Louie Giglio has withdrawn from his planned involvement with the White House inauguration ceremony for Barack Obama’s second term.
Thanks for nothing, Louie.
This post may get under people’s skins a bit and will most definitely reveal which side of the debate over homosexual marriage and relationships I stand on.
I must also exercise some caution because there is a problem with simply bashing other Christians without exercising real grace, discernment and love.
However, in these circumstances, I have to wonder what is going through Louie Giglio’s mind…
The church in the West – North America and Europe – is struggling in a big way. I might even describe it as slowly failing. Why is there such a problem? At its core, the problem is that the church is no longer penetrating and influencing the culture around it. At the national level there are very few Christian speakers who can put a message out to the public. Consider these three areas of conversation:
- Education – The church has gone out of public education totally. There is no Christian influence on public education. Yet the maxim is true: “The philosophy of education in one generation will be philosophy of government in the next one.”
- Government – The U.S. government (and the governments of every other major Western nation) is not a Christian government. Even Christian candidates for office struggle to put their Christian beliefs into civic practice.
- Entertainment – Christians in America watch, read and listen to pretty much the same things as people who are not Christians. By patronizing the producers of anti-Christian entertainment, Christians support things which are actually opposed to their values.
In these three areas – and many more – the church has given ground consistently and without recovery. One of the reasons for this series of setbacks, defeats and retreats is the lack of courage in Christian leaders to stand up for Christian beliefs in the public arena.
Louie Giglio has just followed this trend.
Now, I am well aware of Louie’s preaching and of his wide audience. He spends an awful lot of time speaking publicly about belief in God. His idea is “to make much of Jesus Christ.”
Can I point out the duplicity of such a thing? How can anyone claim to make much of Jesus Christ while deciding to back down in the face of those who attack Christ?
Perhaps this is an easy post for me to write since I have no skin in the game. I have never been invited to speak at a political function. I am not being quoted in the newspaper. Maybe, because of my own positions on these issues, I never will be.
Here is, I think, a better choice of actions:
- Think really hard about if and how we will be involved with the agendas of people who oppose the message of Christ. Should a genuinely Christian leader have accepted Obama’s invitation? Perhaps this is only defensible by accepting the invitation with the intention of praying for the President to repent and turn to God and so guide the nation back towards the truth. Of course, such a prayer might be unthinkable in the context and so, in the absence of the ability or willingness to pray publicly in this way, wisdom should have required a genuinely Christian leader to decline the invitation.
- If such an invitation had been accepted and then this controversy began, then how should a genuinely Christian leader respond? Undoubtedly, Louie Giglio is really a Christian. His concerns thus far appear to have been to protect the core message of his ministry and to try to be gracious to President Obama. Being gracious is a very good thing. Yet if my core message does not extend to protecting all of the Bible’s teaching, then surely there is a problem with my perception of what is important.
My reaction, I think, would have been different. I might have released a statement like this:
My views about homosexuality have recently come under criticism – again – from people who hold different views. As a Christian, I maintain a core belief in the Bible as a book which reveals the truth about God. The Bible teaches, quite clearly in my opinion, that homosexual intercourse is wrong. The Bible also teaches, again quite clearly in my opinion, that homosexual marriage is wrong. There are many millions of Christians and Americans in this wonderful country who agree with me. I am pleased and honored to be asked by President Obama to participate in his inauguration. I believe this shows the President to be a man of tolerance who can involve people from all sides of a debate – even if he disagrees with them. Surely this is the very definition of tolerance. In order to demonstrate my own tolerance for those who disagree with me, I have agreed to participate in the President’s inauguration even though others who may participate hold to views very different from mine. If the voices of intolerance who want to silence my view – and the views of many millions of Americans – are to be the voices which guide our President then he will need to make that decision for himself. He has generously invited me to participate and I have accepted. My involvement will not be changed by the bully tactics of a small number of activists. My involvement will only be changed at the request of the President himself.
Perhaps others could find better words. My goal in reacting this way would be to put the onus on the President, as the leader of the Executive Branch of the United States, to nail his colors to the mast.
If courage is to be required of me then courage should be required of others.
My plea to Christian leaders is “Please do not back down gently and go silently!” Our message, from Christ Himself, is one of hope, forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption. It is worth hearing and, if it worth hearing, then it is surely worth defending.