(Photo: Fellowship Church)
"Are you drinking culture's Cool-Aid?" asks Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. In his new "Cool-Aid" sermon series kicking off this weekend, Young urges people to stop giving in to social norms on issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage and instead turn to the truth of God.
Young, who has authored several books on marriage and relationships, has been critical of President Barack Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage, and said that the aim of his "Cool-Aid" sermons is to "build bridges of love but draw lines in the sands of truth."
"Our standard and authority is the Bible. We're going to talk about what the Bible says regarding marriage – one man, one woman," Pastor Young shared Thursday in a phone interview with The Christian Post.
He continued, "So we either align ourselves with God's Word, or we malign God's Word by doing what we want to do. It's not about emotion, it's not about feeling, it's not about my opinion, it's about what God says. Either there's absolute truth or not.
"In fact, our culture has forgotten where true North is and we are floating on the seas of relativism. And it sounds so good that, you know, I am who I am so I have to do what I have to do. That sounds good, but it leads to chaos. Either we put our desires and feelings under the authority of God, or we don't."
Young described President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage as "tragic," and said that he sees a rise in the acceptance of homosexuality in the country. He argued, however, that one of the main messages in his sermon series is about showing love while standing true to God's Word.
"We love everybody. All of us are fallen and fallible. All of us deserve separation from God, but we are saved by grace. We do not want to confuse acceptance for approval. We accept everybody," the Fellowship Church pastor expressed.
"And we have people in our church who are gay, or who are struggling with it, who attend Fellowship Church. We welcome them and accept them. However, we do not approve of their behavior. Just like we accept adulterers, but do not approve of their behavior. I think that people will see that we love homosexuals like we love all sinners, and we all can identify because we have all sinned," he added.
Young admitted that homosexuality is a controversial topic and that people will have different viewpoints, but insisted that the church should not be silent, and instead it should speak up loudly. He shared that his main hope for the "Cool-Aid" sermon series is to "show the genius of God in his alignment of marriage."
On the topic of how much choice homosexuals have in regards to their lifestyle, the megachurch pastor said that everyone always has a choice.
"I don't believe there is a gay gene, just like I don't believe there is a basketball gene," he began. "I think all of us are predisposed to things. But we can't just throw our hands up and say 'well, I was born tall, and I just can't help myself, I have to play basketball.' No, we all have a choice. I believe that maybe some people are born with a leaning toward same-sex attraction. But that does not mean they cannot help themselves."
The "Cool-Aid" sermon series will also explore topics like bullying and how to stand up to those who try to take advantage of others.
"I am going to talk about all sorts of bullying. There have always been bullies. Bullies have been in existence since Cain and Abel. I believe that often, we play the victim card as opposed to really standing up and facing up to our bullies. You'll have bullies when you are a kid, you'll have bullies when you're an adult. We have to face them, and have the courage of the lion to deal with them," Young said.
"There is a lot of bullying in all areas of life. There is a lot of bullying in social media, there is a lot of bullying in our school system, there's bullying at work, there's bullying on athletic fields, there's bullying around the neighborhood, there's bullying on the freeway, it's everywhere we look," he added. "Too often we act as victims, when we should be victors in Christ."
The Texas pastor explained why it was so important for churches everywhere to stand up now on the issues presented in his upcoming sermons and defend the Word of God.
"The church is the last bastion to talk about these issues. We can't be ashamed or shy or scared to talk about what God was not ashamed, shy or scared to write down and discuss. I think it's time for the church to stand up and talk about this issue in an open and straight-forward, biblical and loving way. I think churches all across North America and the world should be talking about this subject right now," Young urged.
The "Cool-Aid" sermons focus first on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and will be published on the Fellowship Church website over the weekend.
Young's list of 14 books include Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse, written with his wife Lisa Young, The 10 Commandments of Marriage: The Do's and Don'ts for a Lifelong Covenant co-authored with Beth Moore, and The Creative Marriage: The Art of Keeping Your Love Alive, also written with his wife.