Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.
Needless to say, such language attracted criticism from many of President-elect Obama’s supporters, who were shocked that a bigoted, hateful man like Rick Warren should be invited to deliver the inaugural invocation.
Sadly, Warren, or somebody at Saddleback, blinked. And not just on the matter of unrepentant homosexuality.
This paragraph has also disappeared from the FAQ:
In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.
Interesting to note that paragraph never caused a ripple in the public square, even after Pastor Warren was invited to the Obama inauguration.
Political and theological liberals may not like it, but the Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t, and you either believe it or you don’t.
If the Bible is not the Word of God, then the condemnation of fornication therein, which covers all sex outside of marriage (and I mean, of course, between one man and one woman per Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:4-6), doesn’t really matter to how we live our lives.
If it is the Word of God, then a pastor of the gospel really has no grounds on which to soften the message: it is what it is, according to the creator of the universe. We may not like the rule; to most of us red-blooded males, a definition of adultery that includes just looking at a woman and lusting seems unreasonably harsh, especially since adultery is the one biblical justification for divorce!
Think about that, fellas. SI’s swimsuit issue as grounds for divorce?
But that’s the standard of holiness set by God. That’s why “there is none righteous”, and why we need the saving grace of Jesus Christ, which was bought with His blood when He gave himself up as a sacrifice for us.
It sounds, well, icky, and no doubt that’s why so many so-called Christian churches never preach about the blood Jesus shed, or the need for the shedding of blood to redeem sinners. And that’s why so many so-called Christian churches are OK with negotiating away some of the less popular parts of the Bible — like the definition of sexual sin.
Saddleback may still require couples living together outside of marriage, gay or straight, to repent of that lifestyle before they can become members, but you won’t find it stated on the church’s website any longer. If, as Saddleback states, “the Bible is God’s word to all men”, then there should be no problem with stating up front what the word of God tells us is right and wrong.
Not that every church needs to post a “gay policy” on the web, but the removal of the statement on homosexuals and church membership, coming as it does after the criticism of Pastor Warren’s selection to deliver the inaugural invocation for President-elect Obama, appears to be an attempt to please the world by distancing the church from God.