It started when Fox News broke the explosive story: "The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, or gender identity. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court."
The Houston Chronicle reported it began with Houston's new non-discrimination ordinance driven by Annise Parker, Houston's first openly lesbian mayor and approved by the city council in June.
A group of Houston pastors opposing the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. But in a controversial turn the city unexpectedly tossed out the petition in August over alleged "irregularities." The opponents of the non-discrimination bill (which originally included among other things that men could use women's restrooms and visa-versa – but that point was pulled early over the criticism) filed a lawsuit, and the city attorney responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors. more >>
There's a good piece by Andrew Walker in First Things on a popular international church network called Hillsong's apparent equivocation on marriage. At a recent New York press conference, the ministry's leader, Brian Houston, declined to answer whether the ministry affirms the biblical position. Instead, he stresses the church's need to stay "relevant."
Earlier this year the pastor of Hillsong's New York's congregation, the ultra hip Carl Lentz, shared similar views with CNN. His wife added: "It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That's their journey." Hmmm. If it's not the church's place to tell anyone how to live, then what is the church's purpose? Entertainment? Affirmation?
Socialization? And if it's not the church's role to counsel how to live, then who or what should? Perhaps it's the central message of our age that each autonomous individual chooses his/her own path without reference to others. more >>
There is a point where decision on contentious, difficult issues is unavoidable. With respect to homosexual conduct, the American Evangelical church has reached that point.
There is no ignoring the determination of the gay and lesbian activists to insist upon complete social and legal normalization of homosexual conduct; from the adoption of children by same-sex couples to the judicial recognition of same-sex unions as marriages every bit as complete as those enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Thus, Christians cannot avoid the need to decide which side they are on.
The Supreme Court's decision earlier this month to allow current judicial rulings on same-sex marriage to stand is not the final blow to natural marriage some believe it is, but it does give the issue new and unavoidable prominence. more >>
Two ordained Christian pastors in Idaho have filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for temporarily restraining Coeur d'Alene city officials from forcing them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or face prosecution for violating "non-discrimination" laws.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the lawsuit and the motion on behalf of Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and have been required by city officials to perform gay ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines.
The city says its non-discrimination ordinance requires them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies because the courts have overridden Idaho's voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. more >>
Last week, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Pastor Brian Houston, founder of the Hillsong movement (which now has congregations in California and New York), "Can your pastors preside at same-sex marriages?"
Pastor Houston replied (in part), "It can be challenging for churches to stay relevant. Because many mainstream churches upheld what they would believe is the long established view of what the Bible says about homosexuality. But the world has changed around and about them. . . ."
He continued, "So the world's changing and we want to stay relevant as a church. So that's a vexing thing. You think, 'How do we not become a pariah?'" more >>
Hillsong Church pastor Brian Houston has issued a statement specifying his position on marriage and homosexuality after a news outlet reported that he "won't take (a) public position on LGBT issues."
The news report came after Houston brought up the topics of homosexuality and same-sex marriage at a press conference held on Thursday with New York City media, on the occasion of Hillsong Conference being held at Madison Square Garden.
"I encourage people not to assume a media headline accurately represents what I said at a recent press conference," Houston says in a statement emailed to The Christian Post on Saturday. more >>