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  • Church

    Why I’m Not Quacking About Phil Robertson

    December 20, 2013


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    Our rural church is presenting a kids’ Duck Dynasty pageant on Christmas Eve. Not because I like the show. Don’t take it personally; I don’t like football or TV either. But everyone else seems to like it, and besides, my baby girl makes the perfect Phil Robertson, with her dry, sarcastic sense of humor and her monotone enunciation of “na-ti-vi-ty.” This is going to be an episode that will finally make me laugh.

    But I wasn’t laughing when I heard NPR report Mr. Robertson’s remarks about “gay people”. (Some of us would do well to go back to grammar school and learn the difference between the terms “homosexuality” and “homosexuals”.) Nor did I find it funny to  read that he has been suspended from the show for expressing his personal beliefs off the show. Especially when those with an opposing worldview often not only express their beliefs on prime time TV, but berate and insult those who don’t agree, and are rewarded for it with increased air time and high approval ratings.

    Silly me. I thought this was a free country. I thought there was justice for all.

    Shame on A&E. Shame on America.

    And shame on the church. You know why?

    We are fighting the wrong war.

    When Paul compared us to soldiers in his epistle to Timothy, he wasn’t exactly suggesting a militant march on the nation’s capitol. He was calling us a heavenly army, and let me tell you, we’re not acting so angelic lately.

    No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:4)

    And what was it Peter called us? Strangers. Foreigners. Alien residents. Citizens of an eternal country. We are pilgrims passing through, looking for and longing for another homeland. At least, we are supposed to be.

    We don’t belong here, and we have never belonged here, even when it was a Christian nation. We were told that we would lose our freedoms, and that things would get worse and worse until it all burns up and melts away.*

    Help me understand how those who claim to be living on the edge and radical for Jesus get so upset about being marginalized. We were told to be okay with that. More than okay with that. We were told to embrace persecution joyfully, as an honor and a privilege. Not that we have any clue, from experience, what persecution is.

    What if we spent our energies, not fighting a culture war that we are never going to win and were never meant to win–He said it, not me–but building the Kingdom of God instead?

    We act just like the disciples did when they asked Jesus if he was finally going to restore the kingdom to Israel. And Jesus was like, “You still don’t get it, do you? That whole thing about me not coming here to fix your government, but to set up my throne in your hearts. To give you inner peace in this ever darkening world.” Then he took off. Ascended right out of there, almost as if he’d had enough of their thick skulls already. (Don’t quote me on that.)

    How would it change the church if we were to read the Bible as much as we read the Drudge Report? If we followed Jesus the Carpenter more than Joe the Plumber? If we listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit half as much as we listen to the voices on talk radio?

    How would it change our world if we sprinkled our news feeds with the Good News more than Fox News? If we fought against “principalities and powers in the heavenly places” with the same fervor that we fight against the powers in Washington?

    What if the freedom of those who are spiritually and physically bound became more important to us than our own political freedoms? What if we started thinking like the imprisoned apostle Paul, who understood true freedom more than anyone else?

    But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 NKJV)

    Mr. Robertson had the freedom to say what he said (however crass, and I’ll get to that) because of a document written in a different America two hundred years ago. I love that constitution and owe my life and allegiance to it. But friends, we are not in Kansas any more. Welcome to “The Last Days.”

    What if, instead of trying to blaze a trail through a post-Christian legislative branch, we plowed the gay neighbor’s driveway in the winter or offered to help him remove a fallen tree after a storm? What if we invited the adult-store owner, not to church, but to our house for dinner? Because you yourself would never be interested in getting to know a God whose people aren’t interested in getting to know you.

    And last I checked, the people we’re supposed to avoid are, not worldly TV producers and gay activists, but those who have “a form of godliness, but deny its power. From such, turn away.”*

    Besides, time is too short to be fighting a losing battle. It’s time we start storming the gates of hell more than the gates of the courthouse.

    I read the entirety of Mr. Robertson’s unedited comments to GQ. To be honest, his words made me cringe. He did not make me proud to be a Christian any more than A&E made me proud to be an American.

    I was more embarrassed by his choice of words and the tone of some of my fellow Christian writers than any cheesy church sign and Jesus Juke ever posted on the internet. It was not until I stumbled across this gay writer’s article that I finally felt at peace about the whole thing. Thank God for smart thinkers.

    But who of us perfectly represents Jesus all the time? Thankfully, Robertson came back with this official statement to the press:

    “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

    That’s more like it, Phil.

    To freedom fighters everywhere: Please don’t hear me saying we should stop fighting to protect our freedom of speech. I am able to write these very words because of that freedom. There are courthouse battles we can’t afford to ignore. What I am saying is, we should be careful to use those freedoms wisely.

     

    *2 Peter 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:5

     

     

    8 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Quacking About Phil Robertson

    1. Ann Smith says:

      Very well said, Faith. I am convicted on how I think of others. I certainly need to see them through my Fathers eyes. Thanks for this.

    2. Sherri A. Packard says:

      Faith, he was asked by GQ what he felt sin was and from there he stated homosexuality, beastality and some others from corinthians, he also stated it wasn’t his place to judge those that sin it is God Almighty’s and I don’t see where any of his answers are surprising nor do I disagree with him. It isn’t my favorite show either, watched it a handful of times… but I can honestly say that I think the media and A&E are making it a bigger deal than it is… in fact if he’d have answered any other way there would have been a controversy on that as well… the only way to avoid the whole thing would have been to avoid the question GQ asked and he wouldn’t do that.

    3. What he said “off the air”.

      I think that’s what really gets me. It’s like people are arguing that he shouldn’t be held accountable because it was “off the air”. it wasn’t an “official” statement.

      The truth is that as Christians every word we say is one we’ll be held accountable for… if it is uttered… it is official. I agree, Faith, that Phil’s position may be honorable, but the way he communicated it was not.

      Scripture tells us we need to be careful not to use crude or foolish language – Ooops! And the Bible also says that we need to be sensitive (not sucked into) the culture we’re a part of. (1 Cor. 9:20-22). Our culture needs two things: a wake up call and love. Both.

      Like you, Faith, I’m disappointed that Phil was not on guard at all times. That he let his mouth run away without his heart.

      I don’t watch their show (or any other… we don’t have a TV) so I cannot comment on that at all. But I can understand how he might have even thought his words might “fit” with his redneck persona. The trouble is… we live in a hostile world, like you said. We are just aliens traveling through.

      But A&E also shouldn’t have fired him. Hypothetically I’d like to believe they wouldn’t have fired him if his words had remained truthful but sweeter. But… this is the sad thing.

      It wouldn’t have changed. This issue would have still been going now… the only difference sweet words might have made is that A&E would look more nasty and Phil would be more the victim.

      Phil works with A&E. He must have had plenty of opportunity to show his heart to men and women who embrace homosexuality as they’ve filmed his TV shows. If he was truly hate-filled toward homosexuals this would have already come out before now. But since it hasn’t, I believe we can safely say his heart his right, though his words may not be.

      I think this serves as a great lesson for those of us who are believers… we must always be on guard. Always. We are never “off air” or in a “Free zone”. Every word we say will be one we’ll be held accountable for. Jesus walked this thin line all the time… and did it well. But it eventually cost him his life. On purpose.

      Like you said, we are strangers in this land. The rules are different. The laws are different. We can expect to be persecuted even for loving others, or speaking the truth.

      Wrap it all up… I think we can expect more and more of this. These are the last days. As believers we need to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

    4. valerie towers says:

      I like your style Faith u go girl!!!

    5. Victor says:

      Right on, Faith! You said it better than I could have. I said something similar (on my website) about how pointless it is to criticize our government leaders when (1) God appoints them, and (2) He puts in place what we deserve, for our correction or blessing. Our problem is not our government, it’s “we the people.” As you so beautifully said. Thanks!

    6. DiAne Gates says:

      Faith, this blog is dynamite! I’ve reposted on my FB page and thank you for speaking truth to the church.

      DiAne Gates
      http://dianegates.wordpress.com/
      Moving the Ancient Boundaries

    7. Dave says:

      Faith,

      I have not read your writings before; I found this article through a Facebook referral. Therefore I will not assume that I accurately understand your way of thinking in general. I do not wish to make any generalizations about you. But upon reading this article, I find your opinions in this matter to be ignorant and unbiblical, and therefore misleading to your readers.

      In paragraph three, you tell us that you think there is justice for all. This exhibits your ignorance of what is happening in this country. The words are still part of our Pledge, but the sad fact is that the leftist ideology that wars against our liberties is making headway through the courts and denying men and women of faith the freedoms we have supposedly been guaranteed as citizens of this once-great nation. Photographers and bakers and florists are among those who are being dragged through the courts for being people of faith and conviction. This is not justice. This is bald-faced oppression of people who trust in God’s Word. There is a war, Faith, and your criticism of many of your concerned brothers and sisters is not helpful or godly, as sweet as you may make it sound.

      I am most concerned about your lack of care in handling the Word of Truth, Faith. If you choose to be a teacher to the church, you need to present its truth accurately. To wit:

      No, Faith, Paul never called us a heavenly army. The Holy Spirit was very careful to let us learn from the conduct of an individual soldier in 2 Timothy 2 or Ephesians 6, but He never had a single New Testament writer tell us that we are an army. We are not called to band together to overrun those in the world by force. We should never suggest it.

      No, Faith, “We don’t belong here” is NOT a message of the Bible. God has left us here with important work to do. We are supposed to let our light shine in the darkness so that those who do not have a relationship with God can see our light and be attracted to it. “We don’t belong here” is a message of isolationism and retreat that is totally inconsistent with the powerful message of the gospel. We look forward to being in our ultimate home with our loving Father and Lord, but we have been left here for fruitful labor (Philippians 1:22), not just to stand idly by, waiting for our departure.

      No, Faith, “We were told that we would lose our freedoms, and that things would get worse and worse” is NOT a message of the Bible. Not until the Tribulation comes, at least. The history of this country shows just the opposite. Christ-following Americans have been at the forefront of movements to liberate people in our own nation and around the world. This nation has been the most generous in the history of the world. This nation has sent more missionaries and dollars and food and medicine and clothing and disaster relief and other aid to other countries than all the other countries of all time, combined. Those who have gratefully sung “God Bless America” have shown the rest of the world a love almost never heretofore seen. The message of the Bible is NOT a fatalistic, pessimistic view of life as you have presented it.

      No, Faith, “We were told to be okay with” being marginalized is NOT a message of the Bible. It’s not about US being marginalized, it’s all about the Word of God being marginalized and reduced and ignored and forgotten until a generation rises up that does not even know what the Word of God says. Oh, wait… that’s where we are today! Christ-followers through the ages have fought and died standing up for the truth of the Bible. This whole incident isn’t about Mr. Robertson; it’s all about whether the Word of God can still be spoken in this country. This battle isn’t about a television show; it’s about evil being represented as good and good being derided as evil (Isaiah 5:20). We should not be ashamed if we suffer for the truth, but we should be ashamed if we do not stand for the truth.

      No, Faith, “not fighting a culture war that we are never going to win and were never meant to win” is NOT a message of the Bible. God gave His Law to Israel to be a light to the nations. God gave His Spirit to the church to shine with the light of His holiness and righteousness in order to draw men to the truth. We are instructed to remove the immoral ones from our midst (1 Corinthians 6:9-13) so that there would be no darkness in our light, for God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all
      (1 John 1:5). No, we will not change the darkness of the world system, but we are to keep shining His light for all to see, without any shame (Romans 1:16).

      No, Faith, Jesus did not ascend in disgust of His disciples, whether you ask us to quote you or not. Conscientious Christ-followers are not taking the offensive in this war, seeking to establish the Kingdom by forcing the world to adopt our standards, but are merely standing firm in a defensive posture that says the Word of God is true, and is not evil, as its attackers are accusing. Those who attack Mr. Robertson are engaged in a revolution, seeking to overthrow the morality that has governed this country for hundreds of years, and which has governed most of the world for thousands of years. You need to recognize who is being offensive.

      You finally take a break from mishandling the Bible to start attacking your brothers and sisters who are concerned about the things happening in the world. You strongly imply that those who read the news or listen to the radio do not spend adequate time in the Word or in prayer. Shame on you! There may certainly be those who could use a different balance in their heavenly and earthly inputs, but it is an unfair generalization and accusation to assume that those who are in tune with current events necessarily do so at the expense of good spiritual habits.

      You appeal to Paul in his imprisonment, who himself appealed to Caesar to make his case. Paul understood how to use the justice system to bring God’s truth before those in worldly authority. The Scripture you quote is also fairly applied to Mr. Robertson, who, like Paul, is under attack and worldly scrutiny. I have no doubt you would be cheering for Paul in his campaign for truth. Why not cheer for Mr. Robertson now?

      You welcome us to “The Last Days,” but Peter announced that 2,000 years ago (Acts 2:14-17). Faith, some of us ARE in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, and other places where the leftists have not yet overrun all of our institutions as they have on the coasts. In many places in our country, Christians still know how to stand up and speak the truth.

      You finally come to a paragraph containing some wisdom, but unfortunately present it in an either-or proposition. Yes, Faith, we need to show love to our neighbors, regardless of their sin condition! But that doesn’t mean that we cannot stand up for righteousness in our legislatures, as well.

      You then misrepresent the situation at hand once again by portraying it as “people we’re supposed to avoid.” Mr. Robertson’s remarks said nothing at all about avoiding people, nor has a single comment which I have read so far by any of those supporting him. You create a false argument out of nothing.

      No, Faith, “time is too short to be fighting a losing battle” is NOT a message of the Bible. Those valiant Christ-followers who came before us also thought that the return of Christ and the end of the world were imminent, but it did not prevent them from fighting against evils such as slavery. Should we have ignored the threats to the world from Nazi Germany or Communist Russia because they might have looked like losing battles? No, we sacrificed thousands of lives to fight for right against the forces of evil. Pacifists only encourage those who wish to bring their evil upon the world.

      Mr. Robertson’s words embarrassed you. That is understandable. He is not a writer, nor a journalist. He was asked questions in a live interview, not in a written questionnaire which might have allowed him to take time to consider each of his words.

      You, on the other hand, present yourself as a writer dealing with important issues in order to persuade people of faith to join you in your opinions. You have time to consider each word you write and the impact of your offered opinions in the lives of your readers. Your miscarriage of the Bible embarrasses me and it should embarrass you, as well (2 Timothy 2:15). This isn’t just a battle about freedom of speech, Faith. It’s about standing up for the Word of God so that the next generation doesn’t just hear messages of evil represented as good. This is about the eternal battle between good and evil and our proper place in that battle while we walk on this earth. We are to proclaim God’s love and God’s truth in order to keep bringing His light into this dark world. We cannot give up that battle, for otherwise evil will prevail simply because good surrendered. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Quote attributed to Edmund Burke)

      I agree entirely with your final thought: you have the freedom to write what you wish, so please use that freedom wisely.

    8. Dan says:

      Faith, this article gets better every time I read it. I plan on using this as part of my New Year’s message. Your thoughts on “Fighting the Wrong War” are dead-on accurate. I find myself guilty of getting frustrated with the direction of this country, but as you say we are not going to win that war. There is a higher purpose. People say (about the Bible) “I’ve read the back of the book and we win!!” True, but there is a lot of persecution and suffering before that ultimate victory. Daniel 7:21 – the antichrist makes war against the saints and PREVAILS against them. In the end we are on the winning side, but we must not be sidetracked with things that ultimately won’t matter. Again – excellent article!

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