Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Duck Dynasty Fallout?

Picture by Michael Hickman

Duck Dynasty fallout?
Homosexuality.  Same-sex marriage.  DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act.  Chick-Fil-A.  Duck Dynasty.  Wait, Duck Dynasty?
It seems like controversy between Christians and the gay community is growing intense.  What is going on in our culture?  Are Christians becoming increasingly intolerant?  Or are homosexuals gaining in popularity and grabbing the attention of the national consciousness?
Ever since Barack Obama became president, there has been an agenda being pushed upon the American people like never before.  To be fair, this is not a new phenomenon.    It may seem like these issues are fairly new but it’s only because the small and effective number of homosexuals are given greater access to our homes through the bullhorn of the mainstream media.  It’s not new.  The ongoing onslaught against Christianity is as old as Christianity itself.  Homosexuality goes even further back.  Remember Sodom and Gomorrah?
The problem in our culture, though, isn’t homosexuality.  It is only a tool.  The true enemy, the enemy of our souls, is Satan.  And Satan has an effective way to gain access and influence in our lives…our sin nature.  To gain a better understanding of what our culture, or in a broader sense the world, is up against, we need to understand this foe called Satan.
Satan is a very intelligent and manipulative entity.  At one point in history, he was regarded as an angel with great power and influence.  His problem was that he became too great, at least in his own mind, and that was his downfall.  He arrogantly thought that he was like God.  In trying to assert himself and usurp authority, he rebelled against God and was ultimately cast out from heaven.
That wasn’t the end of Satan, though.  In becoming an enemy of God, he became an enemy of God’s creation.  In the process, Satan took it upon himself to tempt man and to further cause mankind’s fall from God’s grace.  Fortunately, God had a plan to redeem man and that was through His own Son, Jesus.  We have an advocate in Jesus in that He exchanged our sin for His righteousness and because of the cross and his life, death, and resurrection we can be saved.  Jesus paid the price for our sin and rebellion and the gift of God, which is Jesus, is offered to those to believe and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Satan provides a powerful reminder of a life of rebellion separated from God.  His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.  For reasons we cannot fully grasp, Satan will go to great lengths to destroy the life of any man, woman, or child.  He wants to prevent mankind from leaving the life of sin and receiving God’s divine grace.  He wants nothing less than to see God’s plan and purposes being thwarted.  Is it jealousy, envy, or something else?  I’m not absolutely sure but there is nothing about Satan’s intent that can be trusted.
When Jesus talked about our adversary, it was with the understanding that Satan first hated Him.  What Jesus actually said had to do with the world and the system of the corruption of sin.  Ultimately, these things exist because the adversary, the devil, exists.  When Jesus pointed out that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, He made it clear by saying it was really against the powers and principalities of darkness.  This is to say that it isn’t just Satan but it includes the legion of angels which fell along with him when he was banished.  Satan apparently had quite the following because the Bible talks about how a third of the angels fell from the sky (metaphorically stated as a third of the stars.)
This should help us to keep things in context.  Remember, Jesus said that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood.  My question then is why do we act like the homosexual community is our enemy?  Let me put this another way.  How much effort do we put in to the fact that premarital sex, extramarital affairs, pornography, child molestation, course joking, and even our lustful thoughts are sinful in the eyes of God?  To be sure, these are all sin problems that should and need to be addressed equally.
This is not to suggest that I believe we should harass, belittle, or intimidate anyone involved in any of these sins.  What do we do for those who get divorced?  How do we handle those who are addicted to drugs?  Do we identify those who are alcoholics and publicly humiliate, torment, or beat them?  There may have been times centuries past when professing Christians took this approach.  They may have seen the Old Testament as justification for treating sinners in an aggressive way.
The question is how did Jesus treat sinners?  Did he not engage them?  Did He not minister to them?  He actually would go out of His way to meet sinners where they were.  Jesus didn’t condone the sin but neither did He break out the whip or try to stone them to death.  The Bible states that Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  What Jesus did was bring about a new covenant whereby unmerited grace is given to those who enter into this covenant and follow Jesus.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding how Christians are engaging our culture.  The homosexual community is obviously making their positions known.  They’re trying to make Christians pay for their disapproval through legislative means.  The goal, it seems, is to force participation in their activities, resulting in compliance and silencing opposition.
What about Christians, though?  How are Christians to respond to this attack on our freedoms, consciences, and faith?  Should we respond in kind or follow the example of Jesus and engage people where they are?  Instead of trying to separate ourselves from the homosexual community maybe we should emphasize God’s love to them and expose them to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s a conflict for me when I read about Christians who refuse to serve a cake or take pictures at a wedding because the purpose is for same-sex marriage.  At first, I thought I agreed with those that they shouldn’t participate due to consciences sake.  Then in light of the gospel, I thought, why don’t Christians participate and use this as an opportunity to minister to them?  This kind of conflict gave me pause because I really don’t know what the right response to this should be.
Then I began looking for other points of view from godly men and women and came across an excellent response to this issue.  At Moore to the Point, a person asked Dr. Moore the very question regarding same-sex marriage that I posed.  Dr. Moore’s answer was very articulate and thorough.  The emphasis regarding the Apostle Paul’s admonition on eating meat appears to apply to this situation.  If something is put before you and you have no knowledge of a sinful activity, there appears to be a way to be involved, even to the glory of God.  However, if the situation presents itself to you in a way that is sinful, and advertised as such, then Paul recommends you to abstain from that activity for the sake of the consciences of those around you.
I cannot think of a situation where a person can participate in the ceremony of a same-sex marriage and not know of the sinful nature of that activity.  Dr. Moore explains that a photojournalist can be a neutral observer and not violate his/her conscience, or those around them.  But a photographer participating in and creating the memories as a service for the “wedding couple,” that person is a participant and is no longer neutral.  It’s a big issue that seems to have multiple implications.  But however a Christian should respond, it should be in light of his/her conscience and those around them.
I still think it’s important that we somehow engage the homosexual community, allowing for the fact that there are going to be situations where we should disengage.  I’m not being naïve to think that homosexuals will respond favorably.  As with any sinful behavior there are going to be those who will rebel and recoil in hate.  It’s not our responsibility to save people.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.  All we can do is present the Truth to them.  As with the lost in any situation we look for opportunities where God can use us to plant His seed in their hearts.  Hopefully and prayerfully, we can be there to see that seed bear fruit.
I also don’t believe it’s wrong for Christians to use legislative means to promote Christian values.  When God gives a command, it’s for our good.  God’s laws are meant to protect us and to warn us.  If we use government in a practical way, we can use laws that promote healthy lifestyles.  This may sound like a contradiction of sorts.  On a personal level I think that we can’t force people into living contrary to their sin nature without divine intervention.  No person can change another person to leave a life of sin.  But as with God’s laws, there are specific benefits to having laws in government.  Morality is the fabric that holds a society together.  It is for our benefit and our safety as a whole.  Without virtue and morality, entire civilizations have collapsed.  The absence of morality can be seen in countries today and it is clear that life is devalued to the point of hopelessness and chaos.
Though I think that we should engage homosexuality with battle-like mindset on a national level, I believe it is counterproductive to separate ourselves from people on a personal level.  Like stated previously, our battle is not against flesh and blood.  There are going to be culture wars.  We should be mindful that on a large scale it may be necessary to speak out against homosexuality.  But on a personal level we need to speak the truth with love.
On this issue, I think that Phil Robertson has provided us with a real-world example of what this conflict is like in our culture.  I pray that the conversations that come from these opportunities will result in people being introduced to the gospel and lives being changed.  May God receive all the glory!


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