A Challenge to Christ-Followers in America

August 1, 2012 — 4 Comments

Much has been said in the past few weeks regarding the dust-up caused when Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy, in an interview with Baptist Press, affirmed his support for “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Tensions have run high on both sides of the issue, which was widely interpreted and reported by the media as a blatant attack on homosexuals.There have been calls for boycotts of the chicken giant as well as calls for rallies of support from the Christian community.

CHRISTIANS MUST CONTRIBUTE TO CIVIL DISCOURSE.

I’ve found the whole thing painful to watch. It’s hard to see a God-fearing man badgered and slandered because he voiced his opinion and backs up that opinion by contributing to pro-family Christian organizations (which have been deemed ‘hate’ organizations by the LGBT activist community). It has been difficult to watch Christian brothers and sisters express hostility toward those who would differ with them. That is, in my opinion, not the path Christ would choose if He were here on earth today. It has also been difficult to watch the mainstream news media, in their bias, distort and mischaracterize the nature of Mr. Cathy’s remarks.

Just this week the Democratic Party added gay marriage to its platform. I find all this hoopla a bit overblown, particularly since up until a couple months ago Mr. Cathy’s position was in sync with the stated positions of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Did these gentlemen have a true change of heart, or were they merely saying whatever was necessary at the time to get them elected? My guess is the latter — which makes the whole thing that much more intriguing. Mr. Cathy expressed — when asked — his opinion about the family, and he answered it honestly. It seems to me that our American society has lost its esteem and respect for honesty and freedom of speech. The new definition of free speech in this age of extraordinary political correctness is along the lines of “You are free to say whatever you like — unless I disagree with you.”

CHRISTIANS MUST TEACH ABSOLUTE TRUTH.

Friends, neighbors, strangers, politicians, it is a profoundly sad day in America when one is singled out for expressing Christian views that are consistent with his faith. If we are to rebuild this nation, then we must return to an understanding of basic morality. Of course, therein lies the problem. The majority of Americans today do not believe in absolute truth. Rather, they approach the whole of life through the lens of moral relativism, constantly justifying and making excuses for words and behaviors that run completely counter to the teachings of Scripture. Look at these words from George Barna:

In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, one among adults and one among teenagers, people were asked if they believe that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. The perspective was even more lopsided among teenagers, 83% of whom said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% of whom said moral truth is absolute. (Click here to read the whole article.)

CHRISTIANS MUST EXPECT HOSTILITY.

Of course, I’m not overly surprised at this sad state of affairs. Listen to these words of the Apostle Paul to young Timothy:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Tim. 3:1-5, ESV)

I don’t know about you, but a lot of those words and phrases seem to capture what lies at the foundation of our nation’s struggle, a complete disregard for the truths of Scripture.

I’m also not surprised that followers of Christ are being judged, slandered, and belittled for expressing beliefs that are consistent with Scripture. Listen to the words of Jesus:

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. (Matt. 10:16-18, ESV)

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19, ESV)

CHRISTIANS MUST STAND FOR FREEDOM.

For generations America has stood as a beacon of hope to people throughout the world, because of its appreciation of and great sacrifices for liberty. Because of our freedom of speech and religion, we have been able to preach the Gospel and share the love of Christ with others without fear of governmental interferance. I believe it is in our best interest as believers — and in the best interest of our nation as a whole — for us to vigilantly and valiantly guard our freedom, not in a prideful way, but viewing it as a precious gift of God.

Today I plan to visit Chick-Fil-A for lunch.

Last week, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee encouraged viewers of his show and fans of his Facebook page to express their appreciation for Mr. Cathy and Chick-Fil-A by eating there on Wednesday, August 1. I plan to enjoy lunch there today. With my presence this is what I’m saying:

  • I believe in freedom of speech.
  • I believe that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman living together for a lifetime. This is the only relationship that naturally and biologically perpetuates the human species.
  • I believe that even one person can make a difference when he joins with others against a tidal wave of immorality.

I’m also saying this:

  • I hate homosexuality, along with its trappings and enslavement . . . but I love people who consider themselves gay.
  • I stand for the teachings of Scripture — but not against others who fall short of the glory of God.
  • I believe the very fabric of our republic is contingent upon the free expression of dissent.

These are difficult days for those who call themselves Christians. And things will continue to grow more difficult in the months and years ahead. However, the words we use, the thoughts we express, and the actions we take should reflect the nature of the One we serve and seek to emulate. Just because someone may hate us doesn’t mean we should hate them back. In fact, Jesus spoke to that as well:

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:44-45, ESV)

I’m learning more and more each day how counter-intuitive and counter-cultural the Christian life is. Admittedly, I sometimes get caught up in battling the culture rather than seeking to season it with salt and brighten it with the light of Christ and His truth. My prayer is that through the Chick-Fil-A controversy, we as believers would represent Christ well — and help others understand what we are for rather than simply what we are against.

Will you join me in that effort?

4 responses to A Challenge to Christ-Followers in America

  1. 

    Great article! I especially loved the point that we must stand up for absolute truth-not a popular thing to do these days. It takes integrity to even voice our opinions these days-imagine that moment when Mr. Cathy was asked his personal opinion-an opinion that has cost him so much. Without even thinking twice, he uttered what he stood for. If only we could all be ready at any moment to “give an answer…”

  2. 

    Let’s just remember that absolute truth is a person, Jesus. He’s not a weapon. He spent so much time with people that religious people didn’t like that they called Him a “friend of sinners.” I have friends on both sides of this issue. I hate that Chick-fil-a is being attacked because of what Dan Cathy believes. I also hate that people are hearing “you’re not welcome; we’d rather stick to our truth than love you.” I’m not saying that’s what’s being said, but it’s hard to not hear it when you feel like your relationship gets second-class status for reasons you don’t understand.

    Let’s approach all people as if we’re more broken than they are and see if they see Christ in our humility.

    • 

      I hear what you’re saying. I hope I’m not using Jesus as a weapon. That’s certainly not my intention or my heart. You make a very valid point about those who ‘don’t understand’ the reasons so many Christians feel and believe the way they do about homosexuality and same-sex marriage in particular. Thanks for joining the conversation. It’s this kind of comment that lends itself to helpful and civil discourse.

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