Due to Pastor Joel Osteen's recent shift in message on the gay issue, stating conclusively that he believes "homosexuality is a sin," I felt compelled to communicate with him and urge him to clarify his position.
We have shared this letter with Pastor Osteen's team and await their reply.
February 8, 2011
Dear Pastor Osteen,
Recently, a friend passed me a hyperlink to your media spot on the Piers Morgan Tonight show, where you made a very clear statement that “homosexuality is a sin.” The link was passed to me from a conservative Christian friend who noted, “I had a lot of respect for him, until I saw that.” I hope you will permit me to express my concern for this swing in your position, and moreover, invite you to discuss this crucial issue in person.
Whereas it is not unusual for people to hear conservatives specifically delineating homosexuality as sin, what was unusual in this instance was the person making the statement. As you represent a significant voice for conservative faith, your position is important. Up till this point, your position has appeared fairly moderate and your non-alignment has allowed for a number of conservative individuals to feel a relative safety and welcome-ness in your message and congregation where gay persons are concerned.
Regrettably, your statement on the Piers Morgan Tonight show effectively moved your position, in many eyes, from one of welcoming and love, to one of dismissal and inconsideration for Christian believers whose sexuality is unchangeable (in many cases even after reparative therapy) and who are not able, nor gifted, to live a celibate life.
Additionally, many will see your statement as a gross example of double standard. For example, many will now point to your welcoming of divorced and remarried people in your congregation as being discriminatory of God’s grace, when you specifically do not allow gay individuals to also be enabled to live in less-than-perfect human contexts and still be members.
I would urge you to clarify your position and provide your listeners and congregation members with the opportunity to discuss this very important issue in a safe and welcoming event. I would like to invite you to participate with me in an “Over Coffee Conversation.” This is a stage-based event we have created to provide an atmosphere of safety and conversation on this issue, where we all agree to the following Rules of Engagement:
1. We will agree to make no conclusions
2. We will remain within a conservative faith context: accepting the Scriptures to be inspired and inerrant
3. We will agree not to discuss any current political, economic, or legal issues
I encourage you to learn more about this event at http://overcoffeeconversations.com/
Thank you for your consideration on this matter. I am grateful for your unending commitment to, as the author Jude compelled us, “to contend for the faith…”
Your Brother in Faith,