The Gospel Coalition

The Story: Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and founder of the Passion Conferences, an organization that brings college students together in prayer and worship, was selected by President Obama to deliver the benediction at his inaugural this month. He was disinvited, though, after it was discovered he had delivered a sermon about homosexuality in the mid-1990s.

The Background: According to Addie Whisenant, the spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, "Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world." But criticism over the selection came after the liberal website Think Progress posted audio of a sermon that Giglio gave in the mid-1990s. In the audio, Giglio calls unrepentant homosexuality a sin and adds:
That's God's voice. If you want to hear God's voice, that is his voice to this issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear. If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. . . . homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the word of God.

[. . .]

The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus. . . . We've got to say the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me . . . it's not easy to change, but it is possible to change.

Think Progress described the sermon as "vehemently anti-gay", a sentiment that seems to be shared by the White House. As Whisenant added, the inauguration committee was "not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural."

On his church's website Giglio says that "after conversations between our team and the White House I am no longer serving in that role."

Why It Matters: 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.

In her statement Whisenant add that, "Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his inaugural."

The message of religious intolerance being delivered by President Obama, his staff, and many of his supporters is unmistakable: If you do not affirm homosexuality then you cannot be fair-minded. Affirmation of homosexual behavior is now a litmus test for President Obama and his political party. As Russell Moore notes, "by the standards of this controversy, no Muslim imam or Orthodox Jewish rabbi alive can pray at a presidential inauguration."

What is most disturbing is that this new standard is not just applied to political appointees but to religious leaders whose sole function is to deliver a prayer. The effect, as Moore says, is that we now have a "de facto established state church":
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.

We can and should oppose affirmation of homosexuality as a religious test of orthodoxy. We should do so forcefully but charitably, remembering that our purpose is not to defend our rights but to ensure that we can effectively love our neighbor. We should impose any efforts that hinder the spread of the Gospel and our ability to tell the truth about human sin and God's grace.

However, we should also remember that our Lord says that because he has chosen us out of this world that the world will hate us. (John 15:19) This hate is not a mere effect of our focusing on divisive cultural issues. This is the default attitude of the world toward Christians. Jesus healed the sick, cured the blind, and even raised the dead---and for these good works they crucified him.

We shouldn't be so naive as to believe that if we focus exclusively on serving the homeless and fighting to end human trafficking that they world will stop hating us. We must both serve our neighbor and tell them the truth about the human condition, that the wages of unrepentant sin is death. No one can truly love their neighbor and affirm their sin. For us to remain silent about homosexuality would show that we hate the world as much as the world hates us.

Update: Several commenters raised questions about whether the use of the term "disinvited" in the title was accurate. I'll let the reader decide, but here is a quote from the New York Times that sheds some light on the issue:
People familiar with internal discussions between administration and committee officials said the White House viewed the selection as a problem for Mr. Obama, and told the panel on Wednesday night to quickly fix it. By Thursday morning, Mr. Giglio said he had withdrawn.



Comments:

[...] From Joe Carter at the Gospel Coalition: Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexuality [...]

[...] faithful determine to not give in to culture’s demands on this front, we should be mindful, as Joe Carter reminds us, that Jesus has promised us that the world will hate us. We shouldn’t be surprised. And in [...]

[...] Joe Carter – He explains the situation thoroughly, echoes Russell Moore’s warning (Guess I’m sneaking in a fourth article!) about how the government is in effect establishing a state church, and reminds us that one of our Lord’s promises is that His followers will be hated. [...]

[...] The Issue: Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and founder of the Passion Conferences, an organization that brings college students together in prayer and worship, was selected by President Obama to deliver the benediction at his inaugural this month. He withdrew because of controversy over a sermon he delivered in mid-1990s on homosexuality. [...]

[...] of how quickly things have changed that in the USA, Louie Giglio a leading pastor can now be disinvited from doing an act of national prayer because he once taught that the Bible disagrees with homosexual activity.Society as a whole is [...]

[...] to the present, here’s Joe Carter: For the past several decades voices inside and outside the church have said that Christians have [...]

Dave

January 15, 2013 at 03:16 PM

Well said Db , first thing I picked up on .

The Giglio Imbroglio « From the Brainpan

January 14, 2013 at 11:28 PM

[...] was a brouhaha in the capital. If you are behind on all of this, then take a couple minutes to read this article, this one, and this one and then come back. Everything else I have to say is [...]

[...] can atone for committing the secular sin of subscribing to the biblical view of sexuality.” Click here for original [...]

Claude Jacques Bonhomme

January 13, 2013 at 09:55 AM

If you stand with Pastor Giglio, you must respect his decision to withdraw his participation because he realizes his past comments are divisive (even though he's not apologetic for them) and he doesn't want to bring that baggage at the inauguration.

Keith

January 13, 2013 at 09:18 AM

> People with a homosexual orientation are called by the Bible to resist their urges and impulses and live a controlled, self-denying life. This is really not fundamentally different from the call for any Christian.

This is hugely different from the "call for any Christian"; you're telling humans to deny their sex drives. Equating a life-long vow of chastity with resisting the impulse to lie, or urge to gossip, is misleading at best.

The Catholic church developed a complete infrastructure to support a group of people intended to be chaste, and there is significant evidence of their centuries-long failure: how do you expect random Christians, without any particular support network or even acceptance within the church, to manage it?

Keith

January 13, 2013 at 08:52 AM

When you say it's not a direct call to execute homosexuals, you're relying on a particular exegesis that is simply not that clear. Coupling Romans 1:32 with John 15:6 ("If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.") is probably all you need to get from "here" to "there".

As a more specific and modern example, the Ugandan legislation of the death penalty for same-sex intercourse is entirely based on the Bible; are you going to take the position that your exegesis is "right", and theirs is "wrong"?

Sam Harris covered this ground well: "The problem, however, is that the teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently--though isn't it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Christianity, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith failed?"

Cathy

January 13, 2013 at 05:14 PM

The proclamation of sin, God's holy law, Jesus' life and work, repentance and faith is not baggage- it's the message the church is called to herald- especially a pastor who has courted such national attention. LG didn't outright apologize - but it basically had the same effect.

sanman53

January 12, 2013 at 08:54 PM

So, would Martin Luther King, Jr (who said homosexuality was a 'problem') been invited to pray? Do homosexual's think Muslims are bigots since they disagree with homosexuals?

Jason Van Bemmel

January 12, 2013 at 08:45 PM

Keith,

Louie Giglio was simply reading from the Bible. When the Bible says, "those who do such things are worthy of death" (Rom. 1:32), it is not a direct call to execute homosexuals but rather is a statement that God condemns such activity and that we are not free to condone it. We all believe that the behavior of some people (a certain percentage of our population) is reprehensible and worthy of being condemned- drug abuse, active alcoholism, spouse abuse, child abuse, violence against the innocent, human trafficking, etc. What's interesting to note is that Rom 1:32 condemns the activity ("those who do such things") and not orientation ("those who feel such feelings"). People with a homosexual orientation are called by the Bible to resist their urges and impulses and live a controlled, self-denying life. This is really not fundamentally different from the call for any Christian. Christ saves us by His grace when we trust in Him and then calls us to deny ourselves by His grace and follow Him. We all have sinful desires we must deny and, if we do not, we run the risk of doing things which are worthy of spirtual death. The good news of the Gospel is that Christ saves us from ourselves and we ALL need such salvation!

Alex Guggenheim

January 12, 2013 at 07:19 AM

I doubt Jennifer imagines it will be a road of ease in having to deal with her daughter's perverse life. She is not completely disassociating herself and did not say so. However, Jennifer is not the one whose conscience will contend with rebellion, sin and all of its consequences. She is not the one celebrating and elevating perversion as an acceptable lifestyle. It will hurt but her conscience will have no presumed guilt nor should there be.

However, her presence at this particular event which is an abomination is not necessary to demonstrate goodness or patience is calling her daughter to repentance and clearly to her is a matter of conscience which she considers to be a case where she would be transferring trust or tolerance in some manner to the union. Good for Jennifer in seeking to have a conscience void of offense. It is her daughter whose conscience is filled with the guilt of offense.

But to your comment about sacrificing bonds between mother and daughter, need you be reminded of our Lord's own words (Luke 12:53):

51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

There is a consequential antagonism between believer and non believer, not an orchestrated one by the believer, when a Christian follows Christ. And we do not sacrifice what we believe are certain or necessary expressions of disassociation on the altar of "familial preservation".

Jennifer clearly loves her daughter but cannot approve of, even by her attendance, to a ceremony of perversion. Her daughter is the one who has departed from her mother. What you are suggesting is for her mother to follow her daughter. Bad advice.

Jennifer will reach out and when the context is not perverse, no doubt, she can be present but even then it may take wisdom since contexts can be subtle.

This is precisely, btw, why we have ecclesiastical discipline which is performed in the same manner. You do not sacrifice fidelity to observing and respecting moral and ecclesiastical boundaries (in this case the moral is the main one) at the expense of maintaining a relationship to another believe if they have been excommunicated. And it is precisely the impact of that loss that God intends they experience as a major element in calling them to repentance.

Your appeal to our Lord washing the feet of the disciples is completely out of context. The washing of feet was for those already washed by Christ and contingent upon that person, the one who has sinned, being interested in having their feet washed (admitting their sin) and the other being willing to wash (forgive them). Jennifer's daughter has no interest in admitting she has dirty feet, hence no interest in communing with her mother. Her mother stands ready to wash but Jennifer refuses to admit her feet are in need of washing.

I have no doubt Jennifer has expressed her unwillingness to participate in her daughter's perverse celebration and has has done so in the most kind but reluctant and necessary terms in maintaining her fidelity to Christ.

Your comment about the prostitutes is again, out of context. Christ receives all who come to him so it is pointless what the nature of their sin is. But when they come to him they come for a reason, because they have admitted their sinful condition. Is it a struggle? Certainly and Christ has compassion.

However, Jennifer's daughter has no such disposition as revealed by Jennifer and the record of this event which is not a struggle combined with a repentant heart toward a sinful trend of her flesh but a celebration of its magnification. For you to fail to understand the distinction between the two above makes you either quite ill-informed or quite naive.

[...] Read the rest of Carter’s perspective at Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexuality.   [...]

Scott

January 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Your courage to commit to living a life in opposition to your desires is inspiring. I know you do so against yourself, which is the hardest fight to take on. People underestimate how hard that is, and the emotional toll that comes with it, and the length of time it can take. Don't get discouraged, and know there are people out there who may not understand what it is to work through what you're doing, but do understand what it means to deny one's self. There are few words that can describe it.

I wonder if you would entertain one question? If you're struggling with same-sex attraction, do you attribute that to past experiences and choices you've made, or do you find yourself fighting against something in your nature, something that a person might call being dealt a difficult card?

Kyle Grant

January 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM

And why did Giglio accept the invitation in the first place?

Scott

January 11, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Sometimes I wonder if we make these stands not out of concern for others, but concern for what God might think of us if we don't fall on our swords to fight sins Jesus already defeated over 2000 years ago. What is the goal of this strategy? To shun a person into repentance? The net gain of this act will be a weakening of the mothers presence in her daughters life, a loss of trust and the degradation of their bond, and a far more difficult time finding ministry opportunities in the future. Resentment, hurt, pride, fear are the fruits of this. Whose tools do these things resemble more?

God can call a person to repentance patiently in time, through the natural laws of cause and effect, and has the power to weave a tapestry of circumstances that yields that fellowship you speak of. We lack that power. Jennifer's actions will only lead to pain. Her choice to remove herself from this situation, even on firm conviction, will make the statement to her daughter that if she proceeds with this, she has chosen her partner over her mother from that point on. Does God really call us to deal in absolutes when it comes to our relationships? To turn away from those we love, when they fall into their sins?

I'm not about to argue homosexuality isn't a sin. I believe it is. But, we must not allow the enemy to convince us this is a cardinal sin from which there is no salvation, or one worthy of sacrificing the bonds of a mother and daughter on principle. Did Christ turn away prostitutes so long as they were still prostitutes, or did he welcome them so that he might teach them and show transcendent love? He determined they were the ones most in need of his compassion. He held steadfast to the intrinsic human value of these people, and never said "Go away from me sinner, and return when you are clean!" Rather, he washed their feet and died on a cross to put an end to the bondage sin holds over their lives. And, for all we know they returned to that sin. But the impact of Jesus Christ is not easily cast aside, and the fight against the human condition is not lost until He determines so.

I would understand if Jennifer told her daughter that while she will attend to support her daughter because she loves her, and desires to remain present in her life, she cannot participate in the ceremony due to her beliefs. If she does so in grace and kindness, this seems reasonable in my mind. If the daughter refuses this offer, then Jennifer is free to do as she wishes. To refuse to attend outright however, is simply a declaration of separation.

Unless the Holy Spirit intervenes, Jennifer will still have to deal with the fact her daughter is living with her lover, as any married couple, so long as that relationship lasts. Either way, Jennifer has a tough road ahead of her that is not avoided because she attends or does not attend a ceremony.

[...] in giving the benediction at the Inauguration.  If you haven’t read what transpired, I think THIS is a good place to [...]

Some Reads for the Weekend | Brian Schulenburg

January 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM

[...] the President’s inaugural committee. You can read a great piece about the entire debacle here. Giglio wrote an incredibly gracious reply to his church [...]

[...] The Democrats consider anyone who holds Catholic views on marriage to be “haters.”  The Pope himself would not be eligible to speak at Obama’s inauguration. [...]

Morgan

January 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Giglio's decision not to address his current views shows to me wisdom and a commitment to his FIRST priority which is "to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else." (http://www.passioncitychurch.com/blog/?p=1436). It is foolish to think that past pundits and uber-fundamentalists in our own camp have not contributed to Giglio's situation by making a specific sin (homosexuality) the main issue, rather than proclaiming the salvation that Jesus offered through repentance of ALL sin (including the need to depend on one's own "holiness" rather than God's for salvation and a multitude of other "small" sins that we as Christians continue to commit, as well homosexuality). Silence does not equal assent. He said it himself - he does not want to involve himself in a fight he has not chosen to be involved in: "Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation."

Vince

January 11, 2013 at 09:25 PM

This is a political persecution against the Christians. This is where the Bible says, people will only welcome what they want to hear, but not correction or rebuke.

Don't fallout pastor Giglio. Stand to what is right and what is the Biblical foundation of the Christian heritage. Our allegiance is in Christ and NOT to political leaders.

oneyellowdoor

January 11, 2013 at 08:48 PM

The more I read about this the more I am troubled. Not by the WH or the inauguration committee but by Giglio's position, especially after reading his post on the church's website. Is he standing up for what the Word of God says and what he repeated in his sermon about the GLBT community, is he apologizing for the sermon, is he seeking to avoid the fallout from his sermon, is he a Christian leader being persecuted for standing on his faith?

John S

January 11, 2013 at 08:37 AM

Yes. Can we just say it was a mutual agreement and put this whining baby to sleep?

Oneyellowdoor

January 11, 2013 at 06:56 AM

I cannot see how clearer the author could have made this article. The WH does not want Giglio there, Giglio does not understand why a sermon on Homosexuality is getting him booted since it has not been a topic that is high on his priority list. To call the author reporting of this issue sinful because he did so is mind boggling.

However, in a NYT article they attribute the quote "Participants in the inaugural festivities should unite rather than divide. Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his inaugural " to Chad Griffin and not as the author here does by attributing it to Addie Whisenant.

It is worth noting that Christians should not expect or seek the warmth of friendship from a God hating world. The president cannot be pilloried as if he is a believer who has gone soft, but his actions and comments can only reflect what and who he is, at this time, as he may be changed in the future.

Lastly, this is not a big issue, if we were blind to this and woke up to this fact then we could have been worried, however, the writing on the wall has been there for a while now. It is Time we acted like that wise scoundrel who made use of the knowledge he had of his impending redundancy, let us make use of the knowledge we have of the impending antagonism towards Christ and his followers.

Alex Guggenheim

January 11, 2013 at 06:05 PM

God excludes us from fellowship not relationship when we refuse to confess our sins to him. Jennifer is doing just what she should be doing. Her presence transfers communal sharing for a perverse ceremony. It is a feeble instrument to commune at a celebration of perversion and worse with a sister in the Lord reveling in her sin.

Cathy

January 11, 2013 at 05:54 PM

The bigger issue for me is that Louie Giglio gave such a wishy washy explanation. He totally backed away from a great opportunity to proclaim and affirm again that homosexuality is sin and that there is hope for homosexuals. The national spotlight is on him right now- if you are a pastor and you have a platform- I mean my math says you need to share the good news. Al Mohler's response is to say "Christians have been put on notice" - IOW, persecution from the political left is coming. Weren't we put on notice for persecution 2000 years ago. He says Christians will be asked if their views have evolved (like Obama's), but Mohler doesn't seem to recognize that Louie Giglio's explanation is a case study in what an "evolving" position looks like. A slowwww gradual ignoring of Biblical truths with a leaning toward some other issue (human trafficking in this case). Louie just role modeled to those 60,000 youths how to compromise. Didn't he just tell them last week that its all a out magnifying Jesus' name, but now when the spotlight is on him he refuses to talk about the thing that makes Jesu so magnificent. I don't get it. American Christians need to be less worried about losing their rights and more worried about losing their witness .

6-String Salvo December 11, 2013 « Mike Lee

January 11, 2013 at 04:32 AM

[...] Hot news for the day…Louie Giglio invited to give inauguration benediction and then withdraws due to his stance on [...]

Jennifer L

January 11, 2013 at 04:19 AM

I just want to say thank you for continuing to preach God's Word and truth regardless of how "PC" the world has become. Pastors don't seem to want to preach truth anymore for fear of alienating someone. People are always telling me Jesus didn't judge and he loved everyone anyway. My argument is he never sat down and told someone the way they were living was OK when they lived in sin. He told them to repent, go and sin no more. BTW, my daughter (who I believe is saved) is living an unrepentent homosexual life. It is a very difficult balance of trying to convey my love for her without supporting or encouraging the lifestyle (i.e., I will not attend her "marriage" ceremony later this year.

[...]  Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexuality Share this: 2013.01.11 by LastDays Minister Categories: 1.CHRISTIANITY & RELIGION, 2.WORLD NEWS, Christianity, Nations & Politics, Society & People | Tags: christian values, christianity, christians in politics, christians in society, homosexual-usa | Leave a comment [...]

Jane

January 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM

Thank you so much for your comments William. (Your website is fascinating too.) I have become increasingly interested in this debate as I have noticed an appalling lack of tolerance among Christians whenever this subject is discussed on the internet. I battle with the whole subject of homosexuality as I don't believe it can be a gift from God and yet I also don't believe people choose it for themselves. Therefore I feel compassion for people like yourself who are in an honest battle with their own nature.

Jeff Baxter

January 11, 2013 at 02:44 PM

This is all a bigger deal than what we think. It sets the tone for the future of our country.

http://sacredoutfitter.blogspot.com/#!/2013/01/pray-did-you-feel-seismic-spiritual.html

Jeff Baxter

January 11, 2013 at 02:42 PM

I have written more here.

http://sacredoutfitter.blogspot.com/#!/2013/01/pray-did-you-feel-seismic-spiritual.html

From the Passion City Church post and the spokes woman of the Committee, I believe the White House called Louis and said something like, "we have become aware of a sermon you spoke on Homosexuality..."

Keith

January 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM

Scott's a good man: my reply convincingly missed the forest for the trees.

Jennifer, you should go to the wedding.

Scott

January 11, 2013 at 01:53 PM

The teachings of Christianity are quite simple. Christ gave only two supreme commandments. Love your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus' teachings were intended to show us how to have life abundantly, and I think he knew that meant relationships. We get into problems when issues come up that lead to humanity interpreting the intentions of scripture, and turning those interpretations into a matter of principle.

It seems clear the Bible commands us not to engage in homosexual behavior. It seems reasonable for a person to believe it to be sin, because it is referred to in the same manner of other more clear sins. However, it is not the will of God that sin should tear us apart or divide us. Rather, he died so that very thing would never need to be the case from the meekest of us, through God himself who wants us to draw close to him, not away.

It seems to me too many lines have been drawn in the sand on this issue, on both sides. If our beliefs demand we cannot even be present in our children's lives, how can we say we do these things in the name of Jesus who commands these things above all others, to love our God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves? This isn't hippie love, this is sacrificial love, and that at times requires us to sacrifice our pride.

Jennifer, I would urge you to reconsider attending that wedding. Being there does not show your support for homosexuality, but it does show your support for your daughter. Let the world think what it wants of you being there. At the end of your days, you will have done nothing for your daughter if you chose to exclude her from your life, and you from hers. If God demanded we do away with all who live in sin, there would be none of us left. In this case, I'm not asking you to love the sinner and hate the sin. I'm asking you to love your daughter. That should be enough.

Keith

January 11, 2013 at 01:30 PM

The problem, Jennifer, is that the "truth" of God's Word constantly changes. Sam Harris said this as well as anyone:

"It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently--though isn't it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Christianity, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith failed?

When Giglio says "Those who practice such things are worthy of death", he joins a long history of Christian leaders who interpreted God's Word and the "truth" as requiring other people be killed for their sins.

Jason

January 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM

Bigot - One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. (Free Dictionary definition)

If your view is that

"It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear. If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. . . . homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin."

The by definition you are a bigot. That is precisely what this is. You are right, they are wrong, no middle ground.

Embrace it.

Keith

January 11, 2013 at 01:15 PM

You say: The message of religious intolerance being delivered by President Obama, his staff, and many of his supporters is unmistakable", and then connect the dis-invitation as hatred of Christians.

I just realized what bothered me about this post.

You refer to the dis-invitation of this pastor as a hatred of Christians and Christianity, but it never even occurs to you to question why a Christian pastor was invited at all.

In this purely secular ceremony, Christianity is given a special place above all other religions. Nobody even asks why we aren't performing Hindu, Islam, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Wiccan or Pastafarian rituals: as always, Christianity is accorded a place above every other religion (or lack of religion) in this society.

I would say a minimum requirement for this religious representative to a secular event is to not ever have actually stated publicly that a significant percentage of American citizens "are worthy of death". I mean really... that's a pretty low bar to meet, isn't it? And when that minimum requirement wasn't met, Christians see it as an act of hatred.

Christians are so utterly privileged that you don't even see how privileged you are.

[...] ___________________________ Additional commentary on the Louie Giglio situation: Albert Mohler Russell Moore Joe Carter [...]

[...] thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/01/10/pastor-disinvited-from-giving-inaugural-prayer-because-o... [...]

Steve Mc

January 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

As an Aussie I just assume that the state would be against the Christian perspective on homosexuality. Perhaps in the USA there is an assumption that the state has a benevolence towards the faith because of history. Consequently in the US evangelicals become horrified if the state sanctions their perspectives. The bible gives us no grounds to think that the state would ever align itself with us, and only a reading which sees continuity between God's nation of Israel and a modern nation state today would think otherwise. Israel is the church, the church is Israel. The modern nation state is Egypt/Babylon and Rome. Once you figure that out it certainly helps you relax!

CJW

January 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Is the author disputing Giglio's own statement on the Passion website that tells a different story?

"Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish [in the above paragraph, spelled out as"to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ"] to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing [and, in the above paragraph, an issue unlike Mohler which has "not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years"], thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day."

Alex Guggenheim

January 10, 2013 at 08:38 PM

Regardless of the worst case scenario...that Giglio was forced out, this is written as if there is some kind of surprise. It seems quite naive.

With regard to President Obama and Christianity he has at best, done two things:

First, he preferred a long association with a sinful Race Based Special Interest church which was specifically Afrocentric, as opposed to a Spiritually Based Christocentric church.

Second, outside of that and with regard to Evangelicals, he has given lip service and token associations with the likes of Rick Warren, but has ceded ground to radical homosexual groups and sympathetic so-called liberal Christians who believe homosexuality should be viewed as a display of the virtue of love.

But now he is finished with both and neither, during his presidency, have had any significance. On the other hand what he has demonstrated, repeatedly, is a love of all things radical and extreme which have had great influence.

You should be chagrined to be surprised by any measure and to not have seen this coming. The onion cannot be re-elected so you are getting its layers coming off in rapid succession, even with petty matters such as this.

Obama is not the friend of Christianity, he does not care for Christocentrism. His religion is a false Christinaity which is Anthropocentric with emphasis on Afrocentrism as his personally preferred kind of anthropocentric false Christianity. Another form of his anthropocentric religion which he embraces as acceptable for others is sexcentric false Christianity and has for some time. And so now, what he considers objectionable is Christocentricism which compels the Christian to speak truthfully about moral sin and the perversion of homosexuality.

But it was his Afrocentric church which is categorically an Anthropocentric and not Christocentric church that should have long, long ago informed many that when it comes to Christ and his doctrine and man and his doctrine in the church, heresy would win because it has with Obama for a long time.

And repeatedly he has given preferential treatment to those groups who represent either something altogether anti-Christian or false-Christian groups whose agenda is not Christocentric but some kind of anthropocentric agenda which will always end up in conflict with Christocentrism.

Tim W

January 10, 2013 at 07:49 PM

If Joe was wrong about the situation it wouldn't automatically be lying, bearing false witness, or even spin. If you disagree with him, why assume he is sinning and not simply wrong? Why isn't he simply missing or misunderstanding the facts? Why jump to the most negative and harsh conclusion?

I'm sorry that comments like that have to be on TGC. Thanks for the post Joe.

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them."

Kenton

January 10, 2013 at 07:42 PM

I think it is clear that Pastor Giglio withdrew due to pressure from the WH. That said, I find it almost comical that he manages to gracefully make a jab at sites such as Think Progress that successfully made an issue out of a 15 year old sermon for political reasons.

Joe Carter

January 10, 2013 at 07:28 PM

Since several commenters raised questions about whether the use of the term "disinvited" in the title was accurate, I thought it might be helpful to update the article and include this quote from the New York Times:

"People familiar with internal discussions between administration and committee officials said the White House viewed the selection as a problem for Mr. Obama, and told the panel on Wednesday night to quickly fix it. By Thursday morning, Mr. Giglio said he had withdrawn."

C white

January 10, 2013 at 06:48 PM

Thank you

C white

January 10, 2013 at 06:45 PM

Really? That's not the vibe I got at all. I think he and his team felt it wise to not get embroiled in a battle that would distract from the important abolition movement he's involved in right now.

[...] TGC Mobile | Article | Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexua... [...]

Evan Logan

January 10, 2013 at 05:56 PM

Joe, it is ok to assert the important point that the white house changed their mind on whether Louie was welcomed. But to not accurately report that he intentionally withdrew on his own is to remove the wisdom that may or may not be to his credit. That's the part that's missing. In other words, it's not the WH that gets portrayed poorly, but Giglio.

Joe Carter

January 10, 2013 at 05:46 PM

I had the same concerns, DB. It sounds like if he were pressed on the point, he'd admit that his views haven't changed. But it is certainly disconcerting to see him make statements that imply that the issue of homosexuality is some secondary concern.

JP

January 10, 2013 at 05:29 PM

This is the statement from the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.“ – Addie Whisenant, PIC Spokesperson

Giglio is saying that he withdrew. Which seems to be accurate. The P.I.C., upon hearing of his views/teaching on homosexuality, clearly didn't want him there either. Isn't that exactly what Joe Carter is saying in the article above? Is it too far out there to assume that the Committee changed their minds as much as Giglio resigned his invitation?

Also - this article from a pro-homosexual website comes to the SAME conclusion that Carter does, namely that " It sounds increasingly like the inaugural committee told him to take a hike."
(http://americablog.com/2013/01/louie-giglio-no-longer-giving-invocation.html)

While I disagree with the "good for them!" that follows the statement about taking a hike, I think it is clear and rational to surmise that this was not just an "out of the blue" withdrawal of his earlier acceptance to give the closing prayer.

[...] Carter over at TheGospelCoalition exposed this ugly act of [...]

[...] 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. [...]

Ethan

January 10, 2013 at 05:14 PM

I would be interested to know what Moore means by articulating "a healthy pluralism in the public square." Perhaps, we should call for leaders to pursue more biblical responses to sin rather than condoning and permitting sin in the public square. Government is God's minister of justice and, as Christians, shouldn't we work for that reality with biblical guidelines in mind?

Tim

January 10, 2013 at 05:08 PM

Its a shame that you cannot actually include Louie's FULL statement. You misrepresent the truth stating that he was disinvited. He declined the invitation. Last time I checked scripture, bearing false witness was a sin. You might want to check on that. BTW, here's Louie's full statement:

I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.

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. 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.

Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President's invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.

Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God's grace and mercy in our time of need.

Steve Cornell

January 10, 2013 at 05:03 PM

Just wrote on this very issue for my column for our Sunday News! I wrote the following:

The notion that Christians are only or mainly interested in opposing abortion or gay marriage is a propaganda myth I’ll expose in another column. The reason I've been vocal in opposing the agenda to force gay marriage on the country is not because I desire to tell other consenting adults how to order their private lives. They have the freedom to live in open homosexual relations and I’ve never suggested that this freedom should be changed. My emphasis has consistently been on the intolerant methods being used to force others to affirm a lifestyle that opposes their moral convictions. And I am suggesting that the desire of liberals to be known for tolerance has been hurt by their alignment with a radical homosexual agenda.

The hateful name-calling and condescending slurs aimed at anyone who opposes gay marriage is a violation of the kind of civil and rational debate we need. This kind of divisive social manipulation should be rejected no matter the issue.

Have you noticed that even if you respectfully oppose gay marriage, you’re accused of having irrational phobias? You’re labeled a hate-monger and a bigot. You’re actually accused of discrimination as if you were opposing race or gender. I am genuinely confused as to why liberals support this kind of schoolyard bullying? Why have liberals acquiesced to a militant agenda that has given them a bad name?

It’s ironic that the intolerance and bigotry once wrongly aimed at people who chose a gay lifestyle is now shown to anyone who dares to oppose homosexual behavior.

I don’t see homosexuality as the only or primary social issue of our times. But I firmly oppose the judicial coercion and social manipulation used to promote gay marriage. I think we should all be able to agree that these methods will hurt us. I have absolutely no hate for or fear of homosexuals. Projecting hate or fear on someone for opposing the morality of homosexual behavior is the problem. Let’s at least agree on this.


Steve Cornell

Joe Carter

January 10, 2013 at 05:03 PM

Whatever the quotes or tone, the offical statement is that Louie Giglio disinvited himself.

If he was not disinvited, then he should still be welcome to give the prayer if he changes his mind, right? Does anyone believe that is the case? Of course not.

As Giglio notes, he withdrew only after consulting the WH. If they wanted him to give the prayer—if his invitation was still applicable—then whey would he withdraw?

If you allow me to resign a job to save everyone the embarrassment of firing me, I can't go back to the job if I change my mind.

Also, the WH has made it clear that he would not have been invited in the first place had they known about the sermon. So whether my use of "disinvited" is technically accurate, it certainly fits the spirit of what Obama wanted to convey.

News of Note | Santa Monica Church Blog

January 10, 2013 at 04:40 PM

[...] “Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexuality” - More from Joe Carter on the Louie Giglio presidential inaugural issue (The Gospel Coalition). [...]

db

January 10, 2013 at 04:38 PM

Is anyone else bothered that Louie Giglio, while not recanting from his comments, also did not affirm them? His statement, "Clearly, speaking on [homosexuality] has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years", leaves me a little confused. It makes it sound like it's not that important of a topic and that he has moved on to bigger and better things. I don't know - maybe I'm reading too much in to what was not stated, but it just seemed a little unsettling.

okk

January 10, 2013 at 04:13 PM

I agree with Sam. Whatever the quotes or tone, the offical statement is that Louie Giglio disinvited himself.

Stopping the spin should start with us. Let us be truthful and fair, since that's what we claim to be.

Joe Carter

January 10, 2013 at 04:10 PM

. . . please produce the link and source

In the article I cite the quote from Giglio: "Though I was invited by the President of the United States to pray at his upcoming inauguration, after conversations between our team and the White House I am no longer serving in that role." They talked to the White House and what was the reaction? Not, "Please give the prayer, we stand by you even if we disagree with your beliefs." No, the response was, as the White House spokesman said, "“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural."

Jeff Baxter

January 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM

It is clear from Giglio's statement on their church webpage that he was persuaded to withdraw and being a humble leader, he did.

JP

January 10, 2013 at 03:39 PM

This pull quote is from Addie Whisenant, the spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee,

"As Whisenant added, the inauguration committee was 'not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural.'"

So while it may be unclear as to who pulled the trigger here, it is VERY clear that the Presidential Inaugural Committee is uncomfortable with the orthodox stance on homosexuality that Pastor Giglio took in his circa 1990s sermon.

It would be unkind and unhelpful for Giglio to say, "Well, i was going to be nice and give the prayer anyway but they didn't like me." Instead he was courteous and wrote about withdrawing his acceptance of the invitation. That is the generous way to go about it... not unlike being given the option to resign instead of being outright fired.

The bigger issue here is that there is a a litmus test now in terms of "fair minded" even for someone asked to give a prayer (unrelated to the issue of homosexuality) in a public setting.

As Carter says above, "If you do not affirm homosexuality then you cannot be fair-minded."

I'm not sure who is "rush[ing] to use this event for an agenda" because it is clear to me that a vocal minority of people in this country are allowed to bully their way into the public sphere and set the standard of what is "fair-minded" just because they are louder than everyone else.

Sam

January 10, 2013 at 02:34 PM

Can we please stop the spin?

Louie Giglio withdrew from this event. If you have any proof where he was "disinvited", "pulled", or "removed" from saying a prayer at the inauguration, please produce the link and source. It is conjecture at this point to say that he was pressured behind the scenes to withdraw. It may or may not be true. Or we can take the word of Giglio himself for the reasons he said he withdrew. He did not say he was asked or forced to withdraw.

Giglio gave the closing prayer at Obamas Easter Prayer Breakfast in 2012.

It is ironic that Joe Carter, the author of this post also wrote a book called "How to argue like Jesus.." I dont read in the Bible where Jesus stated conjecture as a fact.

If we Christians want the media bias to stop then we must stop our bias and slanted reporting as well in our rush to use this event for an agenda

William Birch

January 10, 2013 at 02:29 PM

"Think Progress described the sermon as 'vehemently anti-gay.'" Every single sermon not in complete, unconditional affirmation of the LGBT worldview is considered "vehemently anti-gay." I've noticed this stance over the last few years now; and I write this as a regenerate believer in Christ who struggles with his same-sex attraction, who is also seeking to be faithful and celibate to both Scripture and Christ.