Homosexuality has often been a sensitive subject for the Church, but Pastor Landon Schott approaches the topic with confidence and grace. In this episode of Church InTension, Dr. Jon Chasteen talks with Pastor Landon about his book Gay Awareness and how churches and church leaders should engage the LGBTQ community.
Dr. Jon Chasteen: Welcome back Church InTension family. So glad that you’re taking some time out of your day to join us. Today we got a guest that I’m really excited for you to meet and get to know, and follow. He’s an incredible man that I met about a year ago down here in the Dallas Fort Worth area, who has just seen an amazing move of God in his church and through his ministry. His name is Landon Schott and he is the lead pastor of Mercy Culture in Fort Worth.
He is an author. He’s authored a couple of books. One named Jezebel: The Witch is Back, and then one that I’m really excited to talk about today. He authored a book called Gay Awareness, and we’re going to talk about that today. But Landon’s been married for 15 years to his wife Heather, and they have three children. Now, think about this. He planted a church about nine months ago and he has an eight year old, a five year old and a one year old, and he just told me that he got a dog over Christmas. We’re excited that you’re on the episode today. Landon, thanks so much for taking time out of the day and being with us, man.
Pastor Landon Schott: It’s awesome to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Jon: First, before we really jump into the topic that we’re going to dive into a lot of today is, I want to hear, I want our listeners to hear, I know. I want our listeners to hear what’s happening in your church, because it’s really an absolutely incredible story and it’d probably take two hours to really tell the whole thing.
Jon: But I want them to hear it. First, I want them to hear what did you do before that? When did God lay on your heart to start this church? Because, to our listeners out there he is experiencing one of the most amazing things. The church is less than nine months old and running already well over a thousand. Just got a brand new building. Walk us through that, man. I’m just telling you to throw it all out there, but tell us how you got started. What were you doing before that, and just what God has done in your life in the past year.
Landon: Coming up on 20 years of ministry.
Landon: I think we’re at the tail end of 18 right now. Been in ministry for a long time. Started in youth ministry, went into television ministry, did evangelism full-time for about the last eight years. And so, I said I would never pastor, because I love God, love the Holy Spirit, love people, but don’t love drama. And so, I just said, “I don’t want to be involved in drama, the church politics. I’m just going to travel and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Landon: And so, we were living in Austin, Texas at the time, and we were building my wife’s dream house and I think I did 87 flights in 2016.
Landon: I had written two books, they were doing fantastic, and I was on the Joni Show here in Daystar for my Jezebel book. And I’m driving back through Fort Worth, and I hear the Holy Spirit say, “You can pastor here.”
Landon: And I’m like, “No. Lord, I told you I wasn’t going to pastor.” And he said, “You said that, I didn’t.” and I was wrestling with it, because in my mind pastoring meant a church that was built around a man.
Landon: And I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Don’t build it around you, build it around me.”
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: And when he said it ignited this excitement. Man, a church that was built around the presence of God. And we just did everything wrong. We did everything against what was strategic wisdom. They’re like, “Don’t launch on Easter. It’s a bad day. You’ll plummet.” Everything that they said to not do, the experts, we just decided to obey our conviction of what we felt like the Lord was saying, even though if it wasn’t strategic wisdom. And one of the things the Lord told me to do was get Robert Morris’s blessing.
Landon: And get this other guy named Bob Nichols blessing. And so, pursuing that led to a one year internship at Gateway, so we based out of here. We took our whole team through about a year of training and pushed our church launch off a year. And then we launched with Gateway’s blessing and the blessing of the Lord that was, is on Gateway is trickling down onto Mercy Culture. And it just exploded, and it exceeded all of my wild expectations. Actually, everything expectation I set out, everything, “Man, it’d be cool if this happened.” It’s just been smashed.
Landon: And so, it’s just this crazy rollercoaster. And one of my best friends was like, “Dude, you can’t give church planters advice, because your path is just nuts.”
Jon: Don’t tell anyone how you did it.
Landon: And it’s at the level where now I’m like a little like, “I got to be careful, because this is so big of what’s happened.” But I do want it to be encouraging. And so, six months in one of our apostolic elders, is named Tom Lane. He was the senior pastor of Gateway for 18 years and he said to me, “I felt the Lord tell me to tell you to be aggressive about your building.” And so, I woke up the next morning and I just heard in my spirit, “Fast.” Long story short, that was my fourth 40 day fast in two years.
Landon: And I don’t want to say that braggadocious, but I do want to put an emphasis for pastors. This is a spiritual game.
Landon: And so, I feel like the pendulum has swung so much on the strategic side, which don’t get me wrong we need to be strategic. I believe in strategy, but not more than spirituality. And so, I went on another 40 day fast and there was a specific building, of that building of the guy that God told me to get his blessing, his name’s Bob Nichols. And I walked around that building for 40 days every day and I asked the Lord to give it to me. And I heard the Lord audibly tell me, “I’m going to give you this place.”
Landon: And this is where it gets weird, but spirituality could be weird sometimes. On the last day I walked barefoot seven times around it, I literally blew a Shofar around every corner of the building.
Landon: And then I went and met with the executive pastor, and I said, “The Lord told me he’s going to give me this place.” And just to put in context what this is.
Jon: You don’t recommend doing that necessarily either. Tell the church that you’re going to give me this building.
Landon: No. It’s crazy, unless you heard from God.
Jon: I love it. Absolutely.
Landon: And then it’s obedience.
Landon: And so, I said, “The only thing that can wash away the arrogance of that statement is by washing your feet.” And I said, “May I?” And he said, “Yeah.” I washed his feet. We prayed. He said, “You did this right.” And 60 days later we owned the building.
Landon: It’s approximately 25-, 30-million-dollar facility. 170,000 square feet. 17.5 acres with the Christian school. On the freeway two miles from downtown Fort Worth.
Jon: Wow. He handed you the keys?
Landon: Well, we bought them, but yeah. But, pretty much. I mean, pennies on the dollar. Even the financing. Six months before we bought the building I went to a Christian lending organization and I said, “I’m going to need a loan one year from now, tell me now if the answer’s no.” They laughed at me and they’re like, “Well, it’s not, no, but it’s not likely.” I said, “What would it take?” And so, we talked about the terms and because we took our resources and put it in their account six months prior they came back to me and said, “That was the deal breaker. That’s why we gave you this loan.”
Landon: I mean, the whole journey has been, truly, supernatural.
Landon: And it’s just been obeying God, doing what he said when things didn’t make sense. And we’ve just seen the blessing of the Lord on it.
Jon: Yeah. I love it. Two things that you said, and we’ll move onto the topic at hand, but two things you said that caught me, that I’d love to hear you comment on is, is one you made a big emphasis on getting blessing, and getting a covering, and getting those words. How big of a deal do you think that is for a pastor out there that’s maybe thinking about launching a church? What did that mean to you to have the blessing with a covering of another church or another mentor, I guess, so to speak?
Landon: It’s so important. And here is the vision the Lord showed me, that there’s this faucet of blessing that’s pouring out over Gateway, and because we aligned underneath it, it’s dripped down.
Landon: And I want to set a precedent, because probably there’s a pastor listening, he’s like, “I don’t have those connections.” And neither did I.
Landon: I mean, I had one friend in Gateway, which I think is a 70,000 member church now. I had one human being at Gateway that I knew and I called him and I said, “This is what the Lord told me.” And then they invited me to Jimmy Evans Pastors School. I went to Jimmy Evans Pastors School, and then I got pastor Tom Lane’s book. And I read pastor Tom Lane’s book and then I went to one meeting with pastor Tom, and he asked me to come and do that.
Landon: I mean, it was just this walk of obedience of getting blessing. And so, for the pastors that are like, “Hey, I’m not connected.” Neither was I.
Landon: But you are connected to the Holy Spirit. All you need to do is obey his voice.
Jon: Very good. Yeah.
Landon: And then, you don’t need the third largest church in America’s blessing. You need strategic blessing for where you are in your location. The Lord told me, “Get Robert Morris, who’s a father of the region and to get Bob Nichol’s who’s a father of the city.”
Jon: That’s good. Yeah.
Landon: I had no idea that I would be getting Bob Nichols’ building two years later.
Landon: But here’s how I look at it, if you don’t obey the little things, those big things you’ll never do.
Jon: That’s right. That’s really good.
Landon: And so, but I want to bring it to context. You don’t have to get Joel Osteen’s blessing if you were living in Wisconsin.
Landon: Now, do what God tells you to do. It’s not like it was a, “Eeny, meeny, miney, moe.” It was specific, “Get these men’s blessing for these reasons.” That’s how I encourage, but it’s so important and if you haven’t read pastor Tom’s book on Foundations Of A Healthy Church Government and also The Blessed Church, The Blessed life from pastor Robert, gets all the attention, but The Blessed Church for church planters is the blessed life of church planters.
Jon: That’s great. Yes. Yeah. That’s really good. Of church planters.
Landon: Not just church planters. All pastors. If you haven’t read those two books turn off this podcast when you’re done and go buy those.
Jon: Those are great ones. One thing you said that I want you to comment on, you said when you were driving back through Fort Worth, you said that the Lord spoke to you and said, “You can pastor here.” It’s interesting to me that the Lord didn’t say, “You will or thus saith, you’re going to.” It was, “You can.” Do you think there was anything to that?
Landon: Man, I try to always say as specific as possible how I heard the Holy Spirit. And I believe the perfect will of the Lord is an invitation.
Landon: But when you desire to be in the perfect will of the Lord, you will be. And here’s the beautiful thing, is the Lord knows your heart better than you, even when you think you know it best. And so, I was so terrified of pastoring, because of what I saw my dad go through and what I saw in other places. And I saw toxic leadership and toxic churches, and I’m like, “Lord, I love you, love your presence, love your house. Never harden my heart against God’s house.”
Landon: But I’m like, “I don’t know if I want to be in that.” And then, honestly when I read pastor Tom’s book and got around pastor Jimmy Evans.
Jon: Saw it healthy.
Landon: Saw it healthy. It’s like I learned 16 years of what not to do, and then saw a healthy model at Gateway. What I loved about the situation with Gateway, they didn’t come to me and they’re like, “Hey, be Gateway.”
Jon: That’s so true. Yeah.
Landon: They just showed health. They just loved me unconditionally.
Jon: That’s good. Yeah.
Landon: And they just said, “What’s God telling you?” And it’s like I’m the crazy cousin version. We’re Mercy Culture. We’re own, our unique expression. But we have that substance, that health and that biblical government that’s so beautiful. And so, I believe God gave me an invitation to partner with his perfect will and he blessed that obedience.
Jon: That’s really good. My track to pastoring was similar. I didn’t want to be a pastor. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was a preachers kid. I saw the inner workings of the church and I think in some ways God uses those who have seen some negative sides of it, so that when they become pastors there’s a passion there, there’s a calling there to do it in a healthy way.
Jon: Love what God’s doing in your life, and if you haven’t followed Mercy Culture, you need to. Get on social media, go to their website, check out what’s happening there. If you live in the Fort Worth area do not hesitate to go and check it out. God’s doing some cool stuff. Landon, I want to talk about your book and I’m fascinated by it. I think it’s amazing that God has used you and your voice to speak into this area, because I think it’s a sensitive area that a lot of pastors, I shouldn’t say it’s a sensitive area. People think it’s a sensitive area that they shouldn’t talk about, they couldn’t talk about, they don’t know what to say.
Jon: And so, instead of finding a voice, they just choose silence and I love your boldness and what you’re saying through this book. If you haven’t heard of his book, it’s called Gay Awareness and you can go to Amazon and pick that up. But talk to me first about how God put this book on your heart. What led you to want to write this book?
Landon: I never wanted to write the book, but we go back to that obedience thing. In fact, I had a guy tell me, because my first book was on the Jezebel Spirit. My first book’s on the Jezebel Spirit. Spiritual warfare book. My second book’s on homosexuality. That’s not winning friends and influencing people.
Jon: No, it’s not.
Landon: I actually had one pastor who was like, “Dude, you just wrote a spiritual warfare and now a homosexual book. Are you sure this is what you want to be known for?” And I said to him, “If it helps one person, it would be worth it.”
Jon: Right. Yeah.
Landon: And so, this really started, just in my journey. I was 20 years old, I was living in Seattle and I was walking through the mall. I was going through the Nordstrom’s department store and some guy wearing makeup asked me if I wanted to sample makeup. And I remember like, “No, dude.” And I walked out and I was just so disgusted. And I said in my heart, I might have said it out loud, “Be a man.”
Landon: And I walked out of the department store into the mall area and the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “You’ll never reach him if you don’t love him.”
Jon: That’s so good. Yeah.
Landon: And this piercing conviction that only can come from the Lord, entered my heart and I just said, “Lord, help me start loving what you love.”
Landon: And so, that began the journey. And then, I noticed that there are these young men that were struggling with same sex attraction, that were constantly around me. And then, this frustration started growing in me like none of the champions, none of my leaders, none of the guys I look up to our talking about this and so many people are struggling with it. And so, in my Jezebel book there was a chapter on sexuality. And I wrote about how Jezebel was the originator of child sacrifice. Homosexual prostitution, heterosexual prostitution in the Baal worship. And when the females gave birth to babies they would murder those children on the Altar of Baal.
Landon: It was this perverse, just orgies of sexuality and all sexuality was endorsed. When I began to write that chapter in my Jezebel book, that’s when the first time the Holy Spirit said, “You’ll write a book on this.” What I found is, in obedience the Lord will always give you the next assignments. You’ll always plant the seed for the next assignment. That’s the journey where it came from a heart of disgust, where the Lord had to begin to do surgery and work on my heart. Then loving on people, not seeing it ministered, and then writing that book, in that chapter is where the Lord really prompted this. And then I spent about three years writing this book. I actually wrote it on my iPhone for about three years.
Jon: Wow. Did you really?
Landon: And when I went to go print out my notes, I had 57 typed pages of notes.
Jon: From your phone?
Landon: From my phone. And I prayed this, and this was my repetitive prayer for three years, “Lord, give me your heart and your mind, for your people.”
Landon: And so, that’s how I got Gay Awareness, Discovering the Heart of the Father and the Mind of Christ. In the book’s 406 scriptures that deal directly with the topic of homosexuality, but over 400 scriptures talk about his heart for purity, and righteousness, and sexuality, and sin, and forgiveness, and mercy, and grace and all these topics that speak to the individual struggling. Because, it’s not just a sex thing, this is a human being thing, this is a temptation thing, this is spiritual warfare thing. It’s for pastors that just throw out, this is horrific what I’m going to say, but I’m going to say what I’ve heard, is, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Is the most insensitive, ignorant thing that you can potentially ever say from the pulpit, that helps no one.
Jon: No one.
Landon: Just like someone that’s struggling with any temptation, this needs to be strategically addressed with wisdom, clarity and most of all love.
Jon: Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about some practical things that people that, I guess it could be done, I’d be interested to hear your perspective, either from the pulpit or off the stage in whatever aspect. But, what are some practical things, because I know for a lot of pastors you go from talking about homosexuals being in the church, and we may refer to them, but what if the, “Them.” Becomes, “A him.” Or, “A her?” That’s specific. You know that they’re there. They’re not some abstract, what if potential, but this is really something that is sitting in your pew or sitting in your congregation.
Jon: What are some really practical things that the pastors can do, or maybe even some of the mistakes that make? What are we doing wrong? Let’s start there.
Landon: Three main mistakes, and I address this in the introduction of my book, and I’m not pushing a book. I don’t need to sell a book.
Jon: I’ll push it for you. I want people to read it.
Landon: It will help.
Jon: Yes. Absolutely.
Landon: It will help them. And so, I address three main mistakes the church is making. And pastors lead the church. Should be apostles, but most of the time it’s pastors. And so, three main mistakes the church is making. The first mistake they’re making, is they’re making it the greatest sin. And you hear stuff all the time like, “This is an abomination.” Well, there’s dozens of abominations. According to Proverbs six so is gossip. And so, there’s a lot of people that are creating abominations.
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: I mean, what does abominations mean? It means an en-heightened sin. Okay? And so, there’s clear scriptures that God points to with, “It’s in a grievous sin.” and I’m not taking away from that, because it is sin. Okay? But when you make it the greatest sin what you begin to do, is you begin to say, “These people are worse. These people are disgusting.” And Jesus say, “The Pharisees are disgusting. Your hearts are disgusting. You’re whitewashed tombs.”
Jon: Whitewashed tombs. That’s what I was about to say.
Landon: And so, Jesus’s greatest battles, his greatest conflict was never with the sinner. It was always with the religious elite that wanted to argue about text, that wanted to argue about scripture, that wanted to trap Jesus. It was never about loving people. It was using religion as a smokescreen. And so, when you make it the greatest sin, you stop ministering to the individual. And we got to remember that there is people that are struggling with this in our churches.
Jon: Yeah. That’s really good.
Landon: And even if they’re not, they’ve got loved ones that are. And so, we cannot make it the greatest sin. And I believe that the church has lost its voice to the gay community, because the heterosexual hypocrisy.
Landon: The pastor’s on his third wife, or having affairs, or doing these other things, but then he wants to tell you how bad you are, because you’re a gay.
Jon: Wow. Yeah.
Landon: I mean, this is the truth. And so, it is sin, but it cannot be this en-heightened greatest sin, “You’re worse than others.”
Jon: To make everybody else feel better about their sin.
Landon: Right. What I say is, the greatest sin isn’t anything to do with sexuality. The greatest sin is pride. And then I usually have a Facebook theologian challenge me like, “Where does the Bible say that?” Well, pride is the sin that you don’t repent of. Pride is what keeps you from repenting of any sin. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud.” That word opposes means the point of a spear.
Landon: Literally, you’re on the end of God’s spear when you are proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Satan fell from heaven, because of his pride. Pride is the danger. Now, it is interesting that pride is the slogan of the gay community.
Jon: Very interesting.
Landon: But pride is the greatest sin, but that doesn’t have to do with sexuality, that does with anything. That’s a prideful business man, or just a prideful individual that won’t repent. Pride is what sends you to hell when you won’t repent of your sin. Pride’s the greatest sin. The second mistake I say, is that we’re not addressing it. And we’re not addressing it, I say the church has become scared speechless.
Landon: We’re so afraid to be the bad guy, we’re so afraid to be an ignorant, hateful, bigot, throw an adjective, I’ve been called it, okay? And the moment you step out and say something. No, it’s not hateful to kindly tell people truth.
Landon: Really, they’ve used that, they’ve weaponized that so that the church doesn’t say anything. This is what Goliath did. He came and intimidated, so an entire army did nothing, because they were too afraid of that spirit of intimidation. I’ll give a quick example. I was talking to a pastor friend of mine and he’s like, “Hey, are you still writing that book?” And I was like, “Yeah.” He goes, “Another pastor called me today and asked me if I knew you.” He said, “Man, you better tell Landon not to write that book.” The moment he said that, Jon, I felt an impact hit my chest, of witchcraft. Literally, my breath was taken away. I felt the warfare of that statement coming from one pastor to another.
Landon: This is what pastors feel like when they’re preparing messages or about to post something online, or about to say something in their sermon where you feel that spirit of intimidation coming.
Jon: Wow. That’s really good.
Landon: That is a spirit of fear.
Jon: That’s really good.
Landon: I love what pastor Jimmy Evans says, “We don’t have fear. It’s a spirit, and this spirit of fear.” We haven’t been given a spirit of fear. It comes to silence us. It tells you, “You’re hateful, people are going to come against you, you’re going to lose your church. Don’t ruffle people’s feathers.” Or, I hear this all the time, pastors say, “I’m not going to do anything till the fight comes to me.” That is a foolish thing to say. That is the statement that I am not prepared. That’s a statement that the people that I oversee aren’t important enough, their battles aren’t important enough for me to equip them and help prepare them.
Landon: And so, not saying anything is a massive mistake. And then the third thing I would say is, and this might be the greatest mistake, and we’re seeing this happen with denominations across the country, is they’re beginning to affirm it. And because they’ve given over to what is an Antichrist spirit, they’ve given over to the spirit of fear, they’ve become lawless and now they’re beginning to affirm. And I would say, “You cannot affirm what God’s word doesn’t affirm. And you cannot call blessed what God’s word doesn’t call blessed.”
Landon: And it’s not loving people to tell them what their itching ears want to hear. And scripture talks about the day that comes where we will teach them. And now we have group of denominations and no longer are they follower of Christ, they’re now just activists with crosses that are on their buildings.
Landon: And I would say those are the three greatest mistakes the churches are making right now.
Jon: If you segue from the greatest mistakes that we could make as pastors, what would be a few things that would be really great, practical things that we should do, could do? And maybe they’re just the total opposite of the three mistakes, maybe you’re just reversing those.
Landon: That would be a start. Let’s talk about making the greatest sin. Quit speaking loosely. Don’t make jokes, don’t say insensitive remarks.
Jon: Yeah. That’s good. That’s good.
Speaker 1:Don’t say rude things. Don’t single it out, unless you’re going to single out or talk about heterosexual sin in the church.
Landon: But it’s funny people are like, “Well, why are you pinpointing homosexuality?” I’m like, “I’m not. I’ve been talking about perversion and pornography, and marriage.” Or people say all the time, “How could you, as a heterosexual male speak to this?” I’m like, “Well, then the Apostle Paul would be discredited to speak to anything he wrote about.”
Jon: Right, right.
Landon: It’s our job, according to the Great Commission, Matthew 28, to go teach people to obey. Pastors, this is your job. Don’t be afraid of it, address it, but don’t single it out if you’re not ready to single out everything, is what I’m saying. It’s a mistake that they make across the board. They make this one thing the greatest. It is sin, but it’s not the greatest, but it is sin. Second thing with not addressing it, is start addressing it.
Landon: And again, let’s just be real. Pastors are afraid to. I truly believe that the pulpit is no place for a coward.
Jon: Wow. That’s good.
Landon: But if you’re not ready for the pulpit yet, maybe you’re not equipped, then start with your leaders. Make sure your leaders know where you stand.
Jon: Right. And how to handle situations.
Landon: The first thing, is a pastor needs to tackle this. And I said this to you before we started recording, if you’re afraid to talk about any topic, that would be an indication of something that you need to go get equipped in. That’s something you need to educate yourself in.
Jon: That’s a clue. Yeah.
Landon: And so, read my book. Read other books. Read doctor Michael Brown’s stuff. Find out what the Bible says and then find out where you guys stand. Where do you stand with people serving and struggling? It’s like one thing that I do, is I never acknowledge gay Christianity. It doesn’t exist. People are like, “Do you support gay Christians? I only support Christianity.”
Landon: I won’t put divorced Christians, I won’t put heterosexual, pornography struggling Christians. No, we’re Christians. And so, that’s why I use the phrase same-sex attractions, because I will not give someone identity, that the word of God doesn’t give them. So, “Do you mean you follow Jesus, and this is your temptation?” I’ll bring clarity to it, because that’s really, really important. Because, what they want to say is, “Is it okay for me to be a gay Christian? What do you mean by that? Well, it means you have these feelings and you serve the Lord.”
Landon: Of course, we’re nice people, we’re going to say yes, but really what they’re trying to get you is, “Well, then could I be a practicing gay Christian?”
Jon: “Can I serve?” Yeah.
Landon: Well, what they want to do is, “Can I have homosexual activity? Could I engage in homosexual sex and could be considered a Christian? No, you’re a sinner.” And if you are a married man who’s having an affair, you’re a sinner too.
Landon: But we’re not saying, “Are you an adulterous Christian?” No, we’re pursuing Jesus, and following a life of discipleship after him. I’m separating those two, because that’s a huge thing that’s going on, is people want you to embrace gay Christianity and I refuse to.
Jon: This is really good.
Landon: So, do you mean to tell me that you struggle with being attracted to the same sex and you love Jesus? Awesome. Let’s go. Let’s walk together. Let’s resist our temptations together.
Jon: Yeah. This is good.
Landon: Because if I don’t guard my eyes, my wife is gorgeous, she’s beautiful. I’ve been married 15 years in July. Okay? And I love football, but I know when the commercials come on after plays, they got cheerleaders bent over, waving pom-poms and I guard my eyes.
Jon: That’s right.
Landon: I intentionally don’t watch movies with sex scenes, because I am a guy and that would cause me to stumble. That would cause me to fall, so I protect my eyes so I can guard my thoughts, so I can protect my marriage, so I can honor the Lord. Here’s the thing is, I don’t get to choose what I’m tempted with.
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: But I get to choose how I respond to temptation. Just like it’s not okay for me to go down the road of lust with women, it’s not okay for you to go down the rust with what you’re attracted to, because we’re following Jesus. And it doesn’t matter if you get married to the most beautiful person in the world, every married guy knows that doesn’t stop lust.
Landon: The only thing that stops lust is crucifying your flesh. And it’s the same thing, and I hear this all the time from guys, they’re like, “Am I going to struggle with this the rest of my life.?” Well, scripture says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” Holiness is a life that’s lived one day at a time.
Landon: That’s like saying to the married guy, “Am I going to struggle with cheating on my wife the rest of my life?” Holiness is one day at a time. No matter what you’re tempted with, you must crucify that flesh.
Jon: Yeah. Daily.
Landon: And that’s Christianity. And then, if you’re affirming it, you need to repent or step down from ministry. I mean, if you’re that far off. I mean, you need to be careful. I mean, I’ve had people, I mean, on a regular basis, last week someone was like, “Hey, I want to talk to you about your marriage policy.” No they don’t. They want me to affirm it.
Jon: That’s right.
Landon: Because it’s really, really clear.
Jon: That’s right.
Landon: We go through it in membership, I’ve read a book about it. People know where I stand. And so, at the end of the day there are six scriptures that you can try to reinterpret, but you cannot redefine what you never defined. And out of 31,000 scriptures Moses, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, not one disciple, not one prophet, there is not one. There is not one scripture that affirms or promote.
Jon: Yeah. That affirms it.
Landon: And they’re like, “Well, David kissed Jonathan.” No, he didn’t. Didn’t happen. He did not have sex with Jonathan. That’s not what happened. They’ll try to twist, they’ll try to manipulate, they’ll try to throw questions. Here’s what I say. Give me one. Give me one scripture, and let me help you, it doesn’t exist. And do you know why? Because, it’s not God’s plan.
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: There’s not one scripture that tells a husband how to treat a husband, because it’s not God’s plan. There’s not one scripture for a wife, for a wife, because it’s not God’s plan. Here’s the problem, is you feel bad for people, so you’re trying to change your theology to support people, rather than align people with God’s word. And it’s not your job to make up new theology. It’s your job to teach God’s word.
Jon: That’s really good. And it’s giving us a boldness, hopefully, is letting our listeners see that it is time to step up. And I think sometimes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, it’s almost sometimes we feel, perhaps the pressure that a pastor feels, is that they feel like they have to fix everything from the pulpit. But it’s not necessarily something you fix from the pulpit. It’s something that you’re getting people into the word of God, you’re getting them into discipleship, you’re getting them into situations.
Jon: What are some specific things, let’s talk about some really specific situations and how you would handle it. Okay, I’m just going to throw some stuff at you. This is a podcast, so if you hate it we can just stop it and start over, but they’ll be able to tell that we edited it.
Landon: Before you ask that question can I just add something?
Jon: Yes. Please.
Landon: Okay. I want to lean on this. Pastors cannot be afraid of it, so I hear this all the time, they’re like, “You don’t have to handle it all from the pulpit.” I haven’t taught at my nine-month-old church yet about homosexuality. Okay? But I have addressed it in messages.
Jon: Threaded. Yeah.
Landon: I have. And I’m not afraid too, obviously. With the book I wrote.
Jon: Obviously. Yeah.
Landon: But here’s what I would say. This is a bigger thought. How are we going to stand up to the mark of the beast one day, if we can’t stand up to homosexuality today?
Jon: Wow. This is really good. That’s really good.
Landon: Just to put it in context. It’s going to get worse.
Jon: It’s going to get worse.
Landon: I have literally heard pastors say, “Well, what about our tax exempt?” Forget your tax exempt.
Jon: Right. That’s the least of our worries.
Landon: Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “Pay Caesar what’s Caesar’s.” Maybe we’re on our way to paying taxes, and I’d rather manage my church with 50% of the income or 40% of the income, but based on the word of God.
Jon: Wow. Than jeopardize. Absolutely.
Landon: How are we going to not think about this? How are we going to not buy, or sell, or trade one day without the mark?
Landon: And we’re afraid to talk about it from the pulpit?
Jon: That’s such a good perspective.
Landon: And so, we need to recalibrate where we’re at and where this is going. Yes, majority of the time it’s an individual basis. Same with someone that’s struggling with an affair. That’s a private conversation to have.
Jon: But we can’t be afraid to talk about it.
Landon: Don’t hide behind that statement, is what I’m saying.
Jon: eah. Absolutely.
Landon: Because I’ve heard that too many times.
Jon: Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s say in the same realm, let’s say that somebody comes to you and they have a child, okay? And they come to your kids pastor and they have a nine year old daughter, and they come to your kids pastor and say, “This is my nine year old daughter, but she identifies as a boy, and we’ve embraced that as her parents. And we want to know what the church is going to do to make sure that he feels comfortable? And can he use certain restrooms?” Again, now we’re faced with a situation that a pastor can’t avoid.
Jon: There’s some situations, where we can hide or we can just not talk about it, but there will come a day, if it hasn’t already for a lot of pastors, that there are going to be situations where we are truly confronted with a decision. You know?
Jon: And some of them are, maybe easier than others, maybe somebody wants to be baptized, maybe somebody wants to lead. And some of those may be easier to navigate, but let’s talk about that, like that example of a kid, a child. How do you walk through that? How would you walk through that?
Landon: Last night we were playing and my five-year-old little boy, we have a new puppy, little golden doodle. His name’s Mercy.
Jon: Awe. How cute.
Jon: Last name Culture.
Landon: Yeah. My five-year-old, his new thing is, “I’m a dog.” He’s a dog. He’s got the chew toy in his mouth trying to do tug of war and I keep telling my son, “That dog will rip your teeth out.”
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: If you keep pretending you’re a dog, you’re going to get hurt.
Jon: That’s good. Yeah.
Landon: It’s my job as a parent to say, “I know you’re pretending, you’re a dog right now. You’re not a dog. You’re a little boy.” And if these parents don’t start being parents they’re going to hurt their children. And so, these parents have given into the lies, of this world, and when they come on our turf it’s our job to help them.
Jon: Wow. Yeah.
Landon: So, yes. That is not a conversation from the pulpit to embarrass those parents.
Landon: That’s a side conversation to say, “You’re hurting your child.” The Bible says, “To raise up your child in the way they should go.” This is a teaching opportunity for parents. I get asked on Tuesday Q&A, I do a weekly Tuesday Q&A on Instagram, even though I’m fasting social media for the year, I still do it through the church and they send me the questions. And I get this question, “What if a gay couple wants to baptize a baby?” And I say, “Well, let’s get the gay couple baptized first.”
Jon: Yeah. Right.
Landon: And what I mean by that is, teaching…
Jon: Let’s disciple them first. Let’s talk to them first. Yeah.
Landon: Because they’re not getting it themselves first. And so, the first thing is, don’t get in the trap. First of all, don’t be afraid. I love what pastor Jimmy Evans, I know I quote him a few times already today.
Jon: He’s a good one to quote.
Landon: He’s a great one. He’s the sheriff, “God never honors fear based decisions.”
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: God’s not going to bless your church if you’re operating in fear.
Landon: We need to minister to the parents, and then when that child comes on our property, “It’s a boy.” We are not accommodating to the world. And then here’s what happened, if you brought them in and you played their game you’re spreading confusion in every child in that children’s ministry.
Jon: That’s good.
Landon: “And you’re hateful.” No, no, no. We’re loving. We’re going to be kind and we’re going to be loving. We’re going to, with everything in us, be kind. But I’m not changing God’s word. I’m not changing God’s standard to appease you. I’ve just broken the second commandment, “I have made for myself an image to worship.”
Landon: Revelation says, “If you add to this book or take away from this book you get the curses in this book.” I am manipulating scripture to convince you to follow Jesus. And I don’t believe I have to do that. I believe my job is to teach you what the word says to obey.
Jon: That’s really good.
Landon: And so, those are amazing, pastoring moments and you say it loving, “You’re welcome here. We’re glad you’re here. There’s a place for you here, but this is what God’s word says. This is the identity, even before you were formed in your mother’s womb he knew you. And this is your job as a parent to lead your family.”
Jon: Yeah, instead of pastors seeing it as a fearful or a worrisome, really, I love what you said, it’s an opportunity. I mean, this is an opportunity to really change a family. Change a generation of a family in this situation. It really becomes an opportunity.
Landon: Can I throw one other thought out?
Jon: Yeah, yeah.
Landon: Okay. You have two things going, because I mentor a lot of younger pastors than me, and they’ll ask me these questions, because they’ll have an older couple that is gay come to the church and then they’re trying to intimidate younger pastors. And, “Where do you stand?” And so, I want pastors to be aware, there’s a difference between lost people that don’t know and troublemakers that come to intimidate or try to infiltrate.
Jon: Know, the difference.
Landon: Know, the difference. Is this someone that’s just lost? Because we have people that are trying to adopt and coming to Mercy Culture. A lesbian couple, they were coming and another guy come in, “Am I welcome here. Of course, you’re welcome here.” Everyone’s welcome here. Come. Come be in the presence of God. We’re going to love you. We’re not going to try to change you.
Landon: The presence of God, encounter with Jesus. We can’t change any of these people. I had one gay guy tell me, an activist tell me, “Landon, I love your heart. You seem to be kind, but stop trying to change people.” I’m like, “Dude, encounter with Jesus changed me.”
Jon: Yeah. I’m not changing anybody.”
Landon: Well, here’s the thing, “They were born that way. Scripture says, “You must be born again.” It doesn’t matter how you think you were born, the Bible says, “You must be born again.”
Jon: That’s good. That’s really good.
Landon: And we’re born of a spirit, not of water, not of flesh. Be aware, pastors, what situation that you’re dealing with.
Jon: That’s really good. Have that awareness. Well, thank you, Landon. This time went by way faster than I thought it would and I know that there’s so much more we could talk about. And I would encourage you, pastors, I hope this has been a very encouraging, yes challenging. I hope you do feel challenged. I know I feel challenged. And I hope that it’s awakened something in you. A boldness to approach this in a different way.
Jon: If you haven’t already read his book, get this book. If this is an interest to you, if it’s something that you want to dig into, maybe you get your staff involved in, pick up his book. Follow Mercy Culture, watch what God is doing there, let it inspire you, let it challenge you. And Landon, anything else you want to say? One last thing to the pastors? If I could gather an entire arena full of every pastor in the world what would you want to say to them?
Landon: I love what pastor Robert said one time. He said he was greeting, pastor Robert Morris, he was greeting people in line and someone that was struggling with same sex attraction or identified as being gay came up and said to him, “If I go to your church will you judge me?” And I’m paraphrasing what pastor Robert said, but he said in response, “Just don’t judge me first.”
Jon: Wow. That’s really good.
Landon: And do not let this agenda, do not let this intimidation from this world stop you from loving and reaching people.
Jon: So good.
Landon: And the good news is, is there’s a lot of people to reach. There’s a lot of people to love and there’s no one better to love them than you, pastors.
Jon: Awesome. Awesome word. Thank you again, Landon. Love you so much. Appreciate all that you’re doing for the kingdom. And all of you listeners, thank you for what you’re doing for the kingdom. Keep at it. We need you. We need your ministry. We need you in the kingdom. Thank you for everything that you do. Until next time, thank you for listening. Don’t hesitate, please help us promote, copy, paste, put this thing on social media. Help us promote it. Subscribe to the podcast. Go to our website at churchintension.com for more resources and articles from faculty at TKU, from Gateway, from other churches, from other writers. We want to resource you as much as we can. Thank you again for listening to the Church InTension podcast.