One of the blogs I follow every now and then is church plant guru and Lifeway Research head Ed Stetzer. Here is one of his recent posts about a prominent mega-church pastor who recently came out of the closet. If you want to, you can actually see a video of Jim Swilley addressing his congregation. I’ve watched about 20 minutes of it, and it is pretty sad and frustrating. Instead of stepping down, or taking a leave of absence, this man has spent time actually defending his position by the “I was born this way and can’t go against my nature” stance. Not that he had any credibility to begin with, but he compared those who speak against his stance with those telling a woman how she should feel while in labor or in PMS. Yikes.
Here are just a few thoughts. Ed has some good, gracious and truthful ones on his post as well.
1.) This is an example of the weakness of an unaccountable charismatic/pentecostal lifestyle where God just “speaks to you” all the time and tells you this or that. When folks play the “God told me so card,” we need not be afraid to say, “Actually, no He didn’t.” He says right here in His Word the very opposite thing you’re saying. Don’t think “God told me so” is a trump card. God’s Word is the trump card.
2.) Just because one may feel gay attractions, regardless if those have been there since the age of 4-as this man claims-doesn’t mean that you should act on them. Henri Nouwen, a well known author and Catholic Priest, reportedly lived with same sex attraction but chose to remain chaste (who knows what he would have done if he weren’t a priest-but that’s really beside the point). This man is currently celibate, and plans to remain that way, but wouldn’t make any promises about the future. So we can rest assure that homosexuals actively seeking (not struggling) and living in homosexual relationships will not not be convicted through his preaching.
3.) Swilley claims that he is called to preach the gospel; he is as sure of that as he is of his sexual orientation. Unfortunately there is a huge segment of life which the gospel is not reaching for him and won’t for those sitting under his preaching. But WE all need a sober reminder that the gospel is a proclamation that Jesus is Lord over all of life: our sexuality, our finances, our marriages, our politics, our hobbies. Its easy to point the finger at this lad, without considering any areas where Christ isn’t being submitted to as Lord in our own lives.