Thursday, January 17, 2013

When Moral Standards Are Collapsing

This year, President Obama invited an Atlanta pastor named Louie Giglio to pray at his second inaugural.  Giglio is the founder of the Passion conference, which brings as many as 60,000 young Christian adults to Atlanta every year.  Moreover, he is a major figure in the fight against modern-day slavery, and since this year is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Louie seemed like a great choice (To show you what a small world this is, years ago Louie Giglio served as a collegiate intern at my wife’s church, where he met and married a friend of Carrie’s family).  But a website called Think Progress found a sermon Louie preached fifteen years ago, in which he cited biblical references that call homosexual activity a sin.  The website urged people to protest his inclusion in the inaugural event.  Last week, Louie withdrew from the event, saying, "It is likely that my participation and the prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration." This all comes less than a year after “Chick-Fil-A-gate,” in which the president of Chick-Fil-A caused great controversy by stating in a magazine interview that he and his company supported “the biblical definition of marriage.”  Here’s why this is important: Not so long ago, perhaps as little as ten years ago, such statements wouldn’t have caused even a ripple in the media.  It shows us how much things have changed in our culture, and how quickly that change has happened.  It shows us that there is a wide gap between evangelical Christians and an increasing number of our fellow citizens when it comes to certain moral issues.   
            This is not going to be a sermon about the political issue of gay marriage.  I’m preaching all this year about representing Christ in a non-Christian culture.  Here at the start of the year, we’re looking at some of the main obstacles we face today.  In this message, I want to see what Scriptural principles we should put into practice when the moral standards of our culture change.  My prayer is that I can do this with great sensitivity and precision, knowing that this is a very personal issue for many people in our church, as well as people we love outside the church.  So here is the question we’ll be seeking to answer Sunday: In a culture where an increasing number of our friends, co-workers, classmates, and fellow citizens, including the media, think that our views are backward or even dangerous, how can we conduct ourselves in such a way that we represent the name of Jesus so well that everyone we meet is drawn closer to God just by knowing us, and some actually become reconciled with God?  Pray for me, that I would share the Word of God effectively, and for us, that we would represent Him well. 


cgashley said...

Your sensitivity and precision in sharing the Bible is the reason I wish I could be there for this sermon, Jeff. I'm praying that God gives you the exact words that you are seeking.

Jeff Berger said...

Thanks for your kind words and your prayers for me, Coleen.