Evangelical author and pastor Max Lucado is apologizing for comments he made in a 2004 sermon about homosexuality, although he says he still believes in the “traditional biblical understanding of marriage.”
Lucado, the teaching minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas and the author of books that have sold more than 120 million copies, penned a Feb. 11 apologetic letter to the Washington National Cathedral in which he said his 2004 sermon “wounded people.”
Lucado sent the letter to the Cathedral following a controversy over his Feb. 7 virtual sermon during a National Cathedral service. Some Episcopalians had pointed to the 2004 sermon as a reason he should not preach at the cathedral, which is a prominent Episcopalian church. More than 1,600 signed a petition urging the Cathedral to rescind the invitation.
“In 2004 I preached a sermon on the topic of same-sex marriage. I now see that, in that sermon, I was disrespectful,” he says in the letter. “I was hurtful. I wounded people in ways that were devastating,” he said in the letter. “I should have done better. It grieves me that my words have hurt or been used to hurt the LGBTQ community. I apologize to you and I ask forgiveness of Christ.”
Lucado, in the letter, does not specify which parts of the sermon trouble him.
Episcopal News Service posted a copy of the letter.
“Faithful people 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,” he said in the letter. “To be clear, 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, the church has harmed LGBTQ people and their families, just as the church has harmed people on issues of race, gender, divorce, addiction, and so many other things. We must do better to serve and love one another,” he wrote in conclusion. “I share the Cathedral’s commitment to building bridges and learning how to listen – to really listen – to those with whom we disagree. That work is difficult, it is hard, it is messy, and it can be uncomfortable. But we need it now more than ever.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.