This past January, Joel Osteen, the pastor of America’s largest church, found himself under the scrutiny of the national media. While being interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN, Morgan pressed him on the issue of homosexuality. Osteen reluctantly confessed that he believes homosexuality to be a sin. While not known for his doctrinal clarity or for taking a stance on controversial issues, Osteen did uphold the clear teaching of Scripture. The following day on his blog, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered this commentary:
“Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters.
What happened last night on Piers Morgan Tonight is a sign of things to come. After this interview, Joel Osteen will never be seen in the same way by the secular media and a good segment of the public. His efforts to avoid talking about sin failed him, and he ran out of options. Thankfully, he did not deny that homosexuality is a sin. We can only have hoped that he would have given a more bold answer, followed by an equal boldness in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In any event, Joel Osteen had his moment last night. Most Christians will not face that question on national television, but on a college campus, in a family discussion, in the workplace, or in the heat of debate. But, whatever the circumstances, that moment will soon come.”
Little did I know just how prophetic these words would prove to be. Last week, I read a front-page story in the Crestline Advocate about the sale of the First English Lutheran Church. After sitting vacant for a time, the church was purchased by the United Reform Catholic Church International of the Old Catholic Order. The article also notes that the priest, Father Anthony Capretta, is openly gay.
No doubt this article caught the attention of many. Readers surely were asking: what are we to make of a gay priest? It is no secret that we will be judged by how we respond to this matter. Last January, Joel Osteen learned his lesson the hard way – either you embrace homosexuality, or get slammed by the media and everyone else.
What Bible-believing Christians must realize is that this issue is not going to go away. As Albert Mohler argued, your day is coming. But how will we respond? The Bible is crystal clear on this matter and we can’t say that the problem is a lack of Scriptural clarity. The Word of God repeatedly affirms that homosexuality is sin (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10) and it is a lifestyle not pleasing to the Lord. So the question that remains to be answered is this – are we going to go along with what God says or not?
Now that I have made it clear that we must uphold what Scripture teaches, let me also say that we must respond with love and humility. My attempt in this article is not to bash homosexuals but to point them to the clear teaching of Scripture. For anyone who feels trapped in a homosexual lifestyle, please understand that there is hope. You can find hope and deliverance through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The bible says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh.” (1 Peter 3:18) Let me be clear that we are all sinners in desperate need of a Savior and I am not trying to isolate homosexuals, but rather to point them to Christ. For Christ alone is the hope of the world.
Friend, the issue of homosexuality is not going away anytime soon and your day is coming. You will be asked to articulate your beliefs on this matter. It is my prayer that you will lovingly take a biblical stance. But I also pray that you will point your inquirer to the hope of Jesus Christ. I will warn you, however, to be prepared. Jesus said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) What is biblical is not always popular so be prepared to stand for truth.