Why does Mohler say Worley damages the gospel? Because the gospel is a message of love and mercy. While sin must be addressed so people see the need to come to Christ, this must always be proclaimed in love and grace. All Christians, especially those of us who stand for Biblical principles for sexuality, must stand up and say this guy does not represent us. His words are worthy of condemnation. Truth without love is no longer truth but hate-filled attacks on the gospel. The Bible is clear on this topic in James 2:8-13:
8 If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself , you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors…12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The most important law in the Bible is to love people. And showing partiality to certain people and putting down others is the opposite of that. We are called to show mercy, for all of us sin and need mercy.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Love is the ultimate requirement for Christians. We could do everything right, but if we don’t love we’ve missed it all. Worley and his church have missed it all. They’ve missed the whole message. You can be right on calling something sin, but you sin yourself if you aren’t loving about it. And that not only hurts your witness of the gospel, but it hurts the rest of us who are trying to be loving.
Denny Burke, a Southern Baptist professor, put it well:
This pastor’s words are abominable and deserve condemnation and censure from all Christians. This is the kind of thing that props up caricatures of Christians and which harm the progress of the gospel. Anyone who would talk like this in a sermon is not qualified to be a pastor.
How can today’s conservative Christians simultaneously stand for traditional marriage while clearly communicating love to those with same-sex attraction? I’m not sure we’ve found the answer to that yet.