Sin, Slavery, and Louie Giglio
While it hasn’t made mainstream news, the story has circled the internet news streams. This story has the bloggers a blogging and the critics a criticizing. So, we thought we would join in. Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta had been invited to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. Regardless of your political persuasion this is quite an honor. Billy Graham was invited to pray at 10 presidential inaugurations. To be invited to do anything Billy Graham had been asked to do is an honor.
Louie wants the captives set free
Louie wasn’t invited because he is an evangelical, he wasn’t invited because of any effort to reach out to the conservative Christians, and he wasn’t invited because he pastors a church which is large enough to be influential. Louie Giglio was invited to pray at the inauguration because of his activism against sex slave trafficking. Louie has been extremely influential in the fight against human trafficking. Louie wants the captives set free.
God wants the captives set free
It is not strange that Louie would be actively speaking out against sex trafficking. It is in his DNA to react against injustice and abuse. He is a Christian. As Christians we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God. God is against sex trafficking and slavery, therefore Christians are against it. God is against men and women, boys and girls being raped and abused, therefore we are against it. It’s really pretty logical. God has given us His Spirit and His Word. The two together change our world view and begin to bring our thoughts and attitudes in line with God’s. God wants the captives set free, therefore as Christians we want the captives set free.
It is God's Word that we stand on, not our own.
Louie Giglio was in effect uninvited from attending and praying at the inauguration just a few days later. He was uninvited because of his views on homosexuality. Louie believes homosexuality is a sin. This is not because he hates gays and has a desire to limit the civil rights of a particular part of our society. Louie believes the homosexual lifestyle is wrong because the Bible tells him so.
Again, Louie’s world view is shaped by the Bible. He believes the Bible is true, and it is the Word of God. Louie believes people sin against God and God loves them anyway. His ministry seeks to “make much of Jesus” by declaring the gospel of Christ. The gospel changes people. It turns the world upside down and makes everything different. The gospel changes hearts and minds, it heals the broken and sets the captives free.
Believing the Bible is true and telling people what it says is becoming very unpopular in the US. Louie has now been branded as “anti-gay” which in our society is the ultimate sin. In some ways the labeling is accurate, but very shallow. Christians are also anti-lying, anti-stealing, and anti-murder but those titles are not currently seen as anti-social. However, any suggestion that some sexual expression or preference between consenting adults, is not what God had in mind, is now seen as the ultimate sin against society.
In reality we are not really as much “anti” individual actions as we are “pro” God. Being “anti” anything focuses on what you are against. For us it really misses the point. Actions that the Bible defines as sin are the result of a sinful heart or you might say the result being separated from God. We are really not against individual actions as much as we are against what those actions represent, a life lived separated from God. We are against people living separated from our loving God.
Being pro-God means we are changed by His presence in us and are now His ambassadors telling everyone who will listen the good news that your sins can be forgiven. And that gets us to the heart of the issue. Many people don’t like to be told that they are sinners.
In general the world prefers to believe we have the option to pick and choose which sins are still sins and which sins have evolved into acceptable practices. Or, you might say that many of us define sin by the cultural standard of the day.
The problem is that in reality you and I don’t have the authority to define sin. We never have. God defines sin. It is His standard, not ours. So, regardless of the cultural preferences, as Christians we are constrained by the Bible. It is our guide for right and wrong. We have the authority to tell people what it says, but we do not have the authority to change what it says. In other words, Louie Giglio, like all of us, is just the messenger, he is not the author.
We are the messengers of the gospel of freedom
What do you do when you live in a culture where sin is determined not by some clear moral standard established by the creator of the heavens and the earth but is instead only defined by preference?
That is a great question. In the first century after Christ the city of Ephesus was large and wealthy. The Bible, extra- biblical sources, and historians tell us the people of Ephesus were focused on three things: wealth, power, and sex. Can you imagine living in a culture like that? Sin in Ephesus was hard to define.
In 2 Timothy the apostle Paul writes to the pastor of the church in Ephesus,
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. - 2 Timothy 4:1–4
What do you do when you are surrounded by a culture that does not want to hear the truth?
- Preach the Word.
- Tell the truth.
- Share the gospel.
However, to those who do not claim the name of Christ the majority of our conversation should be gospel centered. Rather than focusing on trying to convince sinners to stop sinning (which they can’t do), we share the gospel and watch Jesus change their hearts. To the lost, we preach Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins.
Wrapping it up
So, the question to you is this, “Are you anti-gay or pro-Christ”?
You are the messenger, don't change the message.
As always we want to leave you with some resource which will help you study the Bible for yourself. This 40 Minute series study is one of our favorites.
Inaugural committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant said in a statement that officials were unaware of the sermon when Giglio was picked and “they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. . . . 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.”
Technically, Louie withdrew, but it seems obvious that had he not withdrawn he would have been asked to withdraw. His blog at Passion City Church, dated January 10 explains his reasons.