October 17, 2014
It was inevitable I suppose. When a church operates as a global brand the need to stay fashionable is of prime importance. So it is not surprising that Hillsong, the multinational mega-church founded in Australia is now openly capitulating on biblical sexual ethics. Carl Lentz the uber hip rock star pastor of Hillsong New York made headlines not long ago for refusing to answser questions regarding homosexuality. Lentz' wife Laura recently said, "It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That's their journey." Of course that's all blather. Every pastor, including Carl Lentz tells people how to live precisely because we know that God's Word actually contains commands. And now comes news that Brian Houston, founder of Hillsong refuses to clarify the church's position on homosexuality by calling it "an ongoing conversation."
In a piece at First Things Andew Walker comments on Hillsong's "journey."
First, if I were writing the Art of Cultural War, this is the strategy I’d use to bring the opposing side to heel. The steps look something like this: Relativize the issue with other issues. Be uncertain about the issue. Refuse to speak publicly on the issue. Be indifferent toward the issue. Accept the issue. Affirm the issue. Require the issue. Hillsong is currently on step three. I don’t think they’ll stay there.
Second, a non-answer is an answer. Let’s be very clear on that. It’s also a very vapid answer. What we’re seeing in many corners of evangelicalism is a pliability that makes Christianity an obsequious servant to whatever the reigning zeitgeist is. With non-answers like this, it isn’t Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Culture is. Perhaps Hillsong would rather abide by a “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy on matters of orthodoxy. That’s their prerogative. But let’s be clear that this is not the route of faithfulness.
Third, this isn’t an issue over whether gays and lesbians should or should not be welcomed in church. This also isn’t an issue over whether young individuals within the LGBT community have faced bullying. Bullying of all sorts is deplorable and should be condemned, and not because the Human Rights Campaign says so, but because Jesus says so (Matthew 7:12). What this issue is about is whether the church models faithful obedience to Christ in a way that both honors Scripture and loves its neighbor. Hillsong thinks it’s doing both; but is actually doing neither.
Read the entire post HERE.
The issue of homosexuality is clarifying for it makes clear whether or not we are ruled by cultural preferences or Christ and his intrusive Word. It may well be that the Lord is purifying his church by ridding her of charlatans, scammers, compromisers, and bullies. Let us pray toward that end.
I was disappointed when I saw that Louie Giglio had invited Carl Lentz to speak at his Passion conference. I was further disappointed to see that John Piper was planning on sharing the same platform. Let's hope that Giglio and Piper revisit this decision.