Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why Won't They Listen?

People are frustrated about this Phil Robertson thing. You can hear it in post after post on the internet. The thing that is frustrating them isn't so much that A&E dismissed Phil. People are used to their favorite shows getting canceled. And it isn't because Cracker Barrel removed products with Phil's image on them. Most people weren't aware that they carried those products. No, the thing that is frustrating people is that these corporate executives don't seem to be listening. First. You've got Nancy Dubuc, who dismissed Phil for quoting what the Bible says about homosexuality. It wasn't that long ago when people rallied behind Chick-fil-a after the had someone make a similar statement. If Nancy Dubuc had listened, she would have realized that she was starting a fight. Then there is Cracker Barrel, who in the midst of most of their customers taking a stand for Phil Robertson, pulls his picture off their shelves. If they'd been listening, they would've realized that would anger their customers.

Part of the problem is that they really aren't listening. Many corporate types see social media as a way to tell people stuff, but they have failed to realize that the most valuable aspect of social media is the ability to listen to what people are saying. They're too busy for that. As a result, they're offending people by their efforts to not offend anyone.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don't Criticize Me For Being Who I Am

Predominantly, the posts I have seen are in support of Phil Robertson and free speech, but FoxNews included the following Tweet in an article they wrote on the subject:

Thank god A&E did the right thing, what Phil did was not a issue of freedom of speech but an immoral act, its 2013, stop being ignorant. - @LucVsZhVO of Chicago

This is the type of mentality we are dealing with when we deal with the world. To this person, an immoral act trumps freedom of speech, so it is seen as perfectly okay for A&E to silence Phil Robertson. The problem with this thinking is that what @LucVsZhVO defines as an immoral act and what Phil Robertson defines as an immoral act are two very different things. That is why freedom of speech is so important. Without it, those who have the most power will define what acceptable speech is and define everything else as immorality. True supporters of freedom of speech realize that freedom of speech means that other people have the right to say things they don’t agree with or even consider to be immoral.

While I haven’t spoken to the executives at A&E, I suspect that they have a similar mentality to the one shown in the tweet by @LucVsZhVO. If you were to ask them if they support the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, they would likely agree wholeheartedly. But they have placed their support of the homosexual lifestyle at an even greater importance. This is likely because they don’t see homosexuality as a lifestyle choice but something akin to a person’s race. Frequently, we hear homosexuals refer to their sexuality as “who I am.” It is on that basis that people argue against what the Bible says. How can it be wrong to support people for being who they are?

Let’s think about this for a moment. The Bible tells us that we are all born with a sin nature. That is who we are. So even if scientists discover evidence that homosexuals are born that way (no such evidence has been found so far), that would only be more evidence that people are born with a sin nature. Now, none of us think a murderer is a born killer. But some people will become murderers. The nature they are born with leads them in that direction. That doesn’t mean they have to become murderers, but they will, if left unchecked. And the same applies to homosexuality. They didn’t have to become homosexuals, but their unchecked sin nature led them in that direction.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. - I Corinthians 6:9-11

I love this passage because it makes it so clear. Yes, that may have been “who we are,” but if we repented and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, “who we are” is something very different. We are washed. We are sanctified. We are justified. That’s who we are!

And being the people that we are now, we’re not going to have the same attitude that @LucVsZhVO has. We are going to see sin for what it is and we are going to warn the people who are involved in sin of the wrath to come. You see, a Christian will feel as strongly that they need to warn people of the consequences of sin as a heathen like @LucVsZhVO feels that what the Bible says about homosexuality is immoral.

I think we will encounter more of these people than we have in the past. For a while, many people would pretend to be Christians and they would never say something like @LucVsZhVO did. But political correctness has shifted and people have become emboldened to express non-Christian views. It is easy to become discouraged because there are religious organizations that have begun to support these unbiblical views. Don’t think that Christians are shifting their views; realize that many of these people were never saved in the first place and others are simply weak and in need of more training. But Christians will stand with Jesus and the Bible. That’s who we are.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas: the most wicked of all holidays

When we think about the holidays, we might think that Halloween is the most wicked of them all. It is a celebration of the dead and often involves people dressing up as ghosts and witches and any number of evil things. If that isn’t enough, children go from house to house begging for candy. Christmas, on the other hand, is viewed as the very best of the holidays. We sing songs of peace on earth and good will to men. We watch the kids in the Christmas pageant at church. We read the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. What could possibly be evil about Christmas?

For one thing, Santa. The way many people view the jolly old elf is far more evil than what most people do for Halloween. Many people view Santa Claus as the god of snow. Take the song “Snow for Johny,” for example. One line says, “God, tell Saint Nicholas to send a little snow.” While the kid in the song is praying to God, it seems to be saying that the weather isn’t in the hands of God, but in the hands of Saint Nicholas. While there are indications in the Bible that one of the jobs given to angels is to control the weather and other natural events, it is not their decision but God’s. If we want snow, God is the person to ask, not Saint Nicholas or an angel.

Many people view Santa as this benevolent being who wants to give people, and especially children, whatever they ask for. The concept of Santa is the way many people think of God. They send Santa a letter, asking for gifts of various kinds, from toys to snow to new family members. Unlike God, Santa’s only job is to give them whatever they want. God might say no to a prayer, but Santa will always say yes, as long as someone has been good enough during the year. People have made Santa into a god. That is evil.

Then there is this concept of belief. Whether it is belief in Santa or belief in the holiday itself, we are bombarded with the idea that we have to believe. The belief that we are told to have is one with no evidence. If one says that they don’t believe because they’ve never seen evidence of Santa, they are told that Santa won’t show himself to people who don’t believe. After all, we’re told, it isn’t real belief if it isn’t blind.

That concept not only encourages children to believe in something that doesn’t exist, but it messes up what God has told us about faith. Salvation also requires faith and people have latched onto this Christmas faith for it as well. They have the idea that if they can make themselves believe, by forcing all doubts aside when they see no evidence, that they have done enough to make it to heaven. That is not saving faith. Saving faith is not belief in something that has no evidence. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have evidence. That evidence comes first in the form of his word, written in the Holy Bible and presented to us through the preaching of his saints. The world itself proves the existence of God. The inerrancy of the Bible reveals its truth. But when we come to Jesus, we have one more evidence that is unlike any other. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and encourages us to put our faith in Jesus Christ. For us to teach people to believe in Christmas faith, which is a faith with no evidence, is evil because it may keep people from seeking saving faith, which has much evidence.

Christmas is a time of overindulgence and gluttony. Not only do people eat far more than they should, but they use the holiday as an excuse to spend large amounts of money on themselves and others. Children are supposed to get ever gift they ever wanted. The poor and homeless are given special meals, though the people who are concerned about them at Christmastime may have no concern at all during the rest of the year. It is very much about people wanting to make themselves feel good. People want Christmas to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” Somehow, they believe they deserve for Christmas to make them feel special.

The thing that makes Christmas the most wicked holiday is that people worship Christmas rather than God. Even though Jesus never asked us to celebrate his birthday, Christmas is supposed to remind us of the birth of Jesus. Without the virgin birth, his sinless life would not have been possible and his death on the cross would have no value. But when people worship the holiday instead of the God who came to earth to dwell among us, it is as evil as evil can be.