Christian, don’t begrudgingly affirm God’s Word
This past week, the folks at Hillsong found themselves in a bit of a pickle as founder Brian Houston, when confronted on the question of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In attempting to provide a winsome answer, he said that it’s too important to reduce down to a “yes or no answer in a media outlet,” which many conservative evangelicals took to mean Houston and Hillsong are fudging on what the Bible says.
Fast forward a couple of days. Houston clarified, saying, “My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.”
Houston’s not alone in doing “the dance”—not wanting to deny the Bible, but wanting to keep entry to the faith as free from obstacles as possible. Tons of pastors (and “pastors”) have faced this. Even Joel Osteen (who has the most inoffensive to unbelievers personality on earth!) has been ambushed on the question. In the end, he said he didn’t believe it to be God’s best for people.
Public personalities like these aren’t alone in doing the dance. At some point or another we all do it. And as I’ve watched it happen (and occasionally been caught in it myself) time and again, one of the inevitable pieces of fallout is we wind up just having to come out and say what we were trying to not say.
This almost begrudging acceptance of the truth—we really do have to say what the Bible says.
Now, I get it. Many people want to avoid putting up a stumbling block to unbelievers coming to faith. They don’t want to be seen as “those Christians”—the ones who are always fighting about this or that, or who are considered hateful or bigots. But dancing around the Bible isn’t the answer.
We don’t really need to do the dance. We don’t have to be backed into a corner where we begrudgingly accept what the Bible says. Not if we are viewing the Bible as we are meant to.
If the Bible is the word of Truth (James 1:18; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:15), shouldn’t we be more comfortable standing by it? Not with a begrudging acceptance, but with a heartfelt confidence?
Shouldn’t we be willing to treat God’s word as, well, God’s Word?
3 Replies to “Christian, don’t begrudgingly affirm God’s Word”
[…] Christian, don’t begrudgingly affirm God’s Word […]
Yes, Aaron. It is why we should never begin a sentence with “I’m sorry, but the Bible says…”
Because I’m not sorry. God doesn’t need me to apologize for Him, He has called me to magnify His Son.
When we begrudgingly assent to Scripture what we are saying is we don’t really love the God revealed by Scripture. Like, “Hey, this is my cousin Jake. He’s a great guy, but he likes the Steelers.”
Don’t be ashamed of God. Which is the same as saying don’t be ashamed of His Word.
I think that handling the media is an extremely difficult task, which could place a pastor in an awkward position with those who are his primary concern. I remember hearing one minister here in Scotland, who was involved in a campaign against a bill about education establishments being instructed to teach about “alternative lifestyles” who said afterwards that he felt he had sacrificed his ability to effectively preach the gospel for the next 5-10 years and that, if he had known that in advance, he may well have not got involved.
I have a certain sympathy for Debra Hirsch’s instruction, which was to “lead with embrace, not theology”, and advised that when we try to sound like the Holy Spirit, we end up sounding like Pharisees. That’s not to say we should in any way avoid or deny orthodoxy, but rather that it should not be our opening gambit – the gospel should come first. What media questions like this do is to force a pastor into leading with doctrine and theology and remove the possibility of embrace.
I fear we may end up putting ourselves in a position where the only churches that gay people are ever likely to attend are churches with theology we would run a mile from, and which may never preach the gospel, because we keep on putting up metaphorical “keep out” signs.
Comments are closed.