Sometimes I find myself completely surprised by our culture. There are times where I am shocked when I read the news and reports of things that are happening in our world and when I read people’s responses to things that are happening. Currently I am reading some of the “news” reports surrounding the “controversy” of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ pastor. If you are unfamiliar with Chip and Joanna, they are the hosts of the popular reality home-improvement show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. Many of the show’s fans like the show because they know that the couple is outspoken in their faith and talk a lot about their church.
Well, recently some people found out that the pastor of their church, Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX was against homosexuality and they found sermons where he preached against homosexuality, calling it a choice and a sin. Of course, the source I was reading was appalled by this, calling the pastor’s “lectures” hate speech and hoping that the show’s stars would speak out saying they were not in agreement with their pastor and did, in fact, support the LBGT community. As of now Chip and Joanna have not released a statement. I am praying for this couple, that if they are true followers of Christ, that they would not acquiesce to the demands of society and stand firm in their beliefs. I am praying for them, that they would hear the support of other evangelicals who support and agree with the beliefs of their pastor. I am praying for them, that their show would not be cancelled (as many others have when these types of controversies arise) so they could continue to be a voice for Christian principles and biblical values.
As I read this article, and the responses to it, most of which were in agreement with the author’s point of view that this pastor’s teaching was unloving, old-fashioned and harmful to our way of life, I was becoming more and more shocked by what I was reading. Is this really where we are as a culture? Is this the culture that my children will be growing up in?
Then I read a verse that was shared by a friend on social media, completely unrelated to the topic I was reading, but still very much related. Ephesians 5:15-21 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
We are told to look carefully how we walk because the “days are evil.” Should it be a surprise when we see our world embrace sinful attitudes and actions? If we are surprised, then that means we aren’t prepared. That is the nature of a surprise. If you are surprised by something, it means you weren’t expecting it and you most likely weren’t prepared to encounter that situation. In the verse just prior to the one above, Paul quotes from Isaiah saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”
Paul is saying, “Wake up! Be ready!” That is something the church today needs to hear. We cannot stay sleeping and hope that these issues will go away and that we won’t have to deal with them. We need to be teaching our children and our teens how to engage those who have different beliefs so they can share the truth of God’s word with them. There may come a day when all pastors have their sermons examined for “hate speech,” not just the ones who are in the public eye. We need to be prepared for such a day, ready to stand firm in what we believe, regardless of the consequences. We need to stop being surprised by what is going on and start preparing ourselves and our children for a battle for souls. And we should read the Scriptures more, and less “news” and comments on social media.
Soli deo gloria,