm than good" and that he understands that his post about conversion therapy was "quite easy to misinterpret."

According to the former pastor, he had posted the video on Instagram in reaction to the fact that a Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, had portrayed Pentecostal churches as suspicious and secretive. "The Church has been preaching about Jesus for 2,000 years. We do not hide anything", he said to Varlden iDag.

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