I was recently reading an article about some controversy in a megachurch. Apparently, someone alleged that the church had an openly gay person in a leadership role, and it was a disgrace to the church. The church has since removed the person from the leadership role because of that person’s decision to live in a sinful lifestyle. Now, I am not saying that if that same person announced that they were living with a woman who is not their wife that it would be different. In both situations they are openly flaunting a lifestyle that is contrary to what the bible teaches. When Paul lists those who will not inherit the Kingdom, fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals are in the same list. What I am conflicted about is a quote from the pastor of that church when he says that he will not publicly make a stand on the subject of homosexuality. He went on to say that he will never preach on sexuality, along with some other topics, because people could feel ostracized, and that is where hate and bigotry and insensitivity begins, and he will not preach a sermon that will cause someone to feel that way.
What? I don’t get it. Is this now preaching the bible a-la-carte? We shouldn’t preach on a topic because someone’s feelings might get hurt? Are pastors only supposed to preach on topics that get people in the door and keep them in the seats? We want people to feel good about who they are and not regret going to church? Is church progressing towards self-help seminars and only preaching that God loves everyone, no matter what? What has happened to the truth of the gospel? What does 1 John say, if one claims to be in the light but remains in the darkness or in their sin, he is a liar and the Spirit of Jesus is not in them? So, do we now skip whole sections of the bible because sinners might become offended?
Peter was very straightforward in his preaching on the day of Pentecost. He told all assembled in Jerusalem that they were the people responsible for putting Jesus on the cross, to have Him crucified. Peter did hold back, John did hold back, John the Baptist did not hold back, Paul did not hold back, James did not hold back, and Jesus did not hold back. Why is it suddenly ok to hold back now? You don’t people to feel ostracized? Well, we were all ostracized from God. We were all sentenced to eternal damnation by Him because we separated from Him by our sin. And that is the point of the gospel, to get people to realize that are sinners who sin and need to have that relationship with their Father repaired by His Son Jesus. Instead of saying that people may feel ostracized, why don’t say what it really is: conviction of sin. If they feel ostracized then it’s probably because it is wrong in light of the holiness of the Almighty. We should be worried if we are offending any group of men but if we are offending the most powerful Being in all of heaven and earth, the One who holds the fate of our eternal soul in His hands.
I would be more concerned about offending God than offending people. If I was a pastor and I preached a sermon that make people decide not come to my church anymore, then so be it. I would not refrain from preaching on any topic simply because I would not want to offend any one group of people. Eventually, if a pastor is effective in his preaching, he would offend all people at one time or another, including himself. We must preach the truth no matter what or who it offends because the truth is always offensive to someone. Is it considered loving if I neglect to be truthful or is it more loving to tell someone the truth about the state of their soul before the Omnipotent God?