Joe Carter:

For the past several decades voices inside and outside the church have said that Christians have hurt our witness by focusing on issues that challenge individualistic sexual permissiveness. They say that if we would only focus on actions that show how much we love our neighbor, actions like ending human trafficking, we would be welcomed in the public square. But as the Giglio incident reveals, no amount of good works can atone for committing the secular sin of subscribing to the biblical view of sexuality.

It’s not even enough to stop talking about the issue. As Giglio says in his statement,
“Clearly, speaking on [homosexuality] has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years.” But for the sexual liberationists, both secular and religious, it is not enough to have stopped talking about an issue decades ago. Anyone who has ever spoken about the issue—or at least has not recanted from believing what God says about homosexuality—is to be treated as a bigot.

Russell Moore:

When it is now impossible for one who holds to the catholic Christian view of marriage and the gospel to pray at a public event, we now have a de facto established state church.  Just as the pre-constitutional Anglican and congregational churches required a license to preach in order to exclude Baptists, the new state church requires a “license” of embracing sexual liberation in all its forms.

Note, this now doesn’t simply exclude harsh and intemperate statements or even activism. Simply holding the view held by every Roman pontiff and by every congregation and synagogue in the world until very recent days is enough to make one “radioactive” in public.

As citizens, we ought to insist that the President stand up to his “base” and articulate a vision of a healthy pluralism in the public square. Notice that the problem is not that this evangelical wants to “impose his religion” on the rest of society.  The problem is not that he wants to exclude homosexuals or others from the public square or of their civil rights. The problem is that he won’t say that they can go to heaven without repentance. That’s not a civil issue, but a religious test of orthodoxy.

Albert Mohler:

The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the White House have now declared historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds, casting it off the inaugural program as an embarrassment. By its newly articulated standard, any preacher who holds to the faith of the church for the last 2,000 years is persona non grata. By this standard, no Roman Catholic prelate or priest can participate in the ceremony. No Evangelical who holds to biblical orthodoxy is welcome. The vast majority of Christians around the world have been disinvited. Mormons, and the rabbis of Orthodox Judaism are out. Any Muslim imam who could walk freely in Cairo would be denied a place on the inaugural program. Billy Graham, who participated in at least ten presidential inaugurations is welcome no more. Rick Warren, who incited a similar controversy when he prayed at President Obama’s first inauguration, is way out of bounds. In the span of just four years, the rules are fully changed.

The gauntlet was thrown down yesterday, and the axe fell today. Wayne Besen, founder of the activist group Truth Wins Out, told The New York Times yesterday: “It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on LBGT people at a moment when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues.”

And there you have it — anyone who has ever believed that homosexuality is morally problematic in any way must now offer public repentance and evidence of having “evolved” on the question. This is the language that President Obama used of his own “evolving” position on same-sex marriage. This is what is now openly demanded of Christians today. If you want to avoid being thrown off the program, you had better learn to evolve fast, and repent in public.

This is precisely what biblical Christians cannot do. While seeking to be gentle in spirit and ruthlessly Gospel-centered in speaking of any sin, we cannot cease to speak of sin as sin. To do so is not only to deny the authority of Scripture, not only to reject the moral consensus of the saints, but it undermines the Gospel itself. The Gospel makes no sense, and is robbed of its saving power, if sin is denied as sin.

An imbroglio is a painful and embarrassing conflict. The imbroglio surrounding Louie Giglio is not only painful, it is revealing. We now see the new Moral McCarthyism in its undisguised and unvarnished reality. If you are a Christian, get ready for the question you will now undoubtedly face: “Do you now or have you ever believed that homosexuality is a sin?” There is nowhere to hide.

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41 thoughts on “Louie Giglio’s Ouster from the Presidential Inauguration for a Sermon on Homosexuality from the ’90s”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I thought Giglio voluntarily took himself out of the prayer? Is that not what happened?

    1. Joe Carter says:

      After consultation with the WH, Giglio withdrew his name. But after he did the WH’s inauguration spokesperson said that they wouldn’t have invited Giglio had they known about the sermon.

  2. Freddie Lloyd Case says:

    Are these three reactions meant as sarcasm? Or are we as biblical Christians really this upset about being disenfranchised from a worldly system that has always been(and will always be) antagonistic to biblical truth. Have we, as conservative Christians, become so accustomed to a seat at the political table that we are now this upset that we are no longer welcome. Perhaps our Lord has chosen to forceably remove our collective evangelical necks from the yoke we have had it stuck in for the last few decades. I say praise God! Now let’s get on with speaking the truth and forget about trying to maintain our position within the political power structure. (And by that I mean both Democrat AND Republican)

  3. Kenton says:

    While I don’t usually agree with Al Mohler’s view on how Christians should engage the culture, here his words are very much on point. What is striking to me is that the common cultural refrain is “Don’t push your morals on me”, yet they don’t realize that their talk of “moving forward on our issues” colors these issues in moral terms. What we see ahead of us is a clash of two very different moral systems, and each one requires the other to confess and repent.

  4. Chuck M says:

    The interesting thing to me is that no one seems to have questioned Mr Giglio’s decision to provide the benediction, an “utterance, bestowing or invocation of divine blessing”, on President Obama in the first place. After all, this is a President who flagrantly, even gleefully, opposes God’s standards. Why was there no discussion on whether a prominent Christian minister should extend heaven’s blessing to such a man? President Obama aggressively promotes the murder of unborn children, he aggressively promotes sexual ethics completely contrary to God’s design and laws, he refuses to let businesses and organizations live by their religious convictions, and he takes their money to fund his unrighteous acts under the threat of force. Clearly we should extend grace, kindness and honor to our President, but extend a blessing from our holy God to the one who willfully opposes Him? I wonder. Are there not warnings in scripture on such matters, and examples? John the Baptist was willing to speak with an unrepentant Herod, but at no time did he ever back down from rebuking the man and instead extend God’s blessing.

    1. Freddie Lloyd Case says:

      Interesting point Chuck. I’m curious though… Suppose we evangelicals could have somehow managed to get the Mormon elected. Would it then have been appropriate to provide the “invocation of divine blessing” upon someone who espouses a religion which is arguably more opposed to the biblical God than liberal Christianity. Or are you implying that biblical Christianity is primarily about morality and social reformation and less about the gospel of grace. After all, one would be hard- pressed to find a religion more opposed to the gospel of grace than Mormonism.

    2. Wesley says:

      Ever read Rom. 13 bro? Governments are instituted by God and we are commanded by that same God to respect and pray for them. That doesn’t mean Giggy was gonna go in there and pray, ‘God thank you for Bama’s current policy on abortion’, but it does mean he could go in there and be the aroma of Christ and pray for God to work through and use Bama for His own good purpose. You feelin’ that, or no?

      1. Richard says:

        I think Freddie is right, Wesley. Sure, we are to pray for our leaders–we do that every Lord’s Day in our church. But surely there is a difference between that and in effect baptizing a particular Administration by showing up as a representative of a church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and invoking a divine blessing. You don’t see a difference and a problem when you mix up cult (church) and culture and the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of Christ?

        1. Wesley says:

          Of course there are problems. But Jesus + Paul didn’t seem to mind risking the appearance of false-blessing while achieving their true purpose of bearing witness to the truth in a pagan setting and before pagan rulers. The bigger problem to me is if your true motivation or aim is to add validity or clout to something or someone other than Jesus.
          (btw, i also have a problem with referring to Christ’s bride as a cult) ;)

    3. Mark says:

      Chuck,
      I appreciate your point … I’m wondering though how we factor in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior …”)? Seeking God’s blessing on President Obama includes praying that His grace would penetrate this man’s heart and bring about repentance and new life in Christ and peaceful lives for the Church.

  5. Mike R says:

    It’s hard to really figure out what happened here. Did the WH start to hear grumblings about the 20-year old sermon and approach Giglio? Did Giglio start to hear things and approach the WH saying, hey, it might be best if we step out of this and not let this cloud the inauguration? Did the WH say, look, if you’ll give us some kind of statement that says your tone is a little softer and more tolerant today, we’re cool with having you stay in the program? Did Giglio say, nope, not compromising my stance? I think it’s sad he stepped out of the honor, but it’s hard to draw any conclusions with the information we have.

  6. If President Obama and the White House desire to be known for tolerance, they must stop discrediting themselves by acquiescing to the radical agenda of militant homosexuals. Be assured that there are homosexuals who agree with this and who do everything possible to disassociate from the radical fringe group.

  7. Kern Pegues says:

    It is funny we are hearing a lot about this but not one peep about him allowing Beth Moore preaching one Sunday Morning in his church.

  8. Pastor Giglio said, “Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”

    What is the assumption behind this statement? It is that repentance is not an essential element of gospel preaching. This is the real scandal–not the State religion, not the hatred of Christ expressed by the world, but a Christian pastor who believes he can faithfully preach Christ without calling sinners to repent of one of the most prevalent sins of the very generation he claims to be reaching.

    As Martin Luther rightly warned: “Many now talk only about the forgiveness of sins and say little or nothing about repentance. There neither is forgiveness of sins without repentance nor can forgiveness of sins be understood without repentance. It follows that if we preach the forgiveness of sins without repentance that the people imagine that they have already obtained the forgiveness of sins, becoming thereby secure and without compunction of conscience. This would be a greater error and sin than all the errors hitherto prevailing. Surely we need to be concerned lest, as Christ says in Matthew 12:45, the last state becomes worse than the first.

    “Therefore we have instructed and admonished pastors that it is their duty to preach the whole gospel and not one portion without the other. For God says in Deuteronomy 4:2]: “You shall not add to the word…nor take from it.” There are preachers who now attack the pope because of what he has added to the Scriptures, which unfortunately is all too true. But when these do not preach repentance, they tear out a great part of Scripture.” (Luther’s Works; Volume 40; Church and Ministry II; Edited by Conrad Bergendoff; Muhlenberg Press; Philadelphia; 1958; “Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors”; pp. 274, 275.)

    1. Mike R says:

      or, maybe he’s showing a healthy pragmatism and deciding which battles he has determined are worth living and dying over. don’t interject yourself between what he and God may have decided his highest priority calling is.

      1. The last time I checked, a minister of the Gospel doesn’t get to choose which parts he preaches and which he decides to leave out.

        And what if I and God have decided that my “highest priority calling” is to call pastors to faithfulness to their vows? Am I allowed to do that?

        “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

        “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:26-27).

        1. Mike R says:

          yes, the bible is full of verses, and those are certainly some of them. how about these from first corinthians nine:
          19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
          20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
          21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
          22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
          23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
          giglio did NOT come out and say homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. he walked a very fine line because he has bigger fish to fry.

          1. Bill T. says:

            So according to your logic the key is just not mentioning sin. Do not call for repentance from sin and offer a gospel that does not deal with sin. By the way, the passage you quoted in I Corinthians has nothing to do with preaching a gospel that does not deal with repentance from sin.

            1. Mike R says:

              that’s not my logic at all. let me ask you this: have you been on the news today reading out loud all the laws and prohibitions of the bible? around the clock? because you’re saying that NOT saying something is akin to shirking your responsibility. you better take a big deep breath and get busy saying everything, all the time, 24×7. but please let me know where you’re going to be doing this so i can be elsewhere.

      2. Luke says:

        Stephen, you are clearly unfamiliar with Giglio or his ministry and do not know what you’re talking about. You should just stop talking or typing.

        1. Well, there you have it.

        2. Brian says:

          I’m familiar with Giglio and his ministry and I totally agree with Stephen.

        3. Henry says:

          Luke, Stephen Baker’s criticisms are based on Giglio’s very own words and are not taken out of context.

          Be honest with yourself – Giglio appears ashamed of God’s words on homosexuality and instead wants to be the neutral guy. Courting the praise of the world more than the praise of God.

          I’d suggest we read our Bible’s more carefully and recognize that we *cannot* be greater than our Master. If Jesus was hated for righteousness sake, neither can we avoid it if we follow him.

          It is foolish to water down the message to avoid the incurring the bad name Jesus received from his enemies.

          I hope some evangelical leaders will bring correction to Giglio in this regard. It has brought shame on our courage and portrayed Christians as embarrassed by their own beliefs. That does not commend the faith to unbelievers. What does commend the faith is making a good and faithful confession of the truth and being ridiculed and excluded for it. Even unbelievers perceive and respect the righteousness of men who conduct themselves like that.

          1. Mike R says:

            “Giglio appears ashamed of God’s words on homosexuality and instead wants to be the neutral guy. Courting the praise of the world more than the praise of God.”

            henry – you say giglio’s own words led you to this conclusion. can you share specifically which words those were? and, remember: absence of words does not equal words. please enlighten me.

            1. Henry says:

              To the contrary, absence of words speaks very loudly indeed. Producing a multitude of words whilst carefully avoiding to any plain affirmation of what God has said and even seeming to distance himself from his past sermon speak a disappointing message that many have noticed.

              We should pray for the dear man instead of trying to justify him. The church losing its spine will have very harmful effects on those that come after us.

    2. Tony says:

      Stephen, I have listened to Giglios sermons for most of the past 15 years. I have also served at numerous Passion events. I would humbly suggest you listen to his preaching and see if you still have the same conclusion.

      1. Tony, my concern is based on Pastor Giglio’s statement. He said he hasn’t preached against the sin of homosexuality for at least 15 years. He said this was “a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago.”

        Come on, brothers. I’m not trying to be obnoxious. I’m simply trying to point out the obvious. Homosexuality–among other sexual perversions like pornography, immorality, etc.–is a major sin of our generation. Can we faithfully serve the young people of this county without calling them to repent of their sexual sin? When Jesus met the woman at the well, he went directly to her sexual sin, which by His mercy bore the fruit of repentance and faith.

        Are men like Pastor Giglio really beyond any criticism? I hope, for my soul’s sake, that I will never achieve such fame.

        1. Tony says:

          Fair enough, but I think you are reading into or projecting conclusions on his words. I agree about being beyond criticism, no man is above that. I’ll reconsider but I don’t think the absence of direct condemnation of homosexuality means he has changed his views.

          As for the woman at the well, yes Jesus did confront her, but not until He had engaged her first. He also didn’t accuse her, He led her to admit her sin. That is a powerful encounter, and led to a beautiful teaching on worship and her repentance.

      2. Brian says:

        Tony, I have listened to Giglio’s sermons for most of the past 15 years. I have attended many Passion conferences and watched the others live-stream. I would humbly suggest you realize that you are wrong and Stephen is right. I’m serious.

        1. Tony says:

          Brian, honest question, not argumentative, i’d like to hear your perspective, and what I may be missing.

  9. AJG says:

    My question is why is there a benediction at the inauguration at all? Whether delivered by a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Unitarian, inevitably the prayer will only apply to a segment of the population and will marginalize the remainder. Better to keep religion and government separate.

  10. DAF says:

    Did he jump or was he pushed? See The Columbus Dispatch:

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/faith_and_values/2013/01/11/minister-wont-pray-at-obamas-inauguration.html

    “An official said Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Committee operates separately from the White House, and it vetted Giglio. People familiar with discussions between administration and committee officials said the White House told the panel Wednesday night to reconsider. By yesterday morning, Giglio had withdrawn.

    In a statement issued yesterday morning, Giglio said he was honored to have been invited to give the benediction and would “continue to pray regularly for the president” — including on Inauguration Day — but that he was withdrawing his acceptance of Obama’s invitation.

    “Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation and the prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration,” Giglio said.”

  11. Joe says:

    Giglio’s statement reads like an apology. And evangelical appeals for tolerance also sound almost apologetic. EIther we believe the traditional teaching — no apologies — or we don’t. It sounds more and more like we actually just quite don’t and find it a necessary but anachronistic holdover ourselves.

  12. tom jefferson says:

    I wish he had not withdrawn, but I know he believes he had good reason to withdraw. I say go all the way, til they behead you. Did not our Master say “take up your cross and follow Me.”? It just might lead to death, prison, or a little cultural unpopularity. Why should we cave to the godless, Christ-hating pagans? Be strong in the Lord,; stand firm; don’t back down from the Truth.

    I wonder what the Apostle Paul would have done?

  13. We don’t have to guess what the Apostle Paul would say when standing before the rulers of his day.

    For example:

    Acts 24:25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”

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Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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