Thursday, January 05, 2017

Fixer Upper Stars Chip and Joanna Respond to Controversy

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Following the controversy last fall involving their pastor being accused of "preaching against homosexuality and same-sex marriage," and the "Fixer Upper" couple never having a homosexual couple on their hit HGTV show---Chip and Joanna have responded.

In a blog post Monday, Chip wrote about his "New Year's Revelation" rather than a New Year's resolution.

Country Living wrote this Tuesday:

Back in November, Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines found themselves at the center of a controversy around their pastor, Jimmy Seibert. A BuzzFeed article reported that Seibert preaches against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and noted that the Gaines have never featured a same-sex couple on their HGTV show. 
The network stood behind its hosts, but aside from a few tweets, Chip and Joanna kept quiet. But Chip has now written an inspirational message about people getting past their differences, and it's being seen as a response to the controversy around their church.

In their blog, Chip wrote, "This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can't recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgment, fear and even hatred. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand."

Chip also writes that he and Joanna have felt like people have misunderstood them this past year.

He wrote, "Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It's not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith."

All biblical Christians would agree with his spirit.

He writes, "Jo and I don't want to hide, we want to live brave & bold lives and we wish that same thing for you as well."

Country Living notes, "But overall Chip writes that getting America unified 'could be one of the greatest restoration stories of all time'."

In reading Chip's blog, and knowing what millions of American's know about this couple, it's clear they love the Lord, are concerned about addressing the issue as they begin the new year, and they have a growing, successful business enterprise that is vulnerable to homosexual discrimination charges in our current cultural environment.

I like their show---my wife and I watch it often and will continue to do so. Chip and Joanna are good Christian people. And they are enormously successful.

However, this raises a question that is bigger than this specific issue and these specific people.

How far should biblical Christians go in the pursuit of cultural unity?

It would indeed be wonderful if America could be unified, but in that pursuit, we must not forget it was Jesus Himself who taught that the division regarding Himself and the Word of God is itself a divisive message, telling those of us who follow Him as our Lord and Savior that the world will likely hate you because they hate Him and the Word of God---His teachings.

President Abraham Lincoln called our nation to attention with his reference to "A House Divided." In his case, it was divided over slavery.

In this, one of his several historic speeches, Lincoln references the teaching of Jesus (recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke) telling his Republican colleagues and the nation, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall---but I do expect it will cease to be divided."

Did he believe the house would cease to be divided through compromise?

No. He believed the issue of slavery was "either/or." One belief would ultimately prevail over the other. And should the wrong prevail, it could, in one sense, produce the appearance of unity.

Lincoln said, "Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it...or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new---North as well as South."

Lincoln believed he was on the right side of God's eternal Word regarding one man owning another.

He told his audience, "We must hold to principle" above striving for unity, because one belief will ultimately prevail.

In the next to last line of his famous speech, Lincoln said, "The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail---If we stand firm, we shall not fail."

Biblical Christians are called not to hide the Truth, but to live "bold and brave lives," as Chip and Joanna desire to do.

While there is room for compromise in some political policies, there can never be room for compromise in biblical principles, even for the sake of unity---or personal cost.

Particularly when the principle involves the very foundation of human sustainability---human sexuality---marriage---family. The cornerstone of human civilization.

Jesus taught, and Lincoln understood, that the biblical call to unity is one of biblical believers being called to become one in Christ and His Word.

I would repeat, "The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail---if we stand firm, we shall not fail."

While the unification of America could be "one of the greatest restoration stories of all time"---it would not be the greatest of all time.

The greatest restoration story is described like this: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

True unity exists in personally embracing that eternal God and His eternal Word through His only begotten Son.

Be Faithful. Be Strong. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.