Republican challenger emerges for Steve Womack | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Republican challenger emerges for Steve Womack

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 11:11 AM

click to enlarge ROBB RYERSE: Announces primary challenge to Steve Womack.
  • ROBB RYERSE: Announces primary challenge to Steve Womack.
Robb Ryerse, who co-pastors Vintage Fellowship in Fayetteville with his wife, is on the web with an announcement of a Republican primary challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers.

Here's his web page.

After a TV station posted the news, Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger sniffed on Twitter: "He's no Republican."

Ryerse's campaign announcement on a crowdfunding page gives a hint of why Ballinger might object, emphasis supplied:

Robb Ryerse has been a minister for over 20 years. Today, he co-pastors Vintage Fellowship, nestled in Northwest Arkansas, with his wife Vanessa. Vintage Fellowship is a radically different kind of church that welcomes all people and is a member of OPEN, a network of progressive-leaning churches. Robb is an Eisenhower Republican who wants to help lead the party back to their roots of responsible stewardship, personal liberty and equal opportunity for all — qualities he finds lacking in today’s Republican leadership. After serving his Arkansas community as pastor for the last 12 years, Robb is answering a different call today: The call to run for United States Congress, bringing integrity and compassion back to the halls of government.

His church Facebook page also reveals a brand of religion that might be viewed as un-Republican these days, again with emphasis:

After pastoring traditional, fundamentalist churches for 10 years, Robb went through a crisis of faith that led to the birth of Vintage Fellowship. He just couldn’t any longer be a part of a church that didn’t allow questions, struggles, and doubts. His deep commitment to giving people the time and room to grow produced a longing to start a community founded on grace.

Robb is the author of Fundamorphosis: How I Left Fundamentalism But Didn’t Lose My Faith, the story of his theological transformation. He graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield PA and Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit PA. Currently, he works full-time as an account executive for a local television station.

Oh, heck, let's not beat around the bush. Here's a blog post by Ryerse — "I opposed gay marriage and I repent."

I was wrong when I said that the Bible clearly teaches a traditional definition of marriage. I was wrong to be insensitive to the lives and struggles of gay and lesbian people. I was wrong for perpetuating state oppression of a group of citizens. I was wrong and I repent.
Amen, brother.

If Ballinger thinks you can't be a Republican and support same-sex marriage or equal treatment of gay people, he needs to meet the Cheney family, among many others.

And get a load of this. Don't try this brand of Christianity in the Arkansas legislature.

Joshua Mahony has announced as a Democratic opponent to Womack.

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