Al Mohler writes about this at his blog. Osteen was interviewed on TV and asked about whether or not homosexuality is a sin. That is a binary question – yes or no. A lot of preachers don’t like binary questions. They force us out of the comfortable place where we can be the nice, positive, counselor type and not take the brunt force of opposition when we declare ourselves on moral positions.
The fact is that a well-rounded ministry for a pastor is similar to a well-rounded ministry as a parent. Lots and lots of love, love that is strong enough to build road blocks that keep others from dangerous cliffs. It means from time to time willing to be the bad guy in the midst of a child’s frontal assault on our love, our intentions, and our standards. The biggest mistake a parent can make is trying to be liked. After 40 years in the ministry, I still find that the desire to be liked can dull the edge of ministry effectiveness. I think at the end of it all, I will judge that this is the biggest downfall in ministry.
It is difficult in the extreme to mark out a moral position and stick to it in the trenches of ministry. Not the least of those difficulties is that we must do this as sinners. Yes, sinners must stake out moral positions, as counterintuitive as that may seem. For every moral position I take, there are a host of exceptions I make for myself. If I make exceptions for myself, maybe I should drop taking moral positions at all! I am after all, as John Bunyan makes so clear, a man who preaches the liberty we have in Christ to live a new life while I hear the clanking of my own chains.
But someone must stand up in the midst of the madness and say “Stop.” We want somebody to do that. We want somebody to stand in our way, stand up to us, force us to make a clear decision, keep us from wandering in the moral fog. Thus, the job of the pastor. Churches actually pay someone to at times stand over against them. It’s a strange combination of factors. But I think churches are suspicious of pastors who will not confront and offer moral guidance. They know what kind of game he is playing, and in the end he will lose their respect.