" I'd like to personally speak this man for his unintelligent, demeaning and degrading article about a man's opinions and beliefs. An intelligent person sees the comment of another for what it is and doesn't twist it around and put down that person because of "how" they speak. Matthew Paul Turner showed extreme intolerance for his fellow man in his article, Mr. Robertson, and then basically called his followers stupid by pointing out how 500 people in Sudan were killed the day before he posted his article. What Matthew Paul Turner did was stick his foot in his mouth. What Mr. Turner does not know is how many of those same supporters of Mr. Robertson are fighting for Mr. Turner's right to post such dribble on the Internet every day. Mr. Turner, simple does not equate with being stupid! The simple fact that you are allowed to post such an article is because of people like Mr. Robertson and his followers who believe in the simple principles this country was built on. Phil Robertson said nothing demeaning or degrading in his comments, IF YOU HAD REALLY LISTENED. And, I'm sorry but if someone takes offense to something someone else says, that's on them. Rather than turn the other cheek (having tolerance) for someone's beliefs that should not affect you, those offended decided that it was up to them to reach out and teach Mr. Robertson a lesson by belittling and demeaning him. This article was a total fluff piece without any supportive facts or coherent ideology. So, this Mr. Turner is how you show tolerance? Well, I've tolerated all I can about you and your opinion. It's time for me to turn the other cheek."
What Yesterday Was Really About…
I never know what to write about after a blog post like yesterday, one that seems to connect with a lot of people. Because no matter what the post was/is about, within a few hours, we’re all sick and tired of seeing the topic show up in our feeds, let alone putting forth the energy to keep talking and caring about it. The current topic is no different. Though there are a handful of readers still hashing it out on my blog (and the country at large is still making it trend on Twitter), most of us are feeling hungover after yesterday’s buzz. I know I am.
Many of those who read yesterday’s post and then ripped me a new one in the comment section or via email (which is fine—I can take it!) alluded to the fact that yesterday’s uproar was about far more than just the topic at hand. According to them, yesterday was about fighting for basic liberties and religious freedom. For some, it was about standing up for God’s Word and for the values that they believe to be holy. Many of them suggested that they were tired of the media beating them down for what they believe.
Lots of people mentioned that last frustration. Which I can understand. Some members of the media can be hard (and even cruel) toward religious folks. While I don’t believe there’s some grand conspiracy against Christianity, Jesus, and God, I do think that some media folks go out of their way to make Christians look like buffoons. But I also think that we Christians often make buffoons of ourselves. However, that said, I get it. A whole bunch of Christians feel attacked and beat up by the media. And if the tones of their comments is any indication, some of them are angry, some are just cynical, and some are exhausted.
And again, I hear that. In fact, it makes a lot of sense to me. Moreover, it’s one of the reasons I believe the Church should be careful and concerned about how it engages cultural dialogue; because beat up people beat up people. And we the Church beat up a lot of people. While I don’t expect all of us to understand that, the truth is, some of us Christians are just a little difficult to get along with and at times. In fact, some of us so hurt and angry and feeling beat-up that we are downright careless in our attempts to make our points. And many of us can be especially cruel toward those with whom we disagree.
Friends, though you and I might disagree on things like theologies, politics, and other cultural matters, what we can unite on is our common belief that Jesus saves and is making all things new.
But uproars like yesterday’s big topic often make me wonder if any of us really believe that Jesus saves or if Jesus has any earthly worth at all. Because if we did believe that Jesus saved, we’d showcase faith void of fear and fear tactics. We’d use scripture to build up and promote God’s love rather than a stake to be tied to come hell or high-water. And if we truly believed that Jesus saves we’d join his cause of “making things new.” We’d stop blaming everybody else for our circumstances. We’d look in the mirror and self reflect. We’d stop using God as an excuse (or crutch) to say all kinds of mean and/or hateful things about other people. And we’d include a little bit of humility in our words and opinions. Why? Because we might be wrong. Which is what makes our faith faith.
Did Jesus ask the Church to wage wars against people? I don’t think so. Now, our Christian history might suggest otherwise but always fighting with each other wasn’t Jesus’s original plan. According to the Apostle Paul, our enemies are not made of flesh and blood.
Yet sadly, after yesterday, there are a lot of gay Americans who feel beat up. And there are a lot of black Americans who feel beat up. And not just by the comments from an old man with a long beard, either; but by Church people, so-called followers of Jesus.
Many of those who didn’t like what I wrote yesterday made a very good point. Yesterday was indeed about far than the topic at hand. It was about people. Lots of people. Hurt people. And hurt people who hurt people.
People that I believe were created by God and loved passionately by God.
And that’s something that seems to get lost amid today’s social media battles, that we are all people, made by God, loved by God.
Turner's ridiculous blog post a while ago against Chic-fil-a day turned me onto him and it seems the misguidedness never went away. Although I would say watching him post a mea culpa (after so many years of childish denial) leaves me a bit curious about his readers. Progressive bloggers are usually followed by flattering conformist types. That they "ripped" him "a new one" is an anomaly (and I know from experience that he can't take it). It's what I see as sign of the growing disenchantment with progressivism. Those chickens are coming home to roost.
"We know not what we do" indeed.
There has been a lot of discussion in the preceding posts as to whether Christians should avoid offending people or hurting their feelings... I think this Scripture answers that for us... "I don’t feel bad anymore, even though my letter hurt your feelings. I did feel bad at first, but I don’t now. I know that the letter hurt you for a while. Now I am happy, but not because I hurt your feelings. It is because God used your hurt feelings to make you turn back to him, and none of you were harmed by us. When God makes you feel sorry enough to turn to him and be saved, you don’t have anything to feel bad about. But when this world makes you feel sorry, it can cause your death." 2 Corinthians 7:8-10
Here is a first person account of the same type of situation... http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=36014
If you think there isn't a conspiracy in this country against God and Christianity then you have been living under a rock. Wake up.
Matthew. . .what about Christians who feel beat up? I do agree that there are often consequences for what pours out of our mouths and unfortunately Phil is paying the price for his defense of scripture that clearly points to homosexuality as sin. With anyone that has a forum to speak publically, I believe care needs to be taken in how they address a specific topic, but the fact that he stood up for Jesus Christ was bold and what is expected. I've always said, "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." Notwithstanding, we as Christians have an obligation to grab hold of the truth of Jesus Christ and in love, share that truth. . .it just could save a life. I am glad that people like Phil are upfront about sin in hopes of taking someone from darkness into the light. Could he have chosen fewer words and still made his point, I think so. But the fact that he took a bold stance for Christ, I applaud him. I don't believe he will be silenced. . .his statement was heard far and wide. Those that endorse homosexuality will likely continue to ignore the truth that they are sinning against God. My prayer is that even if one heart changes because of Phil's statement, he has won one more over for the Kingdom of God.
I'm glad you are concerned about the feelings of gay people and others - but I can't help but feel that you're really just using that as an excuse to conform to the status quo of staying PC. Instead of being glad that a Christian man stood up to defend the word of God, you are ashamed of him - I can feel the contempt you have for Phil, the 'rich hunter', and his 'meaningless tv show'. You don't mention that the stars of Duck Dynasty constantly point their viewers to Jesus. I feel like you may also more than a bit hypocritical - you try to guilt us in a preachy way about getting involved in this conversation instead of helping Christians in Sudan - while you yourself are involved in the very same issue. You are all sensitive about offending gay people - while at the same time offending your own Christian brethren.
I think you still don't get what 'yesterday' was all about.
Thank you, Mr. Turner. We get so caught up in the issues. We forget that there are real, hurting people behind those issues. There's so much need around us. The same people are, as you put it, passionately loved by God. I am no less a sinner when I gossip or idolize or become a complete glutton over my dinner. I do those things on a daily basis. Does that mean I am any less saved? Nope. I loved the original article just as it was written. I am a deeply conservative evangelical Christian. I believe that God loves us all, and His grace is more than abundant for my dust and the dust of all the inhabitants of this planet. Only the Creator really knows what He's up to. Odd that we seem to think we've got it all covered. What's the point then? Yep. We have the revelation of the Bible, His Spirit and Creation, but we still don't really get it. As you stated above, if we did get it, we wouldn't need the word "faith" for our vocabulary. Thanks again for waking us up!
I think this article is a dead Duck. I am an Oregon Duck so I don’t like the comparison, smile. This main article, and those that followed, misses the whole point of the argument about Phil. It is not his brashness and insensitivity about this “topic”, or his out of bounds behavior towards my "church standards" that is the issue; the uproar from a lot of people groups is about Phil's right to hold a Biblical view (all be it - expressed poorly) of sexuality without being censored to the point of losing his job. Why is it that we can say sexual relations before marriage is immoral, and you are just viewed as "old fashioned", or if you believe Polygamy is immoral, you are viewed as progressive, but if you plug in homosexuality to either of these comments you are homophobic and in danger of losing your job? Who needs to calm down is the cultural, political and legal agendas that are targeting Christian Biblical beliefs, and labeling them as "hate speech". Straight up, Matthew Turner, do you believe the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin, just as lying, hate, and adultery is?
I personally can’t stand the program, but that does not make me a “Duckaphobe”. Why can’t people believe God’s word, the Bible, and admit to believing it, not in an admitted brash way as Phil did, but in a loving Biblical way, that still addresses homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and so on, as immoral without the same result that A&E did? Read the whole article – it is not as bad as what has been reported. Also, I have never heard anything racial from Phil - So I would like to know, and if Phil really did say something ethnically hurtful, he should be reprimanded.
Matthew, I can't help but feel your reluctance to engage in the core issue at hand. It isn't Phil's theology or his communication skills or lack of them. The homosexual community is livid because someone dared to call their lifestyle sinful. Phil basically described it as perversion and biblically speaking, it is. Men having sex with other men is sexually perverted behavior. That's just a fact. This isn't hate speech. It's just a fact if we believe the scriptures when they speak to this subject. Jesus called the pharisees, hypocrites. He wasn't being hateful. Jesus physically forced the moneychangers out of the temple. He wasn't being hateful. He was just being truthful. If Phil actually stated that he hated homosexuals, the response from Christians would have been different. Let's not be intimidated by well meaning Christians or angry unbelievers into not speaking truth to our culture. In love of course!
I just think it is our human nature. We disagree, we get mad, we try to defend our point of view and some times we loose it.
Christians are also human, and God's work is in progress in our lives.
I think it's ok to be mad, but we have to try to control ourselves and not sin.
I strongly disagreed with your post from yesterday, but I agree with this one a little more.
It's OK to have differents opinion, just let's be respectful when we share it my fellows christians.
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.
Sorry Mr Turner, but i don't think your blog was the best thing i read on the topic. In fact i think you have missed the point in a similar but opposite side of the coin way that other "knee jerk" responders have. Political Correctness has infiltrated the church in such a monumental way that people are unable to distinguish it from the faith itself. This is no less harmful than those who believe their cultural icons are saints, and in fact i believe it is sometimes much worse. It dilutes the Word of God, makes Christians afraid to to speak the truth, and most objectionable causes well meaning (or false) Christians to tolerate abominations as if God has changed His mind in order to widen the gate.
In your latest post you said "While I don’t believe there’s some grand conspiracy against Christianity, Jesus, and God..." Which completely contradicts the very Word that you claim to be upholding. Jesus not only foretold, but promised exactly that. A vast conspiracy against all those who believed in Him, and persecution on a level equal to what was done to Him... read John 15: 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." He also is emphatic about the reason for this... "22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also." Jesus repeats this in John 17:14. Paul says it this way... 2 Cor 2: 14 "Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. 15 To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are dying. 16 To some people we are a life-giving fragrance, while to others we are a deadly fragrance."
The problem is that our generation has twisted the idea of the "Good News" from its true Biblical definition into some sort of pc "I'm ok, your ok" affirmation. Kind of a "Jesus doesn't care what you do and would never want to offend you" gospel. This is heresy not Christianity. The true "Good News" of the Bible is not good news unless the Bad News of sin is fully understood.Because of your sin you are spiritually dead and going to hell. That's pretty bad news. The good news is... Jesus paid your penalty. If you believe in Him, turn from your sin and follow Him, He will forgive you and give you eternal life. That's really good news, but the two are inseparable. Paul says it this way in 2 Cor 5: 11 "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." The Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Galatia, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). The truth offends most people, but the Word of God teaches that we should LOVE THE TRUTH. In 2 Thes we read "10 Lost people will be fooled by his evil deeds. They could be saved, but they will refuse to love the truth and accept it. 11 So God will make sure that they are fooled into believing a lie. 12 All of them will be punished, because they would rather do evil than believe the truth."
I might not want to make Phil Robertson the spokesperson for a outreach to the LGBT community, but he spoke the truth. That is by far a more loving thing than telling them that God does not care what they do. In our current state of decline, speaking truth makes you a "vile bigot" according to Piers Morgan, but I would much rather be called that by him than found to be misleading people. The most "vile" statement i read yesterday was a quote from a supposed Christian group who said that "true Christians would never condemn homosexuality, but would rather stand in support of love no matter who it is between, that is why we support gay marriage." The Word says in Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness". All men are sinners, and temptation is all around us, but the Bible calls a very few things "abominations". Homosexuality is one of those. It is a behavior, a choice, and a sin. God is willing to rescue anyone who practices it, and many have been saved from its deadly grasp.
thank you for this.. it's amazing to me, that when we talk about the solution, or common threads- it doesn't issue the same response.. every time something like this happens in our culture, it issues a backlash of church sermons, and social media ridiculousness that makes me wonder where i fit in all of this.. my faith is everything to me, but not in the context of having to be under the umbrella of a culture of Christians that act out of fear, and lack of faith..it baffles me that people assume the correct response is always to yell louder. it baffles me the church has supported and agreed to focus on an area they find to be a sin, while completely ignoring and refusing to look at the others. i have a family member who is gay, and i love her so much & am so broken that the grace and ministry i have free and abundant access to is withheld from her. that those who desperately need to know that Jesus loves them, as they are- are being stopped by those claiming to be His followers. i don't know how to reconcile all of it.. i am so tired of the christian culture white noise. it makes me so sick. i am so tired of there being no accountability in this area, nor any common sense.. one would think after years of this & no signs of "improvement" people would maybe reconsider their approach? i am thankful to see more people seeing the same things i am, and also thankful to see the Pope & his platform & the reverence He has towards the responsibility. God doesn't deny me because of my sins. God didn't expect me to get it together before taking me in. Jesus restored that for me, and His spirit has been working the other parts. I don't receive special treatment, and it's not my place to tell others what they need to work on. I am learning what it looks like to really trust God and believe He is big enough to move in the hearts of those around me -without my help. it's not my responsibility to make sure people know they aren't in line. it's not my responsibility to shame or condemn or judge. I struggle on the flip side with judging the church, and I have been working on that-because, I guess if you're going to have such a hateful and angry tone, something has got to be off within your soul.. The church needs grace just as much as the unchurched.. God's grace is sufficient, so I guess - i'm wondering what it's going to take to connect these dots -or what it looks like to be apart of that work?
Yes, Matthew - Christ died for sinners and it is the essence of hate to allow them to continue in their behavior without calling it sin. The unnamed person in this blog post was doing what Christ has called us to do. He was pointing out sin - not equating sin, simply pointing out that there are many forms of sin, not just homosexuality - and then he was assuring GQ that he loves the sinner in spite of their sin. That is truly the essence of Christianity and is the reason so many people are fired up about folks such as you attacking a Christian brother for doing what Jesus has called all of us to do. Yes - there are hungry people and homeless people and naked people and sick people - and we should love them too. But it's easier to love those who are not engaged in blatant sin and who are actively encouraging others to support them in that sin and to try it out themselves. So Phil was doing the much more difficult thing than that which you recommended that we all focus on. He was taking a stand against sin while still loving the sinner--exactly as Jesus would do... no, exactly as Jesus DID. .
@Fyne Where did they "rip him a new one"? Are you referring to his post about Duck Dynasty? I guess so, since that's what this post is about as well. Actually - I think many of the people who ripped into him are new here. I am one of those new-here people. A Facebook friend posted a link to that blogpost. I read it and just couldn't let it go without commenting. That has turned into a steady flow of email updates that I simply cannot keep up with. But I have also read some outstanding and well-presented arguments. I even posted one thread to my blog to share with my readers the excellent argument made by a commenter named JohnNLizP. I may actually hang out here for a while, although it will certainly not be as a sycophant.
@delcons agreed. He has no clue what "yesterday" was about. It's the moral decay that comes with the refusal to give up the sin of pride. The petulant child shot his mouth (or his post) off, got his rear handed right back to him, but doesn't want to admit (his obvious) fault. So he writes some pretentiously conciliatory "spread-the-blame" nonsense to diffuse the fire he started. It's a shame. So much potential going down the drain.
@delcons Amazing how you assume so much of this guy without even knowing him.. What you're labeling or placing on him is not how I read this post.. AT ALL... are you going to give me a character analysis for that, or for my comment here?
@jdallen1 can you clarify one thing for me? as a self proclaimed gossip, idolator and glutton have you joined or started any advocacy groups for those behaviors? A GIGAG (gluttonous, idolator, gossips are great) group? I didn't think so... You see the problem here is not individual sins or even individual sinners, but rather groups of people demanding (and attempting to do so by FORCE) that Christians deny what God says and approve their sin. While we can reach out to any sinner with love, we cannot accept the demands of the enemy. We will not bow to them, or deny our God no matter how much they threaten, whine or claim that we are offending them. They will not stop attacking, threatening, coercing, and using the courts and like-minded politicians to force people to accept perversion. This is a war. They are fully engaged and plan to win. Winning for them means containment then eradication of God's Word from society. I for one intend to stand up and fight back. Light drives out darkness... and Truth dispels lies... Speak the truth, no matter who it offends, shine a light on the darkness and expose it for what it really is. Appeasement is not an option.
He made some comments about not seeing unhappy blacks in Louisiana before the Civil Rights period. It seemed more oblivious than hateful, but he probably should've been more cautious.
As for the anti-gay remarks, he's entitled to his opinion and A&E is entitled to distance itself from said opinion. Both parties are well within their rights.
Matthew's point, I believe, is that there is a loving way and a hateful way to speak the truth. Remember the women at the well. Did Jesus call her mean, dirty names? No. He loved her. He didn't suggest her lifestyle was right either. He reproached her lovingly. You are right that we need to stand up for the truth. We cannot let people fall. They need to hear the good news. But if our approach is with name calling, rude and hateful remarks, and insults people will never hear us. Our efforts will have been wasted.
@jrvega1 I have heard more hateful speech than what Robertson stated. But I do not see the issue as you do. Robertson has his rights to say what he has said. And his article is still going to be published. No one is silencing him. All employers have the right to fire/suspend anyone who does not represent them well. Martin Bashir has been let go because of his hateful comments about Sarah Palin. Imus was let go for his racial remarks. Alec Baldwin for his homosexual remarks. There is a good sized list of people who have been let go or pressured to leave because their statements didn't line up with their employers. This playing the martyr is really not at all becoming of Christians. If we are going to cry martyr, then we need to contact MSNBC and demand Bashir to be brought back on the air because he is being persecuted. And Imus and Baldwin, etc.
@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?
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
1 Timothy 6:10
You are clearly on a whole different level, but my understanding was that we'd be engaged in a spiritual war with our material, worldly desires and our spiritual needs. That we need to be occupied not with success on this earth, (cough cough Phil Robertson) but with the deeds we do to show our love for our fellow man.
@JohnNLizP Just because the Word says we can expect great persecution doesn't mean its happening now. There have been long periods of time--even in the first 4 centuries--where the Church was not being persecuted. In fact it was only under 3 or 4 of the Emperors in Rome that extensive persecution existed. Claiming we are being persecuted because an employer has decided a Christian is not representing the company well and laid him off is a slap in the face to the Christians around the world right now who are being imprisoned and killed.
And claiming persecution in the USA pretty much makes us Christians in the USA sound like cry babies. Crying over first world problems--we are spoiled brats here in the USA.
@RichardGelina I don't believe that Christ called us to point out the sin of others, did He? The only people that He ever pointed out where those who claimed to love God and did exactly the opposite. Of the all the sinners that Christ encountered, He loved them, healed them and then told them to "sin no more" Why? Because they had encountered God. Our Commandment is to Love God and then Love others. You cant point out sin to someone, because we are ALL sinners. We have to represent love and grace of God and that encounter will show people where they are and God will reveal Himself. Think about it, how effective can you love someone if you insult them first? Did Jesus call the woman at the well a whore? And tell her that her sleeping around was disgusting and could be lumped together with bestiality and homosexuality? He talked to her, loved her and treated her like a person. That is what Jesus DID.
And we are called to share that love and example, love is the only stand against sin that we should take.
Hey buddy. Let's stop short of comparing Phil to Jesus. And let's remember that Christian brothers and sisters can disagree without the whole of Christianity collapsing. I think Christianity is strong enough to sustain different folks having different reactions.
@IGMason@Dane G Just because you speak about your personal observations does not make a person a racist. Phil didn't say that black people have not had a terrible past in our country. He didn't say that they are a bunch of whiners or anything else. He simply stated that when he was younger, of all the blacks he knew, none of them were signing the blues. I don't think this qualifies you as being a racist.
This is absolutely wrong about rights. Only if in his contract that specified this speach is worthy of being fired can A&E do so, and even then, it is protected if the contract is deemed a violation of free speach or freedom of religion. Protected speach is just that, one is protected from loosing their job, loosing their home, loosing a possion, being passed over, act. Again, if he said he believed that polygamy was immoral, would it have been a problem? If he said he believed in God and got fired, would A&E been in the wrong? He does not have the freedom of speach or even freedom of religion if he can't express it on non A&E time, without getting fired. He is being targeted for a biblical belief expressed in a non A&E contracted event.
@CarissaCowgill Jesus approached some situations with compassion, and others with wrath... the same Jesus who rescued the woman caught in adultery, made a whip and chased out the money changers. The same Jesus who told the prodigal son parable called people names like "brood of vipers", "white washed tombs" and hypocrites. The same Jesus who preached God's Love, also proclaimed His judgement. There is NO "Good News" without an understanding of the Bad News... ie you are a sinner, you deserve hell and you can't save yourself... This is the inconvenient Truth, and many people are offended by it no matter how you say it.
@LeanneZeck The comparison of what happened to Phil and Bashir does more to undermine your point than make it. Where A&E vehemently condemned the comments that Phil made, which i remind you were not directed at any person and simply explained his personal beliefs, Bashir attacked a specific person (Sarah Palin) and did so in a truly vile and hateful way. Show me one comment made by a MSNBC exec condemning those comments. Do you have one example of a spokesperson for MSNBC publicly stating that he is being fired, reprimanded or censored? I read the statement they released praising Bashir's service and stating he had chosen to walk away. Not exactly the same is it?
The most hypocritical example so far would be Alec Baldwin, who after being let go by MSNBC for "anti-gay" remarks, was then hired by A&E... I guess they don't really mind if you haven't quoted the Bible.
@JohnNLizPJesus 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.
@LeanneZeck what an interesting response. I suppose that having taught church history for the last 25 years may give me a slight advantage in this area, but the information on this topic is not difficult to find. Could it be that you have just missed the numerous and continuous history of persecution throughout the Church Age? If so, I could recommend some books for you. Starting with Fox's Book of Martyrs, followed by Eerdmans' Handbook to the History of Christianity. Your summary of history is woefully incorrect.
As for your other points, you have contradicted yourself. On one hand you state "Just because the Word says we can expect great persecution doesn't mean its happening now" then refer to "Christians around the world right now who are being imprisoned and killed". Which is it? Do you actually think the devil takes breaks from opposing God's Kingdom? or, are Christians still being persecuted just as Jesus said?
Your final point, that claiming persecution when a Christian loses their job because they express their beliefs is a "slap in the face" to those experiencing real persecution is naive at best. Attacking ones livelihood is one of the most heinous types of persecution there is. Tyrants have been doing this for years, from Nero to Stalin to Kim Jung Il. This is only one type of persecution going on in America today, not to mention a surge in public ridicule, attempts to indoctrinate children in secular humanism by the government, redefining marriage, censoring school children for expressing their faith in the classroom, demanding tolerance of immorality (things which individually may not be persecution, but combined add up to the eradication of Christianity from the public sphere).
Censoring a persons right to express their faith was considered so outrageous that it topped the list of our founders bill of rights. The gov't did not censor Phil, so this is not a constitutional issue. It is a marketplace issue, and a huge mistake for A&E. As they lose all the revenue their top show makes for them because its audience sides with Phil and abandons the network. Thus the backlash they are receiving for this inept and biased decision. They claimed it was a decision made to prevent a loss of revenue due to audience members being offended... then A&E turned around and offended a much much larger group... Proving that this was not financially motivated, but rather philosophically driven. The anti-Christian bigots at A&E chose to act on their disdain for God's Word rather than their own financial security, and they need to feel the consequences of that behavior. I believe they will.
@tomberdych Well, Tom... Christ said, "Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you" (Matthew 28:19-20). When we teach people to do what Jesus told them to do, we have to point out what they're doing wrong. The definitional term for doing something other than what God wants is "sin." So, yes, Jesus himself told us to point out the sin of others and correct them in their ways.
The woman at the well? He said, "Go, bring your husband." (which would be seen as sexist by the anti-Christian people today). She said, "I don't have a husband." To which Jesus (some might think snidely) replied, "That's right, you're telling the truth. You don't have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn't your husband."
Translation into the modern equivalent? Jesus told the woman at the well, "You're right. You're a whore."
Yes, Jesus talked to and loved the people, but he began by telling them they were sinners and he ended by saying, "go, and sin no more." That's what Phil is trying to do.
That bible is a pesky thing, isn't it? If you actually read it, it's amazing the things you find in there that don't fit real well with our culture. And THAT would be the defining characteristic of a sick culture.
@Boozleford From my short time here, it seems that you are a regular commenter here. I'm sorry, but I have not seen anything that you've said that comes close to being of value for anyone on any side of the argument. The essence of Christianity is for us to be Christ followers, so we must always compare ourselves to Jesus. Let's remember that Christian brothers and sisters need to follow Christ's example, and sometimes that means calling other Christians out when they are wrong and taking a strong stand in our culture (being salt) in order to actually have an impact. If the salt has lost is savor, it is good for nothing but to be trampled upon. We've been trampled on long enough. Let's take a stand. If we don't stand, we have already collapsed. If we are strong, we will take a stand against the lies of the media about what Phil said and not continue to disseminate those lies as Matthew has done.
@LeanneZeck You have been misled. You are "picking" and you are wrong. The following scripture outlines the progression for every single person who comes to "know" Christ. It is the same today as it was then, and it is the same for every person. To say that you can change God's method for saving people is heretical.
Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation... 2 Corinthians 7:10
In Acts 2: 38 after being given the story of Christ AND a list of their SINS by Peter the Word says "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “REPENT, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." 3000 people were saved that day, and this has been the way people have been saved for 2000+ years. Repentance (turning from your sins) always comes first.
But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out... Acts 3: 18-19
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world Acts 17: 30-31
[I] declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance Acts 26:20
All I can say to you is "coming to Christ is entering into Covenant... you don't enter a contract on your own terms, but by the terms spelled out IN THE CONTRACT... Anyone that is telling you otherwise is a false teacher. You say you "accepted Christ as my savior"? What did He save you from "bad hair days"? How can you need a "savior" if you don't have anything to be saved from? You CANNOT come to Christ and be saved from your sins if you don't know you have any.
@trimation you are absolutely right, that has been my point to Leanne all along. According to her testimony posted earlier, she said she "knew she was not perfect" which i credited to her as a level of repentance. But the more she argues against God's Word the more that seems to be a mistake.
Lol, one of Jesus' first commands to us is to repent. How can you repent if you don't understand what you are repenting for? Faith and repentance go hand and hand. You cannot even begin to understand your need for salvation unless you understand God's holy standard and how you have not kept it (sin).
Galatians 3:24 says Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
You CANNOT come to Christ unless you understand sin.
@JohnNLizP @LeanneZeck but that is not anything about coming to Christ. I didn't have to acknowledge my sin in order to know I wanted to be with Christ. I accepted Christ as my savior. That doesn't mean I don't acknowledge my sinfulness now and repent. But one doesn't need the bad news in order to understand the good news.
Not picking, just pointing out that none of those scriptures talk about eternal life. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved. Know Christ and be saved. And then God leads us into sanctification. But one doesn't have to come to Christ the same way you did. To say that is to leave people out of the Grace of God.
@LeanneZeck The very first scripture in the post says exactly that. " If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us". Not acknowledging that you are a sinner is "saying you have no sin", and if "The Truth is not in you" how are you saved? Jesus said "I am the Way the TRUTH and the Life" If the TRUTH is not in you you are not saved. But f you are still confused about that, lets look just a little further in that same chapter... "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." (1 Jn 1: 9-10)
You can't pick and choose which scripture you are going to believe... You quote from the Gospel of John " this is eternal life that one knows God and the One he sent." Jesus also says "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36). When it comes to Bible verses on how we are saved the correct answer is "all of the above".
@JohnNLizPnone of those say acknowledging one's sin is necessary for salvation. According to the Gospel of John, this is eternal life that one knows God and the One he sent.
Is my faith my experience or God's word? I believe my faith needs to be both. If I don't experience it, then I am not saved. My experience is always informed and filtered through God's word.
@LeanneZeck Here are just a few Scriptures that deal with this. Is your faith in your experience or God's Word? Acknowledging that we are sinners is a requirement for salvation...
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:6-8
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15
But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:22
Jesus *said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin". John 8:34
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2
@JohnNLizP Where in Scripture is the teaching that there is no Good News without understanding the Bad news that we are sinners and deserve hell?
That really is not my experience, as i gave my testimony a few comments below this.
@IGMason obvious, and clearly not the point
@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)
@LeanneZeck No one ever said that the same level of persecution is happening simultaneously in every place on earth. That does not mean it isn't possible for it to crop up anywhere at any time. For example... you asked if there was persecution of Christians in the US during the 1800's. Yes, a considerable amount. The majority of abolitionists who aided escaped slaves were Christians and preached freedom for all. They were persecuted, and many were killed for their faith. Many individuals have written about being mocked, and beaten while spreading the Gospel to the mining camps in the west during this time period as well.
Persecution does not have to come from a government. It can come from family, neighbors, communities, schools, the workplace etc. We are not talking about rights here... I have never argued that this is a first amendment issue. I have specifically said in several of my comments that this is a "free market" issue, that will eventually be resolved by market forces. That being said, it doesn't have to be a civil rights issue to be persecution. In fact that is exactly what this is... persecution of a man simply because he expressed Biblical morals.
My point is that we should not be surprised that this happened, Jesus said it would. I don't think Phil was surprised. A&E had already attempted to edit out the name Jesus from their prayers. The family responded by saying they would not continue if this happened. A&E knew who they were dealing with, they knew what the Robertsons believed and they knew Phil was going to do this interview. They could have attempted to manage the type of questions he was asked (they sent a rep along to the interview) but they did not. The family believes that they purposely set Phil up in order to gain control over the rest by making an example of him.
This is a clash of worldviews. In the relationship between A&E and the Robertsons, A&E is the employer. They hold the power. They chose to exercise that power by siding with a very small but loud minority. A group who hates Phil's views, and then punished him for speaking about his beliefs. They did it very publicly and that invited the rest of America to the party. As you say thats business. The rest of this business is going to play out now since the majority of DD viewers agree with Phil and will see A&E punished for their bad choice. If you want to talk about rights then you have to agree that the public has the right to decide that A&E should pay for this decision.
@JohnNLizP @LeanneZeck Thank you for the suggestion. I have actually read a lot on Church History and have plenty of Church history books in my library--including Fox. But while there is persecution--it has not been in every area of the world at all times. Was there really any persecution of Christians in the USA in the 1800's. As I stated that history shows that even Christians in the Roman empire experienced reprieves from persecution at times. One cannot use Jesus' words about persecution as evidence for something being persecution.
And Phil didn't lose his job--he and his family have stated their family business is their job. This is business. Companies, as I stated above but you don't care about my examples because they don't fit your purpose, have the right to distance themselves from anyone who is not portraying the company as they wish the company to be portrayed.
This is not censorship since the article is going to be published still. Phil's voice is still being heard. And I would argue being heard even better than before. He has been in everyone's news feeds, on all the news programs, and his show is being run on marathon status despite his being suspended. Which points out the fact that to call what has happened persecution is really sounding like a spoiled brat.
Thanks for your gracious responses to all of the comments I made.
I suppose, as the David versus this Goliath of mainstream Christianity, I should have held myself to a higher standard of response than you would hold yourself accountable to. Especially as a lady, I ought to have remembered that I should always do twice the work for half the credit, and never to make a single error, for that will always be remembered.
I still think this is being blown wildly, wildly out of proportion. I still think the rights of everyone involved are perfectly intact and this had everything to do with hysteria and paranoia. I do agree that it's better to stand against evil than with it. Not many would be "pro" evil though, would they? I guess it's a matter of what is evil. Is it evil to value the total freedom to do and say whatsoever one wants with zero consequences, including minor social admonishment, at the cost of the basic human rights and dignity of historically maligned minorities? I guess it's a puzzle we won't really be able to solve. I guess, I'd just prefer to stick with the David's of the world, looking out for the bullied and the outcast, rather than the Fox and Friends media conglomerate that is fueling this "controversy" by putting major players including politicians in front, saying "they are shutting down our voices" even while getting record views. I guess when Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin start saying "Christian rights are being violated" and that gets replayed on every channel, I guess I just fail to see how they don't have a voice. I guess I just think of how the bullied teen who is beaten to death before even being sexually active--just for merely exhibiting gay characteristics--is less of a story than the suspension of a millionaire taking about how much better it is to put it in a vagina--I guess it just makes me reconsider what is and isn't evil. But I am notoriously not well spoken, and I would prefer to defer to the more eloquent writers who have already written on this.
@LeanneZeck You referred me to your testimony, so I figured i would add my 2 cents here. Above you said "I knew I was not perfect. What I needed to know was there was a God who loved me any ways and would eat with me anyways." Whatever circumstances brought you to this understanding was of God. He has a way of doing that, and follows up by providing a minister of His Grace to show you the way. Sometimes this comes through life's hard knocks and other times through the tough love of another person. One way or another an acknowledgement of our lost condition is required before God moves us on.
This by no means indicates that Christians are not supposed to speak out about evil and perversion in our world. The word says "some plant others water and then others harvest" It really just depends on where we are in the process. It also depends on who or what we are dealing with. The person who is seeking God's grace, or the person or group who's mission is to stop as many people as they can from responding to God. The first we share God's grace with, the second we confront, expose and defeat.
@Boozleford I don't think anyone is following Phil Robertson. The dynamic currently being played out in this situation is that Christians have been marginalized by groups that lie and misrepresent what they say. And a large group of Christians is finally standing up and making noise about it. We've had it. It's time to start telling the truth about what we are saying. When Phil accurately quoted scripture, he was not showing hostility toward homosexuals. In fact, he explicitly said that he loves them. When he stated his own opinion about sexual preference, he said it was his own opinion and then when he finished it he again said, "but that's just me."
And when he said that he had never seen racism when he was growing up and the black people he worked shoulder to shoulder with did not complain about white oppression, he was simply sharing his personal experience in answer to a question.
If those types of statements cause GLAAD and the NAACP to demand that people be fired then it could happen to any of us and it is time for us to stand against such oppression. And, just has been the case throughout history, if you don't stand against evil, you stand with it.
And THAT's what this is all about.
I'm sorry if my words hurt your feelings but I sensed very little thought in your many responses, but only emotionalism. I don't think you're stupid but this is truly the first comment i have read from you that seemed to be motivated by thought. I apologize for my strong language in my earlier comment.
This is so beautifully expressed, and I admire your ability to put into words what I believe but have struggled to express.
I found this blog on Thursday and I admit I've been prolific, which surprises no one more than me. A big part of this was that MPTs post had such a profound effect on me, and when I first read it there weren't many voices in support of MPT or myself. I guess I thought I was making a difference in standing out from the crowd to say what I believed to be true. Even as insults were lobbed left and right, I felt strongly that I should take a stand and defend what I believed in. I was told that I don't understand love or experience it truly, that I'm going to hell, that I'm a false believer, that I'm weak kneed, that I'm stupid, that I'm uneducated, that I'm worthless, and most recently, that my words have no value. I guess I should surrender and just start agreeing with the majority of voices here: that Phil speaks the truth of God. But actually I'm going to be strong and resist the masses, and I am going to take a stand, with the minority, where Christians like MPT stand. And say that choosing to be a follower of Christ does not mean being a follower of a millionaire hunter, it means being a follower of Christ. This random celebrity means nothing to me beyond being a lightening rod who appeals to certain folks, but not to me. I have no idea--and again, I've been called stupid, so maybe I need to start accepting that it's my poor mental faculties that keep me from understanding--but I have no idea why not "believing" in Phil Robertson has anything to do with my faith in Jesus and his word.
@RichardGelina @Boozleford I came to Christ not because sin was pointed out but because Christ was so different from the world. Where the world marginalized and left people out, Jesus sat and ate with them. Where the people of God were leaving people out, Jesus sat and ate with them. His approach was not one of tearing the already broken and sinful ones a new one but being in relationship and letting love and forgiveness do its miraculous work. I knew the world was broken. I knew I was not perfect. What I needed to know was there was a God who loved me any ways and would eat with me anyways.
Phil had all the right to say what he did. A and E had every right as an employer to do what they did (Martin Bashir was pressured to leave after his comments on Sarah Palin--it happens a lot and not just to Christians).
I will take my stand on Christ's love and forgiveness because the only command I was given was to love God and love my neighbor as myself--and I find I grow not when people point out how evil I am but when they love me any ways and help me find where Christ is at work in my life already--then the evil selfish parts start to change.
I say this, not to tell you how to witness, but that you might understand that your way of witnessing is not the only way to do it. One doesn't have to preach against sin and point out sin to bring someone to Christ. I am evidence of that. I have been changed much more by the Christians who have not pointed out sin but preached the love and grace of God verbally and in their actions. You can continue to do what God has called you to do. But don't judge boozleford or MPT because they don't follow God in the same manner as you do. They are being used by God just as much as you are. Not all Christians look like you.