(Reblogged from Do Not Be Surprised)
It was announced on 8 January that Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and founder of the Passion conferences, had accepted an invitation to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration on 21 January.
Immediately following that announcement, someone dug up a 15–20 year old sermon of Giglio’s wherein he made comments about homosexuality that didn’t sit so well with the loudest voices in this country. By the morning of 10 January, Giglio had withdrawn his acceptance of the invitation.
With this news, Louie Giglio immediately became a living martyr among evangelicals. Indeed, the backlash and response to the contents of his sermon was unfortunate—there is little arguing that fact. At the same time, it really should not surprise the Christian who does not have his head stuck in the sand. America is, after all, a Romans 1 nation. We love our sin. We love our sexual sin. We revel in it. We celebrate it. So what do you expect?
But, is Giglio’s withdrawal from the inauguration ceremony worthy of the praise and commendation of Christians? Has he taken the strong stance that so many evangelical leaders would have us believe? Is he a victim, taken to the figurative stake and burned for his adherence to God’s Word?
Now, the argument is swirling based upon a New York Times (NYT) article that Giglio was asked to step aside, that he in essence was ousted. This was the scenario painted at Denny Burk’s blog, however the quote in question has since been removed from the original NYT article.
If one looks at the pastor’s own words, though, Giglio says, “I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation.” So if Louie Giglio was asked to step aside, then that needs to be said by Louie Giglio. Otherwise, we should take him at his word. He is, after all, a Christian pastor, and thus his word should be able to be trusted, should it not?
With that, and because Louie Giglio wears the title of Christian pastor, it behooves the Christian to examine the statement he has made regarding this decision to withdraw. The remainder of this post will look at that statement in its entirety, as it was shared with Louie Giglio’s own church.