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.
3 thoughts on “Homosexuality – the issue Christian’s can’t ignore”
Thanks for the post Dan. Very thoughtful and balanced. I appreciate hearing your stance on this issue and being bold enough to address it in a public forum.
Hi Dan – I so appreciate your writings – thank you for taking the time to blog. I’ve reposted a few to the Mosaic Blog (for Regent alumni & faculty).
Something about this post, however, triggered in me a desire to respond (and forgive me as this is my first time ever responding to any blog post, anywhere) .. but frankly Dan, I am a bit concerned about the tone or maybe it’s the trajectory of your admonition to the Church / for believers / to be “prepared to stand for Truth” when the issue of homosexuality comings knocking on your door.
Although near the end of your piece you do get around to advising that “we must respond with love and humility” … and I think THAT, dear brother, is what needs unpacking.
What does it look like to respond in love, in humility, to this issue in the church. And I say ‘in the church’ since I’m not prepared to judge those outside the church (1 Cor 5:9-13) without the offsetting account of my own lifestyle (right living) choices.
Standing can be a tricky business.
Especially when we (the church) look so much like the world:
– breaking promises (to each other and ourselves)
– suing each other
– living without generosity
– consuming more food than we need to live,
– buying more stuff than we need to live,
– buying into the messaging and branding of a culture that is in the business of deceit and lies (enticing us from our true Lover), and basically distracting us with all manner of amusements.
Seems with in the cacophony of voices on the entire issue around homosexuality, the Church would do well to see this more as a divine ‘teachable moment’ for our own personal journeys with Christ; our own lifestyle choices.
But that might require a change in posture: kneeling, as opposed to standing, would be a start.
On my knees, the Holy Spirit enables me to see the shadows in my own heart and motivations. This illumination always draws me to a greater depth of understanding the depth of God’s mercy and forgiveness of me, and my own need to practice humility and loving kindness to others. “O to Grace, how great a debtor …”
So as I daily struggle with my general inclination to wander from God and into the prevailing winds of a culture lost in half-lies, the Gospel keeps returning me to Christ Jesus, and his example of love and hospitality.
Hi Sharon. I do appreciate you taking the time to comment on my blog. I think you have done a fine job of unpacking some of what it means to respond in love and humility. As you have stated we must always be examining our own lives and continually looking to Jesus for healing and forgiveness. In the past, all too often Christians have been quick to point the finger at others without examining their own hearts. However, I do stand by my premise. We must be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). It is not helpful to be wishy washy on this issue when the Bible is crystal clear. When someone asks us where we stand on this matter, we must point them to the truth of Scripture and the deliverance that is in Christ.
Last year my wife and I invited a lesbian into our home and we had the privilege of sharing the gospel with her. Even though she felt trapped in the lifestyle, we assured her that Christ could heal her and free her and save her, just as He has healed us.
As I said in the article (quoting Mohler), these types of conversations are going to come up more and more, especially with the cultural shift we are now in the midst of and we must be prepared to point people to the hope of the gospel.
Thanks again for your thoughts.