“Hillsong Comes Out In Support of Actively Gay Christians”

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That’s what the headline will one day read. It’s inevitable. How do I know? Because it’s happened before.

On the One Hand…

In 2005, Pastor Chuck Smith, Jr., son of the Calvary Chapel movement’s founder Chuck Smith, said of “gay Christians,”

… the easy answer… implies that homosexuality is morally wrong. I’m still looking at it. On the one hand, I’m up against biblical passages [condemning homosexuality] that I need to investigate more thoroughly. On the other hand, I know many practicing homosexuals. I know two young men who’ve been monogamous partners for seven years. They’ve adopted a son who is thriving. They’re good dads, they’re good people, they have asked Jesus into their hearts and seek to live Christian lives.

Smith was “still looking at” the moral implications of homosexuality. He was “up against biblical passages” that he considered “on the one hand,” while considering his personal experience with practicing homosexuals “on the other hand.”

Within five years of making these remarks, Smith began publicly standing as a “straight ally” for non-celibate homosexual Christians.

Where Should Lines Be Drawn?

Brian McLaren, a leading figure in the emerging church movement and recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, was formerly confused about the legitimacy of homosexual relationships. He said,

Frankly, many of us [emerging church leaders] don’t know what we should think about homosexuality…. [If] we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered… we aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn….

McLaren couldn’t figure out where “lines [were] to be drawn,” despite having the “biblical arguments” right in front of him. Eventually, after weighing the Bible against potential “legitimate context[s] for some homosexual relationships,” McLaren, too, came down on the side of same-sex marriage and non-celibate homosexual Christians.

Now here comes Hillsong.

Merging Biblical Truth with a Changing World

Australia-based megachurch Hillsong has twelve global campuses, including those in Los Angeles and New York City, and brings you the 2014 GMA lifetime achievement award-winning praise and worship music that you love, with songs like “Mighty to Save” and “Shout to the Lord.” Hillsong Church and Pastor Brian Houston have an immense influence on global Christian culture today.

In June 2014, Hillsong NYC campus Pastor Carl Lentz told CNN,

We have a lot of gay men and women in our church and I pray we always do…. It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it’s – that’s their journey.

Lentz didn’t feel that he should take a public stance on gay marriage because “I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people.” Pastor Lentz should know better than to try to prove something by lack of evidence; nevertheless, his comments didn’t cause too much of a stir.

But last week, Pastor Houston held a press conference alongside Pastor Lentz that brought the matter into full light. Couched in his concern for “the church to stay relevant,” Pastor Houston said in part,

Many mainstream churches have held what… they would believe is the long-established view on what the Bible says on the subject of homosexuality. But the world’s changed around and about them. On the subject I always feel like there’s three things: there’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the Word we live by.

Sound familiar?

Like Lentz before him, Pastor Houston would not give a definitive stance on homosexuality, and exactly where Smith and McLaren were at one time, Pastor Houston is currently struggling to balance “the world” with the one hand, and “the Word” on the other.

But what about the written statement Pastor Houston issued a few days later to clarify his position? Following a firestorm of criticism, he said,

“Nowhere in my answer did I diminish biblical truth or suggest that I or Hillsong Church supported gay marriage…. 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…. I made the point that public statements condemning people will place a barrier between the church and the world (and I note that Jesus came to save and not to condemn), which is why at Hillsong, we don’t want to reduce the real issues in people’s lives to a sound bite. This – like many other issues, is a conversation the church needs to have and we are all on a journey as we grapple with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world.” (emphasis mine)

Pastor Houston’s response appeased many, but what did he actually clarify? A careful reader will note that he once again did not offer a definitive stance on gay marriage or gay Christians. He alluded to “biblical truth” and “the writings of Paul,” but, to the so-called gay Christian who believes his actively homosexual lifestyle is acceptable to God, he too believes that Paul’s writing “are clear on this subject.” The key to properly understanding Pastor Houston’s thinking falls at the end of his statement:

we [are] grappl[ing] with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world. (emphasis mine)

Merging biblical truth with a changing world. This is exactly the mindset that swells megachurches and makes the Good News totally irrelevant. To say that “Jesus came to save and not to condemn”—a paraphrase of John 12:47—tells only half the story, because the very next verse, John 12:48, says that there is “one who judges… [and He] will judge [us] at the last day.” Yeshua also came not to put peace on the earth, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). Therefore, to bury this biblical truth in an attempt at relevancy is to ultimately bring the Good News to nothing.

The Plain Truth, Please

The journey we are all on, and the conversation we need to have, must not permit the compromise (or convenient omission) of Scripture. Mark my words: if Pastor Houston cannot find within himself the conviction to openly proclaim what the Scriptures plainly state about homosexuality (or any other sin that keeps people separated from their Creator), we will eventually see that headline, and the fine line that Pastor Houston is trying to walk will disappear under his feet.

Hillsong (and the rest of institutional religion) may be struggling to become relevant in a noisy, godless world; but the Word of God and the message of salvation from sin through the Messiah Yeshua has never not been relevant, and has at no time required our assistance to become so. We ourselves alter that eternal message and render it irrelevant by trying to strike a balance between the world and the Word.

Stand up for the Word of God, Pastor Houston! Proclaim its truth plainly! Let the Scriptures alone define what is relevant, so that you may throw away forever what is not.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; this One was in the beginning with God…. In Him was Life, and the Life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, but the darkness did not perceive it. (John 1:1-5)

25 Comments
  • Angela
    October 26, 2014

    Wow – sad that so many are changing their views to stay relevant instead of changing their views to stay true to God’s Word. Thanks for keeping it real and always standing firm in the Scriptures. They don’t change no matter how much our world or experience does.

    • brenda
      October 27, 2014

      Stand on the Word or fall for anything. As much as I would like to wrap my arms around the homosexual community, pat them and say “it’s all right” that is Such an unloving act. I would never lie to my children and say it is okay to sin in this way or that: God will understand.
      Our Holy God cannot look at sin and thus, we must speak the Truth in love, in the most loving manner, or else we are actually hating our homosexual family and friends.
      Pastor Brian needs prayer and I say that most humbly. He is so gifted and might be used of God in even greater ways if he would tell the Truth as God directs.
      I am truly sorry for this turn in his teaching.
      And please do not use the term “gay” in writing or speaking. Homosexuals are not Gay though they may pretend to be or say they are happy as can be. This word has been hijacked by the homosexual community. Please help restore it to its original intended use in the English language. Thank you!

    • Osia Moore
      October 27, 2014

      I believe the day is coming, and perhaps is already here when each and everyone of us will have to examine ourselves and decide , “Do i stand for the truth of the word of God, or will i succumb to the world’s way of thinking, in what God calls sinful”. We can’t pick and choose what sins are acceptable and those that are not. The Truth of God’ word can never successfully be altered to fit our lifestyle or agendas.

    • Paulette Hickman
      October 29, 2014

      I feel in my heart the reason some Leaders are not trying to make that stand for the word of God in this day and time is because so many in that life style are helping to financing the church, we do want them to be in church and learning the TRUTH of God, these leaders will be held accountable to God for not speaking TRUTH and leading them to believe different from what God’s word says, which could mean Hell for them, so don’t you think the leaders as well will not make it to heaven as well, for not speaking TRUTH. God’s word is TRUTH His word is the standard by which we should live. God does not change His word as the world changes.

  • Ellen
    October 27, 2014

    I guess it will always amaze me that a Christian leader can eventually forget that God never changes, no matter what the world around is us doing. Daniel lived in a foreign pagan land and still kept God’s Torah in his heart. Children of God are all outside of His Holy Israel right now, and we are expected to live His Word in our hearts and lives — not publicly compromise and teach others to do so. Woe to these teachers, who leading others into their depraved and deceived alternate theologies…

  • Alicia Robinson
    October 27, 2014

    I am in complete agreement that homosexuality is wrong. But what is a parent to do when their 12 year old child announces they are gay? My child has been reared in a Christian/messianic Jewish environment: school and synagogue, moved to a homeschool environment when tuition became to much for me to handle. What went wrong? There is no support from the synagogue, no guidance as to how to handle this!!! I love my daughter who has accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. She knows what the bible says about homosexuality but asks the question, can you just decide one day that you are no longer attracted to men and will now like women? That’s what we are telling them they should me able to do. I don’t know the answer to this but I do know that we are to love them not their son just like we love everyone else. Practicing or not does not change the fact that they are homosexual no more than it changes the fact that I am heterosexual. There needs to be support from the messianic communities to help families dealing with this issue not just telling us it’s wrong.

    • Christine
      October 27, 2014

      Alicia, if you were in my Kehilat this is what I would share with you…

      First, your child is twelve years old. Her Body is developing two times faster than her emotional maturity. Mentally she is trying to make choices for herself to prove to herself and to you that she is growing up and also, although maybe on a sub-conscious level, to test you. But at the end of the day, she is still a child … and your still her Mother.

      As such, I think you have the responsibility to God to set Biblical boundaries for your household as long as she lives under your roof. You will be seen as the enemy and unfair… but better to walk in Obedience to the Most High, maintaining Biblical precepts, than to succumb to our pervasive culture.

      Secondly, sexual affiliation is NOT Genetic… it is NOT just how they are wired, it is a Choice. She was created in the image of God … he would not create something that would be in direct opposition to HIS HOLY Word.

      Spiritually speaking, pray for a heart change in her and for God to show her how real and tangible HE is. It sounds like she has a mental assent of the concept of Yeshua and HIS Atoning sacrifice, and perhaps may even feel she has a relationship with him, but her choices and sinful desires have blocked a real and tangible relationship with God.

      Practically speaking, you can set a no dating rule as long as she lives in your home and serious consequences if she is caught defying your rule.

      Unfortunately, as we both know all too well, the decisions she makes today, good or bad will certainly have an effect on her future morality, World View and of course her Spirituality.

      I cannot imagine how your mothers heart is grieving over your childs choices. But be of good courage… Yeshua can redeem her, draw her out of this pit and set her on a course to serve HIM.

      Keep praying… and May God give you strength and Wisdom to guide you through the next few years and to give you HIS Shalom in the process!

      Feel free to email me

      Christine Walker
      christine@messianicwf.org

  • Austin Fergusson
    October 27, 2014

    As Paul explains in Romans 1:18 through 3:26, since they (and we also) have not glorified God as God nor given thanks to Him, and we haven’t thought it worthwhile to retain God’s Scriptures; God has given us over to a depraved mind. Simply what is bad is thought by us to be good and we cannot see the truth. This is not vindictive, for (2:2) God’s judgment is based on truth, and He is leading us towards repentance. If we continue stubborn and unrepentant then we invite God’s wrath. Paul says that if we want to teach others the truth then we should examine ourselves first and live according to the Scriptures ourselves. This will lead towards repentance and acceptance of Jesus through faith by both Jew and Gentile.

    Please read that passage to see if the above is a correct understanding.

  • Anita
    October 27, 2014

    How very sad that those who profess to be Christians don’t seem to understand that what is called tolerance is in fact cruelty. When we speak out against homosexuality we are not condemning them,we are showing them the truth.God designed for a marriage to be one man and one woman for a reason.They compliment each other.Anything that is contrary to Gods design will lead to our hurt.Humans always think they know better than God.
    Our Father does not want to spoil our “fun” as some think,He wants to protect us.There are many homosexuals that are nice people,I know some.However nice does not give entrance to heaven.God’s standard is very high.
    The world and society changes,but God and His word never change.We must love them by telling them the truth.

  • Greg Knowlton
    October 27, 2014

    Shalom Kevin,
    We see and hear more and more of this compromise everyday! Sad especially when it comes from Pastors!
    God’s word is pretty simple to understand and very plain in what He says about homosexuality! It’s an abomination, a sin. Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13 are just a few scriptures declaring it for what it is!
    Sad to see the compromise just for the sake of numbers and money!

  • Fran Kuik
    October 27, 2014

    Thanks for that, Kevin. Biblical illiteracy in the church creates a broad and wide path on which everyone thinks they can fit all their extra worldly baggage. They fool themselves, and cause those outside the church to see ‘that place’ as irrelevant. No amount of ‘changing things up’ can change the fact that the gate is only wide enough for the sheep who know and follow their Master’s voice, in Spirit and in Truth.

  • Dan
    October 27, 2014

    Homosexuality is simply like so many innumerable manifestations of a world that is out of order with God’s design. Holy Spirit-informed people would never say “cancer is normal”, or “pedophilia or bestiality are normal behaviors”; or that increasingly violent (and sinful) human societies are “just the way things were always intended to become”, etc. I feel compassion for homosexuals, including those who engage in sin without repentance (even as a dog returns to its vomit), for their suffering is real; but I will never believe any homosexual who would have me believe that homosexuality is not a burden on him (or her), that he does not suffer from it. And why does he suffer? Because it is unnatural, and a disorder.

  • Pamela Kelly
    October 27, 2014

    I believe what many of these pastors who “are grappling with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world” have failed to realize that mankind has an enemy who wants to destroy their soul. Satan is a master manipulator of human emotions. Two people caught up in an adulterous love affair might believe they are deeply in love with each other, but they are still breaking God’s commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery”. Two homosexuals might feel the same way and might be involved in a committed relationship, yet again, they are involved in what the Bible declares is “an abomination” to God.
    One of the most frequent subjects Yeshua taught about during His earthly ministry was on the subject of hell and how to avoid going there. His words are a relevant in today’s “changing world” as they were when He spoke them over 2,000 years ago.
    He admonished His listeners, “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Matthew 10:28
    I believe this single scripture should be a rallying cry to all ministers and teachers of the Word of God to rise up and speak the truth, regardless of threats of punishment or being labeled as a “hater” and a “bigot” etc.
    Our Lord already told us that is we were part of the world, the world would love us and call us one of it’s own, but because we have been called out from the world to serve Him, we will be marked and persecuted and hated because the world hated Him first. But, we are to take heart, and have courage in the face of adversity because He has overcome the world!
    Another area of concern which is sorely lacking in the Church today, and in particular the West, is the great need for deliverance ministry. I believe homosexuals are languishing under the influence and torment of demons. When Yeshua started his ministry, what struck people the most was how He dealt with driving out evil spirits. I have always been amazed by the story of His encounter the demoniac among the tombs. The poor tormented man fell down before him and the demons in him cried out, “O What do you want with us, Son of God?” “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
    Although the Lord’s own hand-picked disciples often debated among themselves about Yeshua’s true identity, those evil spirits knew exactly Who He was! However, the Lord warned them to remain silent, and they yielded to His command before He cast them into the nearby herd of swine.
    Likewise He has given us authority in His name the power “to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy”
    Luke 10:19
    One of my most fervent prayers is for another Great Awakening to take place across America, a revival of the true Christian faith-the cleansing power from sin found only in the exhortation of the Gospel- from coast to coast. There are so many walking wounded in our nation today who need to know the love and mercy, forgiveness, and salvation that can be found only in and through Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.

  • Marie Jones
    October 27, 2014

    Pastors need to wake up and not compromise though we love the sinner and not the sin truth is truth specially biblical.You can not merge- there is that word that I never liked because when you hear it you hear trouble -the changing world and biblical truths, God does not change the Word does not change. Beware pastors the only One you need to give an account is to God so if you want to be popular then keep this mindset otherwise serve God even when you will not be that popular read the real prophets in the Bible none were popular they struggle a lot. MJ

  • Bob
    October 27, 2014

    Judgment begins in G_d’s house. I am somewhat fearful for these leaders. I pray that they put those in error outside lest they (if they are saved) be given over to satan for the destruction of their flesh along with these pastors. If the Gospel is not compromised wouldn’t they want to leave?

  • Don Norris
    October 27, 2014

    Kevin,

    I’m so glad that you continue to bear the Standard. I knew when I first read Bearing the Standard that you were throwing down the gauntlet at the foot of the “church.”

    I am so grateful that the church we attend has taken a stand against this sin. Like any other sin, we will love the sinner and nourish them in the truth, but we will not condone the continued practice of their sin.

    I don’t view this as any different from other forms of sin. For example, I have never met a Mormon that I didn’t like. They are very family orientated, take care of their own and serve their communities. But, they are walking in error.

    Our job is not to judge, but to bear the standard that God has given to us in His Word, encourage them to repent and pray for their redemption.

  • Bradley Sutton
    October 27, 2014

    This is not a new thing under the sun. In the fourth century Christians said, “we will accept compromise if you (Rome) make the persecutions stop.” And so the trade was made. The “Judaizing” Torah was compromised (and because it was traded and doctrines demonize it it’s not there when it’s needed). But this is the same thing; compromises are being made to avoid persecution. This is a fearing of those who can kill the body. This is what I understand…

    …But what I don’t understand is why we believers are quick to play defense but not offense. In my opinion, Yeshua came to magnify the Torah and make it a spiritual weapon. Why don’t we ask if men WANT to be “gay” in the first place? If they wish they were “straight” which in my limited interaction with gays seems to show (“it would be easier”), it implies a spiritual problem (not a natural problem)- just like witchcraft, necromancy, and spirits of divinity, thus a need for healing, deliverance, or any other offensive weapon of warfare Yeshua instilled to save people to their natural order. Why do these “spiritual” Christians act like the Spirit doesn’t exist, or at best, like homosexual is not a spiritual problem?

    The problem isn’t homosexuality, it’s the lack of Spirit and Torah due to self-inflicted compromises. The Torah and Spirit haven’t gone anywhere, but you can’t have one without the other. I think this is what is happening but Christians are not generally realizing this.

  • Pat McGuire
    October 27, 2014

    Why can’t we just say what GOD said, man on man or woman on woman is sin because GOD the Ultimate Authority, The Most High GOD, our Creator, The Final Judge, All Loving GOD said this is not the way HE created us. It is not part of His plan, in addition, it does not work for our good.
    He also told us we are not to serve the creation above the Creator.
    Sad, but there exist those who never developed beyond the emotional infant stage of crying for what they want. I want…when the consequence and finale is NOT what they will want.
    GOD’s pure and Holy ways are guarenteed to be the very best for His creation.

  • Edward Vanek
    October 27, 2014

    With the Scriptures clear on the subject of homosexuality, there has to be something else motivating this. This may sound simplistic, but I think it is money. A person can’t serve both God and money. It has to be one or the other. The coffers being full is more important than loyalty to our Master. 1 John 2:15-17 comes to mind.

  • Allison
    October 27, 2014

    Dear Kevin, toda raba! I have lived with this in many aspects of my life.

    Alicia, I feel your pain. I have homosexual cousins, a former spouse, and now bisexual children (who were raised in a Christian/Messianic home).

    So many people desire to be supportive and share Yeshua’s love. They think that acceptance of the lifestyle is the only way to do that. Not true! We truly can “love the person, not the sin”!

    We all have sin (hopefully repentant) in our own lives, the lives of our family, friends, co-workers, etc. we do not have to actively go around pointing that out to them everyday. We do not go up to Uncle Bernie the alcoholic at Thanksgiving dinner and tell him all about how he is sinning and needs to repent, we just love him and tell him so. If we are in relationship with sinners they know our hearts and our beliefs. What they experience in seeing that we love them in spite of their sin is what will share His love with them. They do feel condemned enough already, especially if they have had a profession of faith. That is the job of the Holy Spirit! Our job is to be His hands and feet, to just be there and let the Ruach work through us. He will give us the timing, the words, and the opportunity in which to share His/Our convictions. We just have to be there and love them through it all.

    I know it sounds easy to say and hard to put into action. Believe me this has been a difficult path to walk. The blessing is that He is always with us and will never abandon of forsake us. That is the message we must convey to others.

    Many blessings to Kevin and all those who continue to bear His standard to the world!

  • Nora
    October 27, 2014

    I believe you should send each of those professing Christian Pastors a copy of your great book, “Bearing The Standard.” In the book you detail how the word of God should be upheld above everything else; His words have never changed. How is it that our opinions change His words?
    God forgive and discipline us, if we can’t tell the difference anymore between what is right and wrong? Sadly, this is how far we have fallen from keeping the commandments of Adonai. We have fallen from grace into sin.

  • smprfi
    October 27, 2014

    Thank-you for your courage, Kevin. It is a very hard characteristic to find in a turbulent world. When you understand that over 50% of christian leaders have “dabbled” in pornography in the past 90+ days, it’s not a hard stretch to see them move to this position.

  • Joan
    October 29, 2014

    I am absolutely amazed. Now I have heard that the Pope has now stated his belief in evolution and that he too is in favour of same sex marriage.
    What has happened to their belief in the old testament and the total bible.
    Is it just to try and remain popular.
    It does not work for me.
    Dissolusioned

  • Judy
    June 27, 2015

    In reference to Pastor Lentz’s statement, “I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people’. I believe that Revelation 22 is pretty clear. – we are those ‘people’. Reality is verse 11. Truth is verse 12. Thank YOU, Mr. Geoffrey, for your ministry.

  • Rev. Sidney R. Smith
    July 23, 2015

    So he chose the other hand revealing clearly he does not stand for God, but Satan himself. *BAN AND BOYCOTT HILLSONG UNTIL THEY PUBLICLY REPENT!*