In 2018, Christian singer Lauren Daigle caused an uproar when she appeared on Ellen to sing “Still Rolling Stones” from her album Look Up Child.
Many Christians voiced their opinions on the performance. Some even published videos on YouTube that condemned Daigle for appearing on a lesbian’s talkshow.
One interviewer asked Daigle, “Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?”
She replied, “I cannot say one way or the other.”
In another video response to Daigle’s witness on the world stage, an interviewer reads an excerpt from her testimony. Because she does not specifically mention the name of Jesus, the interviewer asserts she should not be a member in the church.
Do Lauren Daigle’s answers and her appearance on Ellen compromise the purpose and effect of her performance?
Should Lauren Daigle be condemned?
The song Daigle sang tells the story of “a dead man walking,” who had dug his own grave. He was effectively “too far gone” because of all he had done wrong. However, he was brought back to life and called out of his “grave” by the voice of a Savior.
Moreover, the lyrics suggest that “the darkness should have known” that this man would be brought back to life. This is because the Savior continues to roll stones, to remove the barrier that once kept a man in his grave.
These lyrics carry the greatest message of redemption in history. They tell of a Savior who accomplished the impossible and saved the redeemed because of his love for them. It’s a retelling of the gospel.
Additionally, this song reached people beyond Ellen and her studio audience. The performance has 5.2 million views on YouTube. So, in just over four minutes, millions of people who watched this video got to hear about the redeeming story of Jesus.
Should her place in the body of Christ be withdrawn?
If someone proclaimed Christianity but did not affirm the gospel and look to Jesus as the source of their salvation, that would be concerning. However, the conclusion that Daigle’s salvation is doubtful because she didn’t include the name of Jesus is hasty. Aside from the fact that the quoted excerpt contains words that allude to Jesus’ work and mission (such as “savior”), it does not provide comprehensive information to suggest whether or not she is a Christ-follower.
If one were truly curious about Lauren’s relationship with Jesus, they might find other videos where Lauren discusses her Christian beliefs. For instance, she went on Sadie Robertson’s podcast and discussed the details of her identity, which she believes is specified by God in the Bible.
What is most important is that the Lord Almighty has the final decision on the validity of a person’s relationship with Jesus.
The underlying problem
Daigle’s inability to decide on the matter of homosexuality demonstrates some challenges many other Christians face today. We live in a culture that increasingly supports the LGBTQ+ community.
In part, this might be happening because of cultural influences, like one documentary that attempts to prove that the word homosexuality did not appear in the Bible until later translations were produced. However, there is no way to get around the verses in Scripture that describe (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:24–27) the respective actions of homosexuality as sinful. It is clear that participating in a same-sex relationship is a sin.
In addition, our culture appears to insist that loving a member of the LGBTQ+ community must go beyond acceptance and into encouragement to “live their truth.”
This doesn’t just end with the people of the LGBTQ+ community though. The notion of love being contingent on unwavering support can be applied to other topics as well. For example, if someone had the habit of smoking marjiuanna in a state where it is legal, they might expect their family members to be supportive of their freedom to make that decision.
We are living in a time where many people want to believe what they want to and live how they please without resistance. Our cultural belief in relative truth affirms that everyone is governed by their own truth, and research shows that people are increasingly buying into the notion.
Subsequently, this dilemma has produced many reactions by Christians, and two of them are demonstrated in the videos I previously mentioned.
On one side, people shy away from taking a stance on morality issues like homosexuality. Some think that Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor” means that a person should celebrate all the choices his or her neighbor makes, even sinful ones. Others may feel like disagreement and conflict aren’t loving.
On the other side, Christians are called to affirm biblical truth. However, some communicate their biblical stance by casting judgment on any individual who does not outrightly side with the Bible. In some cases, they go as far as to question the validity of such an individual’s faith in response.
But there is a third way: one can still love their neighbor who is of the world while not agreeing with their actions.
Living in a broken world
Jesus was masterful in showing grace to those in the wrong. Scripture attests to how he healed and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:35–36 NIV). He often began by serving people in some capacity and building a relationship with them.
One example is the story of the woman at the well (John 4). Jesus was compassionate and personable with a woman who had committed sexual immorality with several men.
Admittedly, Jesus did name her sins. There are also times when he condemned people like the Pharisees for their legalistic and prideful ways. One must remember, however, that Jesus was God and had the authority to do so. It is not our place as followers of Christ to cast judgment on those who have yet to turn to God from their sin.
As Christ-followers, we must lead with compassion. We must remember that we are no more deserving of a relationship with Christ than another sinner.
We must not succumb to living immorally, because living for Jesus requires us to deny ourselves and turn from lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life to follow his will (1 John 2:16). It is also not our place to judge the world, as we are not perfect and will face God’s judgment ourselves (Matthew 7:1–2). We cannot show people the love of Jesus if we separate ourselves from them.
While living in this world, we must assume the role of lights pointing other sinners to the Ultimate Doctor (Mark 2:17)—Jesus who died for all people, regardless of their sin. Moreover, this is done by passing on his perfect love through serving them and sharing how stepping into a relationship with Jesus has given us access to the only perfect form of love there is.
Lauren Daigle caused waves by singing her song in a setting where many sinful people were present. That might just be why God planned for her performance to be there in the first place.