– By Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church, Moreland
Unfortunately, I sometimes have to watch HGTV.
One of their most popular shows is called “Fixer Upper,” starring Chip and Joanna Gaines. They’re members of a Bible-believing, non-denominational church called Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. Their pastor is Jimmy Seibert, who believes the Bible and preaches that homosexuality is a sin.
Three weeks ago, BuzzFeed, a news and entertainment website, published an article stating that Gaines’ church holds a “severe, unmoving position on same-sex marriage.”
BuzzFeed writer Kate Aurthur wrote that she asked both HGTV and the Gaines' design, construction and retail company, Magnolia, whether the couple "would ever feature a same-sex couple" on their show, which depicts the Gaines as they help clients purchase and remodel homes.
"In the absence of a response," Aurthur wrote, "it's worth looking at" the beliefs of Antioch Community Church – and Pastor Jimmy Seibert – because "fans of all stripes," including Christians, feminists and members of the homosexual community, "have ... found something to love in the Gaineses."
BuzzFeed reported that a spokesperson from HGTV said, "We don't discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows. HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series."
BuzzFeed reported that while the Gaines' have a wide variety of fans, "in the absence of a response from them or their representatives, it's worth looking at the severe, unmoving position Seibert and Antioch take on same-sex marriage."
Among the beliefs of Antioch Church highlighted by BuzzFeed is a sentence in the congregation's doctrinal statement asserting, "Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." The article also noted Seibert's claims in a sermon that "homosexuality is a sin" and that "God is able to give us power over every sin, including homosexuality."
Seibert told Fox News Antioch is "not only not anti-gay, but we are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He has made them to be. People don't know what the Bible says anymore on issues of sexuality," Seibert said. "People don't know what God says on homosexuality or any other issue. I felt the need to say we are all a mess – but the fixed points were set by God – not us."
In his sermon on the Sunday after the Supreme Court legalized homosexual marriage (June 28, 2015), Seibert stressed that Christians willing to stand and defend the biblical definition of marriage and gender should be ready to face persecution.
Don’t underestimate this story.
There’s a couple with a fun and silly TV show. The couple happens to attend church. A news organization investigated the couple’s pastor – and discovered he holds to the biblical definition of marriage. The news organization is now trying to hold the couple responsible for attending a Bible-believing church.
Sadly, the Gaines have a battle ahead of them. The battle is over the Bible. This news organization believes it “exposed” the Gaines. This “scandal” reveals there’s no place to hide on the issue of homosexuality.
What your pastor believes matters. If your pastor is preaching the whole truth of Scripture, including the sinfulness of homosexuality, it could hurt your career. You could lose customers. HGTV will not defend the Gaines. Church is no longer “off-limits” in the cultural war. You need to know what your pastor believes, because one day you might have to give an account for it.