We Ought to Expect More from Christian Musicians like Lauren Daigle

We Ought to Expect More from Christian Musicians like Lauren Daigle December 3, 2018

Lauren Daigle has been the subject of much debate as of late due to her recent answer to the question of the sinfulness of homosexuality:

“You know what, I can’t honestly answer on that… I have too many people that I love that are homosexual. I don’t know… I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God, so when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go-to is. I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself and when you find out, let me know, because I’m learning too.’”

While many wish to give Lauren Daigle the benefit of the doubt, under the pretense of her answer being noble because she admits to her progression of learning, I have sincere doubts to her genuineness. Furthermore, I would argue that musicians such as Lauren Daigle, meaning those who purport to lead others in praise to God, should have a rudimentary understanding of the Bible in order to do so. There shouldn’t be questions on basic teachings of Scripture, but rather, confidence enough to lead others in such truths.

One might argue that people who affirm homosexuality can argue from the Scriptures to prove their point – and this is true. Surely, people can use the Scriptures to affirm all sorts of ungodly nonsense, yet the crux of the matter is not if someone is able to do so. It’s not even if they are able to do so skillfully. The crux of the matter is in the question: What does the text say? In this case, it is painfully clear and has been so for millennia within the historic church.

However, my personal suspicion is not that people are all that unclear on these things. After all, the apostle Paul unflinchingly states that the deeds of the flesh are evident, or obvious to all (Gal. 5:19). Paul, being a good Jew, would have no lack of clarity on the Old Testament’s prohibitions against homosexual relations. Furthermore, he was abundantly clear, for though he says the deeds of the flesh are evident, he then goes on to list some of these vices (Rom. 1:29-31, 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:10-11, 6:9-10; 2 Cor. 12:20-21; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:31, 5:3-5; Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 3:3).

We are not dealing with adiaphora; we are not dealing with the deep things of God here. This is teaching so rudimentary that people inside and outside of the church understand full well the implications of sexual perversion. The monumental shift in Western culture to embrace homosexual relations is not due to a lack of clear teaching on the matter. In that same vein, orthodox Christianity has not shrouded proper, biblical ethics on marriage, sex, etc.

Thus, the question is not one of clarity or meaning, but authority. The ultimate question is if the Scriptures have authority in regard to sexual morality – not if they allow homosexual relationships in any capacity – but do they have jurisdiction to tell you and I the proper, holy, and good expression of sex. If we claim to be the people of God, which vicariously means we are a people of the book, we would do well to accept Scripture’s teaching. Rather, a charge toward the lack of clarity on teachings such as this is due to the fact that people actively suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18).

We would give no quarter to the person who says with regard to murder, “I can’t honestly answer that one way or the other. I’m not God.” Or, to use a less extreme example, we would not give a free pass to the man who, after beating his wife, says, “You know what, I can’t say whether or not what I did is sin, I’m not God.” The point here is to simply demonstrate that we would draw that line very quickly if other, less socially acceptable sins, were inserted in place of the topic of homosexuality.

We ought to expect more from those within the Christian music industry, namely because they embrace the moniker “Christian”. The term actually means something and implies that we will follow the teachings of our Lord, which were delivered to the saints once and for all (Jd. 1:3). We ought to be able to expect those who claim Christ to stand with courage as they proclaim the truth of Scripture to a dying world. Why? That type of courage is precisely what makes one a Christian. They are not ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16); they are not ashamed of Christ and His words (Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26) and thereby, they shall not be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 Jn. 2:28).

Yet here is precisely where I turn to the reader and simply beg you to expect more of those within the Christian music scene. Expect them to have a robust theology. Expect them to be able to articulate the gospel – every Christian should be able to do so. Expect them to be able to stand upon basic principles and teachings from Scripture. If they can’t or won’t, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate who you allow space in your heart to lead you before the throne of God in praise. This is no trifling matter, to say the least.

While we might not often think of it, the words which come out of our mouths in praise, whether before the Lord corporately or individually, are of great significance. Routinely, one finds corporate worship to be an exercise wherein the people of God greatly rejoice in His truth. There is no dichotomy between the truth of Scripture and one’s emotional ascent to their Creator. Rather, one finds the harmony of truth and emotion, as the worshiper embraces the promises and proclamations of their King by faith and entreats Him with petition and praise.

It should go without saying that if you can’t pin down something as basic as proper sexuality, you have no business leading anyone in songs before their Creator. The reason being is fundamentally bound within the fact that if something as basic as this eludes you, why on earth would it be appropriate to then lead others to bask on the deep things of God? If we can’t accurately navigate the shallows, how might we then plumb the depths of His mercy, splendor, majesty, aseity, and yes – even His great wrath, as the Psalmists do?

I was not all that shocked to see Lauren Daigle vacillate on homosexuality, mainly, because a ton of Christian musicians have done so in the past and will likely continue to do so. It has sort of become the industry standard to start out as a Christian music artist, gain notoriety, and slowly shift toward the secular audience one has desired all along. Yet the crucial part of doing so is acceptance within the broader culture, and what easier way can a professing Christian find acceptance than by playing coy with regard to homosexuality?

We ought to expect better within the Christian music industry. There ought to be a heartfelt desire to see those who genuinely love the Lord succeed, rather than propping up those whose emotionally charged, yet theological vapid songs, enter into the confines of our hearts. The problem though isn’t the Christian music industry – it’s the Christian community. The same reason why unorthodox musicians succeed within the Evangelical community is the same reason theologically inept pastors become celebrities. By and large, the Evangelical church has lost her mooring because she is no longer resiliently anchored to the truth of the Scriptures. We ought to expect better of Christian musicians, but this will never be a reality until we start to expect more of ourselves.

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  • Tianzhu

    Joel Osteen was equally evasive. He was interviewed on one of the Sunday morning political talk shows and asked why he didn’t address issues like abortion and homosexuality, and he responded, “Hey, that’s not me, that’s not who I am.”

    A sizable chunk of “evangelical” Christianity is, at this point, the Church of Demas – “in love with this present age.” The liberal churches have been Demasites for more than 50 years now, and look what it got them – lots of empty pews.

    • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

      I think you are thinking of Osteen’s appearance on the CNN program Larry King Live, which was broadcast on June 20th, 2005.

      According to its transcript, King asked him about his preaching by saying: “How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?”. Osteen replied: “Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just …”. He did go on to say this:

      I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.

      Osteen also says that he doesn’t use the word “sinners”. The transcript is posted here: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html

      • Tianzhu

        Thanks for posting that. However, I’m pretty certain Osteen was on one of the Sunday morning pundit shows when I saw him, because I remember getting ready to go to church while I was watching. It’ might be a case of two different interviews where he was asked a similar question and gave the same mealymouthed answer.

        • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

          Could it be you were getting ready for an event that took place at church in the evening, e.g. an evening worship service? June 20th, 2005, was a Monday.

          I’ve used Google to search for interviews of Osteen on the Sunday shows: NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, CNN’s State of the Union, and FNC’s Fox News Sunday. I haven’t found any.

          Regardless: It is true that Osteen has refrained from addressing controversial issues, including abortion and homosexuality. It is also true that he is not the only widely popular minister on television who has refrained from addressing such issues, and who has been evasive when asked about them. If they did otherwise, they wouldn’t be widely popular.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    I heartily agree with much of this article, including its main point and its conclusion.

    I think I may disagree with this:

    We would give no quarter to the person who says with regard to murder, “I can’t honestly answer that one way or the other. I’m not God.”

    We may all agree that murder is a sin, but we do not all agree on what constitutes murder. Is abortion murder? Is assisted suicide murder? Is the implementation of the death penalty murder? Is the killing of an enemy soldier in a battle murder? To some the answers to these questions are obvious–and yet they strongly disagree amongst themselves. Should we expect every Christian musician to agree on all of them?

    We could ask the same question about other controversial subjects, such as divorce and remarriage. Should we expect every Christian musician to agree on whether divorce is ever morally permissible, and if so under which circumstances? Should we expect every one to agree as to whether it is ever morally permissible for a divorced person to remarry while his or her former spouse is still alive? Again, the morality of these things seems obvious to some Christians–and yet they disagree amongst themselves.

    The Christian Post has just posted an open letter by John Wesley Reid entitled “Dear Lauren Daigle: Shine for Jesus, not culture — even if it means calling homosexuality sin”. At present it is accessible here: https://www.christianpost.com/voice/dear-lauren-daigle-shine-for-jesus-not-culture-even-if-it-means-calling-homosexuality-sin.html

    • Daniel

      I believe the intent of this statement was to take what Daigle said to the extreme by comparing it to an equally absurd assertion. In the situation with Daigle it is clear to the reader what is classified as homosexuality and thus in the compared statement the assumption is evident that in the hypothetical case described with murder, those the theoretical person would be speaking to would completely understand the context and enormity of the sin committed.

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        Yes, my questions are a little different. That’s why I am not certain I disagree with the analogy.

        However, since I read this article and wrote my comment, I have learned something which the author does not mention, and which affects how I perceive her answer: namely, the question Daigle was asked. It is: “Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?”. There are many conservative Christians who would not answer that question with a “yes” or a “no”. Some might say “I do not believe it is sinful to have same-sex attraction, but I do believe that homosexual acts are sinful”.

        Having heard a recording of the interview, I would like to add that Daigle sounds to me as if she hasn’t bothered to study the Bible on this issue, that nowadays in America the sinfulness of murder is commonly more apparent than the sinfulness of homosexual acts, and that I think this has been the case in other cultures before they were influenced by Christianity.

  • Carl Peay

    You should refrain from using words that you don’t know the meaning of. It weakens your argument.

  • Hannah W

    There are many other Western practices that have changed how Christianity is practiced such as how we no longer always have the option to rest on the Sabbath and what we consider to be clean vs unclean. This article is so critical of someone being honest with their faith journey and sharing that her first inclination is only to love all of her friends. “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways.”

    • Gilsongraybert

      Is your quote from James in reference to me because I wrote this?

      • Hannah W

        Yes

        • Gilsongraybert

          So, you’re willing to say that I will incur judgment and shouldn’t be writing blogs – that seems so critical of me sharing where I’m at in my faith journey.

          • Hannah W

            It’s not that I think you shouldn’t be writing blogs. I just think that making your platform a place of authority and condemnation could be your downfall.

          • Gilsongraybert

            In what manner did I condemn her to hell?

          • Hannah W

            Condemnation can be a public scolding that isolates a person from their faith community. Only God has the authority to condemn a person to hell. Take care, Grayson. I don’t wish any ill. I just hate to see people of faith driven away from God’s message by fellow believers with good intentions but a lack of love in their message.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Can you actually pinpoint a way in which I’ve driven someone away from the faith due to saying someone ought to be able to tell if homosexuality is a sin, and that such a basic thing should be easy to answer, especially if someone is in a position of influence within the church? You keep saying I am lacking in love, but I have yet to see that defined. I’m open to correction on these things, but more than a vague appeal to love would have to happen. From your first comment and the preceding ones, it seems as if you might be willing to sweep such a teaching under the rug on the basis of western civilization changing Christianity’s practice and doctrines – yet this is a historic faith. The point being: God’s message is one of repentance and faith. How might one understand that which they need to repent of if all they get is an “I don’t know, I’m not God”? We’ve been given these answers – it’s time Christians be willing to stand for them, regardless of the popular opinion and the internet lynch mob.

          • fp

            Hannah W. said:

            Condemnation can be a public scolding that isolates a person from their faith community.

            Like what you’re doing to Grayson Gilbert here?

            Or is self-awareness not your strong suit?

  • Pastor_Ellery

    This is why secular music is SO much more fun… *sigh*

  • Charles Mumpower

    How is this article edifying to the body? She was asked an opinion that some us do not agree with. Can you name one song of hers that advocates for homosexuality? She is just another christian pointing to Christ. She has probably reached more people with the gospel than most of us can do in a life time. Look at the millions of views of her songs on Youtube. Is this what we have become? We find another Christian and tear them down in front of the who world to see. This is a trick of our adversary. Are you not casting stones? Are you not judging her heart and thoughts? We have enough division and this only adds to it.

    • Daniel

      Did you read the article?

  • Jennifer Winkler

    How about the inverse- what if we substitute MORE socially acceptable sins in the place of homosexuality-like pride or greed or gluttony? Are you prepared to be as outspoken against liars and people who are self righteous as you are against homosexuals? What about those who commit ANY sexual sin? The point is that Lauren Daigle is amazing and as someone else commented: how is this article edifying the body of Christ?

    • Gilsongraybert

      People don’t really ask if lying or self-righteousness is a sin in an interview, but I doubt many would struggle answering that question.

    • fp

      Jennifer Winkler said:

      The point is that Lauren Daigle is amazing…

      Why? Because she’s fairly attractive and can sing?

      Whoop-de-do. Give her a few years and she’ll become a has-been like so many who’ve come before her. Tell me: Do you currently listen to Rebecca St. James, Rachael Lampa, or Jaci Velasquez?

      I’d be more impressed if Lauren Daigle had the courage of her convictions — if indeed she has any — and simply answered something to the effect of that yes, homosexuality is a sin, but Jesus paid the price for that sin and homosexuals, like any other sinner, can find forgiveness and redemption in Christ. If the president of Grindr can declare, post-Obergefell, that marriage is between a man and a woman (and if you don’t know what Grindr is, then you won’t appreciate the irony), then Daigle, who, may I remind you claims to be a Christian, should be able as a Christian to publicly affirm orthodox Christian doctrine.

      However, having said that, I can see why she doesn’t put her neck out there. If the body of Christ can’t bring itself to agree on simple, basic things plainly stated in the Word, such as homosexuality being an abominable sin, then how can people like Daigle risk their careers and expect that same Body to have her back when certain sniveling “Christians” seem to think it’s noble to castigate, belittle, ridicule, and otherwise shoot the messenger when all they do is — horrors! — affirm Scriptural truth on a Christian blog?

      Jennifer, would you consider your knee-jerk reaction to be edifying to the Body of Christ? If so, then please, by all means, do tell. I’m interested in how people like you rationalize their virtue-signaling.