Brian Houston and Albert Mohler now on the same path
By Coercion Code ] 3rd Nov 2014
As reported recently by Christian Post, Hillsong Church pastor Brian Houston has issued a statement specifying his position on marriage and homosexuality after a news outlet reported that he “won’t take (a) public position on LGBT issues.” The news report came after Houston brought up the topics of homosexuality and same-sex marriage at a press conference held on Thursday with New York City media, on the occasion of Hillsong’s October Conference being held at Madison Square Garden. “I encourage people not to assume a media headline accurately represents what I said at a recent press conference,”
Houston says in a statement emailed to The Christian Post on Saturday. “Nowhere in my answer did I diminish biblical truth or suggest that I or Hillsong Church supported gay marriage,” he adds. “I challenge people to read what I actually said, rather than what was reported that I said. My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.”
Pastors Brian Houston and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong Church appear at a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at The Eventi Hotel in New York City. The press conference came on the occasion of the Hillsong Conference being held at Madison Square Garden from Oct. 16-18 in NYC.
The question that resulted in Houston’s remarks on homosexuality centered on how his church tries to remain relevant. In his response, the Hillsong pastor offered homosexual marriage as an issue that is a challenge for some churches. Traditional Christian teachings define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. “I think with the church, the message is sacred but the methods have to change for the church to stay relevant,” said Houston. “And it’s challenging. It’s challenging to stay relevant. I mean, if we go to the one big hot topic maybe for churches … now with homosexual marriage legalized, and churches for generations, they hold a set of beliefs around what they believe the Word of God, the Bible says. All of a sudden in many circles the church can look like a pariah, because to many people it’s so irrelevant now … So staying relevant is a big challenge. I think it’s more than just singing more contemporary songs and the colors you paint your walls or whatever.”
As CP noted in a previous report, Hillsong Church has among its 12 global campuses two operating in Los Angeles and New York City, both diverse and progressive cities where same-sex marriage is legal. Houston, prompted by The New York Times’ question for clarification, went on to emphasize that, for him, questions about his position on homosexuality were “too important for us to reduce” down to a “yes or no answer in a media outlet.” His remarks were similar to those previously made by Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz, who has declined to take a public “yea or nay” position on homosexuality. Brian Houston loves these type of questions from Journos, expecially so fresh after his time in the Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse, after serious allegations against his Father were revisited.
The New York Times published a report on Houston’s remark under the headline “Megachurch Pastor Signals Shift in Tone on Gay Marriage,” and notes that the Hillsong Church pastor’s “spokesman said on Friday that the pastor personally agreed with traditional Christian teaching on sexuality.” The Religion News Service published in its report (under the headline “Hillsong’s Brian Houston says church won’t take public position on LGBT issues”):
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler declared from his blog in June of 2014, “There is no third way on [same-sex issues].”
But Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, a global family of congregations comprising more than 30,000 weekly attendees and millions of worship music album sales, apparently disagrees with Mohler. At least, for now. The RNS report goes on to state that after the Times’ request for clarification, “… Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was ‘an ongoing conversation’ among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.'”
Romans 1:18, 24 – 27‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold (down) the truth in unrighteousness,because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.…
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.’
The Southern Baptist Convention is the U.S.’s largest Christian denomination after the Catholic Church, with some 16 million members and over 45,000 congregations, concentrated mostly in the South. This week in Nashville, the Convention’s public policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), hosted its first-ever national conference, focusing on -a “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage,” The Convention’s theology on homosexuality has not changed. The Bible, as they read it, declares homosexual behavior to be sexual immorality, and there was no debate about this tenet among any of the religious leaders who spoke at the conference.
But the world has changed in its understanding and acceptance of people with same-sex orientations, and the Convention has been affected by these changes. The conversations this week indicated new ways that these evangelical Christians are working to negotiate their beliefs.
If someone only watched the live stream of the conference, they would have heard what sounded like a variety of mixed messages, but all of which obeyed this theology and sounded similar to familiar anti-gay and anti-transgender rhetoric. But among the 1,200 attendees, who were almost all pastors themselves (and as a result, almost all men), there were much more complex conversations being had about not just how best to uphold the theology, but also how to do genuinely do right by LGBT people.
Albert Mohler speaking at #ERLC2014.
And even onstage, there were a few distinct signs of change even within the bounds of that theology.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opened the conference with an example of such progress. “Early in this controversy, I felt it quite necessary, in order to make clear of the Gospel, to deny anything like a sexual orientation,” he admitted, saying that he got that “wrong” — “I repent of that.”
Yet weeks before Mohler had said “There is no third way on [same-sex issues]”, when challenging Brian Houston and others regarding their stance.
He went on to explain, “I believe that a Biblical theological understanding, a robust Biblical theology, would point to us that human sexual affective profiles — that who we are sexually — is far more deeply rooted than just the ‘will,’ if that were so easy.” In other words, people don’t choose to be gay, and church leaders were wrong to ever assert that they did. That’s a pretty significant admission, and it wasn’t the only shift heard at the conference. But Mohler immediately went on to address the “revisionists,” advocates like Matthew Vines who do not believe the Bible condemns homosexuality and are encouraging others to similarly rethink their theology. “If the revisionist arguments are right, then we’ve got to join them,” Mohler said. “I don’t believe for a minute they are right.” Some of those revisionists were in attendance, including Vines, though none were invited to speak. A group known as the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) launched a campaign inviting supporters to sign a statement challenging the Convention’s theological stance. In addition, AWAB, which boasts 98 churches in its membership, held its own press conference in Nashville to counter the messages of the ERLC conference, encouraging church leaders not to treat LGBT people as “issues” or “cultural phenomenons,” but as “fellow human beings.” AWAB also joined other local groups, including PFLAG of Nashville, the Tennessee Equality Project, and Vanderbilt Divinity School, in a candlelight vigil outside the conference center Monday night. Their simple message was that “God is Love” and that LGBT people should not have to reject who they are in this life for a promise of redemption in the next. So long as the theology is not open to debate, churches can not truly be welcoming to LGBT people.
Brandan Robertson, spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, echoed these sentiments in an interview with the Christian Post, explaining, “Christians should be able to disagree about these sorts of issues without having their salvation called into question by other Christians.” Read more at Think Progress for further background on the Southern Baptist Conference.
The Convention itself recognizes that its influence over society is waning. Mohler was the first of many to use the phrase “moral minority,” signalling that the days of the “Moral Majority” are over. “The disappearance of cultural Christianity, like a morning mist,” he said in his opening remarks, “is a reminder to us that it was cultural and not Christianity… We are accustomed to ministry from the top side of the culture, not from the underside. We are accustomed to speaking from a position of strength and respect and credibility, and now we’re going to be facing the reality that we are already, in much of America, speaking from a position of a loss of credibility, speaking from the underside, speaking from the wrong side of the moral equation.”
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judge: for wherein thou judge another, thou condemn thyself; for thou that judge do the same things.
So the point is, Brian Houston and Albert Mohler whether they realise or not, are on the same journey together, and on the same slippery slope. Mohler now admits there is now deep rooted sexual orientation for those who are Gay. Is this is correct?
A UK scientist said this was evidence sexual orientation was set in the womb?
As far as I’m concerned there is no argument any more – if you are gay, you are born gay
Dr Qazi Rahman Queen Mary, University of London
Scientists have noticed for some time that homosexual people of both sexes have differences in certain cognitive abilities, suggesting there may be subtle differences in their brain structure. This is the first time, however, that scientists have used brain scanners to try to look for the source of those differences.
The Church is in a ‘no-win’ situation if it tries to dialogue with the world on the issues of morality. Isn’t this how we got abortion passed into law in the ’70’s? Through moral relativism.
This is in the same period that Pope Francis has been reviewing the Roman Catholic’s response to Divorce and Marriage
Is it a gift from God like Apple CEO Tim Cook stated interestingly the last thursday, or is it the simple plain fact, that the revealed judgement of God, is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men?
David declared in Psalm 51:5 “behold I was shapen in iniquity, in sin did my mother conceive me”
The church it appears now suggests a third way after all, or a third class of people, Sinners, Saints and Gays?