his past week has seen an explosion of fed-up Christians finally standing up for their right to speak truth into the culture. Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson made some statements to GQ magazine that caused a huge uproar. I won’t rehash what transpired here because the purpose of this post is not to support or defend Phil Robertson, although let the record show that I am in full support of what Phil Robertson said, his right to say it, and the right of the people of this nation to respond to actions by A&E and Cracker Barrel as a result of those statements.
As a friend pointed out to me, A&E is quite likely violating the EEOC’s protections against workplace religious discrimination, so I am not going to say I support A&E’s right to suspend Phil.
But this post is about some conversation that resulted from this situation.
Rather than explain that conversation, I will simply post it here for you to read. The final comment in this thread is absolutely outstanding.
LeanneZeck: There is nothing wrong with disagreeing. But it seems that people of faith often disagree in a very unholy way. We do not hear each other and we judge someone's intelligence, motives and worst of all, someone's love of God.
Thanks for the reminder that we are all made in the image of God. How we respond and speak to other human beings reflects our faith more than where we stand on an issue.
JohnNLizP: @LeanneZeck said "How we respond and speak to other human beings reflects our faith more than where we stand on an issue."
Really? Do you have anything to back up this statement? or does it just feel right?
LeanneZeck: @JohnNLizP Jesus said people would know we are his disciples by our love not by where we stand on some social issue. I believe that is Scripture. The beatitudes are more about our character instead of where we stand on issues. The teaching on the letter of the law versus the Spirit of the Law. Joseph was considered righteous not because he followed the letter of the law and stood on the side of the law but instead had mercy. Have the same mind that Christ had, who laid down his rights and was obedient to death. Just a few of the places I have been challenged by God to be more Christ like in responding rather than just quoting scriptures at someone ;)
Perhaps I missed somewhere in Scripture where God says where we stand on issues matters more than how we respond? You could probably enlighten me on that though.
JohnNLizP: @LeanneZeck I would be glad to assist. "They will know we are Christians by our Love" is a song lyric. Jesus actually said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 34-35) In this passage He is commanding the Disciples (His followers) to love each other, and be unified. He doesn’t say “never offend people”, In the context of "people knowing you are Christians"... He says Love your Christian brothers and sisters.
As for where we stand on issues... Jesus commanded.. "go and make disciples of all nations... Teaching them to OBEY EVERYTHING I have commanded you." Matt 28:19-20). First, that requires us to know and agree on everything He commanded, and then to tell everyone they need to Obey Him. The Scripture tells us this about Christian Leaders... "They must also be sensible, fair, pure, and self-controlled. They must stick to the true message they were taught, so that their good teaching can help others and correct everyone who opposes it." (Titus 1:8-9).
Not everyone is going to want to hear this.... because being convicted of sin is painful... Listen to what Jesus said about this... "I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides.A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same." (Luke 12:49-53). What you believe really does matter. Faith in some experience devoid of theological or biblical content–no matter how powerful–is not New Testament Christianity.
In our current culture people think that it does not matter what you believe as long as you have faith. Paul warned Timothy about this... "The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons. These people will speak lies disguised as truth." (1 Tim 4: 1-2). Obviously in order to avoid being deceived, you must know the truth. Paul ends the chapter this way... " Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you." (1 Tim 4: 16)
I will leave you with more of Paul's words to Timothy "Preach the word. Be ready to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Correct, confront, and encourage with patience and instruction. There will come a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will collect teachers who say what they want to hear because they are self-centered. They will turn their back on the truth and turn to myths." (2 tim 4: 2-4)
Now that is apologetics in actions. Fantastic!