I hope this letter finds you well. I have been seeing this year’s Passion Conference in the headlines and images from it are flooding my social media feeds. It is amazing how God has used you and your wife in this way. Only He could bring your vision from a few students at your house to over 50,000 in the Georgia Dome. That’s not to mention how Passion is now taking place in multiple locations and streaming to countless more. Myself and many others praise God for the platform He has given you!
The life-changing impact of Passion is not an abstract idea for me. I was one of the 40,000+ to attend in 2012. I can speak firsthand when I say I experienced the Holy Spirit while I was there. The teaching was solid and the worship was deep. My friends and I took many notes. Passion 2012 was a spiritual milestone in my life to say the least.
The most popular headline and image circling social media thus far this week show the performance of Carrie Underwood. Louie, if I can be completely transparent, I was very frustrated that you would allow her to help lead thousands of people in worship. My frustration quickly turned to disappointment and then to sadness. Carrie Underwood encourages and supports homosexual marriage which the Word of God does not (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). In fact, it calls us to flee from it and all other sexual sin. Our message as Christians to those who practice homosexuality should reflect that of Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”
With the many Christian artists who believe and teach the full counsel of God’s Word available to lead worship at Passion, why would you choose one who publicly states homosexuality is not a sin? Would you invite a well-known artist who stated publicly that using porn is honoring to God to speak or sing at Passion? I do not ask this with a facetious attitude but the sincere hope of making a point. God has given you such a major platform with Millennials it is disheartening to see your lack of concern for biblical clarity on marriage in such a chaotic era. Your approval gives thousands of unsaved or weak Millennials an untruthful image of what the Bible says about marriage. It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: her denial of God’s Word should not keep you from being friends and encouraging her, but it should give you hesitance in inviting her to partner with your ministry.
Louie, I am 27 years old and one of the most important ideas I have learned to cling to in my few short years of ministry is the difference between preference and principle. The genre of music, what age group to focus on, what topic to teach, etc. are preferences. They are important, but only preferences. Someone may prefer contemporary music and another rap. Neither is wrong. The Word of God is not a preference, but principles God has spoken. God is right about marriage and Carrie Underwood is wrong.
I am writing to plead with you to consider the clarity of God’s Word on marriage and reflect on it in the artist you choose for next year. It is God who has blessed you with this platform and it is God who can remove His hand of blessing if you become careless with His principles. I completely understand the desire of attracting more people so you can present them with the eternal truth of the gospel. The strategy behind it is wise, but strategy must not usurp biblical principle. Just as the Lord continues to help me distinguish between preference and principle I pray you allow Him to help you. “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6.
In Christ with humility,
Director of Outreach of American Family Association and Social Media Coordinator for Engage Magazine