I listened to your sermon on same-sex attraction after the Supreme Court ruling, and then I saw a video (below) of your son Ryan (pastor at Eastlake Church in Seattle) that seemed to conflict with your stated position of the church. I have a few points and questions that I hope you can address. First, can you address the position your son has clarified below. Are you ok with it or not? Why or why not?
I appreciate you clarifying the orthodox stance of Eastlake Church on homosexuality and marriage, and explaining to the congregation that Jesus affirmed marriage as one man and one woman. However, your clarification on Eastlake's position regarding homosexuality/marriage got sort of lost in the constant reminders on how Christians shouldn't talk to/judge homosexuality. You quoted Billy Graham: “It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love.” If you are fine with leaving the task of conviction to the Holy Spirit, why did you find it necessary to convict Christians who might talk in an insensitive way toward practicing homosexual Christians? Shouldn't you have left that to the Holy Spirit? Why are you picking and choosing which sins you point out and which ones you leave to the Holy Spirit? Either we work with the Holy Spirit and affirm what He is working in the lives of sinners, or we never say anything regarding other sinner's behavior. If you want to appeal to 1 Cor 5:11-13 that is fine, that is a verse I will bring up below; but if your reasoning is because you were talking to "CHRISTIANS" not the world, then good so am I! Why don't you talk with that same fervor to "CHRISTIANS" who are practicing homosexuals? You go out of your way to handle their immorality with kid gloves so much that it's questionable whether they are even in need of repentance.
By the way, in my experience over the past few years, the "Christians" who need to learn how to communicate in a Christ-like manner toward those they disagree with/believe are sinning, are "Christian" homosexual advocates and "pro-choicers.” The bullying, harassing, name-calling, and overall vitriol today from Christians is OVERWHELMINGLY from those who support homosexuality and abortion (i.e. the left). So please Mike, if you are going to talk to Christians about how not to communicate, please just look to your nearest liberal Christian demonizing their Christian conservative brother or sister over gay rights, or abortion rights for plenty of examples.
One comment you said struck me as odd: "we are a queer friendly church." There are two ways to interpret this statement:
(A). By "queer friendly" your message was something to the effect of: "If you are trying to detangle yourself from the gay lifestyle (i.e. trying to offer your body as a living sacrifice to God by denying your fleshly desires and appetites, and be led by the Spirit) and wish to turn away from the sexual immorality that all homosexual acts fall under (regardless if you are in a long-term, committed, and monogamous relationship), then we will be your friend here to help you along the way." (But they cannot hold any leadership positions in the church while they are still struggling with being led by their flesh just as those struggling with adultery would not be allowed to hold leadership positions) I have no problem with this, but if this was what you meant you should have clarified it because I am sure a lot of people listening to you interpreted "we are a queer friendly church" the way below (B).
(B). By "queer friendly" you are tickling the ears of PRACTICING homosexuals so that they don't feel convicted (i.e. feel guilt, shame, or be anxious to repent for their homosexual acts) because "we are all sinners" and as you have said before, "it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict." This is a huge problem if this is your motive, because you are enabling practicing homosexuals to continue in their idolatry by continuing to find their identity in their sexuality and be led by their flesh. Additionally, by generalizing such a grievous sin to "we are all sinners" you diminish and confuse the responsibility of the sinner to take action/tackle some of their most damaging sins (to themselves and others). It's hard to imagine what sin is more damaging (physically, mentally, and spiritually) to a homosexual than their sin of homosexuality. I don't think you would treat HABITUAL/PRACTICING adulterers, with that same courtesy would you? I don't think I'd ever hear you say, "We are an adulterer friendly church." And yet you offered that confusing courtesy to (practicing) homosexuals? Odd.
How do you reconcile a message like that with 1 Corinthians 5:11-13?
"I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
Lastly, I pray the Holy Spirit will show you how you are doing a disservice to your congregation and to God's kingdom. Please consider the following verse:
"Your prophets courted you with sweet talk.
They didn’t face you with your sin so that you could repent.
Their sermons were all wishful thinking, deceptive illusions."--Lamentations 2:14 (The Message)
Your brother in Christ,