Hillsong’s Brian Houston says church won’t take public position on LGBT issues

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Australia's Hillsong Church has locations around the world with tens of thousands in weekly attendance.  - Image courtesy of Michael Chan (http://bit.ly/1tywEdv)

Australia's Hillsong Church has locations around the world with tens of thousands in weekly attendance. - Image courtesy of Michael Chan (http://bit.ly/1tywEdv)

Australia's Hillsong Church has locations around the world with tens of thousands in weekly attendance.  - Image courtesy of Michael Chan (http://bit.ly/1tywEdv)

Australia’s Hillsong Church has locations around the world with tens of thousands in weekly attendance. – Image courtesy of Michael Chan (http://bit.ly/1tywEdv)

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler declared from his blog in June of 2014, “There is no third way on [same-sex issues].”

But Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, a global family of congregations comprising more than 30,000 weekly attendees and millions of worship music album sales, apparently disagrees with Mohler. At least, for now.

At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference in New York City today, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Houston to clarify their church’s position on same sex marriage. But Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”

(From left: Joel Houston, Bobbie Houston, Brian Houston, Carl Lentz) - Image courtesy of Jonathan Merritt

(From left: Joel Houston, Bobbie Houston, Brian Houston, Carl Lentz) – Image courtesy of Jonathan Merritt

Houston says that he considers three things when evaluating the topic: “There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by.”

He notes that the Western world is shifting its thinking on this issue, and churches are struggling to stay relevant. The weight we live in, he added, refers to a context where LGBT young people may feel rejected or shunned by churches, often leading to depression and suicide. But when Houston began speaking about the word we live by or “what the Bible says,” he refused to offer a concrete position.

(SEE UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF HOUSTON’S FULL ANSWER.)

“It would be much easier if you could feel like all of those three just easily lined up. But they don’t necessarily….” Houston said. “The real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to just reduce it down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in a media outlet.”

Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong’s New York City location, made similar statements on CNN in June, saying Hillsong in New York City has “a lot of gay men and women” and he hopes it stays that way. But he declines to address the matter in public because, in part, Jesus never did.

“Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today, was widely prevalent,” Lentz told CNN. “And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people.  You won’t find it because he never did.”

Lentz’s wife, Laura, chimed in: “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.”

No doubt Mohler and other conservative evangelicals will find such answers disconcerting if not downright dangerous to what they believe is the Biblical position. If the leaders of Hillsong, one of the most influential evangelical ministry conglomerates in the world, refuse to draw lines on these issues, it could influence other churches and pastors to reconsider their own positions.

And that is why this issue has become a litmus test for many on the left and right. Because in a moment when so much is at stake a non-statement statement is, well, quite a statement.

UPDATE: Brian Houston issues statement clarifying his personal position

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh9LiOwVj6E

  • Tim

    Let’s take a practical look for a moment at this problem of gays and the Church: Back in biblical days, people lived in caves and ate rats for dinner. They didn’t know the earth was round. How much do we think they knew about human sexuality?

    The scriptures were written by heterosexual men – not Jesus, not women, not gay men – but mere mortal heterosexual males who probably had the same fears as anyone else in this modern age who doesn’t like people who are different than they are. Nature puts gay people on this planet. There will always be gay babies – maybe to cut down on over-population, maybe to cut down on the aggression of heterosexual males that lead us into wars every twenty years, etc. Edit out or ignore the anti-gay prejudice in the bible and Christianity’s problem with the issue will disappear.

    Which brings me to my own personal theory: people who don’t ignore the anti-gay prejudice in the bible, don’t like gay people. I’m a Christian and I have never paid attention to it.

    When asked about gays, gay marriage and the Baptist Church, Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently said that “we would indeed have to overturn two thousand years of the church’s teaching on sex and marriage and apologize for the horrible embarrassment of being wrong for so long.”

    The smart move would be to admit to that mistake. Modern science is coming closer and closer to proving that homosexuality has a genetic component. Wouldn’t it be wiser for the Church to admit it’s mistake now, with dignity, rather than later…when it is forced to?

    Respectfully,
    Tim Fardella
    Beverly Hills, California

  • Lynn

    While I always agree that we have treated our gay brothers and sisters abominably, I bristle whenever I see people say that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. Because homosexuality was so prevalent, it was understood that he was including that when he talked about adultery, calling everyone to a life of holiness. People need to do themselves a service and study the work of Robert Gagnon, New Testament scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, who is an expert on this subject. Of course everyone things they are experts because they read articles on the internet. He is a true scholar. We can’t pretend the Bible doesn’t teach what it teaches just because we don’t like what God expects. We all fall short, but we should all be striving toward a life of holiness.

  • Karla

    1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists swindlers,drunkards,thieves,coveters/the greedy,
    idolaters,the sexually immoral,slanderers/liars/gossip,homosexuality as who
    will not inherit the kingdom of heaven unless they Repent! We must Repent!
    All sin is bad not just gay marriage and/or abortion which so many seem to
    only talk about so they don’t have to face their own sin. We all must Repent!
    Being mean/sharp tongues,gambling,pride,jealousy,taking the Lords name
    in vain are all sin/wrong as well. All sin is bad and all of us need to Repent!
    Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that all
    drunkards go to hell including people who get drunk with strong wine cause
    the wine Jesus made was diluted/was made for symbolic reasons plus the
    Bible says don’t get drunk with wine for it’s debauchery! We must Repent!

  • Nathan

    I think the *rush* to ‘have a statement’ is phenomenon that is foolish. I respect what Houston said in that they are having “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.” As I witness what my association is doing the USA with quick statements before ample dialog, it is causing unnecessary carnage. In my nation within our association, we are taking the time to dialog, realizing the incredibly important process of listening and showing one another value in that process – even if it means we still see issues differently. Whatever may happen with regards to the issue in terms of any future statements, I believe (especially through what I am witnessing now) that the process is just as important -if not more so -than the statement itself. So God bless the Hillsong folks with taking the time to pursue a healthy process where we can have a chance at working through this in a way that honours Jesus.

  • Chris

    I’m not entirely sure where I land on this issue, but arguing from Jesus’ silence is not the way to go. Jesus was silent on the issue because the overwhelming majority of his ministry happened in Jewish contexts, particularly among Jews who revered the OT Law, which is entirely clear on its position regarding homosexuality. It was a settled issue, not one that was up for discussion. Now Paul operated in a very different context, and as such was compelled to address the issue. Jesus’ silence doesn’t tell us much of anything in regards to how we should proceed with this question.

  • The only reason we’re having this conversation is because the culture is influencing the church with respect to issue of homosexuality and homosexual behavior. Pick a sin, any sin, and ask the same question. How about adultery, for example. If someone is being adulterous, is that just their “journey” or should we call them to repentance out of love like John the Baptist. How about the greedy Wall Street fat cats? Is selfishness and materialism their journey or can the church speak out? How about war, capital punishment, abortion? Where do we draw the line and why are we making issues of homosexuality a special case?

  • Karla

    Eric-Amen/very well said! We need to stick to what the Bible/Word of God says!

  • Troy

    I respect his position on this. With this being such a polarising issue, these types of conversations need to be had with people, and not from the a monologue from pulpit.

  • Jack

    Lentz is an ignoramus about the life and times of Jesus. The reason Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality was not that homosexuality was common, but because it was uncommon in the time and place in which he lived — ie first-century Israel. It wasn’t an issue, so there was nothing to say about it.

    In contrast, the apostle Paul lived in the Greco-Roman world, where homosexuality was more common. Therefore it was an issue and so Paul spoke of it.

  • Jack

    Tim, you’re talking right off the top of your head and embarrassing yourself in the process.

    First off, people in biblical times didn’t live in “caves.” They lived in either agricultural or urban societies. Learn your history.

    Second, you’re assuming as settled fact that men wrote the Bible without any inspiration from a deity. But it is not settled fact. It’s merely your opinion. Smarter people than you will differ with you on that point…..as will people who are less intelligent.

    Third, you’re assuming as settled fact that homosexuality is purely a genetic phenomenon in the same way that the color of one’s eyes, hair, or skin is genetic. But identical twin studies tell a different and more complex story. No such study ever showed that in 100% of identical twins studied, when one twin was gay, the other was as well. The most common figure has been 50%….meaning that other factors are just as important as genetics in influencing sexual orientation.

    Fourth, you’re assuming that statements in the Bible against a homosexual lifestyle are based on bigotry or fear of the “other,” rather than the equivalent of an owner’s manual explaining how to use or not to use that which the owner designed. Again, you’re assuming the stricture is of human rather than divine origin, despite its own claim to the contrary.

    Fifth, you’re assuming that if someone takes a stand on a biblical issue, that must mean they have some sort of emotional or other vested interest in it….rather than simply trying to be faithful to the text and to the One they believe is its ultimate author. Like you, I never gave the issue much thought until society made it into an issue. Then, and only then, did I consider what the Bible said about the matter.

    Sixth, Albert Mohler is wrong – the church didn’t come up with the idea that marriage is a union of opposite genders…..every society in history, until a generation ago, from puritanical to libertine and everything in between, defined marriage thusly. The odd man out here isn’t the church; it’s the gay marriage movement, which has no precedent in history.

    And finally, science has indeed come to a verdict on the nature vs. nurture view of homosexuality — and much else as well. Identical twin studies, the gold standard for such measurements, shows that there is a genetic component of about 50%, which is significant but not determinative. The other 50% points to environmental or other factors outside of genes.

  • Jack

    The problem is that Hillsong is trying to have it both ways and it can’t. It calls itself evangelical, which means, among other things, that it takes Scripture to be its faithful guide to lifestyle issues. But Scripture is quite clear, both in the Old and New Testaments, in its claim that homosexual practice is sinful.

    Now you either agree or you disagree with that claim. If you disagree, that doesn’t make you wrong…..it simply makes you not an evangelical….in the same way that if I believed it was okay for me to eat filet mignon, I couldn’t turn around and say I was a vegan. Words have meaning….otherwise, all conversations become gibberish and communication ceases.

    Hillsong wants it both ways. It wants to back away from Scripture while still saying it is evangelical or biblical.

    If it believes as the Bible does that homosexual practice is wrong, it needs to have the courage of its convictions and say so and be done with it.

    But if it believes that homosexual practice is not wrong, it needs to admit that it does not believe the Bible is correct on that issue and that it is no longer evangelical.

    The issue is, in the end, one of honesty and integrity…..and honesty in advertising…..if you disagree with the Bible, just admit it, rather than pretending otherwise.

  • Doc Anthony

    Hey Brian, let’s just dump John 3:16 while were at it. Let’s refuse to give America a concrete Yes or No on THAT one as well.

    Today’s world doesn’t like being told that the alternative to placing faith in Jesus is some grim-sounding item called “perish.” Today’s millenials don’t like hearing that their final destiny all comes down to the yes-or-no decision they make concerning one religious figure (especially when there’s so many religious figures to choose from.) And you already know the libbie media feels concerning such things.

    So you gotta keep things light ‘n’ easy Brian; especially if Hillsong is going to keep up those good numbers. Just do like Carl Lentz and duck the issue. Don’t rock anybody’s boat. Give everybody an escape-hatch.

    Is John 3:16 factually true or factually false? Just refuse to tell ’em a straight answer. Just tell ’em it’s an ongoing conversation or journey. Or something.

  • Doc Anthony

    The problem is that professional journalists expect a straight honest answer from people (especially professing Christians), once they have asked those Christian people a straight honest question.

    When Christians openly duck the straight honest questions, (especially when their own Bibles clearly do NOT duck such questions), it simply makes the Christians look like standard fake mangy-hide politicians.

    Sure, by ducking the gay marriage issue, the Hillsong CD sales will stay up. Membership numbers will stay up. None of us wants any controversy. Especially not in hostile New York.

    But meanwhile, the New York Times has just succeeded in killing Hillsong’s witness to perhaps a million readers. And Brian Houston HELPED them do it !!

  • Shawnie5

    Well said, Jack. Jesus spent little time calling out obvious sin; by far His most difficult problem was calling out the less obvious sin of those who appeared (to both themselves and others) to be respectable and in no need of a savior.

    Jesus said everything He needed to say when He told us that sexual immorality proceeds from the heart and makes us unclean. That He didn’t get specific about all the different manifestations of it, instead leaving in place the time’s common-sense understanding of it, hurts the gay-affirming camp’s case more than if He HAD been specific.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Jack, I agree with your words “The issue is, in the end, one of honesty and integrity”. As you pointed out “Words have meaning….otherwise, all conversations become gibberish and communication ceases”.

    Honesty and integrity go hand in hand. You can’t have integrity without honesty and that is where those that believe anything based entirely on faith, faith being believing in something not only without evidence, but when opposing evidence exists.

    Once the bible is looked at with a critical eye, which is the only way to honestly ascertain if it is in fact the “infallible word of god”, which is what those who believe by faith think it is, it is easily discovered it is not.

    Instead of basing your opinions of others on a compilation of books written by man 40-60 years after the alleged events, many of which were not written by those they were named for, in more sharp terms “forged”, or otherwise altered afterward by those seeking to push their own agendas or just simply made mistakes in translation, then collected together 300+ years later into what you now accept as divine guidance, try to employ a little honesty, and integrity and learn the history of the creation of the document you use to base how you interact with other humans.

    Honesty and integrity do have meaning.

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  • johnson cox

    I love the fact that the gospel is being preached regardless of in a church building, club, sidewalk of street corners, regardless of tattoos, long hair, short hair, fat, skinny, or suit and tie, let the gospel be preached. Let the Lord Jesus do the rest through the power of the Holy Ghost.

  • John

    This is disconcerting. The three points he mentions as parameters for decision making are nonsensical and culturally driven. This is the defining issue of our time and I can respect taking time to come to a position, but not based on such subjective criteria. And the whole deal about not telling people how to live and that their life is a journey is a cop-out and misleading. It places them over the biblical concepts of helping your brothers and sisters see the sin in their life and speaking into it, while seeming more compassionate and understanding. There is too much preference to be liked and approved by the world than approved by God. The only way that this is their journey is to believe that people can choose their own destiny rather that placing their life in submission and obedience to Jesus Christ. Our identity is in God, what he say about us and the life he calls us to live because of his character and his purposes in history. Softness, cheap grace, compromise and acquiescence all in the name of being liked by the culture and not offending anyone. We all lament that LGBT persons have been and are often rejected by the church, and I hope that is changing. But the best thing we can do is to tell them of their true identity and great worth in Jesus, their acceptance in his eyes, and their empowering to live the kingdom life right now under the power of the Holy Spirit. And yes, that includes understanding sin and its role in our life, along with finding victory and forgiveness along the way.

  • Earold,

    Your last paragraph, claiming that the New Testament is a collection of forged and erroneous documents, is your opinion, and many honest and respected scholars disagree with you for good reason. Your attempt to twist Jack’s argument for honesty into an attack against evangelicals’ belief that the New Testament is trustworthy is dishonest in and of itself. We’re happy to have that debate on the New Testament. But accusing evangelicals of dishonesty just because you disagree with them is neither winsome nor ethical and does not lend itself to civil debate or arriving at truth.

  • Well thought-out comment on a very difficult issue! Except that scientists HAVE discovered a so-called “gay” gene that makes individuals attracted to the same sex much like they are either right or left-handed. But just like cures for cancer or the device that gets you 200 miles per gallon of gas, the scientists have either been bought off or killed off or fear being killed off. We’ve had cures for cancer for over 60 years (mostly homeopathic going back that far, but all sorts of drug therapies in current times), but the patents are all bought up by the big drug companies…and then they just sleep on them, just like the oil companies do with inventions that will get you more gas. Now tell about evil.
    But beyond that, have you ever wondered why ZERO gays have ever been “switched” to hetero, why even the “reformed” founders or leaders of the conferences, workshops, seminars on going straight have all reverted back to their gay lifestyles? It’s just not a choice for them, just as being straight was not a choice for me, and going gay has never occurred to me as an option. If you don’t believe everything was created in 6 days, then you don’t take the Bible literally; so how about cutting these fellow human beings some slack and stop reading the Old Testament on gays literally. It’s homophobia, just as the story of Adam and Eve was pure misogyny. These dudes who wrote the Bible were susceptible to societal pressures as we are now; all they did was reflect the backward thinking of their time. Don’t we know better now?

  • Donna

    The pastor knows deep down inside that homosexuality is wrong, but the only reason why he doesn’t want to publicly state it is because he knows his wallet will take a hit. People don’t like to hear the truth. If he were to say that homosexuality is wrong he would have to worry about the numbers in attendance declining which then hits his wallet (i.e. less money in his pocket). Also, he feels like he has a good thing going having that many people attend his church. If he were to actualy speak the truth the numbers would dramaticaly decline. And as far as his wife goes, it is a pastors place to preach/tell people how to live according to God’s Holy word. In the end, we will all have to answer to the Almighty.

  • RichH

    Talk about doing everything possible to protect a media empire…At least Mark Driscoll took a position. Hillsong is based on it’s music – I don’t see people queuing up to buy Lentz’s or Houston’s sermons. And as for – importance of the local church — you should have asked them about their questionable treatment of a local church when Hillsong needed a location in NYC

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  • Jack

    Jack Mathys,

    We differ on conspiracy theories. There are lots of them out there on every subject, at every point along the ideological spectrum, and nearly all of them are problematic. Conspiracies do exist — ask any cop or prosecutor. But the larger the conspiracy claim, the more likely it is false. And the one you’re advancing is quite huge indeed.

    That said, I share your outrage on cancer research. We should absolutely be farther along the road to more answers.

    As for the matter of gays and genetics though, I don’t know how one can refute identical twin studies. They are what they are….and what they are fits with what common sense would predict…..there’s a nature/nurture mix and it’s complex. This is probably true of all human behavior. It’s not either/or. There’s a genetic predisposition, but genetics aren’t destiny when it comes to behavior.

    Granted, you or I didn’t choose to be heterosexual; we just are, as are most people. And that’s a refutation to the simplistic notion that sexual orientation is a simple choice. But that’s a strawman argument. Most people who embrace the biblical view don’t believe it’s a simple choice. All they’re saying is that the genetic part, while strong, is not 100% like eye or hair color.

    And as for homophobia, while there are plenty of homophobes out there, it doesn’t follow that all or most proponents of the biblical view are that way. The simpler explanation is that some people believe that faithfulness to the Bible requires that one take it seriously on issues of human sexuality and not make a sudden departure from it on that set of issues.

    Laying aside the issue of homosexuality for a moment, surely the Bible has been proven right on the main aspects of sexual morality. And if you accept an evolutionary view of human behavior, sexual morality, in terms of rules and boundaries about who you should or shouldn’t sleep with, are progressive, not regressive. Mores against sleeping with close family members, for example, protect offspring from genetic diseases. Teachings against sleeping with everything that moves protect people against sexually transmitted diseases. So from an evolutionary perspective, voluntary boundaries on the exercise of one’s sexuality represented a step forward, not backward, in human progress. Doing whatever you want whenever you want to whomever you want is part of what the Enlightenment philosophes called the state of nature….and the fact that we have civilizations shows that it didn’t work very well. What defines civilization is the notion that rules exist, whether self-imposed or not. You can’t even exercise freedom in the long run without some rules.

  • Jack

    Well said, Scott…..but next time, please distinguish between the two Jacks on this board. You disagree with the other Jack (ie Mathys), not with me.

  • Jack

    Exactly. And there are many intelligent and sensitive ways of answering the questions in a Biblical way.

    But what’s good about this is that we’re now learning who’s who…..who are the frauds and who are the real deal.

  • Jack

    Earold, your views on the Bible are based on notions current among skeptics before the advance of biblical archeology and modern biblical studies which have done more to prove than disprove the veracity of the text.

    Today’s writers of popular works of skepticism are recycling these old notions and circulating them among the general population which has no idea about their problematic aspect and dubious history.

    I definitely favor looking at the Bible with a critical eye. I want historians and other scholars to subject it to the same scrutiny as they do other old texts.

    The problem is when so-called scholars subject it to the kind of scrutiny that violates the basic rules of historical inquiry and what constitutes historical evidence — taking burden of proof and turning it on its head.

    When subjected to the normal methodology employed by historians and others toward other texts, the Bible comes out very well. Put another way, I believe its contents not in spite of the supposed evidence against it, but because of the actual evidence favoring it. I spent a good deal of time on this, so I’m speaking from experience.

    Honesty and integrity favor embracing, not rejecting Scripture. That at least is my conclusion, because at one point, I was looking at it with a very skeptical eye.

  • Jack

    Thanks Scott. Well said.

  • Geoff Chapman

    I really get annoyed when people say that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Don’t Christians believe that Jesus is God? This means that Jesus and God the Father will never contradict one another. This means that when in the Old Testament God prohibited sexual relation between people of the same sex, Jesus was also saying it. God word = Jesus’s word! And Jesus said he had not come to destroy the law and the prophets. He also upheld the principle of marriage between one man and one woman by referring back to Genesis. It’s absurd when Christians who support gay marriage claim that Jesus would support this compromise. The Church must not allow the world to change its view. The Church should be changing the world!

  • Frank

    Cowards and not loving at all. Supporting sin, either actively or in silence is an act of hate.

  • “Lentz’s wife, Laura, chimed in: “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.”

    If by “our” she means her and her husband and their church, then I emphatically agree. I hope they do not tell anyone how to live.

    If by “our” she means “everyone,” then how did it become her place to tell everyone how they should live by telling us it’s not our place.

    Either way, their mouths must be stopped. Titus 1:10-11

  • Pierre

    Great comment Jack, I would also add: Houston may be a victim of a red herring : Houston “notes that the Western world is shifting its thinking on this issue, and churches are struggling to stay relevant. The weight we live in, he added, refers to a context where LGBT young people may feel rejected or shunned by churches, often leading to depression and suicide.”

    The red herring is the notion that some will be depressed or commit suicide, but it doesn’t speak of those that are depressed and suicidal because no one gives them a way out, how many that were trapped in homosexual behavior escaped suicide when Jesus became their savior?

    I believe that the price of staying “relevant” is for some depression and suicide, but the greatest price is an ineffective Gospel.

    I would also conclude that Houston will be affirming towards LGBT unless God helps him. Since debating the undebatable can’t have another conclusion, in the end they accept the unacceptable.

  • Frank

    No one is claiming those other sins aren’t sinful.

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  • Karla

    Frank-Then why don’t more people talk about those sins? Bible says all
    drunkards go to hell yet I meet person after person that still gets drunk
    because they don’t know drunkards go to hell and it’s because it hardly
    ever gets confronted. Many people today seem to focus on abortion or
    gay marraige so they don’t have to face their own sin. All sin is bad not
    just gay marriage and/or abortion. We all must/really need to Repent!

  • Larry

    At this point any statement on LGBT issues is just a way to divert media attention from Brian Houston’s (and his church’s) morally repugnant behavior in failing to report his father’s sexual abuse of children that went on for many years.
    http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/10/17/hillsong-church-abuse-unreported-perpetrator-rewarded/

    Any attempt he has to claim moral authority for himself or his church is utter nonsense. Pretty much the same goes for

  • Frank

    I think people talk about them. The reason homosexuality is the focus is because there are those who fallaciously and deceptively say that homosexual behavior is not sinful.

  • Karla

    Frank-Good point. I just don’t think all the focus should be on just
    abortion and/or homosexuality because these other sins are just
    as rampid/many don’t consider getting drunk a sin when it is. So
    many today are mean,gossip,get drunk,covet,have premarital sex
    smoke dope,gamble and don’t think it’s sin so all sin needs confronted. Thanks for the feedback. God bless.

  • Jack

    There’s a way to get this right without giving away the store. There’s a way to stay Gospel-centered while not ducking one of the most significant issues in history — the definition of marriage, which is the foundational institution of civilization.

    The fact that Hillsong can’t do it bears testimony not only to the lack of courage and history of its leaders, but to a failure to engage in deep and serious theological reflection about what marriage is and how God created it as a portrait of his relationship to humanity.

  • Jack

    What Hillsong reflects is a failure to understand marriage, not just as the foundational institution of all civilizations, ancient and modern, pagan and biblical, secular and religious, but in terms of its depth and breadth from its Author’s perspective.

    To treat the definition and nature of this institution as excess baggage that is secondary to the Gospel shows a profound intellectual and experiential ignorance of both marriage and Gospel.

    If the leaders are married, I really can’t imagine their staying that way.

    It is very hard not to conclude that these people have never experienced the depth and breadth of the faith they claim to embrace.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Jack,
    Please, do not think you know what my notions are based on. That is a dishonest statement, and I get the idea you have enough integrity too know this. Better to start off by saying you don’t know me, who I am or what I have I have studied than that.

    I also have spent uncountable hours studying not only this aspect of religion but so much more, and I do not share your opinion. I did this during times in my life when I was a firm believer, and then later as a non-belier: moved that way in no small part by what I reasoned about the authenticity of the NT.

    I have read many opinions from both points of view, and have looked at both with a critical eye, and admittedly in the latter stages of my de-conversion, with a somewhat naturally skeptical heart. I didn’t just swallowed whole any one person’ s opinion, or even one side’s view, but rather I came to my own conclusions based on all evidence and opinion’s, and my own reasoning.

    As you say you know this subject, then you also know it is a deep river with many twists and turns, and I don’t think this is the forum to explore all the treasures lying in its murky depths. However, we can dip our toes in and share a few things.

    First though, my admonition for honesty and integrity for that those who call themselves christian lay in the fact that I ultimately had to admit to myself that I was not being honest with myself when I was a Christian. I realized that the Achilles heel in my character was that no matter how I looked at my beliefs, they had a central component; faith. I came to the understanding that believing anything by “faith” alone, is neither honest, nor has integrity.

    The only way to believe those who proclaim the gospels are the authentic word of god is to believe them with faith. This “leap of faith” also includes the faith that there is a god in the first place. Some examples include:
    Faith to believe the disciples, who were uneducated Aramaic speaking “country folk”, could speak, read, or write Greek.
    Faiths to believe they had scribes write down what they told them, even though there are words in Aramaic that have no direct translation in Greek.
    Faith to believe that all the words are accurately translated and that human error could not have occurred.
    Faith that the originals survived, or if not that the copies were accurate as well, as it’s not like they had Xerox machines right?
    Faith that no one added to the words, even though 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is so obviously inserted into the text after it was previously written.
    Faith that the contradictions, lies, and so much hate found in so many locations that they are too numerous to list were all there because a loving god wanted them to be.
    I believe that faith breeds dishonesty to oneself. Without faith, the fog of religious belief blows away, and the realization that you can still be a really good human being without believing you will either be rewarded or punished in an afterlife finally becomes clear. I hope everyone finds clarity.

    Peace and love

  • Kelly

    This subject is not as crystal clear as Christians paint. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time were so overconfident in their education, customs, and ‘interpretation of Scripture’ that they didn’t recognize God in the flesh and accused him of being demon possessed, a friend of sinners, and blasphemous. People read Pauls letters like black & white law. However, they are epistles. Paul was writing to a specific church, at a very specific time in history, and addressing very specific situations that were going on in that church. After reading about Roman/cor culture when Paul was writing his letters, I saw the way they worshiped gods of sex, completely gave into orgies, prostitution, master/slave sex, drugs, the mutalating of their flesh. When comparing that to a Gay person who is desiring someone to grow old with, a family, serving God with other believers without being looked down on, Im actually shocked people can so easily treat the 2 situations as the exact same thing and call it being “Biblical”. Romans 1 mentions gossips and slanders too but despite seeing a lot of hurtful malicious gossip in some church circles, I’ve never seen anyone removed from church or accused of not being saved. Some christians who identify as part of the LGBT community make the choice to remain celibate, and I completely respect and support that. However, it has to be their decision. It is between them and God and it cannot be forced on them. I am not gay so I truly have no idea what it must be like. Pretending like I know why people are (what i keep hearing christians do) is not what God calls us to. We are also not called to use government power in an effort to control people we personally see as “sinning” or going against God. The early church never did anything like that and Paul even made a point for us not to judge anyone in the world (1 Cor 5:12). I am not God, I do not know the hearts of everyone in LGBT community and I do not know all the science behind it. Who am I to tell someone whose heart’s desires may be exactly the same as mine (wanting to serve God with your husband/wife, raising children, being accepted by a fellowship of believers while growing in faith, desiring to love God & others) that due to something as external and temporary as their gender or marriage (Mark 12:25, Gal 3:28), they are in sin and I am not. God sees the heart. The word for “natural” Paul uses in Roman1 is the same word he uses to describe a man with long hair( we now accept that as being cultural to that time). He also describes women without head covering as a disgrace. Why not accuse all women without head coverings as putting cultural relavance over Gods word? It was Pauls letters that many unjustly used to support slavery all because of people pulling verses from the middle of his texts and out of historical context. When people pluck a very small handful of verses out, it can seem hard to wrap our heads around it. However, when you view the Bible as a whole, its incredibly clear God repeatedly uses the marginalized, imperfect people, with hearts who want to know him more in amazing ways! Even Abraham who the Bible states was saved through faith(Rom 4:3, Gal 3:6), forced a slave girl to carry his child, lived with both his wife and concubine for years, and lied twice about his relationship with his wife Sarah; putting them in a position to be guilty of adultery….BUT God =). Im curious what part of Abes marital history sounds like “Gods def of marriage”? It is God who works through us, in-spite of who we are. I do not believe God is happy with the way we have handled this and the fruit of it has been shame, depression, suicide, self-righteousness, division. People are more likely to suffer depression and suicide in evangelical homes. With actions like the “chikfila day” and so on, we have only managed to create a self righteous “us vs them” mentality….and then we wonder why people, in time of need, don’t run to us. Why don’t we trust in Gods spirit to work? Haven’t you seen His power work in your life? His power has been in my life and there are things I would not want to do today that I use to see as just fine. This is not because an army of christians personally attacked what they saw as flaws in me (that would have sent me running…esp when their flaws are so easy to see as well). It was Christ love for me and his supernatural power changing my desires. If being gay is wrong, let God reveal that to his children personally, while we come together as brothers & sisters in Christ doing our best to love God with all our hearts and love others. If it is not a sin, we will see fruit. We are not the experts, we need to stop acting like it. Let God work.

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  • Tim

    Brian Houston – “The real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to just reduce it down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in a media outlet.”

    One of the wisest statements on ministering to people I’ve read in a long time.

  • “But he declines to address the matter in public because, in part, Jesus never did.”

    That lame argument should disqualify them from ministry. The argument that Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior (or abortion, etc.) fails on several levels. If a church leader uses it you can be confident that he or she is ignorant and/or malicious.

    Short version: Yes, He did say something about it, but the theological Left ignores or distorts it as they do with many things about Jesus and his teachings.

    Medium version: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these Leftist theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, taxpayer-funded abortions, etc.), He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them, and abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews. And the Gospels never claimed to include everything He said. John specifically notes that the whole world couldn’t hold it all! (John 21:25) And Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

    Long version: http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/what-jesus-didnt-say-3/

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  • Angelo

    There is one major problem with the basis of your whole argument. The basis that because the biblical writers were afraid of and didn’t know anything about homosexuality that they were writing what they did about it. Namely that it was sinful. The problem with that is the biblical person who I’m assuming your referencing, Paul, was a Jew. Now being a Jew by nationality and religion, he would’ve had a strong dislike of and/or bias against all non-jewish races or nationalities just by being raised in that culture. He would’ve considered them sinners and beyond hope, just for being a “gentile.” But Paul after his conversion became the apostle to the gentiles and was the main contributor to what we now know as the New testament a compilation of mostly letters written to mostly non-Jewish churches. So you’re telling me that a guy who would’ve pretty much hated gentiles just happened to get over that bias but happened to keep some vendetta against homosexuals? Sure he would’ve thought homosexuality to be sinful before his conversion but he would’ve thought being a gentile was sinful as well (an error he saw after his conversion). So somehow his stronger bias against gentiles disappears but his conviction that homosexuality is a sin remains.
    The second problem is that you’re assuming scripture isn’t the actual word of God (which it can’t be if it he actually approves of a homosexual lifestyle), in which case I question whether or not you actually believe what Jesus said in those scriptures and what the old testament says about him being the Son of God and him being the savior. If one part of the bible is false then the rest of it is no longer reliable and we can’t hold to any of it at all and our faith is in vain.
    If the church gives into the culture on this front then it will give into the culture on other more important fronts. It’s a slippery slope. It may take hundreds of years but the slope is there and out well take the church in the wrong direction. Don’t get me wrong, I want gay people to come to church. I want people to look for their fulfillment in Jesus. But I want them also to repent from their sun and follow Jesus. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to sin no more. He didn’t just save her and say, “ok everything’s alright now, keep on living your sinful life.” I don’t expect them to not have homosexual urges anymore. That’s ridiculous. That’s like expecting a man who is struggling to keep pure thoughts to not ever have an impure thought. That’s unrealistic. But with Jesus it’s possible to master sin under the power of the Holy Spirit and see him as better. Sure it’ll probably take years or a lifetime or maybe until He comes back. Either way He is more than our sexuality, and he’s better than our sin. We need to stop trying to make exceptions for sins we like and start following Jesus…

  • Gary Howell

    Tim,
    Where is your evidence that people in biblical days ate rats for dinner and lived in caves? You destroyed your own argument with your first sentence because it was clearly drawn from your own vivid imagination rather than from facts. People of the Bible neither ate rats nor lived in caves. Instead they lived in houses and ate wheat, grapes, figs and olives among other things.

  • CatB

    Modern science has already identified 1, possibly 2 genes that are considered responsible for orientation in men. They have not yet accomplished the same findings for women.

  • CatB

    Great contribution, Kelly! Well said!

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  • Houston is just trying to stay hip no convictions if society was still anti gay he would also be anti gay he just goes with the flow. his father abused young boys so hhe probably doesnt feel like he should be throwing stones

  • Alphamail

    This is not and never has been an argument about the right of a man to have sex with another man. It is an argument about whether God exists.

    Without God – a moral overseer – man is worry-free to do whatever he wants.

    Nothing in life would be prohibited – everything would be man-sanctified.

    The reason humanity has progressed and survived is not because it has held to human deity but because it has looked to a Supreme being for unseen spiritual power and revelation.

    An example would be the concept of America – a revolutionary first in all of human history which conveys upon individuals the glorious freedom of thought and expression, which was denied for millennia but which nonetheless was conceived through incessant communal prayer and belief in an Almighty God.

    Now, that very individual thought and expression graced upon humans by God is being expressed without God, in the form of human ego – in personal “rights” and preference – in condemnation of those who believe in an overseeing Creator.

    Ego is a zero-sum game which states, “My way or the highway.”.

    Ego knows no bounds, has no rules, excuses all for the sake of emotion, fabricates morality, and attacks the very source that allows ego its freedom.

    Ego believes man is God – that God is ego.

    The “Hillsong Retreat” is ego not God.

    The spiritual tragedy in America today which could be our nation’s ultimate demise is allowing individual ego and personal desire to usurp the obvious nature and design of man and the unquestionable intent of our Creator.

    Ego and cultural norms rebuke Godliness, so the goalposts of morality shift.

    For centuries Christians have been tolerant and quiet regarding homosexuality even as the Bible condemns it. Christians have been extremely fair and unquestionably forgiving.

    That forgiveness is being answered today with condemnation, intimidation, and lawsuits from less than 2% of the population who are intimidating 70% of the population who quietly stand by their venerated Christian values.

    George Washington called his men his “Christian soldiers.

    Ephesians reminds us this is a war.

    Gird yourself. The powers and principalities are kicking into overdrive. The roaring lion is now deep in our midst.

    Unsheath the Sword of the Spirit and praise God.

  • Jane

    Jack (just Jack w out the last name) I really enjoyed reading your intelligent arguments. As a believer for my whole life it really spoke truth and made a lot of sense. You should have your own blog/website. You seem very smart…. Doc- also well said!

  • I love it when issues like these come to fulfillment. Where right shall be wrong and the wrong shall be right. Where iniquity and immorality shall abound. This only mean one thing, OUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH!!! The redemption to those who hold true and remain faithful to His divine words!!! Glory to God! Glory to His one and only name, JESUS CHRIST!!! Maranatha!

  • AA Christian

    You could not be more wrong. Science has tried for decades to “prove” that homosexuality is genetic and has repeatedly failed. It’s not. Scripture is clear and we do not have the prerogative of picking the ones we like and ignoring the rest. A Christian should know that. If the church caves to the viewpoint of the world it will become irrelevant, and these kinds of problems and heresies have plagued the church since the church began. AA Christian, D.Min.

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  • Tsachid

    How about “I didn’t come to cancel he LAW and the prophets..”!!??

    Jesus was a Jewish man and is the Jewish God, and He is also the Word that was revealed to the Fathers and to Moses in Sinai!!!

    Moses declared by the Spirit of God that Homosexuality was an abomination to God! And Jesus didn’t come to change that!!! I fact it was so obvious that He didn’t need to speak about it! Such like eating blood, sacrificing children, incest etc.

    It is just foolishness to say what these guys are saying and it’s an abominable man pleasing spirit!!

    I hope they repent and change their minds!! I know God didn’t!!!

  • Jeremy Neal

    What types of rats did people eat?

  • Philip

    Well said, Eric. Soon we will be saying that persons who want to marry as a group (several men and women marrying and being sexually intimate with each other) have rights and are “on their journeys”. Polyamory is the next big battle. Canada and Brazil have seen several court cases. Look it up and see how influential it is becoming. Showtime has a series for it called Polyamory: Married & Dating. Sweden allows half siblings to marry. Soon our enlightened and loving Christian brethren will be saying Jesus never spoke against group marriage nor incest.

  • Amy

    This pastor says that Jesus did not address the issue of homosexuality but he couldn’t be more wrong. John 1:1 states that Jesus is the word. The moral law given in the Old Testament applied during Jesus time on earth as it does now. Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination….” To suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting what God has said. Jesus referred to the Old Testament often in regard to moral behavior.

    Jesus condemned “all” sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman when He said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications…these defile a man” (Matthew 15:19). Jesus was implying that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is harmful and immoral. The word “fornication” in the Greek is porneia; where the word “pornography” comes from. We cannot say, “But I was born this way,” because we were all born to lie, cheat, lust, and deceive, but this doesn’t make it right…it makes us sinful and in need of a Savior.

    An argument cannot be based solely on silence. To suggest that Jesus approved of homosexuality simply because He did not use the term “homosexual,” is to imply that He approved of necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality. But, of course, we know better.

    Other passage in the New Testament are clear on this issue as well. Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 are good places to start. In short, mankind did not see fit to acknowledge God and they suppressed the truth; therefore, God gave them over to a depraved mind-to do those things which are not proper. Homosexual behavior, and sexual sin in general, is comparable with dishonoring the body and turning from God.

    Jesus said that since the beginning of creation, God created them male and female in order that they would be joined together and become one flesh. He adds, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9). Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s plan since creation. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of gay-marriage, it will not change God’s mind. Man often rebels against God; this is nothing new.

  • David

    The problem is that if we do not recognise a certain act is a sin, we r unlikely to do anything about it.
    I admire that you had changed certain things in ur life today what u thought was just fine in the past. But why did you see the need to change? You must have realised that what you did in the past was not right.
    But if your pastor tells me that homosexuality is not a sin because Jesus did not condemn it, I would see it as totally normal n thus no need to change at all.

  • David H.

    I don’t know what Bible this “Christian Leader” is reading, but every Bible I’ve ever read says Homosexuality is wrong (Jesus spoke through people to create the Bible, so anything he never addressed in public, we just dismiss)!!!???

  • veronica

    Hillsong? Is that even a real church?

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  • teresa
  • loveneverfails

    Jesus, when Pharisees demanded He deal ‘scripturally’ with a prostitute, did not respond to them in words, but stooped down and began to write in the sand. Not only were their voices stopped, their mouths closed, but they left one by one dropping the stones in their hands as they went. Then Jesus was alone to love the girl to Himself and encourage her to go ‘and sin no more.’ Unwittingly they had brought the girl to be stoned to death but instead Jesus saved her. God in Christ Jesus alone can love a heart enough to save it. But we can bring those hearts to Him for Him to do so. That is our great commission. “Go, therefore…”

  • shez

    Excellent response!

  • Karla

    loveneverfails-Amen/well said! He loved her in Truth because He told
    her to go sin no more/change her/the behavior. We are all called to
    love people yes but in Truth. Bible says we all must Repent/change
    our behavior. It doesn’t mean we will be perfect but Luke 13 is clear
    we must bear good fruit and that fruit is fruit of Repentance not good
    works because many non-believers do good works. We all must Repent!

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  • John Hutchinson

    With all due respect; for you to make such a statement demonstrates great historical illiteracy and modernist bigotry.

    Modernist theories of genetic disposition simply cannot bear under a major plank of evolution theory, let alone judeo-christian understandings.. And since the incidence of those who are predominantly practicing gay sex increase or decrease inordinately within the same culture within hundreds of years, as demonstrated throughout history,, genetic disposition would be one of the most weakest elements. It just doesn’t wash.if one is honest and has a modicum of critical thinking.

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  • Tim Altmix

    To hose who say Jesus said nothing about homosexuality: He didn’t say anything about many subjects including bestiality, incest, and smoking marijuana – but is there any doubt what His position is? Jesus condemns homosexuality:
    1 – Jesus said that He came not to abolish the law (Matthew 5:17), but to fulfill it. In other words, the Old Testament law, even in Jesus’ day, was still in force and Jesus accepted it. That is the same law that condemns homosexuality in the Book of Leviticus. (Leviticus 18:22)
    2 – Jesus said that marriage, as God intended it, is the union of one man and one woman for life. (Matthew 19:4-6 )
    3 – Jesus states that all sexual acts committed outside of marriage defile a human being (Matthew 15:19). Obviously this applies to premarital sex as well.

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  • Holy2Spirit

    When you read Romans chapter 1 from verse 21 to 32. People became vain in their imaginations and their foolish hearts were darkened, they became fools, they did not want to retain God in their knowledge, changing God’s truth into a lie, they changed the glory of God into an image (meaning they make God what they want Him to be not what He is) from verse 24 it is the punishment God gives to people who disregard Him, the punishment is God gave them up to (meaning He removed His covering and “let them” be what they wanted to be, do what they want to do, He let them have their own will, free will, which needed not the opinion of God which needed not God’s input which needed not the presence of God, which wanted to do without God, which wanted nothing to do with God and His ways). verse 28 says He gave them up to a reprobate (selfish, depraved, rejected) mind to do the things which are convenient. Now look at the list of those things which are not so convenient. So that is the punishment, now these are the ways in which they wanted to live their lives (bearing in mind that these are curses and Not blessings) 1 uncleanness through lust 2 dishonour their bodies, 3 vile affections to go against nature man sleeping with man and woman sleeping with woman… Read on up to verse 32 and see the type of behaviour of people who God have rejected because they disregarded Him and His ways. an answer to, what if my child developes from an early age that he/she is homo?, yes it may be so because it’s a curse (not a blessing) meaning the child is born into that curse and only God can remove it with a repentant heart. Then you will find your answers about homosexuality and see that whether the church regards it (which will be very wrong) or disregards it, it will always be wrong, it will always be against God and His word, it will always be a curse. So they better repent now and go back to God and He’ll have mercy on them.

  • Holy2Spirit

    Amen Tim

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  • Touma

    There is a reason they won’t comment, and it has to do with $. Given their statements, I am sure they are on board with gay-marriage and what ever. No problems for me. But, they conservative churches and radio stations that do their music on a regular basis would have a big issue with it. And that, to me, says a lot about the character of the people at Hillsong.

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  • MORE OF WHY THE CHURCH IS LOOSING IT’S “SALT”
    At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference in New York City, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Brian Houston, the pastor, to clarify their church’s position on same sex marriage. But Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”
    ***[A journey? What’s not clear about
    “If a man also lie with another man, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Le 20:13)
    There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. (De 23:17)”?]
    Houston says that he considers three things when evaluating the topic: “There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by.”
    ***[What’s to evaluate? Hasn’t God made clear what He says about this sin (and ALL sin)? Why let culture dictate what the church teaches? Doesn’t “the word we live by” say:
    “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was appropriate. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not becoming. (Ro 1:22, 24, 26-28)”]?
    He notes that the Western world is shifting its thinking on this issue, and churches are struggling to stay relevant. “Whether we like it or not, the world we live in is changing.”
    ***[The “church” has no obligation whatsoever to stay “relevant” to the world – sin is sin – exactly the same as when Jesus was here, and when Moses was here. And what the Bible declares about it is exactly the same.
    My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.
    (Pr 24:21)
    Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Mr 13:31)”
    So what if the world is changing? God’s Word is a Rock, and it never changes to accommodate the world. Jesus IS the Word, and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Heb 13:8)”]
    The weight we live in, he added, refers to a context where LGBT young people may feel rejected or shunned by churches, often leading to depression and suicide.
    ***[What a cop-out! So we should let them remain ignorant of what God says and allow them to go to hell? That’s the better alternative?
    When the gospel is preached appropriately in love, could it be that people “feel rejected or shunned” because they don’t want to hear what the Bible says? Could it be that they don’t want to obey what it dictates? Could it be that it will cause them to change things and habits in their lives that they don’t want to change?]
    But when Houston began speaking about the word we live by or “what the Bible says,” he refused to offer a concrete position.
    ***[That’s what all false teachers do. This is just wavering on what God says in His word:
    “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, YE DOUBLEMINDED. (Jas 4:8)
    And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, HOW LONG VACILLATE YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him . . . (1Ki 18:21)”]
    One problem for Houston was that the reporter’s question was literally a “yes” or “no” one – asking Houston if the Hillsong churches in New York and California, where gay “marriage” is legal, can preside over homosexual ceremonies. Houston said, “The real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to just reduce it down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in a media outlet.”
    ***[Another cop-out. The Bible reduces it to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer:
    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Jos 24:15).
    If ye love me, keep my commandments. (Joh 14:15)”
    So it’s just, “Yes, I will obey.”, or “No, I won’t.” Yep, it’s just that simple.]
    Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong’s New York City location, made similar statements on CNN in June, saying Hillsong in New York City has “a lot of gay men and women” and he hopes it stays that way. But he declines to address the matter in public because, in part, Jesus never did. “Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today, was widely prevalent,” Lentz told CNN. “And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people. You won’t find it because he never did.”
    ***[What a ridiculous evasion by this charlatan! He has no idea if Jesus ever addressed this publicly:
    “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (Joh 21:25)”,
    And as though that even makes a difference. What a lame and ludicrous excuse!
    He won’t even admit privately to his church members if homosexuality is sin!
    I would challenge Lentz to show me a quote where Jesus said to not have sex with animals, as the Old Testament states:
    “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is abomination. (Le 18:23)”,
    But I know, (or at least I would hope so), Lentz would admit this is perversion.
    And it’s great how this “pastor” conveniently ignores this scripture:
    “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for CORRECTION, for instruction in righteousness: (2Ti 3:16)”
    and how he dismisses a plethora of many others like it.]
    Lentz’s wife, Laura, chimed in: “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.”
    ***[More excuse. Leaders are commanded by God to tell the sheep how they should live:
    “All therefore WHATSOEVER THEY BID YOU OBSERVE, THAT OBSERVE AND DO; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Mt 23:3)
    And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Eze 44:23)”]
    The church, and I use this term very, very loosely concerning these three “leaders”, needs to stop watering down the gospel for acceptance and political correctness. Jesus said:
    “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, THE WORLD WOULD LOVE ITS OWN: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (Joh 15:18-19)”] There’s a waiting line to get in this “church”, and many have said they just come for the entertainment.
    If the leaders of Hillsong, one of the most influential evangelical ministry conglomerates in the world, refuse to draw lines on these issues, it could influence other churches and pastors to reconsider their own positions. And that is why this issue has become a litmus test for many on the left and right. Because in a moment when so much is at stake a non-statement statement is, well, quite a statement.
    ***[Stop trying to be the world’s friend!
    “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? WHOSOEVER THEREFORE WILL BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD IS THE ENEMY OF GOD. (Jas 4:4)
    But THE FEARFUL, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Re 21:8)”
    Don’t kowtow to the wiles of the enemy! Do what the Bible says and take a stand for righteousness! If the Bible says something is sin, then sin it is. Stand up and call it that!
    ***[“A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a foul fountain, and a spoiled spring. (Pr 25:26)” In other words, good for nothing.
    “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto falsehoods. (2Ti 4:2-4)”
    And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? (Lu 6:39)]

  • I’m anxious to hear what some of the Christians on this wall have to say about taking the biblical language about “dominion” literally, and acting on it in the manner of, say, Rushdooney. Ex-con and current con artist Ralph Reed has recently stated publicly that he advocates a violent overthrow of the U.S. government to achieve a Mosaic/Old Testament theocracy. A lot of people have been working since the Supreme Court decision on school prayer on this, e.g. The Seven Mountains of Influence. Any comments?

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  • Tiaan

    I live in South Africa. A small town named George.

    And I have witnessed a gay person that was saved by grace, turned pastor, and testified his past life as sinful.

    In numerous passages in the bible it declares that homosexuality is wrong.

    Leviticus 18:22 ESV /

    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV / 818 helpful votes

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Romans 1:26-28 ESV

    For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

    Leviticus 20:13 ESV / 587 helpful votes

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    Now I understand your comment about taking the Bible literally, but here is an idea I wish you share with you.

    New International Version John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    If you doubt in the integrity of the word, you doubt in the integrity of God. Thus in Jesus,

    God who stated that He is evermore the same, non-changing. A God that has the same heart now as in the old Testament.

    Where is the roots of your salvation lie then.

    How then by disregarding the word of God who is God do you glorify his name – which is the only purpose of a saved born again Christian.

    If you have any further questions about the Bible and its integrity, I erge you to listen to Lee Strobles, “Case for Christ” – a former atheist lawyer who investigates the integrity of the word.

    I am a mere Christian, sharing my thoughts, hoping my actions will bring some light.

    Good day

    And God speed

  • Well, if he’s a pastor he’s still gay, or even worse a pedophile. That’s what they do.

  • Tiaan

    Well if your read my comment again you will see that I explicitly said that he testified that his past life – thus being gay – was sinful. He is not gay any more and certainly not a pedophile. The question regarding this whole argument is not whether gay is wrong or not, but if you are at all willing to listen what the opinions are of all the other people who posted here.

    Where they have left valid arguments, you have responded with cherry picking comments that resolve or testify of nothing.

    So I ask you. Are you actually blogging here to resolve a dispute and further enhance your faith?

    A question I think you should not answer quickly but take a while to investigate. I do not require a answer. As I receive no glory regardless of your answer. But pray that you will dispute it with God so that he who knows your heart may give you the right answer.

    God Speed.

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  • aajayunlimited

    Please get right with Jesus Christ of Nazareth–if you have not–before it is too late. Follow the KJV bible please. If you have not felt that conviction to repent from your sins, you pray and have Christians to pray for you now. If you are having trouble making a decision to live for Christ, then pray and have Christians to pray for you now. Please!

  • David Shepherd

    To say: ‘if being gay is wrong, let God reveal that to His children personally’ is presumptuous and a cop-out. Firstly, It presumes that those who remain in their sin are His children, something that St.John takes pains to reject.

    Secondly, for those entrusted with the word of God to abdicate rebuke when there’s a clear pattern set by Jesus, John the Baptist and the apostles about how Christians should ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them’.

    Why not say the same of idolatry, or incest? It may surprise you that instead of leaving God to find another way to reveal the guilt of idolatry to the Athenians, we read in Acts 17 about St.Paul being incensed enough by the idolatry to dispute the practice in the marketplace.

    Again, Lot didn’t simply let the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah get on with their live. We are told: ‘for that righteous man in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul day and night with their unlawful deeds’.

    You invoke the Old Testament example of Abraham to make the point that God ‘repeatedly uses marginalised, imperfect people’. Abraham was before the giving of the Law and the gospel. What you’ve not said is that God demands that we respond to the insight of the written word, that Jesus described as the word of God.

    In particular, St. Paul finished his speech to the Athenian city council: ‘for the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent’.

    He didn’t just wait silently for idolatry to reveal its fruit, nor for God to reveal its sinfulness personally.

  • Some sixty odd years ago, David Beck, then President of the Teamsters, was asked to explain his vocation. He starts thus: “It’s a business with me…”. That crooked old labor meathead could be disarmingly unpretentious. Much less common among politicians and megachurch builders.

  • Brian

    I’m still in the middle of this thing but I’ve got a tiny question….where are the “thousands” of fellow christians who have changed?? Ever time I hear that number bandied about, I want to stand up and say ” where, where, where???” Until they…..and ONLY they speak about their experiences….the dialog will go nowhere. They are the ONLY ones who can share that specific experience of change. Sorry but second hand accounts are a waste of time. This is way way too serious an issue for those “allegedly, supposedly, reputedly” stories. Real scripture “truth bullets” are being fired. I wanna hear the REAL DEAL. Not just from a ton of straight conservative men and women( of which I’m one) speaking from that which we know not of. So Ladies and Gents…if we cannot present at least several hundred brothers and sisters in Christ who have changed (and yes they’d need to be strongly strongly encouraged to come out as truly changed) this discussion is a waste of what could be fruitful energy.

  • Adam Tharpe

    at first I was so so about Brian Houston’s answer. But then I went back and remember he said we live by the word. Brian Houston didn’t give the press the answers they wanted because he knew it was a trap. People were waiting licking their chops and sayings exposed for Pastor Houston to speak against homosexuality and he did not want to do so because it would not only affect him but it would affect his church. he stood his ground and stuck to the word of God which clearly speaks of homosexuality being a sin. It’s a shame that people can use the N word freely; a word that was used when black people were being hung from trees, but when a little girl at McDonalds ask me is homosexuality a sin and I say I can show you some scriptures, one of the managers tells me I should be thrown in jail for child abuse. Smh.

  • aajayunlimited

    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Homosexuality/

    From a Christian poster. How do you know that homosexuality being evil is fact? Let me detour into an off ramp to get to my point that homosexuality as well as all sexual immorality is evil practice! There is proof that a God created(no matter what your belief is) all that there is; you may not want to admit it, but it exists. Atheism and agnosticism hold absolutely no water! Things are too complex for things to originate from nothing! What about things that happen continually as if sustained and maintained? What about nothing major happening from an earthwide destruction standpoint for thousands of years? That’s a long time of indescribable spectacular moments, etc. for nothing really catastrophic to happen or fall out of place when the percentages are against it. Most things concerning Earth have to maintain their proper order or change into a correct balance with everything else around it. Evolution and philosophies like it may or may not be instruments of God in part, but they are no gods nor does it explain how everything is, was, and will be. Sorry.

    If you are a person who did not believe in a God before this post, now you should–as there’s no way that you can sit there[examining all around you] and “growl” against a God without it being rebellious and you doing what you want do; in fact, instead of calling it atheism or agnosticism from now on–just say, I know there is a God and I just want to do what I want to do–hoping I’m not too late. If you believe that, then you have to believe that God is good. Otherwise, what is the point? What’s the point of placing your hope in an evil god that you cannot trust? If God was bad(as the devil is–illuminati/witches/satanists/etc. worship him and are stingy; believe in sacrificing kids/killing off large populations; believe in unspeakable cruelty for kicks; delving into amoral sexual/taboo practices that your body testify are evil; and/or cursing people that offend them or even for a price; etc.), then why bother? Plus, with all that we have access to that we never take notice of, how can God be bad? At this point you may not know who God is, but you know there is One and He needs to be good natured for me to worship at all. From there, you need to go on a fact-finding mission to determine who God is! Give Christianity a sincere try as to the validity of It. Are things happening today that could possibly usher in the end time scenario spoken of in Daniel and Revelations? There are nuclear weapons galore; all kinds of biological weaponry(including Ebola); chips(mark of the beast technology possibly) can be put into you now[documentary showed that some dude allowed people to put a chip into him so that he could party for free]; and what about the uneasiness and evil alliances being formed? What about super gangs? MS-13 could probably defeat a small armed country by itself and they have been getting military training(documentary about gangs in the military). Is America supporting sin[according to the bible] enough for God to make it a pile of rubble? Sodom and Gomorrah were–to my understanding–places of sexual immorality, including homosexuality! Above is a website that tells you what the bible says about sexual immorality(sex outside of 1 marital bond of a single man and woman in which the marriage, virginity, or celibacy is broken by sex before marriage or without the original spouse[unless dead]; cheating; divorce; homosexuality; bestiality; lusting[heart for or consumed as an alcoholic] for others; etc.)

    Still, If God wanted us to be homosexuals, then why does childbirth[the primary reason for having sex–society has to have children to survive] only happen with heterosexuals? If homosexuals are the way it is supposed be, then why is the female sex organ designed to be penetrated by a male sex organ and why can’t same sexes naturally do that? Why is it that heterosexuals can have sex naturally in any way that homosexuals can, but homosexuals are very, very limited in the ways that they can naturally have sex with one another? After all, a male sex organ can penetrate a bottle if it is wide enough, but only men and women can do everything sexual! Do you see what I’m saying here? That’s another way to limit your search about who God is: God whomever He is has to be against homosexuality, because He created mankind and the body is a “witness” against it! Please take special heed to what I’m saying.

    What I’ve said should give you pause even if you currently don’t like Christians or don’t like being told what to do? All I’m saying is that mankind needs to find out who God is; find out that God is good; that He has a design for things and sin[homosexuality is because your body was not made for it in any shape, form, or fashion] is not it; and–once you come to these realizations–live right by the KJV bible and stand against homosexuality, sexual immorality, and sin no matter who’s doing them, as you don’t want One who controls and masters everything that is–including the universe as well as the present and future–to unwind His wrath upon America! It’s poison for a country and the world!

    Don’t be one of those people that ignores danger coming and idly sits by passively or in support of something because someone you respect does it; because of short term promotion; fear; or because you are one of those who jumps on the bandwagon of almost every new and popular thing! If God curses something, it is cursed indeed! Don’t like evil policies destroy us and you, too! God is watching!

  • Triston

    The reason many pastors cannot preach on homosexualiy is because they do not know first hand experience what it is to preach on.

    According to the bible it is an abomination. Gods word will never change. Even as times change, we as people will always shift ideas according to our convenience as a collective. When God gave us His commandments, these commandments were given for all generations.

    People who try to change God’s commandments are the ones who expect God to align with their lifestyle rather than that person aligning with God’s lifestyle.

    What people fail to understand is that like any sin, the condition of the sin you practice will progress to a severe state.

    Sin is like a virus. Like any virus there are stages. Some people living in sin may not show symptoms while some people show it and don’t understand why.

    We seek knowledge everyday but in our generation many people have turned away their ears and refuse to learn what God says. Sin is a real condition and it is killing everyone.

    You see murder, rape, theft, violence everyday but do you see and understand why?

    People dying from cancer, sickness, but instead of realizing that sin is the cause for this man has you to believe that it is normal.

    Why do you think Jesus Christ went around healing people? He went around healing people because the condition of their sin lead them to the state they were in.

    All doctors know what to look for and diagnose a patient properly because they study and learn what to look for.

    And that is what the bible teaches us to see. God’s word teaches us to see and understand sin and the condition of the heart and the Holy Spirit living within you after you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior helps you to control sin because our nature after Adam & Eve we all have inherited sin through them but Jesus Christ gave us a way to overcome sin when He paid the price for it on the cross. It is through His death we can recieve the free gift of Eternal Life.

    Only Jesus can forgive you of your sins and only He can heal your condition.

    If you practice homosexuality no matter how innocent you justify it, label it, present it to be the best thing on earth, it still doesn’t change the fact that it is a sin and that like every sin leads to death. The condition of the sin depends on the person practicing it.

    Sin is sin.

    Homosexuality leads you to lust with your heart and with your eyes. The LGBT community teaches you to sow pride in your heart.

    There are too many other evil things that happen in the gay scene such as drug use, hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, violence, division & separation such as gays hating the lesbians and lesbisns hating gays and transsexuals not being hated by gays and so on.

    Go manage a gay bar for a few months and you will see what I speak is the truth.

    Homosexuality leads to all kinds of perversions.

    Men have higher sex drives.

    Drugs enhances your sex drive leading you to fall into habitual sin sexually.

    There is a big difference between love & lust.

    Today most people neglect to see how the adversary works. Satan is the father of lies, deceiving everyone.

    Satan exercises his power through influence. He is invisible but you can see his schemes if you learn what to see and how to see them.

    As for homosexuality it is within the process of conversion tied with spiritual influences that help lead you to believe that homosexuality is not a sin because a person going through this conversion is basing his judgement on how he feels it to be right.

    We call this process “making what you know to be wrong, right in your own eyes.”

    Once you have lust burning in your heart, it becomes evident in your actions toward people. For example do you find yourself staring at men everywhere you go? Do you start thinking about twisted fantasies between you and that person?

    How can you sit in the House of The Lord if you are indulging in sexual immorality and practicing habitual sins?

    God teaches us to love one another, to be humble, longsuffering, kind, patience, self-control, bearing one another’s burdens. These are the things that the Holy Spirit living within you will produce.

    But homosexuality produces wickedness. Hatred, lust, pride, attitude, violence, perversion, devising evil plans, gossip, jealousy etc.

    You excite your flesh sexually it will eventually control the outcome of your decisions. Meaning, if you are practicing masturbation, anal sex, homosexuality you are teaching your flesh to build a strong sexual appetite that can eventually lead you to sin against others and lead you to lure people into the same sins you are committing.

    God teaches us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.

  • Koncsárd Balázs

    I’m now sad because of Hillsong. In God’s eyes homosexuality is a sin, because He created the marriage for a man and a woman. Just read Romans 1. Jesus is the way, there’s noone beside Him, as Hillsong says. But Jesus didn’t let the people live as they want, to live their own lives, He helped them to become the people the Father dreamed them. And homosexuality is not the Father’s dream. It is someone else’s work. And we are free of sin.

    Blessings for all of you,
    Balázs from Hungary

  • Cara

    Amen!!! Thank you for helping clear that up for Tim.

  • reyes red

    So they must stop preaching Gods word period. What topics are they preaching about if they are not teaching from Gods word. If we are not to instruct others as to how God intends for us to live there is no point in having a church. Its each individuals journey, right? Cowards, God called sin out throughout his word.