Friday, December 27, 2013

Christians Speaking To Cultural Issues: Fools or Faithful?

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The Duck Dynasty controversy continues to dominate the news.

It is also dominating industry trade magazines with most concluding A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc blew it in the way she handled the conflict. One of the problems the industry sees is that Phil Robertson actually believes the Bible on these issues and is willing to act on his biblical beliefs.

But are Christians blowing it by speaking out on the issue? Are we foolish in taking a stand?

Pastor Greg Laurie posted his thoughts on Facebook. He sees the demands being made on Christians, such as Robertson, as reaching far beyond "tolerance."

Millions of Americans, Christian leaders and leaders who are Christian have spoken out, saying the Robertson issue is an attack on religious freedom. Greg Laurie believes it is an attempt to force biblical Christians to "affirm" not "tolerate" behavior that is defined as sin in the Bible.

I agree with Laurie. And have been saying this is about much more that a television show.

However, there are a number of Christian leaders who identify themselves as "evangelical" who are calling those who speak out on this and other similar issues "foolish." They say it is hurting the cause of Christ and makes the church look foolish.

They are asking Christians to not stoop to the level of Sarah Palin.

Pastor Laurie said on Facebook, "As Christians, we are not wanting to force our views on anyone. The fact is, we are, as a whole, tolerant of other people's choices, even if we don't agree with them."

However, Pastor Laurie says, "What is being asked of us is not tolerance, but acceptance and endorsement of sin. We cannot do that."

I agree.

Yet a number of "evangelicals" are highly critical of anyone who speaks out on this issue---or any other similar issue in our culture.

Matthew Paul Turner is well known in certain "evangelical" circles---particularly those whom I would define as the evangelical left, or the "emerging church." They often identify themselves as "progressive left evangelicals."

Turner has written a number of books and is a frequent speaker in churches and at conventions.

He says of the DD controversy, "Why are so many members of America's church up in arms today filling up Facebook and Twitter feeds with complaints, threats and demands."

Turner contends that all the demands are being made by Christians. This is hardly the case. The greater demands are actually being made by those who are intent on forcing Christians to, as Laurie says, accept and endorse a behavior that is in conflict with our deeply held biblical beliefs.

A behavior that the Bible calls sin.

Turner is now calling on American Christians to "calm down for a moment and look at ourselves."

He says to take a stand against the DD issue "looks ridiculous"---"we look foolish"--- and "worst of all, we sound down right ignorant."

He writes, "The issue is not about freedom of speech," encouraging folks, "Don't stoop to Sarah Palin's level."

He says the issue is no big deal, it's only "a meaningless television show" and to speak out on this and other cultural issues "undermines the message of God's love and grace."

Turner concludes his lengthy comments with---"Phil Robertson will survive this---with or without a television program" but the church may not, "because those speaking out on issues are acting like fools," adding our "foolishness to a legacy of foolishness that America's church has become well known for."

I personally wish the church were better known for speaking to the culture regarding biblical Truth. More on that in a moment.

The entertainment industry trade magazines are saying Nancy Dubuc, CEO of A&E, who made the decision to "suspend indefinitely" Phil Robertson from the show about his family which includes their faith, was a "foolish mistake." She blew it---mishandled it from the beginning.

They say her problem is that Phil Robertson and his family actually believe the biblical teaching he has publicly espoused. Because of his beliefs, the industry thinks he and his family will walk away from the most successful show on TV if Phil is not reinstated to the show. Hollywood believes the Robertson's will not compromise their beliefs. And personally they don't need the money.

They expect some kind of move on Dubuc's part to "fix" things within the next week and a half.

But this is not about a TV show.

What about Pastor Laurie's remarks? Is a minority in our culture forcing biblical Christians to affirm, at least with silence, a behavior that God defines as sin?

Or is Matthew Turner right in saying all the objections are foolishness and undermine the message of God's love and grace?

George Barna, the leading researcher on issues of faith and values in America, reports that while 99% of conservative pastors are opposed to same-sex marriage, only 31% of them plan to preach on the issue in 2014.

97% of them believe the Scriptures are clear on teaching regarding same-sex relations and marriage, but only 17% plan to mention it from their pulpit.

If the church doesn't speak to these issues, who will? Are we not responsible for the culture.

Silence on the issues is hiding our light under a bushel.

It is refusing to be salt and light.

Is silence on these kinds of issues sin?

I'm talking more about this on the radio this morning. Join me live at 9 AM, PT. Here's how.

Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.