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Inaugurating a New Era

A Benediction for Post-Christian America



Inauguration day is fast approaching. But a different kind of inauguration has already taken place. I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.

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John Stonestreet

Last Friday on BreakPoint, I suggested that we must face the facts that we are now in a new era: the post-Christian America that Francis Schaeffer, Chuck Colson and many others predicted would come.

I was referring then to Hobby Lobby facing millions of dollars in fines for refusing to obey the HHS mandate.  If any further proof is needed, last weekend’s broo-ha-ha over who’s praying at the presidential inauguration is exactly that.

A rock-solid evangelical pastor who has mobilized thousands of young people to campaign against human trafficking was invited by the White House to give the benediction at the inauguration. But within hours, a small handful of homosexual activists hit the roof, because the same pastor, years prior, had the gall to say in a sermon that homosexual activity was sinful.

Thoroughly tarred with the “hater,” “bigot,” and “anti-gay” labels, this pioneer for human rights, Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church, respectfully stepped aside.

Whether Pastor Giglio did so proactively or was responding to heated pressure from the White House isn’t exactly clear.

One thing’s for sure, Giglio’s now oft-quoted sermon on homosexuality was prophetic. He warned that the gay movement would do anything necessary to make sure the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle.

And today, in the media, in popular culture, in politics, it has that full standing. And its acceptance was lightning quick. Remember, just four years ago another evangelical pastor, Rick Warren—who has made his position on homosexual behavior also quite clear—prayed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

So today, we find ourselves in a situation where, as Al Mohler wrote, historical, biblical Christianity is clearly “out of bounds.”

The question is, what now? There’s no doubt, as my friend Gabe Lyons blogged, that Giglio was the victim of bullying by homosexual activists. He called on the President to remind them that freedom of conscience—I would say freedom of religion—is the first right of every American.

Over at the CNN belief blog, Matt Anderson suggested that conservative Christians should embrace a certain dispassion when it comes to politics. His specifics seemed a bit muddled to me, but he rightly said that when we suffer injustice, we ought not display panic-driven anger as if our future depends on political acceptance.

Owen Strachan’s response, which I’m fully on board with, was that being truly “gospel-centered” includes “grief and protest against sin and injustice.”

Strachan writes that the Bible does not commend “a kind of imperturbably equanimity in light of suffering, persecution, and the usurpation of our rights . . . The biblical leaders [like Paul in Acts] defended themselves vigorously, knowing like Moses did that God himself was behind their call for justice.”

Pastor Giglio stepped aside to avoid any further controversy. He wrote to his church, “My greatest desire is that we not be distracted from the things we are focused on…seeing people in our city come to know Jesus, and speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world.”

And there’s no doubt he’ll do just that. But part of me wishes he had not stepped away from the inaugural benediction.

Despite controversy or recriminations, Christians must stay in the arena, engaged in public life. Our posture in the midst of these divisive issues is important, but so is our presence.

It’s distracting, some say. The real task is to preach the Gospel. That’s missing a very important point, one that Owen Strachan states clearly: Christian teaching is not a barrier to the Christian gospel. The God who designed sexual wholeness is the same who designed redemption for all who find themselves broken, sexually or otherwise.

Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to the articles I’ve discussed today.

Further Reading and Information

In Search of a Standard Christian Response to Homosexuality
Louie Giglio | sermon from Discipleship Library

Change of Plans
Louie Giglio | letter to Passion City Church | January 10, 2013

Does ‘Gospel-centrality’ Mean Christians Don’t Protest or Get Frustrated?
Owen Strachan | Thoughtlife Blog | January 14, 2013

My Take: Christians ought to shrug off inaugural pastor rejection
Matt Anderson | CNN Belief blog | January 12, 2013

The Giglio Imbroglio—The Public Inauguration of a New Moral McCarthyism
Albert Mohler | Albertmohler.com | January 10, 2013

Bullied on the President’s Stage
Gabe Lyons | Q Ideas

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been . . . ?
Gina Dalfonzo | BreakPoint.org | January 16, 2013


Comments:

Me too
The same sort of thing happened to me about 4 years ago. I tried to post a comment on a blog site of a debate between Barry Lynn and Jay Sekulow on Aug.19, 2008 and it never made it onto the site. A couple of posts I did later did make it, just about immediately, so the only reason I can think of that the first one didn't is it contained the p-word. You can probably guess what the p-word is if I say that pedophiles, necrophiliacs and people who commit bestiality are p-words. And I thought it was a Christian-friendly site. The blog is still on the net, at http://blog.beliefnet.com/lynnvsekulow/2008/08/california-supreme-court-anoth.html#comments. Here is the relevant portion of that comment:

I was listening just the other day to a cassette tape I have had since the early 80's. It is a Christian teaching tape. On this tape the speaker explains why he opposed the Equal Rights Amendment (which I supported). He said that in California they don't even try to hide what the ERA is really about. It's not about rights for women, it's about rights for homosexuals. If the ERA passes, children will be adopted by homosexuals; that's enough to make anyone sick!

How times have changed in just 25 years. Now most people are not only not sickened by such a revolting prospect, but anyone who objects is loudly attacked as a bigot, or a nut, as Don Rettmann's comment implies. And now we are told that doctors who don't want to be responsible for causing the birth of children who will have the extraordinary misfortune of being raised by p-words have no choice. They must do so anyway, and they have no religious exemption! What's next, making Osama bin Laden a deacon?
I posted the following on another Breakpoint location. I stand by these statements.
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I am sorry but Pastor Giglio did not take the high road on this matter. He wimped out. He had a chance to make a statement about standing up for "the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:27" I applaud him for his stand on modern day slavery, but we are facing an attack in this country from the homosexual rights movement that is sending us into a period of silence. We can not preach biblical truth as it relates to sexual morality because it offends the homosexuals in this country. If we are truly to preach Gods word to our culture we must preach it all, not just the socially acceptable parts.

As a signer of the Manhatten Declaration I am aware of our rights being slowly taken from us. I hope and pray Pastor Giglio will reconsider and do what is right in God's eyes and not look for the favor of our political establishment.