Second-guessing Louie. An open letter to Louie Giglio

Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association and Renew America has published an open letter to Louie Giglio essentially telling him he has been fuzzy on his current view of homosexuality.  I publish it hear in its entirity since it was a public letter.  I’d love to hear your comments.  I have some… but I’d love to hear yours.  🙂

Here’s the letter:

Dear Pastor Giglio,

As a former pastor, I have admired your work for many years. Your winsomeness and appealing demeanor have made you a very effective communicator of the unchanging truth of the gospel. I applaud you especially for your passion for the youth of our nation. You have formed a true and abiding connection with America’s spiritually hungry millennials as evidenced by the 60,000 young men and women who turned out for your New Year’s Eve weekend rally in Atlanta just three weeks ago.

I applaud you as well for your outstanding work in fighting the scourge of human trafficking, which is an unmitigated evil. Atlanta is the hub of sex trafficking in the United States, and you are to be honored for taking the fight to the forces of darkness right in your own backyard.

It was your noble work in combating sex slavery that rightly drew the attention of President Obama’s inaugural committee to you, and led to your invitation to offer the benediction at the end of the inauguration ceremony.

Yet, when a sermon you delivered 15 years ago surfaced, a sermon in which you unhesitatingly affirmed a biblical view of sexuality, you were unceremoniously dumped by the White House in a McCarthyite display of religious bigotry.

Your comments in response to this display of bullying by the president have left many of us who share your values wondering where you stand today on the issue of homosexuality.

For instance, when you emphasize that the sermon in question was “from 15-20 years ago,” you create the impression that it no longer represents your views, and that you, as the president famously claims to have done, have “evolved” on one of the preeminent moral issues of our time.

When you tell the nation, “Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years,” you are suggesting that you have abandoned the field as our culture battles over the definition of marriage and the family.

In your statement, you refer to this “fight” as an “issue not of our choosing,” again implying that fighting to protect the institution of natural marriage and the natural family is not a battle in which you want to engage. But sometimes, Louie, you don’t get to choose your battles. Sometimes battles choose you, and this is one of those times.

So we must know: have you changed your view on the issue of homosexuality? Do you no longer regard it is a sin? Your failure to address this question clearly and forthrightly in this controversy leaves many of us confused. It is imperative that you clarify your current position.

God has chosen you to be his mouthpiece at this critical juncture in American history on this issue of paramount importance. Surely you, as a perceptive cultural leader, understand that the homosexual agenda represents the greatest threat to the institution of marriage and to religious liberty in our time.

Your own experience illustrates that. You yourself have become only the latest in a long string of victims whose freedom of speech and religion have been shredded because of our culture’s determination to call good what God has called evil.

Every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. You have become the new Rosa Parks, sent to the back of the cultural bus because you are considered socially unacceptable. You have meekly allowed yourself not just to be sent to the back of the bus but thrown off the bus entirely instead of standing your ground as Ms. Parks did.

You could have, and should have, said, “Mr. President, you have invited me to offer the benediction at your inauguration, and I have accepted that invitation. I will not withdraw. If you want to disinvite me because of my unapologetic stand for the word of God, that is your prerogative, but you will have to throw me off the platform yourself. I’m not going to do it for you.”

In your statement to your church family, you say, “The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate.” What do you mean by this? If, as you suggest, this is a difficult issue to “navigate,” does not our nation need experienced navigators such as yourself, who can steer this ship of state away from the cliffs of moral debauchery?

It looks as though you have abandoned your post on the bridge right when your voice was required to make the course correction our culture so desperately needs. We are headed for the shoals, and our nation has turned its lonely eyes to you. And you have been silent.

When you say, “[I]ndividuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve,” this sounds dangerously close to moral relativism. You seem to be saying that you have no right to challenge their values. You seem to be saying all values of are equal worth and validity.

But, Louie, President Obama is not disagreeing with you. He is disagreeing with God. And you have a profound moral obligation to defend his truth and speak truth to power at this time.

You go on to say that if people listened to your sermons over the last decade, they would “most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people – any people.” When you say this, you create the impression that to be against homosexual behavior is to be against homosexual people rather than for them.

But Louie, surely you know that if we love people we will love them enough to tell them the truth about behaviors that can leave them diseased, dead, and separated from God for eternity. How is it a loving thing to refuse to warn people about sin that has disastrous consequences both for time and eternity?

Your sermon from long ago struck the perfect balance. You offered homosexuals life-giving forgiveness and life-giving power to leave their self-destructive lifestyle and find hope and transformation in the person of Jesus Christ.

So we must ask you directly, and the nation deserves an answer: Do you still believe that homosexuality is a sin from which man may be saved but also must be saved? If you do still believe this, then why have you not said so?

The eyes and ears of an entire nation are open to you at this critical moment, and you have been given a once-in-a-lifetime platform to be God’s man with God’s word for a deceived and deluded culture. Will you seize the moment? It is not too late.

I urge you to unambiguously affirm the position you advocated in your sermon. Your convictions were based squarely on the unchanging standards of the word of God. We need to know that you still stand where you once stood.

Our nation desperately needs a clear, unambiguous word from God at this moment in our history, and he has chosen you for that task. To this point, it appears as if you are shirking your heavenly duty. I urge to you to respond to God’s call to be God’s man for this hour.

As you of course know, our youth are at severe risk in our culture because of the normalization of homosexuality. You know from your work in human trafficking that boys are often subjected to sexual slavery in order to serve the depraved whims of homosexual peophiles.

You know that HIV/AIDS is devastating the health of our young men. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 87% of the young men between 13 and 24 who have HIV/AIDS contracted it through having sex with men.

You have the opportunity right now to alert a nation of young men to the dangers of homosexual behavior, the same dangers cited longed ago in Romans 1. I beg you to seize the day.

Martin Luther long ago said this: “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. And to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Louie, God has stationed you in the very gap through which the forces of sexual perversity are flooding our society. Will you be the man who stands in that gap before God on behalf of the land?

Your window of opportunity is rapidly closing, and may be shut altogether by the end of this week. Carpe diem.

Your brother in our common faith,

Bryan Fischer

// Read more here…

So… what do YOU think of this letter?  Necessary?

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  • Don’t bother answering this Louie. Whatever your views are, engaging in a public debate with someone like this only damages Christianity in the eyes of the world. Do what God has called you to do – not what Bryan Fischer is calling you to do.

  • Paul January 16, 2013 Reply

    We are so good at shooting our wounded. It feels great to get beat on from both sides.

  • kjc January 16, 2013 Reply

    All one has to do is go to pastor Louie’s web site for his passion church he has a very nice letter posted that he has sent to the committee that handles the president’s things. I thought it was very well put. I for one say the pastor should be left alone and a response from him is not needed.

    • WD Furioso January 17, 2013 Reply

      I agree. Go to the website and read the letter. The wisdom of God is clearly being exercised by Louie and his leadership team in this situation. To say or do anything.other would be to play into “the schemes of the devil”. This response reminds me of how Jesus sometimes responded to the Scribes and Pharisees.

  • paulthinkingoutloud January 16, 2013 Reply

    Louis Giglio has elected to choose his battles. We should also note that this controversy has come just after the end of the annual Passion Conference which is no doubt a time of extreme stress for Louis and the staff at Passion.

    While I would like to have seen his participation at the inauguration, I am confident much good will come out of this.

  • Roger Lewis January 17, 2013 Reply

    To whom much is given, much is required. He may want to avoid controversy, but I think he owes it to the Christian world to take a clear position. Doesn’t have to be ugly, just clear. I have no problem saying homosexuality is sin because I believe the Bible. You either do or you don’t.

    • Gary Ellis January 17, 2013 Reply

      Very true, Sir. “To whom much is given, much is required.” Much has been given to Louie by God and therefore much is required by Louie to God. You did not give him what he has, and he is not required to answer to you or the Christian community…except where he chooses. You have a false sense of self importance, sir. Besides the fact that Louie has taken a very clear stand. He is clear about the fact that homosexuality isn’t an issue he is going to focus on. He has very clearly set his priorities. What you want him to say clearly about homosexuality doesn’t have to be his definition of clarity on an issue. Btw, I am a conservative Christian pastor for 40 years.

      • Roger January 17, 2013 Reply

        I have a false sense of self importance? Where did that come from? I made no statements of judgments regarding Louie nor will you…though you make that tempting. I simply believe a statement that homosexuality is Biblically sin like many other sins would have been adequate. As it is he leaves himself open to question. I think I attacked Louie. He is the topic of this question. You however attacked me for offering an opinion. Your statement of experience seems to lend an air of self importance.

  • davepatchin January 17, 2013 Reply

    I don’t know Louie, but it’s not hard to guess what he meant by those statements.
    “15-20 years ago” – the words I used then come from a different church context and cultural context. I would phrase it differently now.
    “Not in my priorities” – public statements about homosexuality don’t advance the gospel. That front must advance in love one-to-one.
    “difficult to navigate” – the polarization is so deep, the assumptions about those who disagree so vituperative, that speaking with grace and truth on the topic is nearly impossible.
    That won’t satisfy those who love a good culture war, but it’s not hard.

    • Stephen Canfield January 17, 2013 Reply

      Thumbs Up.

    • Dan January 23, 2013 Reply

      Excellent. I also learned a new word today. Vituperative! 🙂

  • Brad RabyBrad Raby January 17, 2013 Reply

    Why do organization leaders like Bryan Fischer feel they are the evangelical school principals? “What you should have said is…” Give me a break. ‘Open letters’ whether from Mr. Fischer to Louie Guglio or Al Mohler to Andy Stanley are evidence of pride cloaked in defending the scripture.

  • Benenlda January 17, 2013 Reply

    According to Louie Giglio this is NOT what happened. Spreading the lie does not make it the truth no matter how many times you try to sugar coat the pill. Loie never said they fired him. As a matter of fact, the first story he told was that he didn’t want to fight, or distract, so he called them and bowed out. The other story making the rounds is a lie

    ” you were unceremoniously dumped by the White House in a McCarthyite display of religious bigotry.

    Your comments in response to this display of bullying by the president have left many of us who share your values wondering where you stand today on the issue of homosexuality.”

  • John Adams January 17, 2013 Reply

    I wonder if former pastor Bryan Fisher will be writing his next open letter to Jesus, because in Matthew 9:9, Jesus clearly forgot to point out Matthew’s egregious sin of collecting pagan taxes for the Roman oppressors before inviting him to follow! Homosexuality does not keep anyone from heaven….rejection of Jesus, in whatever from that takes, keeps us from heaven.

    Clearly explaining truth to someone who has been primed to misunderstand requires relationship and conversation. No sound-bite about the biblical teaching on homosexuality will serve to draw people to Jesus in our present culture, no matter how well it is stated. Louie rightly senses that we can misrepresent Jesus by publicly speaking on this topic and that only in private, personal dialogue will be able to explain the gospel accurately to those who have been persuade that God hates them personally due to their particular brand of sin. John 3:16 does include homosexuals….and gossips, and legalists.

  • Glenn January 17, 2013 Reply

    The letter probaby needed to be written but it should have been in private and not open to the public. Did the writer sincerely want to help Giglio or was the intent really to hurt him?

  • David Sweet January 17, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Mr. Fisher’s perspective–it is important for Giglio to clarify his views. But not for the primary reason Fisher states–which is his fantasy to somehow save our nation by winning this cultural war. We will not win, but we still have to be truthful and faithful to truth. I agree with Fisher if only he would change his emphasis (his fantasy) from somehow pulling out a win in the cultural war–and change his emphasis to the Gospel. What he asks Louie to do is for the Gospel’s sake and the Kingdom’s sake. That’s where I part ways with Fisher types–the cultural war must be engaged–mostly because if we don’t then our stance on sin will be misunderstood. But it is not to be engaged with some fantasy that we have to win this thing. If we win, we haven’t won much if the world is still lost, and if we lose we haven’t lost much. The Gospel is everything–and I wish AFA could understand that! We have to prepare to live in exile and to speak boldly against sin–for the GOSPEL’S SAKE.

  • Shawn January 17, 2013 Reply

    Bryan Fischer’s letter is well written and compassionate. Pastor Giglio did leave room for a lot of questions. He did this publicly and I believe his response should be public as well as Mr. Fischer’s letter. I believe that Pastor Giglio may be convicted by this letter and understand that is was inspired by a Loving Father and was not written out of contempt by a man looking to wound a fellow Christian or win a war. To write a letter like that takes obedience and a lot of prayer. When God calls you to write a letter like this one, which I have done, you have to fear God more than you fear man. The purpose of the letter was to lovingly remind a man of God that he missed a God-given opportunity and it is still not too late to act. Our youth are confused and they need Truth. Beating up on Bryan Fischer for writing the letter will do no good. That will create more confusion. It also assumes that Pastor Giglio is offended. Maybe he is in prayer right now and about to take a stand that will point the way for our nation and our youth. Letters like this need to be written. I can see the prayer and thought that went into it and I know that it was not easy to send. But it shouldn’t be easy. Holding each other accountable takes a man who is willing to take time to listen to the Holy Spirit and to act when directed. That is what was done here.

  • Shawn January 17, 2013 Reply

    I’m just going to say a few things.

    Anyone who has heard Louie preach – ever – should know full well where he stands in regards to God’s Word, the Power and Work of Jesus Christ, and the need to fear the Lord in Holy Awe.

    And if you truly have ever listened to him, you would not be questioning like this now.

    Maybe Louie is trying to do what many other Christians need to be doing: ministering to the person and not protesting the issue.

    • Shawn January 18, 2013 Reply

      Shawn – I am sure Pastor Giglio has said many great things in the past, but what he did not say currently speaks louder and to many more listeners. When a brother in Christ tries to help another brother by letting him know the impact he may have had for the kingdom – that is not a bad thing. If we cannot hold each other accountable, then who can? As far as ministering to the person goes – that is exactly what Bryan Fisher was doing. And if you think that not speaking up on an issue like homosexuality when given a platform is a good message to send, then we are going to be in lot more trouble in the future. Leaders Like Louie Googlio are respected by many. We need leaders like him to speak and when God pitches him a meatball right over the center of the plate, we need him to hit it out of the park. Fearing the Lord in Holy Awe means not caring what the public thinks speaking on such issues.

      • Shawn January 18, 2013 Reply

        I was speaking in past and present about Louie’s message.

        I agree that we need to be bold and speak God’s word in authority. We are accountable to God and called to follow Christ’s example. Totally for that, Shawn. But we also need to speak truth through the grace of God.

        I think I can safely say, the gay community does not need another person standing up and telling them how sinful and hell-bound they are. They know it! And the majority of them do not care what we have to say.

        Rather what they need to see from the Church is Jesus Christ. And what does that look like? We point to Jesus and not ourselves. We preach hope and not condemnation. We stand for the gospel but we also live out the gospel. No one comes to Christ through anger, hate, or hell-fire-only messages. They come when they see a physical presence of Jesus. When we speak in authentic compassion, when our hearts our broken, when we uphold Jesus and not our agenda, that’s when the Spirit moves within the gay community.

        If you haven’t clicked to my blog, I advise you too. I speak as one who lived as a gay man until 2000. I speak as one whose heart is breaking for the gay community. I speak as one who ministers every chance I get to all about the glory of Christ – His hope, His salvation, His truth, and His everlasting love.

        This is what the gay community needs to hear from the Body of Christ. Not another finger-pointing-your-going-to-hell talk.

        • shawn January 18, 2013 Reply

          Shawn , I totally agree with your statement about the gay community not needing a fire and brimstone sermon. And I agree with showing the love of Jesus and sharing the awesome power of His redemption. You can still say that you believe in the Word of God and stand by it without pointing fingers and giving anyone a going to hell talk. That is not what I am about and I don’t believe that is what the letter to Pastor Giglio was about. We have to speak with authority and with love. But we can’t give youth today the message that the homosexual lifestyle is something we approve of, especially if we are responsible for leading many in the faith. I will check out your blog. Thanks for your response. I am really glad that the we have had this discussion.

          • Shawn January 18, 2013

            I think we’re saying the same thing then 🙂 Glad to have this discussion, too.

        • Roger January 18, 2013 Reply

          I have seen anyone calling for “fingering pointing your going to hell talk”. It’s not a topic I cross maybe 2 or three times in a year, but when I do I loving not homosexuality is sin. Continuing willfully in a sinful lifestyle is rejection of Jesus Christ. He does want to deliver those bound by any sin. Louie has a national platform. If he is not clear then a younger generation could be led to believe that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. That’s all we’re saying.

      • davepatchin January 18, 2013 Reply

        Shawn said, “Fearing the Lord in Holy Awe means not caring what the public thinks speaking on such issues.”

        Loving our neighbor means caring what they think and being kind, respectful, full of grace AND truth so we can win them to Christ. 2 Peter 2:17 says we are to fear God AND honor all men. You can’t use one command to invalidate the other. To win the lost, I think our command is to be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us but to do so with gentleness and respect.

  • Jeff Butler January 18, 2013 Reply

    Although I don’t endorse the “open letter” above, he does cause me to think of something that we may have missed.

    There is an unintended consequence of Louie’s withdraw. A precedent has been set. There is a new standard of who is and who is not allowed to participate in public events. The new standard is that those who hold the Bible’s view of homosexuality are not welcome or allowed to participate. Though not the intent, the withdraw inadvertently concedes that those that hold the Bible’s view of homosexuality are just as bad as those that would discriminate on the basis of race.

    I understand not wanting to fight a culture war and concern for the LGBT person. However, if we concede the issue in the public square so that it becomes the accepted cultural position that there are many equally good sexual practices and forms of marriage and that those who believer homosexuality is a sin are evil how effective can person ministry be?

    In addition, how long before believing that faith in Jesus is required for salvation is also the basis for exclusion from the public square?

    It is a challenging issue but just retreating from the public square to be nice has long term consequences that we need to consider before adopting that approach.

  • John Mulholland January 18, 2013 Reply

    Great post and discussion. My take is Louie owes none of us anything. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus, he responded by asking them about John the Baptist. When they had nothing to say, Jesus to them, essentially, to “cram it.”

    I posted more thoughts here:

  • Rudy January 18, 2013 Reply

    I see a lot of statements here along the lines of “the Bible’s view of homosexuality”, when in fact what we really mean is our view of what the Bible’s view is. We must be very careful about using our possibly skewed views of the Bible to beat people up, either Louie or the LGBT community, when what we see in the life of Jesus is compassion, and inclusion first and foremost.

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