Editor's Note, 12/11/18: Since this article was published, the author, Shane Idleman, has had a chance to further express his stance on this topic in a radio interview. To listen to the interview, click here.
A recent firestorm began when Lauren Daigle made the following statement regarding if homosexuality is a sin: “I can't honestly answer on that,” Daigle responded. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love and they are homosexual. I don't know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can't say one way or the other. I'm not God. So when people ask questions like that . . . that's what my go to is. I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out let me know, because I'm learning too,’” she continued.
She also caught heat for an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In my opinion, we have two different issues here. We also have a plethora of people chiming in, from modern-day Pharisees to lukewarm Christians, and many in between. The issue of sin and homosexuality is not going away, and many prominent pastors have endorsed it. But what is really going on?
First, let’s tackle the appearance on Ellen. These things aren’t always cut-and-dried. For example, if I was asked to appear on Ellen to share my faith in God via repentance from sin to millions of people, I would jump at the opportunity. But if I was told I cannot talk about difficult things, then I may need to turn it down. The former would be an incredible opportunity; the latter would appear as an endorsement if I was muzzled. People will have different convictions, not unlike when John MacArthur turned down an opportunity to speak at the Mormon Tabernacle, but Ravi Zacharias embraced it. In this case, would the speaker be allowed to lovingly yet boldly speak about the massive difference in Mormonism and Christianity, or would they be muzzled?
Now let’s tackle the wavering of many prominent leaders. This trend to embrace homosexuality is actually not surprising. Yes, some are not true believers, but that’s not always the case. Many have not fully surrendered their life to the work of the Spirit. Acts 1:8 identifies this experience: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses.” The power of the Spirit is like dynamite that ignites a hunger for God so intense that every aspect of life is changed—we become bold not passive, stable not fanatical, and committed not wavering. A witness must share the whole story.
When a person truly experiences this infilling of the Spirit, there is a transformed life resulting in a love for God, His Word, and His Truth. We’d rather please God than man. I too know people who struggle with homosexuality, but that should not shape my theology. To truly offer hope we must speak the truth in love. Sadly, we often pray on the run, scurry through a quick devotional, and rarely read through God’s Word, yet we devote hours to television, movies, and the internet, and we wonder why we know little of the Spirit’s power. We are filled with the world more than the Spirit of God. I sincerely believe the greatest need in the church today is to confess our sins, pray often, obey the Word, and be filled with the Spirit.
Am I saying that many who waiver on the difficult truths are not mightily filled with the Spirit? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Some are not genuinely converted, and others default to passiveness in moments of weakness, but what we are seeing today is a lack of spiritual power, a quenching and grieving of the Spirit. Many pastors and worship leaders have an incredible gift from God, but ability will only take them so far. When a person is filled with God’s Spirit they will be extremely loving but also extremely bold. The anointing of God will be apparent on their life; more here.
This is not a letter of rebuke (I’m in no position to do that); it’s a tear-stained plea that we return to full surrender. People, especially young adults, have questions about the Bible. We should allow that and lovingly encourage them in their walk. I love Lauren’s songs and so appreciate her heart, but because Lauren (and others) go public, we have a responsibility to respond publicly. Churches will have to consider if her songs, and songs led by other worship leaders who waiver, will be promoted at services. It’s one thing to listen in the privacy of your home, but it’s a whole new ballgame when promotion comes across as endorsement.
If uncertain about what the Bible says on very important issues, take time and study before sharing what you believe God said. The cost is too great and the price is too high to lead people astray. I wish she had simply said, “The Bible appears to be clear on this issue. I'm learning too, but I don’t want to minimize God’s truth. I love people enough to tell them the truth.” Here is what Jesus and the Bible say about this important issue.
I also don’t believe that some of these sincerely wrong people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Modern-day Pharisees need to be very careful in their language. They too need a mighty filling of the Spirit via brokenness and humility. But this discussion does beg the question: Where are the Tyndales and Husses who were burned at the stake for simply declaring the truth? Where are the Luthers who, when asked to recant or face possible execution, said, “Here I stand; I can do no other”? Where are the John Knoxes who cried, “Give me Scotland for the cause of Christ or I die”? Where are the Whitefields who shook continents with their boldness?
As the church falls deeper into self-reliance and further from reliance on God, our need for bold, Spirit-filled leadership has never been greater. Change in our nation will only occur when there is a strong conviction of sin, genuine faith, humility, and sincere repentance, beginning in the pulpits and on the worship stage. May God grant us the wisdom and strength to proclaim these truths. We must stop confusing God’s patience with His approval and lead with conviction—as dying men to dying men.
Article originally published by Shane Idleman. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Jesse Grant
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged.