I read a helpful illustration somewhere about the nature of pastoral ministry. The illustration likened ministry to mowing around a troublesome stump in your yard. Ultimately things would be easier if the stump were removed and you could just mow a straight path. But uprooting the thing might cause more trouble than it’s worth and so you just learn to mow around the stump. People and preferences are like this. There are hills to die on and there are stumps to mow around.
I thought of this illustration when I read a recent interview with Lauren Daigle on the topic of homosexuality. She was asked whether or not she felt that homosexuality is a sin? Here is her response:
You know, I can’t honestly answer on that, in the sense of I have too many people that I love—that they are homosexuals…“I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God,” she continued. “So, when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go to is. Like, I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know because I’m learning too.’
Now, I’m not Lauren Daigle so I don’t her motivations. I’ll admit that I’m reading between the lines a bit and trying to fill in some gaps. It’s possible that Lauren Daigle truly doesn’t fully know her own stance on homosexuality. Or it’s possible that she does have a position but she is uncomfortable with the implications of that position. In other words she knows that if she affirms homosexuality she’ll lose a swath of her Christian audience, but she’ll also lose followers if she is unequivocal in saying that homosexuality is a sin.
And I can understand the motivation for this. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God saves sinners. It’s the beautiful story of His redemption of rebellious, sinful, and broken rebels. The gospel is the God of the universe adopting His enemies as His own children and bestowing on them all the riches of heaven. Our sexuality certainly has a part in the gospel message but it’s not really central. So, it’s understandable that one wouldn’t want to sacrifice a platform for the spread of the gospel in order to make a stance on a minor issue.
There is only one minor problem with this. We don’t mow around a denial of biblical truth. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture means that we are not to call something a sin which the Bible doesn’t. Nor are we required to do something unless the Scripture requires this of us. That gives us the freedom to mow around stumps when it comes to personalities, preferences, and disputable matters. But it doesn’t give us the freedom to not take a biblical stance when the Bible is clear. When Scripture does speak we passionately stand on what it says…especially when it comes to defining sin.
The reason we do this is not because we have to maintain a list of sins in order to take a judgmental posture towards others. No, we do this because it actually is attached to the gospel. Trying to redefine our rebellion and our brokenness isn’t going to lead to gospel healing. It’s going to lead to destruction and a further plunge into idolatry and pain. So we lovingly refuse to mow around the stump of human sexuality. Yes, even if it means our platform suffers. We are called to be witnesses of Christ. As ambassadors we don’t get to change the message in order to make it more palatable.
A better response would have been to affirm what the Scriptures say about homosexuality, but to also extend it to include pride and a host of other things which are an abomination to God. And then to use this as an opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ for any and every sin. The gospel truth is that all of us are far worse than we could ever imagine. But in Christ we can have far more substantial healing and grace and relationship with the God of the Universe than we could ever dare to dream. That message will offend some. But it’ll be life to others.
Sinners (like myself) do not need our equivocation. They need our gracious truth-telling. This isn’t a stump you can mow around.
Photo source: here
Article originally published at Mike’s blog: Borrowed Light