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There's Nowhere Left to Hide on Issues of Sexuality: Christian, Are You Ready to Give an Answer about the Clear Teachings of Scripture?

There's Nowhere Left to Hide on Issues of Sexuality: Christian, Are You Ready to Give an Answer about the Clear Teachings of Scripture?

Mohler reflects on Max Lucado's sermon and its aftermath at Washington National Cathedral

By Albert Mohler
https://albertmohler.com/2021/02/22/briefing-2-22-21
February 22, 2021

But next I want to make the fundamental point that eventually we're all going to know where everyone stands on these issues. There are people who have tried to hide, there are people who've changed their position, there are people who have just been relatively silent on these issues, there are some people who may believe something now different of what they believed years ago. That issue is profoundly raised with the controversy that is located in Washington DC, in Washington's National Cathedral, and has to do with popular Christian pastor and author, Max Lucado.

The controversy emerged because Max Lucado was in a series of preachers preaching virtual sermons for the nation's national cathedral over the course of the last several weeks. He preached one message, and that message became the object of intense controversy, so much so that the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington and the Dean of the Cathedral, basically had to fall on their swords and apologize for being so insensitive as to ever invite someone as an evangelical like Max Lucado. The central point of their apology was the fact that they had underestimated the great evil in their eyes and hurt from his 2004 sermon preached on the topic of same-sex marriage.

You can't really find that sermon now, nor can you find an article that had summarized the sermon that had appeared in a prominent Christian website. It appears to have been scrubbed, but in the aftermath of the controversy, Max Lucado wrote a letter to the cathedral community. He said, "It was a high honor to serve as your guest preacher on February 7, 2021. It has come to my understanding that my presence in the cathedral is a cause of consternation for many of your members." He went on to say he was invited to the Washington National Cathedral to preach on the topic of the Holy Spirit. "My desire was to highlight the power of the spirit to bring comfort in these chaotic times. However, instead of that sermon, many only heard my words from many years ago."

And then Mr. Lucado said, "in 2004, I preached a sermon on the topic of same-sex marriage. I now see that in that sermon, I was disrespectful. I was hurtful. I wounded people in ways that were devastating. I should have done better. It grieves me that my words have hurt or even been used to hurt the LGBTQ community. I apologize to you and I ask forgiveness of Christ. Faithful people," he continued, "may disagree about what the Bible says about homosexuality, but we agree that God's Holy word must never be used as a weapon to wound others. To be clear, said Mr. Lucado, "I believe in the traditional biblical understanding of marriage, but I also believe in a God of unbounded, grace, and love. LGBTQ individuals and LGBTQ families must be respected and treated with love. They are beloved children of God because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Over centuries," he continued, "the church has harmed LGBTQ people and their families just as the church has harmed people and issues of race, gender divorce, addiction, and so many other things we must do better to serve and love one another."

He had a concluding paragraph, but that's the central portion of his letter. Now here's the issue I want to raise. I don't know exactly what Max Lucado believes about the LGBTQ issues, but I will have to say there's some very problematic statements in here from the perspective of orthodox biblical Christianity. For one thing we're told here that faithful people may disagree about this issue: "Faithful people may disagree about what the Bible says about homosexuality." But he goes on to say, "We agree that God's Holy word must never be used as a weapon to wound others." Yes, it must never be used as a weapon. On the other hand, it is defined in scripture as a sword. And so we understand that the spirit uses it to define issues.

We also understand that if we are looking at clear biblical texts and make no mistake, the issue of homosexuality and the definition of marriage are clear biblical texts, I think it is not faithful to say that faithful people may disagree about what the Bible says about homosexuality. I'll go further. I think what we're looking at as a major dividing line in the church. Faithful Christianity is bound to the word of God as Luther said. It is bound to the clear teachings of scripture. We're going to have to let that argument stand and make it very clear to say the faithful people may disagree about this. Well, here's what I want to say, and I want to say it very clearly and plainly. Those who are using the interpretation of scripture to undermine the clear teachings of scripture, and the Christian doctrinal, and ethical consensus of centuries, I do not believe that can be defined as faithful.

Mr. Lucado does say very clearly that he believes "in the traditional biblical understanding of marriage." Well, I understand that, but does he believe that to have private or public consequence? What's his position on the legalization of same-sex marriage? What's his position on the entire LGBTQ+ array of issues? Well, the controversy is now raised and the question becomes unavoidable.

There is nowhere for any of us to hide on this issue. Sooner or later, we have any public voice or public role. If we have any claim on evangelical or orthodox Christian identity, that means just biblical Christianity, then we are going to have to make our convictions clear on this. There is not going to be any halfway house of ill-defined faithfulness. Faithfulness, as it turns out, in love and in truth will have to be defined. And not only that, we do have a lot of definition here for one thing, we definitely know where the Episcopal Church USA stands. We definitely know where the Episcopal Diocese of Washington stands and it's Bishop. We definitely know where the dean of the cathedral stands. We know where most of liberal Christianity stands.

Indeed, most is an understatement. Eventually, everyone's going to know where every one of us stands. So you better figure out where you stand.

For more information, go to my website at albertmohler.com. You can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com/albertmohler. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to sbts.edu. For information on Boyce College, just go to boycecollege.com

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