Last week, Andy Stanley and North Point hosted a conference for the parents of LGBTQ parents, Unconditional—an Embracing the Journey conference. It was the subject of much speculation and curiosity due in large part to Stanley’s trajectory on homosexuality over the last several years and also because Albert Mohler Jr. took the time to write a preemptive article about what he suspected would be shared. You can find Mohler’s position here: The Briefing
BOTH ARE VALID REASONS TO BE BEREAN.
One may think it seems unfair to “fire first” before the conference even began. I disagree. Mohler’s concerns were entirely valid based upon the stated guests and speakers, the sum of which left little doubt which direction Andy was headed in. Now, in fairness, I did not attend and have not heard the messages from the sessions or the response message from this Sunday. And I intend to. But I will wait to comment or speculate on unknowns until I have.
However, in the little that we do know, there are already things that can and should be addressed.
- We know there was a conference intended to equip and minister to the parents of LGBTQ children. To which I say, “BRAVO!” Every church should be stepping into this space. Clarity is needed. Community is needed.
- You can have very right reasons to minister to a group and still minister to them in the wrong ways. Thus, doing more harm than good. If anything, other than “Do not affirm sin in anyone for any reason,” was said—it was wrong.
- If we are walking in TRUTH, we do not need to walk in secrecy. According to one attendee, there was a very firm and enforced position on recording anything. Now, if this is for the sake of privacy for the attendees, okay. But it was primarily audio recordings they wanted to discourage. Copyrights and ticket costs aside—Buddy, if your speakers are speaking from the Word of God and speaking rightly, hold whatever they say high for examination, confident it will hold up. I know this life and I’m telling you what, the greater confidence I have that the Lord has led me to His Word, revealed it through prayer, His Spirit, and study, and then called me to share it with others…If I have first feared the Lord, I need fear no one else. Blast it. Broadcast it. I’ll gladly answer for anything I’ve said if I have said ONLY WHAT HIS WORD WILL ALLOW. But friend, I also know the times I have missed the mark and just run my mouth…I want every copy destroyed. I want zero eyes and ears on me. I want no audience. I welcome no questions. This is self-preservation and it’s unnecessary for those in Christ.
- Christians are not afforded public positions and private positions. You have one. It is Biblical. Period. In every venue. That same secrecy was felt on Sunday morning when the service to address the conference was not live streamed and recording again prohibited. This may seem strange to many of you, but in the “mega-church” world, it’s not all that strange to turn off the stream to deal with “in-house” or “family” matters. I have seen it done many times and most often felt it was a gracious and wise decision to limit “spectators.” My only criticism here would be that when your teaching has come under scrutiny and fire, to such a great degree that people no longer feel they know where you stand on Biblical worldview issues and you must personally and publicly clarify your position—if that mic was on for the muddying of the water, turn that mic on for the clarifying of the same. NO PASTOR SHOULD FEEL THEY NEED TO CONCEAL THEIR BELIEF THAT COVENANT MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND WOMAN. It should not be contradictory for someone to attend your Embracing the Journey conference on Saturday and hear you say this on Sunday.
I am sure I will have more posts about this as I learn more. But in the meantime, much like Mohler’s response to the guest list alone…I am sharing my next posts (published in June 2023 as part of a PRIDE series) as a response to what I feel was likely shared—based on who Embracing the Journey is, the scheduled speakers, and their previously public statements, teachings, books, and what they themselves share about their ministries. You can find those articles here:
You can also find my salty take on politics here: What Fire Alarms and Fetterman Say About the State of Government