Home » An Open Letter To Lauren Daigle
An Open Letter To Lauren Daigle
Posted on December 4, 2018
By Phillip Dancy

Hi Lauren,

You don’t know me. We have never met and probably never will. My name is Phillip. I am a husband (of almost 18 years), a father of 3 boys, and have been in pastoral ministry for more than 20 years. I have two advanced degrees in Church History and Theology.

Now, I know this is a weird way to start a letter, but I felt I needed to give you a little background before I write the things below. Context is important. I want you to know a little about me, so that I don’t just come off as some hyper-critical internet troll looking to pick a fight and catch 15 seconds of fame off of a hot-button issue. I don’t want to come off as some random, faceless name that may or may not have something worthwhile to share with you.

Let me start with the positives. I really like your music. The bluesy-jazz vibe in your voice is refreshing among the field of cookie-cutter, auto-tune pop that plagues the airways. The sound of soul is refreshing. I appreciate it. Also, for the most part, the songs I have heard from you are solid, God-honoring songs. We have sung a few of them in our church services where I pastor. Thank you for writing music that can cultivate a spirit and environment of worship.

I listened to your brief interview with Domenick Nati. The internet is all abuzz about it. But I need you to know, I actually listened to the interview. I didn’t just read some quote-mined article about the interview. I appreciate the overall humility you expressed when asked about homosexuality being a sin. I also appreciated the general tone you took. You weren’t defensive, combative, or spiteful. That tends to be the tone by far too many people on both sides of the issue.

In the interview, you pointed people to reading the Bible for themselves. You stated that if they can figure out whether homosexuality is a sin, then help you learn that as well. You stated you don’t know and are open to learning the truth. I thank you for exhibiting a teachable spirit around this issue. That actually displays a unique kind of bravery in our current culture. Typically, anyone that doesn’t immediately affirm the value of the homosexual position is considered an enemy of progress.  To the leave the question open in the world of media and entertainment took guts. Well done for that.

I am not going to throw you under the bus like a number of my evangelical friends have done to this point. Your issue is one of discipleship. Before I address that specifically, I think full transparency is important. I am a conservative, orthodox Christian.  I do think the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin. I also think it teaches that various forms of heterosexual activity outside of the covenant of marriage are sin. I also think it teaches that pride, greed, gluttony, etc. are sin. Yet, I understand why you are struggling with this issue. The Christian Church has always had issues that people struggle with – even if those issues seem “clear” in the Bible. Because of this, discipleship has always been a primary part of the Christian experience. There is a call for the church to guard itself against false teaching. Why? Because any teaching that softens the call to be like Christ in the world – not just in compassion, but also in holiness – will at some point negatively affect the value of the gospel in the world. The gospel is a call from brokenness to wholeness; from slavery to redemption; from wickedness to holiness. Your own song, “How Can It Be,” expresses this idea well. Jesus has come to make a great exchange: our wickedness for His righteousness.

However, our current Christian world has many divergent voices on what that holiness looks like. Many have moved away from the clear, standard of righteousness given in Scripture and moved to a “buffet-style” version of Jesus. We walk down the line of the things God calls from our lives and we say, “Yes, I will take some mercy and compassion. Oh no – I won’t take any of that closemindedness about human sexuality. I will have a little righteousness, but not so much that I come off standoffish.” We cannot approach God this way. We are like the rich young ruler. He approached Jesus, asking about eternal life. Jesus challenged the thing that young man didn’t want to let go of. The young man walked away from Jesus, sad. Notice what happens in that story: the young man loved himself (in this case, demonstrated by his wealth), more than he loved God. Jesus, loving God and His truth, let the young man walk away from eternal life. Jesus didn’t make the criteria easier for the young man.

In this letter, I will not explain why I believe homosexuality is sin. There are great teachers out there that have plenty of great explanations about this issue. You can check out John MacArthur, John Piper,  Al Mohler, or Kevin DeYoung to name a few. No, my concern from the interview has little to do with your comments regarding the issue of homosexuality. I am glad you are asking hard questions, and I pray you find good answers.

My greater concern from your interview is about something that none of my other evangelical brothers and sisters will likely address with you. About midway through the interview, Domenick Nati stated, “You going on Ellen is something your career really needs. You’ve gone mainstream. You’ve got a huge person reaching out. You would be really foolish to turn that down and be like, ‘No, you’re gay.'” Your response was telling. You said, “Yeah, Perfect way to end your career.” Toward the end of the interview, you mentioned being “married to your career.”

Earlier in this letter, I spoke about the rich young ruler. He had things. Things he had made. Things he had built. Things he loved. Things, very likely, he did “to honor and glorify God.” Yet, when called upon to follow Christ or keep the things he made, he chose to keep his own life, to keep his own possessions. I don’t necessarily think it was wrong or bad for you to go on Ellen’s show. It is great platform for millions of people that potentially don’t know or believe the gospel to be exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ. As far Christian mission goes, it seemed a great opportunity. Oh, and since I am being transparent, I don’t think Ellen is “bad” because she is gay. Being gay isn’t what makes a person “bad.” Being in Adam, shackled by a love of self, in a state in which our lives do not reflect the glory of God because of the absence of Christ, that is what makes us “bad.” There are plenty of heterosexuals that fit that bill.

Your concern about doing what was necessary to “keep your career” is what I found most alarming. Jesus often calls us to let go of things, not pursue things, and to not have lives that we want to have – all for His glory and His purpose. Jesus says it plainly, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me (Mark 8:34). My concern for you isn’t your uncertainty about homosexuality. My concern for you is this “love of self” that seems to be associated with your concept of “not ending your career.” It is a very slippery slope to stand on. What if you come to the conclusion that homosexuality is a sin? What if you are asked that again in the future in another public forum? If your desire is for a “career that won’t be ruined” over the truth and glory of Jesus, then you will be facing a crisis of belief. If you went on Ellen as a way to make much of Jesus where He isn’t usually named, I say “Amen.” If you went on Ellen to get your name out more and find avenues of greater “success,” that could be quite problematic. God doesn’t call for us to be successful according to the world’s standards. God calls us to be faithful, persevering in a life of faith and repentance, overcoming the draw back to the old lives of sin from which we were delivered.

Lauren, this is my concern for you. I am glad you are struggling with hard questions. I think it is good that you want your answers to come from the Word. But, I can’t help but wonder about something based on the “career comments” in the interview. Are you struggling with the issue of homosexuality because you are genuinely seeking the truth, or are you struggling with this issue because it could pose a future roadblock for the advancement of your career? In the first scenario, God welcomes the heart that is seeking truth and wisdom. In the second, truth and wisdom are clouded by selfish ambition. In the first, God’s grace usually produces a repentant heart and a strong faith. In the second, if left unchecked, the result is usually the same as the rich young ruler: someone walking away sad from the presence of Jesus. My desire for you as a Christian is that you not walk away from Jesus, nor begin to create an environment in your life now that might lead you to do so later.

In Christ,
Phillip Dancy
Pastor – Sylvania Church in Tyler, TX

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Misty Childs
Guest
Misty Childs

Well said, with an obvious heart to be iron sharpening iron, speaking truth in love. We attend FBC Lindale and lift you and your congregation up often in our opening prayers. Thank you for holding to biblical truth & encouraging Lauren as she walks in a very public position. May God be glorified in Lauren’s life and through her talents, and through your shepherding over your flock.

Lynn Doyle
Guest
Lynn Doyle

Well said encouragement to Pastor Dancy, Misty. I appreciate his humble and loving approach. This was not a judgmental article. It is loaded with sound, biblical counsel.

Brenda walker
Guest
Brenda walker

Are we not required to just love.Say it I believe it is a sin..yes..but I am not here to judge you.We make our own choices.Freedom.Let Jesus judge …I will love.!Hard for Some.The sin part is hard for many but then we all sin..Thank God there is a shedding process going on.New Sister.

brad flynn
Guest
brad flynn

2 Timothy 3:16 states that all scripture is God breathed, and it helps us teach, equip. and correct/rebuke the saints! Why? For the sake of the righteousness of the saint ready for every good work. So brenda, while I appreciate your desire to love; omitting spiritual correction is a form of unbelief and hate, not love- that type of love is from the carnal flesh, not biblical love. We do not let the blind lead the blind, one needs sight to lead the other. So we as David states in Psalm 119; Your Word is a Lamp onto My Feet,… Read more »

Julie Grainger
Guest

I think you are great,by the time my son was two I knew he was gay,I love him I just don’t like the sin. Your singing maybe help some someone. I love you keep sing.
Juli Grainger

Tessa
Guest
Tessa

I find it ironic that you chose an “open letter” format where you would gain public attention. Was that necessary? Was it for Lauren’s admonition or your accolades? The same questioning of motives you used with Lauren could as easily be asked of you. It’s just a curiosity.

Doug
Guest
Doug

There is actually not explicit ‘proof’ in the Bible that being gay is a sin. It is called interpretations. If you take that to be truth based off of the times as well you also take truth to that women should be property. When reading old scriptures you must be knowledgeable about the times they were written to discover what they truly mean. Saying this as a Christian who studied/studies under Christian scholars with doctoral degrees. Hope you can find the truth and the light sooner rather than later.

JUDE
Guest
JUDE

I WOULD SAY YOU R IN DENIAL. GOD DESTROYSED SODOM AND GAMMORAH. GOD SAYS IN THE WORD OF GALATIONS WHO IS NOT WELCOMED INTO HEAVEN, WHICH IS HOMOSEXUALS.
GOD DOES AND CANNOT LIE

Danny Crabtree
Guest
Danny Crabtree

Wow. Just wow. You do know that having an affair receives the same treatment as homosexuality. Both are an abomination and resulting in death. I do not hear the same cries for death for adulterers as I do homosexuals.

Chad Barnes
Admin

Danny, did I overlook a call for the death of homosexuals in this article?

Also, I’m an elder at Sylvania and can say from firsthand experience that adultery is not overlooked or brushed under the rug at our church.

So, why isn’t adultery more of a “hot button” public issue? Because the mainstream isn’t heralding adultery as a virtue. Droves and droves of professing Christians aren’t being duped into thinking adultery is morally upright.

And that’s no insignificant difference.

Lee
Guest
Lee

Roman’s 1: 18-30 should clear up what the bible, God, Jesus and the Holy spirit says about this issue. If we read the gospels, the disciples gave up everything to follow Christ. Rarely did we here him cheering them on or Pat’s on the back. He wanted his followers to be lovers of righteousness no matter the cost. These men didn’t stop follow him because they knew he loved them. We must speak the truth in love. How shall they, the world know Gods loves them outside of TRUTH!

Doug
Guest
Doug

There is actually not explicit ‘proof’ in the Bible that being gay is a sin. It is called interpretations. If you take that to be truth based off of the times as well you also take truth to that women should be property. When reading old scriptures you must be knowledgeable about the times they were written to discover what they truly mean. Saying this as a Christian who studied/studies under Christian scholars with doctoral degrees. Hope you can find the truth and the light sooner rather than later.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

You speak about carers and love of self. Yet here you have repeated yourself about your doctorate. This is a material thing. This will not go with you when you kneel before Jesus after death. You say you repented your sin. Sin is not absolved in one moment. It takes place daily in our lives. We remove our pride and love of self when we ask Jesus to forgive us for our sins. We ask for his help, lean on him heavily. We ask for guidance. We are never above Jesus. We are also not judges of our fellow Brothers… Read more »

VernHaines
Guest
VernHaines

Well said Stephanie.

Ken de la Pryme
Guest

Nice response. Christian artists need prayer and support. They, like their critics, are not perfect.

Vickie Wainright
Guest
Vickie Wainright

The Bible is clear on the subject of homosexuality!
The Pastor t told the truth straight from the word. Praise God for a “John the Baptist” in these days! Look up Christ is returning and be ready! He was not bragging about his education..praise God for men like him who speak truth.

Terry Martin
Guest
Terry Martin

Philip thank you for your your letter and your comments about Lauren Daigle’s interview. I agree with you and I’m thankful for you speaking out. My issues are the same about us as Christians in general….we play the gray game to much…Jesus put it in black and white but we’re not happy unless we can have a taste of everything in the store. I struggle with my own issues but I know that God clearly wants me in a closer relationship with him. I commend Lauren for taking it to the masses but I also believe we have our duty… Read more »

Sarah Wallace
Guest
Sarah Wallace

I pray that you strengthen your connection with Jesus so that you can learn to mind your own. I think it’s interesting how people with an education and a practice with words can twist and turn an article to convice others that they are right. If you had a true connection with God you would know that posing your opinion and questions to Lauren Daigle in a very public setting is obviously motivated by something other than “helping her.” God knows her heart, and their relationship is sacred and intimate, just as everyone’s relationship with God should be. When did… Read more »

Sam Morris
Guest
Sam Morris

Not sure I get the main theme that we are to lay down our dreams to pursue the love and success of the talents we possess. Is the farmer wrong in pursuing being the best and most productive farmer he can be. What of the doctor, the builder, the inventor and so forth. If all Christians gave up their dreams to be the best then what kind of world would be left behind. How are we as Christians going to have a voice when we are busy squandering our talents in the name of denying self. Is this what you… Read more »

Catherine Nappenbach
Guest
Catherine Nappenbach

AMEN, AMEN

Tyrone Chan
Guest
Tyrone Chan

I happened to stumble on this discussion, and I understand how both sides of the discussion could be passionate about how they view or perceive Lauren and her response to the questions the world has thrown at her. But, I also understand how in my own life, I have wanted to jump to the defense of the truth, forgetting that sometimes when it involves a precious child of God, i really don’t need to. I have heard Lauren speak about God and have noticed that God’s hand is upon her, and I saw the Jesus twinkle in her eye. So,… Read more »

Anthony Erickson
Guest
Anthony Erickson

Praise God for His speaking in the saints! We all need the revelation that it is just God, in Christ, as the Spirit speaking in our spirit that’s important. Nothing else matters. That this conversation evolved, for whatever reason, is wonderful in itself! We don’t need clergy, dogma, tradition, theological “cemeteries” and the like; we just need Christ! He is, and will always be, the only solution to everything. End of story. Lauren’s song’s are where we need to be right now. They express the feelings, the heartfelt, and spiritual feelings, of one who loves and lives before the Lord… Read more »

Anthony Erickson
Guest
Anthony Erickson

Seriously? It’s just Christ in us being expressed; that’s all that matters. Amen

Kate
Guest
Kate

Pastor, seems like you’re making a lot of assumptions based off of one comment in one interview. Also, this question “Are you struggling with the issue of homosexuality because you are genuinely seeking the truth, or are you struggling with this issue because it could pose a future roadblock for the advancement of your career”. Could also be asked of you. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you both.

linda mitchell
Guest
linda mitchell

I believe Lauren is following Christ through her career. I believe she has chosen to give up “marriage” or relationship to follow her God given dream.

Kimblerly y Rogers
Guest
Kimblerly y Rogers

Thank you for speaking the truth in love… To all of us. We cant straddle the fence after what the cross cost Jesus. Cant please the world n Him too… Either or. I pray for her to have boldness for Christ. She surely has a platform most dont. God bless you for your love for JESUS 1st n others as well.

Deb Williams
Guest

Your letter addresses a problem of the church as a whole. Why diminish Lauren Daigle? Why not send her a private message instead of hanging onto her successful
“Career” to get attention and boost your own name? Your open letter goes against scripture which tells us to go to One in private if your heart hurts because you see them doing something wrong. Bad idea. You owe her an open letter of apology.

Chad Barnes
Admin

Deb, you seem to assume that the Matthew 18 instruction for the handling of private sins (i.e., those committed by one person against another) applies to public failures to honor Christ. But if you were really convinced of that, you wouldn’t have rebuked Phillip publicly in this comment thread. To be clear, I don’t think public rebukes are categorically out of bounds. I’m simply noting that apparently you don’t either. In fact, there’s a clear precedent in Scripture for the public rebuke public sins. Consider Jesus’s regular rebukes of one disciple in front of other disciples, rebukes of Pharisees or… Read more »

Angela Lasyone
Guest
Angela Lasyone

Amen

Catherine Nappenbach
Guest
Catherine Nappenbach

YES, I AGREE

Bob D Harms
Guest
Bob D Harms

Pastor, thank you for your words they are perfect toward helping many I love finding the way to excepting truth with love free of condemnation

Ken gromes
Guest
Ken gromes

Heterosexuality is sanctioned biblically for what reason? Homosexuality is condemned for what reason? There are numerous couples who have lived together and by all appearances, fulfill the Christian principles enumerated throughout history. But what if those couples only survive but do not thrive? Which is better? A loving sincere relationship with a person? Or one of rejection and emotional pain which has the disguise of Christianity? I will say I am aware of several relationships within the church body that, by all appearances, there is more love expressed in the non-traditional household than the supposed Christ centered home. I can… Read more »

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Beautifully written!

Stephani Willis
Guest

If you do some research sir, you will see that Lauren is very active in philanthropy, she spent time in brasil as well. She is always giving back and sharing love. That IS what God wants her to do. She is reaching millions and teaching Christ’s love every day. Do you do that? I doubt it. You are the example of why people don’t want to admit to being Christian, because of judgements. That is Gods job not ours.
Why do people insist on picking a person apart that is just doing good?!

Chad Barnes
Admin

Stephani, if you’re legitimately convinced that making judgments is why people don’t want to admit to being Christian, what am I to make of your judgment that Phillip is an example of why people don’t want to admit to being Christian? Also, the Bible teaches that we ARE to judge one another. After all, if judgments are out of bounds, why did Paul judge that Peter was wrong for not wanting the Jews to know he was eating with Gentiles? Why did Paul write the letter of 1 Corinthians (yikes!)? Beyond that, if judgments are really out of bounds, parenting… Read more »

Nickolena turcotte
Guest
Nickolena turcotte

I agree, well written

Sondra Riley
Guest
Sondra Riley

Always that one….love ur music lauren

Dave Alexander
Guest
Dave Alexander

I don’t believe there is a person on earth that could have delivered that message in such a profound and loving way.
It needed to be done and thank you for addressing that issue that had to be straight out of the heart of Jesus Christ .
I know that letter was not off the cuff your emotions, but out of spending a lot of time in prayer.

Judy Koker
Guest
Judy Koker

How well said, in her music I feel it is about Jesus but is it in her Heart, Not saying she is lost but is she leaving her career become between her and God.. I love her music and it speaks to my heart.

Linda S. Cooks
Guest
Linda S. Cooks

I deeply love the songs you sing, which seem to be an avenue of worship and an outlet for the deep love you treasure with God.
I also am in awe of this writers ability to gently approach and address difficult subjects in a critical society.
I desire to again lean in upon your response to his remarkably observant correspondence.

Gratefully yours

Linda S. Cooks

Aida
Guest
Aida

In Our Bible study session last night we talked about “speaking truth in love” and you pointed out the importance that was so necessary. It’s so important for us to continue to nurture our soul while here on earth. I too enjoy Lauren’s music. I think it’s so unique. She truly has a gift that continues to bless millions. But I once said to a very large Christian book publishing company (I’m an author) that I rather focus on reaching millions for God, one person at the time, than the millions I might make but have to completely change the… Read more »

Lisa Wilson
Guest
Lisa Wilson

Bam! Exactly what the Holy Spirit has been telling me!! She needs prayer and lots of it!!!

Shine
Guest
Shine

So well stated! I heard this interview and it also troubled my spirit for her. I do not condemn her but I pray and prayed for her to become bolder in the faith and become confident in the Spirit to stand for Christ and stand against giving worldly responses thus becoming more like the world solely to advance her career.

Cecilia burt
Guest
Cecilia burt

Very well said love tells the truth the love of Jesus I’m glad somone finally spoke up thank for putting jesus above all

Rita Akoto Coker
Guest
Rita Akoto Coker

Thank you so much Pastor Philip for coming out in clear terms to speak to Lauren. No one truly desiring to follow Christ will miss your explanations to stand boldly for Christ and move away from the “political correctness” which many Christians having given in have made shipwreck of their faith. The passages in the Bible against homosexuality need no further explanations for the one who truly love the Lord. I pray she gets her act together before it’s too late. I thank God for your life and ministry. We need more Pastors like you in these end times. I… Read more »

brad flynn
Guest
brad flynn

That is an excellent article, well written and absolutely dead-on the issue in Lauren’s life right now. Lord willing she reads it.