Joel Osteen made a CNN appearance yesterday morning on “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.” After briefly discussing Osteen’s newest book, O’Brien shifted the conversation to homosexuality.
Much could be said, but the most defining point in my mind is the idea of “staying in” one’s “lane.” God has not granted me a “lane,” Osteen a “lane,” or any other person on the planet a “lane.” God is the definer of reality and truth, including marriage and sexual ethics. Our responsibility as the created is to hear, believe, respond to, and spread the full message of the Creator’s will. The positive and the negative. The uplifting and the crushing. The affirming and the condemning. Real love tells the truth. The whole truth. The truth breathed-out by God and preserved in his Word.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Tim 4:1-5)
There is no such Biblical thing as positive-lane preachers and negative-lane preachers. Preachers are to serve as voices that are faithful to the mind of Christ. Period. In order to be “innocent of the blood” of our hearers, we must “not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27), even when it leads us outside of our comfort “lanes.”
It is no mystery that the “lanes” of modern culture are not running congruent with the highway of holiness. Our risen Savior promised us that such would be the case (Mat 7:13-14). The question is this: when push comes to shove, will we use our God-given voices to soothe the rebellious passions of ungodliness or will we serve as faithful witnesses to the truth, regardless of the itching ears of modern culture?