al mohler, mullets and gay marriage.

17 Oct

i admit it. i used to listen to country music.

we all make mistakes.

i saw the error of my ways about the same time billy ray cyrus came on the scene prancing around stage in his Guess? jeans singing ‘achy breaky heart.’ i promised myself then that i’d be very cautious before ever again aligning myself with a man in a mullet.

that’s at least one reason i’m surprised that i’m writing this post.

another reason :: i’ve never been a joel osteen fan. i can’t imagine that i will be after this is published, either. joel and i have a seemingly different understanding of why jesus came into this world, and what he wants us –as christ followers– to do in his place.

still, i think he was a little closer to the example christ left for us than another highly visible christian leader, al mohler.

i woke up yesterday morning and read through a number of articles, stumbling upon this one from url scaramanga at ‘out of ur’.

it seems that during an interview with CNN’s piers morgan for his new book Every Day a Friday, How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week (which, for the record, will not be on my xmas wish-list) joel osteen was asked a seemingly unrelated question on whether or not he would ever attend a same-sex marriage ceremony. osteen answered :

‘i’m not going to disrespect somebody that’s dear to us and say, you know what, you’re not good enough for us or something like that. that’s the way that i would see it.’

this is what sent southern baptist leader al mohler into a rant. to sum up al’s thoughts (in his own words):

‘joel osteen sees homosexuality as a sin and same-sex marriage to be contrary to God’s will. he cannot perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or endorse same-sex marriage, because he is bound by scripture. on the other hand, he can attend a same-sex ceremony, if the participants are friends, and thus endorse by his presence the credibility of the ceremony itself and join in the celebration of what he believes, or says he believes, is sin…this is beyond mere incoherence. it is moral and theological nonsense. more than that, it is a massive statement of ministerial malpractice.’

harsh words. even if they are directed to a man with a mullet.

it got me thinking :: i wonder what mohler thinks of the fact that jesus frequented house parties thrown by prostitutes?

too often we err on the side of drawing battle lines in the sand of our theological landscape. there is a delicate balance to strike between standing up for your core convictions and following the example of jesus in loving people well.

i’m pretty sure jesus didn’t endorse men and women using and selling each other’s bodies for sex. yet there he was, sitting, eating, talking and drinking with them. and the pharisees saw that as an endorsement of their behavior. i can hear them now : ‘that’s moral and theological nonsense. ministerial malpractice.’

regardless of where our conviction lies in the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, let us tread cautiously lest we mistake standing up for our beliefs with standing in the way of people entering into right relationship with God.


10 Responses to “al mohler, mullets and gay marriage.”

  1. Dan Eberhard (@Dan_Eberhard) October 17, 2011 at 9:57 PM #

    I generally err on the side of caution when listening to Joel Osteen as well but I agree with you in the fact that he was much closer to showing Christ’s love then what Mohler was communicating. Osteen didn’t say he endorsed it but prefaced it with that fact that if they are dear friends (people he and his wife have built a relationship with) he is not going to disrespect them and not go (possibly harming that relationship). It is tough for us to lean into loving people that are difficult to love or that are doing something counter to what we believe in but we are still called to love them! It is about loving others and sharing Christ but we are going to have a terrible time at trying to share Christ if we don’t first love the person and build that relationship.

    One of the biggest take aways from your response for me is when you stated “there is a delicate balance to strike between standing up for your core convictions and following the example of jesus in loving people well.”

    In our youth ministry classes Rondel talks about living in the tension and I think this is a great example of our need to live in the tension and understanding that at times it may be difficult and messy but we must remember to follow Christ’s example that he laid out for us and to love God and love people above all else.

  2. Kathy Frazier Goodpastor October 18, 2011 at 6:51 AM #


  3. Rick October 18, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

    Dan I see your point, but if a relationship is built then should the gay couple understand that what they are doing goes against his core beliefs, and respect the fact that he loves them but can’t take part in that ceremony. Is it possible to show love to them and not be at there wedding?

    • the WayWard follower October 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM #

      great question, rick. i *do* think it’s possible, given a previously built relationship. in my opinion, this would have to be done within the context of an understood genuine love for them, and would certainly be an uncomfortable (yet healthy?) conversation. best served seasoned with grace.

  4. Reid Lance October 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM #

    I don’t understand why people treat the issues of homosexual lifestyle and same sex marrige so delicately.

    At the end of the day, your stance on wether or not it is right comes down to wether or not you believe the bible is God’s word.

    If you do then, simply stated, a homosexual lifestyle is a sin. Just like sex before marriage, just like porn, just like lust, just like all the sexual sins there are.

    While I don’t agree with the sin, I love the person. We should not celebrate the sin, but help the person with their understanding of Christ’s love for them.

    A wedding is a celebration of a covenant. While you may love the people getting married, it would be like getting 100 gathered to watch and celebrate while one of your friends sits in front of his computer and masturbates to porn.

    As a Christian, we are to love people, we are not to encourage them in wrong things. Jesus partied with hookers (as well as many other people) but He never sat and watched and cheered for them and congratulated them after a John left their room.

    • the WayWard follower October 25, 2011 at 2:19 PM #

      reid, have you heard of andrew marin’s ‘love is an orientation‘? it’s a great read… and does an excellent job of showing that it really isn’t as simple of a conversation as ‘the bible says it, i believe it, that settles it.’ there are plenty of jesus-loving, bible believing christians who have a different perspective with a traditional conservative view on the subject of homosexuality.

      if you haven’t read it, i’d highly recommend it. if anything, it helps elevate the conversation between the evangelical and gay community… which is good for any of us that want to be taken seriously in the conversation.

  5. Dale Best October 26, 2011 at 5:17 PM #

    Read this post at Red Letter Christians! Loved your words, Michael!

    • the WayWard follower October 26, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

      great, dale! it’s exciting to have an opportunity to be a (very small) part of tony campolo’s ministry. some great posts from other authors on there as well!

  6. Carter Vaughan donara January 30, 2012 at 3:19 PM #

    It is argued that this scripture indicates that God had given a set of laws to someone long before Hammurabi or Mosaic Law Covenant.

    • the WayWard follower January 31, 2012 at 8:28 AM #

      which scripture do you mean, carter? are you referring to leviticus 18 and 20?

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