Brian Houston has recently published a statement on his church website with this good advice:
“I encourage people not to assume a media headline accurately represents what I said at a recent press conference.”
Visit the below link to hear the audio of Brian Houston yourself.
Here is the transcript. (Notice how they don’t use the bible in their conversation.)
Brian Houston: The message is sacred but the methods have to change uh- for the church to stay relevant. And uh it’s challenging! It’s challenging to stay relevant. I mean we go to you – you know – the one big hot topic maybe for churches is now with homosexual marriage uh legalised and uh – you know – and churches for generations, they- they hold a set of beliefs around what they believe the Word of God- the bible says. And all of a sudden in many circles the church can look like a pariah because- to many people it’s so irrelevant now on that subject. So staying relevant, it’s actually a big challenge. Uh- I think it’s more than just – you know – singing more contemporary songs and- and uh – and – you know, the c-c-colours you paint your walls or whatever.
It’s- it can be challenging for churches to stay relevant because many mainstream churches – uh – you know – in how in what- would they would believe is a long established view in what the bible says on the subject of homosexuality. But the world’s changed around and about them.
On the subject I always feel like there’s three things: there’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with and there’s the word we live by. The world, the weight, the word. And to me, the world we live in, whether we like it or not, is changing around and about us. Um- homosexual marriages legal in your city and uh- and will be in probably in most Western world countries within a short time. So the world’s changing and we want to stay relevant as a church. So it- that’s a mixing thing. You think, “How can we stay- ho-how can we not become a pariah”.
So that’s the world we live in. In the weight we live with is the reality that in churches like ours and virtually in any other church, there are young people who have serious questions about their sexuality. And uh- who maybe spea- you know – hypothetically – speak to a youth leader. A youth pastor. And says -uh, “I think – you know- I’m gay”.
And maybe they feel a sense of rejection there. Or maybe even their own Christian parents can’t handle it and uh- exclude them at the time when they are the most vulnerable in their life. So you can have in churches not- not just our church – churches, young people who are literally uh depressed. Maybe even suicidal. And sadly often times grow up to hate the church because they feel like the church rejected them.
So there’s the world we live in, the weight we live with and the word we live by. And the word we live by is what the bible says. And uh- it would be much easier if- if- if- if you could feel like all of those three could easily- easily wind up. But they don’t necessarily. And that’s why Carl always says, “For us it’s a conversation”.
You know to us, I think it’s very easy to reduce, “What do you think of homosexuality” to just a public statement. And that would keep a lot of people happy. But we feel at this point that it is an ongoing conversation. That the real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to reduce it down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in a media outlet. So we- we’re on the journey with it aren’t we?
Carl Lentz: Yeah I think. So what- what you asked initially, what do – what do you meant by relevance, was that there was an age perhaps where I didn’t have to have a – you know – a consuming interest in how to make the, “How does this matter”. If you’re in an areas where this is not relevant, you know a pastor don’t have to worry about this at all.
But when you live in New York city, you better figure out a way quickly to say, “This is what our bible says. This is what we believe and here’s how it applies to your life”. So that’s what he meant by “It’s a challenge to stay relevant”. A lot of churches refuse to be relevant and just say, “This is that”. And will refuse to even look at your situation. Even try to explain this or make some sort of a bridge. So that’s… I think was the… You know…
Source: Hillsong Church pastors Brian Houston and Carl Lentz comment on homosexuality and cultural relevancy during a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in New York City; By Nicole A. Menzie, Hillsong Press Conference Homosexuality, Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/nicola-menzie/hillsong-press-conference-homosexuality, Published 18/10/2014. (Accessed 20/10/2014.)