Home > Death of the West, Love, The Holy Cross, The Word > Taking up your cross is harder than taking home some chicken.

Taking up your cross is harder than taking home some chicken.


Chick-fil-A

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/kiss-mor-chiks-gay-rights-activists-protest-chick-fil-a-with-kiss-in/2012/08/03/742e3d8c-dd69-11e1-8e43-4a3c4375504a_blog.html

Chick-fil-A remains at the center of a culture war with marriage equality supporters planning to converge onto the fast-food restaurants Friday and kiss fellow demonstrators.

The event comes two days after supporters of the chain’s president Dan Cathy’s stance on gay marriage attracted thousands, many of them conservative Christians, to restaurants, resulting in record-setting sales. former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister and Fox News talk-show host, issued the call to action at the company’s more than 1,600 locations.

We no longer discuss or debate in our society.  We stage media events.

The  church fathers wrote books and essays like “The City of God” and “Exhortation to the Heathen.”  During the Reformation, theologians made arguments defending or explaining the faith to the public, learned and unlearned, like Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” or “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.”

Today there is no public debate depending on reasoned arguments.  We can’t make them, or don’t believe in them.  We don’t enter into public discussion with ideological opponents.  There is no discussion about whether homosexual “marriages” will benefit society, whether they make sense.  Everyone knows that no one cares about reason and argument.  What matters is how people feel about homosexuality.  And what matters is how effectively you are able to command the terrain of the battle, which is the media and how you look in it.

Homosexual marriage is an absurdity.  An examination of history will show you that there has never been any such thing.  That’s because marriage is not primarily about love, or about being turned on, or about your affection for your relative who’s gay nor about your nostalgia for the good old days of deistic civil religion.  Marriage, at least as far as the state is concerned, is about babies.

Babies continue to come into existence only one way–through the union of a human male and a human female.  Because of this, it has always been in the interest of nations both to encourage procreation of children in such a way that the next generation was taught and nurtured toward responsible citizenship, and discourage the procreation of children who would grow up inadequately nurtured and taught.  So governments wanted to discourage sexual unions that produced children with absent fathers, and also to discourage sexual activity which would not result in children at all.

A ways back we got the idea that low birth rates were beneficial–or at least not harmful–to the health of a nation.

The evidence that these old ideas were right are punching our society repeatedly in the eye, but we still don’t hear any voices in the media saying this unequivocally.  This argument doesn’t get heard.

The idea that marriage is not simply a cultural idiosyncrasy of the West, but merely an acknowledgment of the laws of nature, is shouted down.  Along with the entire intellectual tradition upon which our present civilization depends.

We can’t have the discussion.  We don’t discuss whether or not Nazi race ideology has any merits, because it is considered obscene to even discuss it.  I agree–racism and genocide is ugly and evil.  Unfortunately, that is getting to be the way every issue in our culture is staged.  Those who oppose homosexuality are simply evil people, just like Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

But I find myself wondering, again, if we’re fighting the wrong way;  if organizing a rally around Chik-fil-a is really the way to fight this battle.  The owner of Chik-fil-a was well aware of what it would cost him to say that public endorsement of homosexuality invites God’s judgment.

Gay activists picketing and boycotting everyone who dares to say that homosexuality is a moral evil akin to racism–the appropriate way to fight that is to tell Christians and nostalgic Americans to go buy a bunch of fast food?  In the interests of getting on the evening news?  Isnt’ that just feeding into the problem?

Far better to speak the truth in love and then endure the attacks that will follow.  Buying fried chicken is not going to stop the public approval of homosexuality.  Maybe you could argue that Christians have to act politically to fight unjust laws, such as gay marriage laws.  You have to also recognize that this is probably a losing battle.  But participating in stupid media stunts?  Is that really how we operate?  I seem to remember Paul saying that we do not fight with the weapons of the world, and that we have renounced hidden ways, but we commend ourselves to men’s consciences by speaking in the open.  I remember Jesus saying, “For this purpose I have come: to bear witness to the truth.”  (John 18? 19?)  Not to manipulate crowds, not to win public opinion.

What works in favor of Christian opposition to homosexual marriage is first of all that it is simply true that homosexual marriage and sex is wrong.  And people know that.

In a sense you could look at the gay outrage and loudness as the cries of desperate consciences.  Deep down people know that it is wrong.  But what people don’t know is the gospel.  They don’t know what to do when they are sinners and can’t stop sinning.  And the problem is that the Christians in America, by and large, have neglected to tell people, clearly and unmistakably, that human beings are born dead in trespasses and sins, enemies of God who are unable to turn to Him and unable to do anything good in His sight.

Since Americans don’t know that, they don’t understand or know that the only answer to the sin that lives in us is the crucifixion of the Son of God.  Because Jesus was brutally killed and bore God’s wrath against my rebellion, my sins are no longer counted to me when I believe God’s promise to blot out my sins for Jesus’ sake.

You can simply tell people the truth–it is a perversion of human sexuality for people of the same sex to pleasure themselves with one another, since their sexual organs are self-evidently for the purpose of creating human life.  Eventually the truth will out.

But why do people not listen to this truth?  Because they know that the sex drive–lust–is powerful.  And they know that many gay people find themselves attracted to the same sex at a young age without consciously choosing it.  And they feel that it is not possible for something to be wrong or evil and worthy of condemnation if it is not something you choose.

It is a misguided compassion.

You don’t overcome false compassion by fighting–by fighting back in the media and by buying fast food.

Take a lesson from Jesus, or Gandhi, at least.  You tell the truth, and you suffer injustice without perpetrating injustice in return.  Eventually it’s going to be hard to portray Christians as compassionless, self-righteous haters if it’s the gay rights groups that are constantly boycotting and screaming and dragging us into court.

But the goal is not to be perceived as compassionate, but actually to be compassionate.  To speak against homosexuality because we love homosexuals, and the media, and because our Lord loves homosexuals, and the media.  We should not speak against homosexuality, much less buy fried chicken against homosexuality, because we love ourselves.

God loves sinners!  Lots of people think that Christians teach that God loves Pharisees!  God does love Pharisees too, along with other sinners.

First of all, God loves sinners–real, ungodly, wicked, going to hell sinners.

Secondly, God loves sinners.  He earnestly, passionately loves the ones who hate and oppose Him and would kill Him if they could.  He so passionately loves evil sinners that He allowed them to kill Him.  He has given Himself into our hands.  And how often has it been the Church that has blasphemed and killed Him in response to His love in putting Himself into our hands?  Far more often than it has been the gay rights groups.

Because we are often the ones who have done the worst to Christ–we have gotten His word wrong or portrayed Him wrong or denied Him–and worse, hardened ourselves against Him when He rebuked us–we should know something about what Jesus’ love for those who vehemently hate and curse Him is like.

I’m not trying to criticize Mike Huckabee or anyone who jumped on the Chik-fil-a bandwagon.  I’ve struggled with this in my own mind.  It is important to speak the truth and to stand with those who speak it.  I know how painful it is to be attacked and then have your supposed allies say nothing, or say it’s your own fault because you didn’t say things the right way.

But we have to learn to evaluate victory differently.  Many homosexuals and supporters of gay marriage hate Christians because they think that Christians hate them.  And frequently they are right.  They need to see something of the reality that God loves those who hate Him.  They need to see Christians love them not only by Christians telling them the truth about their sin, but also by humbly bearing with abuse out of love.  And if we wish to do that, it means we need to ask the Holy Spirit to cause us to see, like Paul, how we have persecuted Christ and done the unforgivable, yet Jesus “loved us and gave himself for us.”  (Galatians 2:21)  He passionately loved us while we were still His persecutors, enemies, and murderers.

http://www.getreligion.org/2012/08/when-hating-on-chick-fil-a-try-to-hide-it-better/

http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=7563

  1. August 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Very nice. Very nice, indeed. Finally, one related article that actually relates to what I said.

    • August 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks. I usually don’t even look at the related articles I link to. Let the reader understand. Maybe I should pay more attention, but I just click on those to get more readers or to stimulate discussion.

  2. shofar
    August 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    “But the goal is not to be perceived as compassionate, but actually to be compassionate. To speak against homosexuality because we love homosexuals, and the media, and because our Lord loves homosexuals, and the media. We should not speak against homosexuality, much less buy fried chicken against homosexuality, because we love ourselves.”

    I can follow most of what you said, but I disagree with the last statement here about loving ourselves. Most of the folks would say that this was a way to support someone who was brave enough to take a stand for God and Bibical standards, and to also do so publicly. Not necessarily because they love fried chicken. Because we love our neighbors as ourselves, many of us will refrain from being confrontational and choose to be counted in this peaceable AND COMPASSIONATE fashion. I would have been in the line also, and I’m a vegetarian.

    • August 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      There are many people who are opposed to homosexuality or homosexual marriage who are not Christian. There are many people who profess Christ who oppose homosexuality but are not Christian. Christians are not doing nearly enough when they simply say that they are opposed to homosexual marriage, or that it’s wrong or a bad idea, or even when they say that it’s sinful and will damn a person. They have to begin by saying that, and then follow it through by willingly bearing insult and injury and hatred. And they have to learn to speak the truth and bear the hatred out of love for those who fight against them.

      So I’m saying my difficulty with this is that you can support the owner of chik-fil-a without doing the same kind of thing that the homosexual activists are doing.

      It’s “tit for tat.” We shouldn’t be trying to hold our position in the culture by power. And we shouldn’t allow Christianity to be painted simply as the religion that opposes sexual immorality.

      Of course we do oppose sexual immorality. Of course we should vote and engage in politics. But faith in Christ doesn’t come through Christians throwing their buying power or voting power around. Theoretically, we could politically prevent homosexual marriage from becoming law–and if we can do that, we should, because upholding the moral law is showing love to your neighbor. But that won’t get anyone into heaven.

      When it comes to facing opposition for Christianity, our weapons are not reasonable arguments, or voting, or large numbers. Then our weapons are to stand on God’s word alone; to pray; and to bear the cross for Christ’s sake. That will ultimately overcome the enemies of Christ.

      But what appears to be happening right now is that we are in the final stages of having Christianity move from the main religion of our culture to an outsider religion that is viewed with suspicion, or contempt, or outright persecuted. Our tendency is to want to prevent that. But we can’t prevent it by force. When persecution comes we shouldn’t take up the sword, but simply accept suffering or shame or death for Christ’s sake.

      We can fight for morality in our society with politics, and we should. But it looks like to me the chik-fil-a media stunt was not clearly just about morality or freedom of speech. It was perceived as Christians fighting against persecution.

      A Christian government can use force, because the government itself is not the kingdom of God. A Christian congress of the US or a Christian president can fight to defend against a communist army that in part wants to conquer the US so that it can destroy the church. But when the Christians in government do that they are not doing it as the church but as those who have an office that is required to use force.

      But as the church, as believers, when persecution comes because of God’s Word, Christ tells us to accept it willingly.

      Anyway, I appreciate your response. It helps me think about this. I think we really need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom as the church deals with the transition to a non-Christian culture, so that we do not confuse our witness to the world. The church’s job is to preach “repentance and forgiveness of sins in [Jesus'] name” (Luke 24). Rulers (and citizens voting in a democracy) are to uphold the moral law God has written on our hearts (Romans 2). But the government’s job is to punish evildoers and praise those who live virtuous lives in the sight of men. The church does something different; it preaches the Law of God and the coming judgment to unbelievers, but it does not enforce God’s law with human might or punish the wicked, because God’s judgment on the last day will not be to simply punish murderers and homosexuals, but to punish every wicked thought and word as well as deed. The church preaches the free forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake to repentant sinners who fear God’s wrath. The government is not in that business, otherwise it would have to let criminals out of jail and it couldn’t exercise the death penalty.

      If we mix up secular and spiritual power, we will confuse the unbelievers–and this has already happened. What do unbelievers know about conservative Christians? Many don’t seem to realize that we say that God justifies the ungodly out of pure grace. All they seem to know about Christians is that we are opposed to homosexuality, abortion, and the democratic party in general.

      This is not good. We need to make it clear that when Christians oppose gay marriage or abortion, we aren’t doing it to impose a theocracy on unbelievers, like the catholic church in the middle ages, or like Islam. We oppose moral evils like abortion and homosexuality because even unbelievers are capable of recognizing that it is wrong. As citizens we are required by God to love our neighbor by fighting for just laws.

      But as Christians we don’t want to force people to become outwardly Christian even though inwardly they don’t believe. As Christians, we make disciples simply by preaching the Word of God.

      Right now people don’t realize that the church’s message is the forgiveness of sins; they seem to think our message is that the whole country needs to embrace the bible’s morality. I don’t oppose homosexual marriage just because the bible says it’s wrong; I don’t expect that everyone in the country should acknowledge the authority of the Bible by law. But if government is going to be just, it has to recognize the moral law that everyone knows in every culture. If it doesn’t do that, it will be an oppressive government.

      If homosexual activists want to scream and picket every organization or business that says that homosexuality is wrong, let them scream. If Christians patiently bear it and love them, eventually fair minded people will recognize that the homosexual activists are acting out of their hatred and bigotry. But if Christians stage media events to respond to media events staged by our adversaries, we will lose and do damage to the witness of the church, because we will be depending on the arm of man and fighting with our own strength instead of depending on Christ and His Word.

      • shofar
        August 7, 2012 at 2:33 am

        Thank you for taking the time to write your lengthy perspective, reflecting your views on the Christians’s stand in society.

        I do not believe that “Christians are fighting against persecution”, at least, not in America. We are not worthy to ‘accept suffering shame or death for Christ’s sake’. Our many years of silence, lack of involvement, and inactivity, not being the salt of the earth and light of the world; having hypocrisy, division, worldliness and sinful behaviors among us who say we are believers, all of these things have resulted in making society what it is today.

        2Chron 7:14 (NIV) “. . .If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

        James 2:24 (NIV) “. . .a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”

        Thank you again for your comments!

      • August 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        I agree with you that it is the church’s unfaithfulness over the years that has finally led to this moral collapse. As you write, the church is salt. The effect of that for centuries in Europe and America was that even when you had men like some of the founders of the nation who denied the Christian faith (for instance, Th. Jefferson), they upheld the moral law.

        But when the church no longer is faithful to the the word of God, unbelievers lose the light that they used to have from the church. Human reason is weak and easily swayed by the devil, and when the light of the gospel recedes or is taken away, or when a society turns from it, it is no surprise that they fall into deep darkness and blindness. That’s why European and American leaders and intellectuals are no longer able to acknowledge that some of the most heinous sin is wrong, such as homosexuality. Our society has truly been blinded by a “strong delusion” (2 Thessalonians) since it “refused to love the truth, but delighted in wickedness.”

        However, ultimately the reason this happened is not that Christians didn’t preach God’s law enough. Not too long ago the churches–even the liberal ones–were still preaching old fashioned morality, and lots of people were going to church. But there had already been a mass defection from Christian doctrine, because preachers in many churches had long since stopped preaching (or had started playing down) that only through the atoning death of Jesus, God’s Son, can a person be declared righteous before God, through faith alone.

        When the offensive message of the cross is watered down, naturally also the next result will be a breakdown of confidence in the Scripture as God’s Word, and also the loss of morality. That is because the law does not make us better, it only increases our desperation.

        I agree with you that “faith without works is dead.” Some of those works are continuing to proclaim God’s law. But others are living lives of mercy. And the reason why Christians are so short on mercy and so big on worldliness, even in conservative churches, is because too often they do not hear that sin is not simply a matter of your choices, but rather that you can do nothing good at all without faith in Christ. Secondly, Christians in America are often fed a Gospel-poor diet. They hear a lot about biblical principles, and about how to experience God, and about how to receive God’s best for your life, or whatever. What they hear much less of is that Christ alone has ransomed lost and condemned sinners by His blood on the cross. The unconditional promise of grace for Christ’s sake is not heard enough. Instead, they hear that you can follow biblical principles and God will bless you.

        Well, it is true that God rewards obedience to His commandments with earthly rewards. But it is also true that no one actually obeys His commandments well enough to not need mercy. Whatever biblical principles I need to hear from the pulpit, I need to hear more about how my sins are just symptoms of the fatal disease I have called original sin. And that the only remedy for it is Jesus’ death on the cross. The only solution to the worldliness of the church is to preach repentance–the stern judgment of God–to the people in the churches who will not repent, and the pure mercy of God in Christ to the sinners who are terrified by the law.

        Thanks fo rth esicussion!

      • shofar
        August 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        You are right about what happens when we get away from the Word of God, when pastors and teachers consider it to be a BUFFET where they can pick and choose what is palatable to them, what they think will be easily received by the hearers and will not stop them from coming to church to give their tithes and offerings. They pass over the ‘dishes’ that don’t appeal to them, not taking the time to try or taste them. They are blind leaders of the blind.

        Apostate leaders in the church give their own interpretations of God’s Word and do not love the truth. The epistles of John focus on love in the truth, walk in the truth, warning about deception and false teachers with their false doctrines.

        Unless the pastors/shepherds get their act together, there is little hope for the church.

        The following is an excerpt from ‘Jeremiah- Prophet of Judgment to America’ written by Dr.Gold:

        Pastors Beware & Warnings Against False Prophets
        The word ‘pastors’ is found only once in the New Testament. In Eph4:11, a pastor is part of the five-fold ministry which Jesus Christ gave to the Church. A pastor is a ‘shepherd’ or an ‘overseer’ to feed the flock of God 1Pe5:2. Only in the book of Jeremiah are pastors mentioned in the Old Testament. Most of the 8 times, the pastors were rebuked by God. They were accused of becoming ‘brutish’- senseless and stupid, 10:21. They did not seek the Lord, but transgressed against Him, 2:28. Many have destroyed the Lord’s vineyard, trampling God’s harvest and wasting it, 12:10. They were wicked, 22:22. Some pastors destroy and scatter God’s sheep instead of nurturing them, 23:1. They feed the people, but with the wrong diet. Instead of keeping the flock together, the pastors scattered the flock and drove them away. They did not visit the people, so God will visit them with the evil of their doings, 23:2.

        Apparently, these scriptures attack the failings of pastors for not serving the Lord. Likewise, the prophets are also rebuked and rejected. They prophesy falsely, 5:31 and are in cahoots with the priests, 6:13, 8:10. They prophesy lies and cause people to trust in the lies, 23:25, 29:31. Jesus warned in the last days to beware of false prophets, Mt24:11. It will be hard to tell them apart from true ones because they will be among and in our midst. They speak with a false anointing, in the name of the Lord Jesus and will deceive many. (End)
        You can click on my BLOGROLL ‘God’s Hidden Nuggets for the Endtimes’

        http://drgoldsite.wordpress.com

        All who are called as watchmen will be held accountable for God’s sheep. In my eBook, ‘Sounding the Shofar- Exhortations for the End Times’, chapter 7 talks about ‘Watchmen On the Wall’., our role as watchmen in the church.

      • August 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

        Those who teach will be judged more strictly, James says. That should terrify anyone who considers preparing for the ministry.

        That is also what God uses to make us rely on Christ crucified only and to live by the Gospel that we preach. If we preach that only Christ is our righteousness before God, we can be comforted even if we are reminded of our failures and sins in the ministry, and we will not be overcome and fall. But if we teach and preach that our salvation depends on Jesus’ work as well as our own, that foundation will not stand when the winds beat against the house.

      • shofar
        August 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm

        Thank you, for all your sharing with me! God bless you in your ministry!

  1. August 3, 2012 at 10:54 pm
  2. August 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm
  3. August 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

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