Smells like it to me. We report. You decide. Check this out.
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.”
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.
Read more: Jonathan Merritt
See the response from Bill Muehlenberg, Clash Daily Guest Contributor, below…
I have said this plenty of times before and I will say it again: when you are leading a megachurch, there is massive temptation to keep the masses happy and the money flowing by telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
The fear not to alienate anyone or offend anyone or upset anyone can almost become a god, with everything done to keep the masses comfortable, happy and entertained. Thus no controversial subjects will be raised, no hard doctrines spoken to, and no political controversies will be courted.
This is how you can keep the crowds coming back. Thus in the biggest church in America and the biggest church in Australia, you simply will not hear anything about the most important moral, social and even theological issues of our day. You will certainly not hear about such controversial issues as homosexuality.
Of course this has been standard operating procedure for megachurch pastors like Joel Osteen and Brian Houston for years now. I have written about both often, including on their refusal to proclaim biblical truth in these key areas. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com
And when the homosexual press write articles about how pleased they are with the way Hillsong is moving, then you know we are in trouble. See here for example: gaystarnews.com
These leaders will try to claim that an issue like homosexuality is not a gospel issue, and that they are not into talking about such matters. Well, they most certainly are gospel issues. God’s intentions for marriage and family and human sexuality are found throughout Scripture, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.
And Jesus spoke often about all three. Yet these leaders think we should stay silent on them, or even make peace with the world on these matters. That is called capitulation, compromise and carnality. It is not called standing strong for biblical truth.
Houston was again asked about this issue recently, and he again tried to downplay and dodge the issue. Here is how an article from the Huff Post describes this:
At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference held in New York City Thursday, New York Times‘ Michael Paulson asked Houston directly about his stance on same-sex marriage. In an unofficial transcript provided by Jonathan Merritt, Houston responded:
It can be challenging for churches to stay relevant. Because many mainstream churches upheld what they would believe is the long established view of what the Bible says about homosexuality. But the world has 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. The world, the weight, and the word….
And they don’t all necessary align. With the word we live by, many people have various convictions. In the middle of it all know that Jesus when it comes to people would let nothing stop Him from breaking through a divide to help hurting, broken, everyday normal people like you and I.
And according to CharismaNews, this was how his reply went: “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’.”
Read more: Bill Muehlenberg