Skip to comments.Dan Cathy And The Silence Of Many Churches
Posted on 08/15/2012 5:06:00 AM PDT by rhema
Chick-fil-A reported record sales last Wednesday as thousands showed support for owner Dan Cathy and his stance on Biblical marriage. However, while individual believers stood in long lines to publicly endorse Gods plan for the family and vent their frustration at the medias criticism of Dan Cathys Biblical stance, a number of churches seemed to opt out of the conflict.
While the mayors of three large cities and a few University administrators were publicly threatening to ban Chick-fil-A, and while the discussion was the hot news topic of the week, there were many ministers who said little or nothing at all. Church members from across the country are puzzled as to why. When a Christian brother is beaten up by the world and left wounded on the side of the road why would church leaders just pass by on the other side and not get involved?
Some are fearful of criticism. No one likes to get nasty emails or hear derogatory comments about their church. If you stand for Biblical marriage you are sure to be accused of being bigoted, hateful, or intolerant. Dan Cathy is a prime example. Jesus said, Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (Matthew 5:11) But it doesnt feel blessed when it happens, and it seems many Christian leaders do everything they can to avoid persecution. Perhaps they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Some leaders think its wise to stay out of the fray in order to better evangelize the lost. Ministers know one of the primary reasons people are turned off to the church today is because of its stance on homosexuality. They fear that if their church gets a reputation as being homophobic then an increasing number of people both gay and straight -will refuse to visit. They think a bad public image makes it more difficult to evangelize. After all, it doesnt make good sense to alienate the very people theyre trying to win. So these church leaders continue to keep silent in hopes that Dan Cathy and those who believe as he does will survive the attacks. They pass by on the other side of the road because they dont want to be found guilty by association.
Another contributing factor for their silence is a sensitivity for hurting church members. Many of us have relatives or close friends who are involved in the LGBT lifestyle. We love them and were praying they come to know the Lord and obey His Word. They may even be attending church and we dont want the preacher saying anything that will alienate them or confirm their erroneous suspicions that theyre not welcome.
As a result, when the preacher takes a stand that could be interpreted as anti-gay he gets criticism from family members who are disappointed at his lack of sensitivity for their situation. The preacher doesnt want to hurt already wounded souls, so he keeps quiet.
Perhaps the primary reason not much is said in church anymore is the cultural war is passé. The younger generation of Christian leaders is tired of the cultural war. In their minds it was fought (and lost) by the previous generation. They feel its time to acknowledge it doesnt do any good to get involved in social and political issues so lets focus on repenting of our own sins and deepening our Christian walk. After all, there are so many other issues that the rest of us struggle with every day; gossip, greed, indifference, hypocrisy. Why single out one sin and focus so much time on it?
Not long ago a young Christian blogger in North Carolina wrote an article entitled How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation. She was upset that the controversial initiative to ban gay marriage in North Carolina had alienated so many. It was painfully polarizing. She pleaded for less waging war and more washing feet. The cultural war made her feel awkward in her circle of friends.
Really? Youre tired? Afraid to feel awkward? Tell that to John the Baptist who lost his life speaking out against the sexual sins of the king. Or what about Stephen or James or Peter or Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Jim Elliot or Nate Saint or scores of other martyrs who have lost their lives standing for Christ and His Word. Did Jesus condemn John the Baptist for speaking out against a politician? No. Jesus said Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11) We are commanded to be faithful unto death. Jesus said, If anyone is ashamed of me, AND MY WORDS, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His fathers glory. (Mark 8:38)
So while the world wages war against Biblical marriage, many Church leaders hunker down in foxholes of silence hoping the fighting will subside and church-life will get back to normal. But like it or not, we are involved in an intense spiritual battle. Martin Luther once said, If I be valiant all along the battle line except at the point where Satan is pressing his attack, I am not valiant for Christ.
Here are four reasons why church leaders need to speak up consistently and courageously:
Our silence is not saving homosexuals. Sin separates us from God and leads to death. The church is required to call people to acknowledge their sin and repent. And, yes, churches want to be known for what theyre for, not for what theyre against. We want a reputation for loving people, not condemning them. But failing to call people away from a sinful lifestyle is neither loving nor caring. The proper response to a driver going the wrong way up an exit ramp is to blow the horn. To fail to sound a warning would be unconsionable even though initially the wayward driver doesnt want to hear it. The church must provide acceptance for repentant sinners and provide encouragement away from sinful lifestyles. And there are scores of Christians who were once involved in the LGBT lifestyle who have found their new identity in Christ because Christian leaders were not afraid to speak the truth.
Better now than later. Church leaders will soon have to take a stand one way or the other. The longer you wait to mow the grass or establish order in a classroom the more difficult it becomes. The longer you wait to let your congregation and community know where your church stands, the more flak and fallout you will experience. Churches cannot feign neutrality much longer.
Our silence is contributing to the loss of our children to the church. While we stay mum so we dont alienate the world, our own children and grandchildren are being swept away by the constant pro-gay propaganda coming from the media and the entertainment world. We assume they believe the same way we do, but when they hear little or nothing from Gods Word on this issue they get swept away by the spirit of this age.
We are commissioned to preach the whole counsel of God regardless of consequences or we will be held accountable. We were not called into ministry to put our finger in the air and see which way the cultural winds are blowing and adjust. We were called to preach the word in season and out of season and not just say what itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:1-5) And the Bible clearly warns us about our failure to do so: When I say to the wicked, You wicked person, you will surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. (Ezekiel 33:8)
John Calvin said A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw the truth of God attacked and yet would remain silent. In the end, we will be judged not by the favorable impression we have in the world but by our faithfulness in proclaiming Gods truth. That takes boldness
and constant vigilance. But we are following in the footsteps of forefathers who, loved not their lives even unto death. For Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Great article. It hits all the main, but painful, points. People need to hear this.
While the faggies are assaulting priests & preachers on the street, I’ll pass on evangelizing them.
They’re already the smartest & most sophisticated people in the world so it can’t be said they’ve never heard of the message of salvation through Christ.
A pastor I once knew told me that he dared not preach sermons on “sensitive” issues for fear of the church board removing him—or the IRS coming in and seizing his church assets and harassing the congregants. We have traded the truth of Scripture for the promise of a little safety. We protect the 501C-3 status and world says Why bother being a Christian They do nothing,require nothing —affect nothing.
Yes, there really is no excuse for silence or being lukewarm on this issue. The whole thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy: If churches can’t take a firm stand on this, that really sends a message to the younger generation.
I don't see this situation getting better, but the churches will HAVE to decide soon, and by extension so will we. I will not attend any church that performs SSM. If this means that I have to worship in secret in a basement or a forest clearing, so be it.
“If churches cant take a firm stand on this, that really sends a message to the younger generation.”
Well said sir. I was among the lost myself and a good friend of mine took the time to teach me about Jesus Christ. I may not like the gay folks, but I owe it to them to give them the same chance that I received.
We all do, and that starts with preaching the truth - that sin is sin.
Thanks for posting this, rhema!
And heaven forbid we defend the faith, that could hurt someones feelings...
Those that can afford to pay will be bludgeoned with civil rights lawsuits if they still refuse to administer SSM. If anyone thinks that we will be able to win these suits, they are wrong.
If any churches weather the lawsuits, their officers will be indicted for federal civil rights violations. Examples will be made. Pastors, priests and even laymen are going to do hard time before this is over.
Or, we can stand up and fight the homosexual agenda as if our freedom depends on it. Becausae it DOES.
I think one of the dangers that our churches get caught up in is that we like to target one particular sin - make one much bigger than the other...I remember when I was a kid, divorce was the big one, followed by drinking, etc, etc...Homosexuality was such an unknown back then - it was out of people’s minds.
Sure, each sin has its own consequences - some a lot worse than others...But each one, no matter how small or big, has separated us from an eternal relationship with God. Through His grace, through the Salvation through Christ, we can be re-united with Him.
The church lost a significant battle in the 80’s when the AIDS epidemic came into play...You saw church’s, Christian Schools, our ministers/congregations on the air repudiating this epidemic...Rather than take the approach of using this opportunity to reach the gay community, we blew it....Perhaps a lot of the anger that the community has against organized religion is related to this behavior.
But to set the record straight, we like to focus our righteous indignation towards the gay community, when within the churchs ourselves, we are sick. We become intolerant towards them, while qe tolerate that many other sins that we continue to pursue.
Hypocrisy is a damaging tool...Yet it’s clear the gospels say to the sinner that hypocrisy is not a reason you reject Christ...each individual needs to make the choice to choose Him...
Many in the world will use the hypocrisy of the Christian to reject Christ...though not justifiable for his/her Salvation standpoint, it is extremely effective for the Enemy.
We as Christians need to learn how to accept the sinner, not the sin. Bring them into our doors, no matter their condition...Let God handle their soul...
There is another reason lightly touched on in the article. Most churches, no matter what the denomination, don’t want to fight about sexual morals.
Divorce, fornication, and such are so common that a pastor/priest making a point about it will be driven from the pulpit. I have seen it.
If the pastor won’t tell the young people to be chaste, and preach against divorce, because it is to “painful and hateful”, how can he stand up to homosexual practices? Most young people don’t see the difference.
If you cede the field for the sexual practices for the rest of the congregation, you come off as very odd targeting just one group.
Agreed. However, in telling people who are in that lifestyle about Jesus, how are we doing it?
The way I see it (and this is just personal opinion), if a homosexual is confronted by a sour-faced angry person who points a crooked finger at them and yells “You evil fag-boy! Why don’t you just...get...SAAAAAVED?!?”, how do you think they’re going to react?
Don’t laugh. I’ve seen this.
We need to tell them the truth, that their livestyle IS evil and wrong and sick and harmful...but we need to do it in a spirit of love and humility. We need to let them know we’re not telling them this because we hate them and WANT them to go to Hell. We want them to know that we have a Savior who died so they didn’t have to live this way.
Unfortunately, I have met many who call themselves ‘Christian’ who really and truly DO hate anyone in the homosexual liferstyle. They wish them ill in private, scream at them in public, and actually rejoice if they die in their sin to an everlasting punishment.
I pray none here...myself included...would ever be that way.
READ IT. Read it now. Its very good...
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)
In the book that documents these findings, titled unChristian, David Kinnaman writes:
“The gay issue has become the ‘big one, the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation. It is also the dimensions that most clearly demonstrates the unchristian faith to young people today, surfacing in a spate of negative perceptions: judgmental, bigoted, sheltered, right-wingers, hypocritical, insincere, and uncaring. Outsiders say [Christian] hostility toward gays...has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.”
Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends. Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this is one reason why.
In my experience, all the anecdotal evidence backs up the research.
When I speak at Christian colleges, I often take time to chat with students in the cafeteria. When I ask them what issues are most important to them, they consistently report that they are frustrated by how the Church has treated their gay and lesbian friends. Some of these students would say they most identify with what groups like the Gay Christian Network term “Side A” (they believe homosexual relationships have the same value as heterosexual relations in the sight of God). Others better identify with “Side B” (they believe only male/female relationship in marriage is God’s intent for sexuality). But every single student I have spoken with believes that the Church has mishandled its response to homosexuality.
Most have close gay and lesbian friends.
Most feel that the Church’s response to homosexuality is partly responsible for high rates of depression and suicide among their gay and lesbian friends, particularly those who are gay and Christian.
Most are highly suspicious of “ex-gay” ministries that encourage men and women with same-sex attractions to marry members of the opposite sex in spite of their feelings.
Most feel that the church is complicit, at least at some level, in anti-gay bullying.
And most...I daresay all...have expressed to me passionate opposition to legislative action against gays and lesbians.
“When evangelicals turn their anti-gay sentiments into a political campaign,” one college senior on her way to graduate school told me, “all it does is confirm to my gay friends that they will never be welcome in the church. It makes them bitter, and it makes me mad too. This is why I never refer to myself as an evangelical. Ugh. I’m embarrassed to be part of that group.”
I can relate.
When Tennessee added an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage (even though it was already illegal in the state), members of my church at the time put signs in the yard declaring support for the initiative. From my perspective, the message this sent to the entire community was simple: EVERYONE BUT GAYS WELCOME.
Dan and I left the church soon afterwards.
Which brings me to North Carolina and Amendment One.
Despite the fact that the North Carolina law already holds that marriage in the eyes of state is only between a man and a woman, an amendment was put on the ballot to permanently ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution. The initiative doesn’t appear to change anything on a practical level, (though some are saying it may have unintended negative consequences on heterosexual relationships), but seems to serve primarily as an ideological statement
....an expensive, destructive, and impractical ideological statement.
Conservatives in the state—who you would think would be more opposed to tampering with constitutions—supported the amendment, and last night it passed. Religious leaders led the charge in support of the amendment, with 93-year-old Billy Graham taking out multiple ads in publications across the state supporting the measure.
As I watched my Facebook and Twitter feeds last night, the reaction among my friends fell into an imperfect but highly predictable pattern. Christians over 40 were celebrating. Christians under 40 were mourning. Reading through the comments, the same thought kept returning to my mind as occurred to me when I first saw that Billy Graham ad: You’re losing us.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again...(though I’m starting to think that no one is listening):
We are tired of fighting, tired of vain efforts to advance the Kingdom through politics and power, tired of drawing lines in the sand, tired of being known for what we are against, not what we are for.
And when it comes to homosexuality, we no longer think in the black-and-white categories of the generations before ours. We know too many wonderful people from the LGBT community to consider homosexuality a mere “issue.” These are people, and they are our friends. When they tell us that something hurts them, we listen. And Amendment One hurts like hell.
Regardless of whether you identify most with Side A or Side B, (or with one of the many variations within those two broad categories), it should be clear that amendments like these needlessly offend gays and lesbians, damage the reputation of Christians, and further alienate young adults—both Christians and non-Christian—from the Church.
So my question for those evangelicals leading the charge in the culture wars is this: Is it worth it?
Is a political “victory” really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church?
Is a political “victory” worth further alienating people who identify as LGBT?
Is a political “victory” worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with gays and lesbians?
And is a political “victory” worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks—what if we get this wrong?
Too many Christian leaders seem to think the answer to that question is “yes,” and it's costing them.
Because young Christians are ready for peace.
We are ready to lay down our arms.
We are ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.
And if we cannot find that sort of peace within the Church, I fear we will look for it elsewhere.
Thank you for posting this. I was shocked to find a (younger) member of my own conservative church condemning the Chik Fil A appreciation day, & these were some of her reasons. Great rebuttals here.
Thanks kindly - and for your sound thinking. Good for you that you rose to the opportunity and took advantage of such a chance.
This is not ancient history, or Sunday School thought-games. This is the real deal. Hypocrite or humble Christian, if things reamin as they are you will someday choose whether or not to kiss the tyrants ring.
“...the same thought kept returning to my mind as occurred to me when I first saw that Billy Graham ad: Youre losing us. “
So be it.