David Mahan, who is the director of policy with Center for Christian Virtue (CCV), was the guest speaker at Crossroads Church’s Oakley campus in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 18, 2021, for its sermon series titled “This Week’s Special Guest: Powerful stories. Uncensored truth.” Mahan has been accused of making “homophobic” and “transphobic” comments during his sermon for addressing what he has seen regarding gender identity.
David Mahan has testified before Congress about how God helped his family overcome poverty, addiction, and abuse. He travels around the country speaking to audiences about human trafficking prevention, gender identity, abortion, sexual risk avoidance, and fatherless homes. His appearance followed Brian Welch, guitarist from the hard rock band Korn, who spoke the prior week.
A press release from CCV said, “Navigating the controversial cultural and political divides today is not easy for Christians.” It added that Mahan will be “encouraging the body of Christ to go ‘upstream’ in our cultural and political engagement.”
Crossroad’s Church has deleted Mahan’s sermon from its YouTube page, but you can listen to it here.
David Mahan: ‘Uncensored Truth’
David Mahan said, “We need to delineate a difference between those kids who are struggling…who are hurting legitimately. Maybe it’s gender dysphoria. Whatever it is, we need to delineate them from the radical activists who are using them as human shields to push an agenda that I think most people in this room would disagree with.”
“But as long as they keep the human shield of the child who’s hurting and suicidal before us,” Mahan continued, “the church will stay silent in the name of love and righteousness because you can’t even talk about this topic without getting cancelled.”
David Mahan: ‘I’m Not a Hater’
Mahan told the congregation that he knows some of them think he’s a “hater,” but he said he’s ministered face-to-face and wept with kids who identify as homosexual. Mahan said pop culture backed by many millions of dollars and media push an identity on children and never allow them to get the help they deserve.
After reading Jude 1:3, Mahan said he wanted to be the evangelist who preaches the gospel that morning, but sometimes, “When you’re the only one seeing this stuff…and you got people raising money on the LGBT side and you got people trying to raise money on the anti-LGBT side. But there’s a real story to be told, real kids to be helped, and nobody’s telling that story. That is why Dave is at Crossroads. That’s why I am up here putting my family at risk.”
Mahan recounted a story about a fellow employee who was assaulted in the parking lot while coming into the office. The young lady was hit in the mouth by someone who disagreed with the awareness and work Mahan’s ministry does. Mahan said the employee is still getting medical services for the assault. “This is what we deal with everyday,” he said. “I’m putting my neck on the line. My wife’s neck on the line. My children’s necks on the line [who are at home without their father right now]. So please, even if you disagree with me, please honor the fact that I’m not a hater…I love people and I love you and I’m trying to help us.”
David Mahan: ‘Nobody Affirms a Lie’
Mahan said: “If you’ve got a child in here struggling with gender dysphoria, and you go over here to this clinic in this area, eventually you’re going to get down to the brass tacks of do you want a dead daughter or do you want a live son because the reason why so many kids are committing suicide is not because their trying to conform themselves into a form they can never become. It’s because nobody affirms a lie.”
Using a scenario to make his point, Mahan said, “Can we think of a kid who has anorexia or bulimia? She’s 60 pounds soaking wet [and she] comes in here talking about ‘I want to commit suicide because I’m fat!’” Mahan asked the crowd, “How do you respond? What is your loving response to that child?” Does giving affirmation to someone who’s not overweight show that person love? he asked. “Or do you get her dysphoric mentality to herself to line up with her biological reality?” Knowing that almost everyone would help her understand her biological reality, Mahan asked, “Why wouldn’t we do that with the same dysphoric condition with transgender?” His statement was met with applause from the congregation.
Crossroads Church Issues Apology
Crossroads Church felt it necessary to issue an apology on its social media pages, saying, “What was shared this weekend was never meant to hurt anyone, and we deeply regret that it did.”
You can read the full statement below:
“This past weekend, Crossroads hosted a guest speaker who broached the subject of children seeking to transition to a different gender. Unfortunately, there are many who have been hurt and are looking for clarity. Regardless of a person’s sexual or gender identity, we love them and welcome them, as does God. What was shared this weekend was never meant to hurt anyone, and we deeply regret that it did. This is a topic that warrants increased care and empathy and we’re sorry that didn’t happen this weekend. Crossroads also does not financially or otherwise support any political organizations and their platforms including the Center for Christian Virtue, where this weekend’s speaker is employed. We have no intention of being activistic in this or any other political space. Our main goal has and will always be to bring people to Christ.”
Church Critics Respond
A Reddit post getting a lot of attention offers this take on the sermon: “Crossroads is a bait-and-switch for the LGBTQ+ community. They will tell you everyone is welcome, and then crush you with the reality that you’re a ‘sinner’ and that your ‘lifestyle’ is unacceptable before God. Please, PLEASE avoid this place like the plague.”
A former worship leader at Crossroads Church, Brian Webb, criticized Mahan’s sermon saying he “can’t imagine the emotional toll it’s going to take on those kids,” and that Mahan’s comments were unacceptable. Webb called Crossroad Church’s apology “weak” because it sounds like they are saying, “We didn’t mean to hurt you. We’re sorry you’re hurt.”
LGBTQ and the Church
What does it mean to love someone in the LGBTQ community while not compromising what the Bible says? Can someone be gay and a Christian? Should we use someone’s preferred pronouns? How can pastors address these topics with care from the pulpit? These are all important conversations local churches must have.