The past couple of weeks have been quite hectic around my house. On New Year’s Eve my 11 year old daughter had her tonsils removed. About a week into her recovery her incisions begin to bleed and we ended up spending about 3 hours at the ER in the middle of the night. Then I decided to celebrate the end of the week by getting the flu. My daughter and I are both mostly recovered now and things are slowly getting back to normal.
Being at home helping my wife with our daughter (mostly by keeping up with the other 3 kids) and recovering from my own sickness gave me plenty of time to keep up with the doings in the wide world of evangelicalism. Probably the biggest story over that time was the Obama/Giglio inauguration saga.
For those of you living under the proverbial rock, President Obama invited Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and one of the creators of the Passion conferences, to give the benediction at his inauguration. Obama chose Giglio because of his work to raise awareness of and eliminate slavery and sex-trafficking. As it turned out, Giglio preached a sermon some 15 or so years ago where he calls sinners to repent, including homosexuals, and trust in the grace of Christ to save them. Some watch dog group found audio of the sermon, released in, and before you could say “tolerance”, Giglio stepped down and the White House basically apologized for every inviting him to the inauguration.
You can read Giglio’s full statement here but I want to focus on a small portion of it and ask a couple of questions.
Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.
First of all, please know that I have nothing against Louie Giglio and from all accounts the sermon that was posted that has caused all the fuss was a gracious treatment of calling homosexuals as well as all sinners to repentance and faith in Christ. Having said that, when I read a statement like this one I immediately get the impression that someone is trying to have their cake and eat it too. What it seems Giglio is doing here is saying that preaching on homosexuality isn’t a priority but calling people to Jesus is. My question is this: Is it possible to call people to Christ in a church as large as Giglio’s (and in any church for that matter) in downtown Atlanta and to also have not preached a sermon addressing homosexuality in 15 years?
I just don’t see where that is possible. If you are preaching the cross then you are preaching against the spirit of the world and at some point you have to address one of the most glaring areas that the world had thumbed its nose at the cross. Don’t you? So instead of coming across as responsive to the needs of the people, what ends up coming across is the impression that in order to gain or maintain favor with the world, you are willing to soft pedal the gospel. And the really sad thing is that it doesn’t work! Giglio is exhibit A in that regard. Even if you avoid the hot button issues for decades….the world will find you out and eventually you will have to declare your true allegiance. You can run but you can’t hide.
The cross is a stumbling block and foolishness to those who are perishing. If you align yourself with Christ, the world will hate you. Even if you manage to fool them for a while, eventually they will find you out. And when they do, no amount of social justice work or anything else will save you.
So, as fellow blogger trogdor said on his blog this past week:
They’re going to hate you anyway if you even come close to proclaiming the truth. So why not just go ahead and proclaim the full gospel of Christ?
They’re going to hate you anyway. Might as well preach it.
Yep…might as well preach it.