Influential megachurch pastor ‘on journey’ towards accepting equal marriage
The pastor at a global megachurch has signalled a shift in stance towards same-sex marriage.
Brian Houston is the senior pastor at the Australia-based Hillsong Church, which has about 100,000 global worshippers across several cities, and is known for its affiliation with Christian music.
Speaking in New York, Mr Houston said: “The world we live in, whether we like it or not, is changing around and about us.
“The world’s changing, and we want to stay relevant as a church, so that’s a vexing thing.”
“There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by.”
“It’s very easy to reduce what you think about homosexuality to just a public statement, and that would keep a lot of people happy.
“We feel at this point, that it is an ongoing conversation, that the real issues in people’s lives are too important for us just to reduce it down to a yes or no answer in a media outlet. So we’re on the journey with it.”
He added that he is aware that young gay people are often “depressed, maybe even suicidal, and, sadly, often-times grow up to hate the church because they feel that the church rejected them.”
However, Andrew Walker of the anti-gay Southern Baptist Convention condemned his “vapid” comments, writing: “Hillsong is a church in retreat. A church in retreat doesn’t give answers. It doesn’t storm the gates of Hell. It settles and makes peace where there is no peace.”
“What I see, tragically, isn’t a church grappling with a complex issue. What I see is a church exchanging compassion for cowardliness before culture’s consistory.”