Last week the Christian world imploded and threw up it’s hands in outrage and decided that there was no one more awful or horrible or worthy of being trashed than Brian Houston. His campus in New York has an openly gay choir leader.
Well, that’s not actually the case. Brian Houston stated that what had actually happened was the choir leader in their New York City campus had unexpectedly announced his involvement with another man, and when he did, he and the other man were promptly removed from any leadership positions in the church.
Along with this statement, Brian Houston wrote about his views on homosexuality in regards to his own life and the way he runs Hillsong church. It’s excellent. If you haven’t read it, go read it now! There is however one thing that Brian Houston left out of this statement that I think should be included. I believe it’s in his heart, but it seems to be left out of these kinds of statements.
He talks about how openly homosexual people are not allowed to be on staff or in leadership positions at Hillsong, but he doesn’t mention people in other types of sin.
When I was younger, I always heard people say things like “you get wet whether you jump into the shallow end or the deep end.” That is to say that it doesn’t matter what kind of sin it is, it’s still sin and it’s just as bad. I don’t hear many people talking about that anymore. Especially in the case of homosexuality.
Sin isn’t a sliding scale where some sins are worse than others and it’s only when you get to a certain part of the scale that someone is no longer allowed to serve. Nope. Sin is sin.
What Brian Houston didn’t point out in his statement about gay people in the church (but at no point do I believe that he doesn’t think this way) is that no one in open and unrepentant sin should be allowed to serve in our churches.
If someone in a leadership role (say, a choir leader) comes out as gay, and does not wish to change, he must step down from that position. If someone is found in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, and he does not wish to change, he must step down from his position. If someone is found to be a lier, and does not wish to change, he must step down from his position.
In the end, it’s not a question of homosexuals serving in churches. It’s a matter of unrepentant sinners serving. That’s the issue at hand.
I bet that if that choir leader had come to his leaders and asked for help with his homosexual feelings, they would have worked with him to overcome them and probably would have kept him on the choir.
I don’t think that Brian Houston and Hillsong church thinks differently than this. But I do think that we need to make it clear to people that it’s unrepentant sin that keeps people out of leadership in our churches, not just homosexuality.