It has been both interesting and frustrating to see numerous articles online about Phil Robertson’s recent comments and suspension from the show Duck Dynasty. Unless you have been on a remote island, you have been inundated with opinions, so I will spare you all the details. As someone who watches the show and enjoys it, my comments are from the perspective of a fan. I have even read several of their books and heard Willie speak in person, so know a little about their family and beliefs. Here are a few takeaways for us.
This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone
After seeing reports of how A&E has tried to manufacture drama and conflict on the show in the past, the latest news shouldn’t surprise us. Duck Dynasty is a reality show. A&E has edited prayers to remove the name of Jesus and has added bleeps to make it falsely sound like the family was using profanity. It shouldn’t surprise the Robertsons that the network would take drastic action against Phil. They knew what they were getting into when they signed with a secular company that is not focused on family values. However, it also shouldn’t surprise A&E that Phil would say the things he said. He is honest and blunt, and he does not shy away from controversial subjects. He has spoken numerous times in the past about his beliefs.
Our Country is Deeply Divided
This again shows the increasing tension between those who hold to a Biblical worldview and those who hold to a post-modern worldview. Notice that I didn’t describe this as Christians vs. non-Christians. Many who claim to be Christian no longer hold to a Biblical worldview. In our post-modern world, it is inconceivable to many that someone could hold to the belief that homosexuality is a sin. So when a public figure states a traditional definition of marriage and sex, they are immediately labeled as intolerant and bigoted. The problem lies within our perception and definition of tolerance. I like what Rick Warren has said about tolerance.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
― Rick Warren
It saddens me to see the hostility that has been spewed in both directions since A&E’s announcement. There are no winners in a situation like this. I feel that A&E made a huge mistake. If they wanted to show their commitment to tolerance, they could have easily stated that they didn’t agree with Phil’s statements. Instead, by his suspension they have shown their intolerance to anyone who holds to traditional views of sexuality.
Our Media and Culture is Biblically Illiterate
It has amazed me to listen to newscasters and commentators who don’t even have a basic understanding of Biblical Christianity. Many people did not realize that Phil was basically quoting the following passage.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Our culture simply finds the Bible offensive. Even many Christians pick and choose the parts of the Bible to believe. Phil was simply asked what is sin. His answer shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows scripture.
As followers of Christ, we must do a better job articulating and communicating the Gospel message from the Bible. The message of Jesus is found in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We are all sinners, and that is a message the world doesn’t want to hear. Phil used some colorful language, but he also shared a message of hope, but this part has been left out of most articles.
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?” - Phil Robertson
Many Christian Leaders are Afraid to Take a Stand
When leaders start apologizing for what the Bible says, we have a problem. I understand that many in the homosexual community feel attacked by Christians, and for that I am sorry. But I won’t apologize for my belief in what is right and wrong moral behavior as defined by the Bible. As a pastor, I will show love and reach out to anyone, but that doesn’t mean I must agree with their behavior.
The main issue is the authority of the Bible. Is the Bible just a collection of stories? Or is it much more? I believe it is the divinely inspired Word of God. That’s my choice and my conviction. Tolerance means that I respect others, even if I don’t agree with them. So let’s show respect while we carefully articulate the Christian faith by speaking the truth in love.