In a blog he shared publically on August 2 of this year, Geoffrey Grinder wrote that two “out and proud” homosexual men Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly are engaged to be married and “lead the worship choir during worship services at Hillsong in New York City.” Hillsong is a megachurch founded by pastor Brian Houston in Sydney, Australia, and has started churches in other major cities around the world one of which is in New York City. Carl Lentz has been the senor pastor since the launch of Hillsong NYC in October of 2010. In a televised interview with Katie Couric in December 2013, Lentz said he did not want to take a public stand on private matters like homosexuality. In a press conference in October of 2014 Brian Houston was on hand for a Hillsong Conference being held at the NYC campus. Lentz once again refused to take a pubic stand on homosexuality, and Houston said, “I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.”
I agree, as a believer who accepts the Scriptures as the Word of God and recognizes their authority to define what we should believe and how we should live it speaks plainly and clearly about sexual practices. But to those who do not read it, and are involved in sexual practices they have no desire to forsake, and with the false and conflicting interpretations that condone homosexual sin, what Paul says is not so clear. At least it was not clear to Canfield and Kelly who claim to be choir members at Hillsong NYC. Hillsong founder Brian Houston has recently written a response to clarify Hillsong’s position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. He wrote, “God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman…we do not affirm a gay lifestyle and because of this we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid…we are a gay welcoming church but we are not a church that affirms a gay lifestyle.” Now that is clear.
Some churches have been reluctant to address the issue of homosexuality head-on lest they lose the opportunity to reach the LGBT community with the Gospel. But can the church afford to appear to be reticent on an issue of controversy when the Scriptures address it so clearly and certainly? Paul warns, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” Second Timothy 4:3. That time has come. There has never been a time in America when same-sex sin has been celebrated and traditional marriage has been insistently challenged as it is now. If the church is to proclaim the grace of God’s forgiveness, we must be clear and truthful on why that forgiveness is needed. The truth should not need to be pried from our lips, but declared with clarion certitude.