I share this story because the tidal wave of acceptance of gay marriage is past the groundswell stage, and mega-churches around the world are opening wide the gates. I found an article from across the pond on the Clerical Whispers site absolutely fascinating, and horrifying: Gay marriage: this is a battle the Churches will lose – and it will be a messy business. Meanwhile, Erin over at the Do Not Be Surprised site shows us the sermon graphic of the new Church family in America. Andy Stanley's "Microcosm of the Church" and his sermon on homosexualty communicates loud and clear that if you're going to apply for a volunteer position, Gay is OK, as long as you're not still in a heterosexual marriage. Here is Erin's article, reprinted in full:
By now, most have heard about the controversy surrounding a recent sermon preached by pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church. The above graphic was used to illustrate a story in Stanley's April 15 sermon entitled "When Gracie Met Truthy." Of this sermon, Dr. Albert Mohler wrote:
The most puzzling and shocking part of the message was the illustration and the account of the homosexual couple, however. The inescapable impression left by the account was that the sin of concern was adultery, but not homosexuality. Stanley clearly and repeatedly stressed the sin of adultery, but then left the reality of the homosexual relationship between the two men unaddressed as sin. To the contrary, he seemed to normalize their relationship. They would be allowed to serve on the host team if both were divorced. The moral status of their relationship seemed to be questioned only in terms of adultery, with no moral judgment on their homosexuality.
Was this intended as a salvo of sorts? The story was so well told and the message so well constructed that there can be little doubt of its meaning. Does this signal the normalization of homosexuality at North Point Community Church? This hardly seems possible, but it appeared to be the implication of the message. Given the volatility of this issue, ambiguity will be replaced by clarity one way or the other, and likely sooner than later.
If one listens to the sermon in question, the relevant portion begins around the 24 minute mark (an edited video may be viewed here. This graphic, as Stanley explains, represents the "microcosm of the church." In this particular anecdote that "microcosm" includes a woman, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's daughter, her own daughter, her ex-husband, and her ex-husband's homosexual partner. As Mohler noted, in his sermon, Stanley appeared to normalize the unrepentant sin of homosexuality, while simultaneously condemning the adultery that the men were engaging in. It should not surprise, then, that this has caused such a stir.
Last week, Stanley asked that people listen to this sermon series in its entirety, including the final message, which was delivered this past Sunday. While this writer has not yet had opportunity to listen to this latest sermon in full, the Christian Post has offered a brief synopsis:
Referring to one of the last times Jesus spoke to his disciples, as found in John 13:1-17:35, Stanley quoted Jesus as saying, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." He stressed the words, "By this everyone will know…"
Jesus' movement was all about "how you love," but over time it became "what you believe," he said. "If we would simply do what Jesus did … instead of arguing about what he said, the world would change, the reputation of Christ's followers would change, the influence of the church would change. This is easy. This requires nothing … just a brand new worldview."
Of course, an adequate response cannot be generated based on these brief quotes alone, but this writer fears that, at North Point Community Church, the world's idea of "love" has begun to stifle the truth.