[Clarifying] Giglio’s statement

Just as quickly as we learned that Louie Giglio would be performing the benediction at the President’s inauguration we now learn that Giglio has decided to back out of the proceedings. Giglio’s full statement, reprinted by Fox News, is as follows [with clarification of implied statements]:

I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue [do we disagree on homosexuality? you’ll never know], we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms [and I don’t want to risk my anti-slavery platform over a needless disagreement on homosexuality].

Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago [that was a long time ago & I’m wiser now], it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years [my priorities were different 15yrs ago; I have more palatable priorities today]. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance [homosexuality is INsignificant] as we make much of Jesus Christ [at least until Jesus becomes a point of offense].

Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing [we want to pick & choose when & where to be counter-cultural], thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.

Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever we need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need [you’ll need to speak to me privately if you want to hear why we’re divided & hurting].

The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) [did I mention that it’s a really old sermon?] is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, individuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve [homosexuality is a civic matter and need not be complicated by hip-at-one-time-but-now-irrelevent sermons].

As a pastor, my mission is to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else. I’m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade [will someone please visit our website & listen to recent sermons that accurately reflect my convictions rather than relying on an ancient, irrelevent sermon that is so 1990s?!] would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people—any people [I’m really not a hater]. Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from [I’m still learning; I’m more sympathetic than I was in 90’s] and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus [who would never run the risk of offending anyone].

In all things, the most helpful thing I can do is to invite each of us to wrestle with scripture and its implications for our lives [I don’t want to impose–just read for yourself & tell me what you think] God’s words trump all opinions, including mine, and in the end, I believe God’s words lead to life.

My greatest desire is that we not be distracted from the things we are focused on…seeing people in our city come to know Jesus, and speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world [so long as we can all just get along].

Honored to be your pastor,

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

2 thoughts on “[Clarifying] Giglio’s statement”

  1. I want my pastor to be smarter and wiser in the way he communicates now than the way he communicated 20 years ago. I want my pastor’s method of reaching people to evolve as the culture evolves. I do not want my pastor to compromise his view of standards set in Scripture but to know how to best reach people that are lost and immersed in a culture of sin. And the best way to reach people changes as culture changes. And that is the way I see Giglio.

    I think you are reading way too much into his statement.


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