Just A Few Thoughts On Phil Robertson’s Suspension

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I’m in the midst of frantically trying to finish my final paper before Friday.

(How you’d you like that alliteration??)

But, I wanted to offer just a few very brief thoughts on the plight of Phil Robertson.

Emphasis on brief.

My Twitter feed and the news feed on my Facebook page is quickly filling up with reactions to what the Duck Dynasty star had to say about homosexuality in his new interview with GQ. I say “reactions” because all that’s necessary to constitute a plural word is 2 and that’s about the extent of the diversity in reaction that I’ve seen. Which, admittedly makes sense. There’s not a ton of options here. Either people seem to think his words were reprehensible or they’re coming to his defense, arguing that he’s being persecuted for practicing free speech.

It’s that later reaction I want to respond to because it’s becoming the go-to defense whenever (usually celebrity) Christians are publicly lambasted for saying, well let’s just call them “less than nice things.”

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of homosexuality, or anything else for that matter, I think there’s something those of us in the American church would do well to remember.

We have the freedom of speech in America, not the freedom from accountability for what we say.

In other words, free speech comes with a cost.

That cost isn’t necessarily persecution. In fact, it usually isn’t.

That cost is simply the natural and inevitable consequence of the claims we make. When the words we say are offensive or insensitive, the consequences we face usually won’t be pleasant. But we have no right to complain because we brought those consequences upon ourselves. It’s like slashing a stranger’s tires in the parking lot because we think they’re parked too close to the line and then getting angry or being dumbfounded when the cops show up to arrest us.

Our words, like our actions, have consequences.

So, speak freely if you’re ready to pay the cost.

But if you’re not, remember these ancient words of wisdom…

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

 

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt

 

  • http://www.africankelli.com africankelli

    Yes. Accountability! This is such a great point. Thank you!

  • jay-pee

    Thank you for your wise words. From what I know about Phil, from watching the show, he probably would say something similar to what you have said. He is a brilliant man and he knows there will be fallout from what he says. He also seems like the kind of person that doesn’t really care what the consequences are. He is who he is, take or leave it. That’s what I like most about him.

    • Terri

      He may not personally care what the consequences of his words are, but boy some of his supporters sure do. They’re up hollering about those awful liberals violating his First Amendment rights, proving that they don’t know what the right of free speech actually is and that they expect public figures to be able to say anything they want and be fully protected from any negative responses or consequences. Don’t even know what to say to that thinking. They talk about this as if the First Amendment is a liberal plot–while at the same time insisting his First Amendment rights were violated. What do you even say to that.

      • Brooke

        That they have a double standard problem with favoritism?

  • http://www.dylanwolf.com/ Dylan Wolf

    This is one of the best responses I’ve seen so far. It answers the reactions I find most frustrating without getting into the fray itself (as if this controversy demands that everyone choose a side).

    It also bears noting: how you state your position on an issue is often of more importance than what that position is.

    • Emma

      Did you see Matthew Paul Turner’s post? It was a bit lengthier, but it was also good!

      You’re completely right: how you communicate something makes a huge difference.

  • KH

    I have no argument with what you have said about facing up to consequenses- good, bad, or ugly. My problem with your analysis is the comparison you make of his words to slashing tires which would be clearly wrong. Robertson didn’t say anything wrong. He said what the Bible says. I did not hear the entrity of the interview so I don’t know his spirit, but I did read the part that invited all sinners to Jesus. I did read the part where he identified himself with the homosexual as he spoke of his sinful choices before he found salvation in Christ.
    He may have been crass and overly descriptive, but he was truthful.
    If we continue to roll over and keep our mouths shut every time something we say may be controversial, there will be no salt or light left. Salt preserves and Light dispels darkness. Jesus’ words were so controversial He was killed for them. So there is your point…there are consequenses we must be prepared to face for standing up as light in darkness. But your conclusion about keeping our mouths shut is not the answer.

    • jennifermcilwain

      Thank you!

    • Hannah

      Does “being truthful” justify saying it? I could say a lot of truthful but horribly hurtful things to people, but just because it’s truthful doesn’t necessarily make it helpful, loving, or right. What about the gifts of the spirit like gentleness, kindness and self-control? What about your speech being full of grace? Where do we put aside out rights to “free speech” and “speaking the truth” to keep from hurting others and just starting useless arguments and sowing anger?
      As an example, Pope Francis holds the same views of homosexuality as Phil Robertson, but Pope Francis was just made Time man of the year. Why? Because Francis knows how to convey things gracefully and lovingly, whereas Phil is just crass and insulting. Some Christians need to take notes from Francis about communication style.

      • JX12

        What the apostle Paul had to say about homosexuality in Romans 1 could be construed by some as “mean” or “hurtful.” He was neither wrong about the subject matter, nor was he wrong in saying it.

        Nothing Phil Robertson said came on stronger (or even as strong) as what Paul said. Besides, Phil was just answering questions. What is he supposed to do? Sugar coat it or lie about it in order to be liked? I think not.

        • Hannah

          If you read the entire interview, what Phil said was notably stronger than what Paul said. And Phil isn’t speaking in the same context or to the same audience as Paul.
          “Phil was just answering questions. What is he supposed to do?” Be an adult and be civil with his responses. Be kind, wise, maybe consider the feelings of others and how others might take his responses. Basic politeness and civility, really.
          Again, even if he were speaking the truth, that doesn’t give him leave to say it however he wants. How you say something can be just as powerful as what you say.

          • JX12

            I did read the entire interview – all 4,382 words of it (less than 200 of which are the subject of the current controversy regarding the homosexual lifestyle).

            Nothing Phil Robertson says in that interview even begins to approach the harshness of Paul’s language (divinely inspired language, I might add). Paul said that the people who practice such things are deserving of death and of God’s wrath. Do you think he was considerate of the feelings of others and how they might take his tone?

            Phil Robertson certainly voices strong disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle, but he goes on to say that we just love them and give them the good news about Jesus. That’s not even in the same ballpark as the tone Paul took (again – divinely inspired).

            Perhaps I should question whether or not YOU read that interview.

          • Hannah

            I’m going to continue to respectfully disagree with you that Paul was as crass as Phil in his treatment of this subject. I also maintain that the contexts are so dissimilar as to be unable to be compared. But even if Paul’s words were as crass as Phil’s, I hold that doesn’t make it the best way to talk about the subject. It doesn’t make it a good example of how to talk about it in our current context. People in the Bible also used to yell at passersbys in the street about the wrath and judgement of God. That worked then, but you do it now and you’ll only be taken for a nutcase, you know? Phil could also say the same words in his church and nobody would bat an eye because they’d all agree with him. Obviously, saying these things in a national secular magazine interview is going to garner a different reaction. Phil should have been cognizant of that. Context matters.
            Also, because I came to a different conclusion about the interview than you doesn’t mean I didn’t read it. But I imagine we would come to different conclusions about a great number of things.

          • JX12

            That’s the point. Phil Robertson didn’t say or do anything in the GQ interview which would be analogous to “yelling in the street” or otherwise approaching the tone that the apostle Paul took (which, by the way, was not always taken so well back then, either). Homosexuality was commonly practiced and widely accepted in the Roman empire, so Paul actually faced an environment which was at least as hostile to his pronouncements as what we face today, and likely more so – even if he had put it more gently than he did, and yet he did anyway.

            As far as context is concerned, I guess we will indeed have to disagree. Homosexuality was a sin back then. It’s a sin today. Paul said so back then. Phil is saying so now. It’s simply true – and Phil’s delivery of that truth did not make me cringe when I read it. In fact, I found it refreshing to see someone tell it like it is instead of watering it down for fear of not being liked.

        • Brooke

          According to the article in GQ (“What the Duck?”) Phil was NOT asked the question. The article author made clear that Phil volunteered this homosexual opinion freely without being asked and the author perhaps not wishing to know the answer:

          “Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

          (Phil’s quote which I am redacting here, you can read it on the link)

          Perhaps we’ll be needing that seat belt after all.”
          http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson#ixzz2o2Cjc7dR

          • JX12

            The article made no such thing “clear.” It simply says that Phil’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality and there’s no stopping them from rushing out, and then the author gives an example of one of those thoughts. The author can arrange the article any way he wants – it does not mean that Phil was not asked a question to prompt such thoughts.

            What the article DOES make clear is that Phil WAS asked what, in his mind, is sinful – which he answered accordingly. From this we know that at least part of his commentary on homosexual behavior was in response to questioning from the author. I’m betting all of it was (including the “rushing thoughts”), but even if he did volunteer that piece of it, so what? He’s still right.

    • D Lowrey

      Since Jesus said NOTHING about homosexuality or abortion for that matter…Robertson said what he believed from a fundamentalist political viewpoint and called it Biblical. You may or may not believe this is true…but adding or taking away from the Word is as much of a sin as others in leading others away from Christ.

      • JX12

        Nice try. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of scripture are legitimate and which are not.

        No one today would even know there was/is a Jesus had it not been revealed in the Bible in the first place. All His teachings are
        contained there – so if you believe He speaks the truth, then what
        you’re believing is what has been revealed in the Bible – and there is a whole history of biblical revelation, teaching, and law-giving prior to the time of Christ (Old Testament), as well as establishment of Christian teaching and principles in the New Testament. Christ Himself alluded to the divine inspiration of (and His agreement with) written scripture when He told Satan “it is written” in Matthew Chapter 4 and Mark Chapter 1.

        He does condemn sexual immorality (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21). Did He say the word “homosexuality?” No, but He didn’t have to do so. “Sexual immorality” encompasses the range of sexual sins already described throughout scripture – homosexuality included among them (Leviticus 20:13). Part of written scripture also includes the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis Chapter 19 for its depravity, which prominently included homosexuality. God made it clear He was against the practice of any sexual relations outside of marriage (which, until recent years, didn’t need a qualifier establishing that what is meant here is marriage between a man and a woman). Jesus is the Son of God. Not thinking He’s in disagreement with God on this point.

        Jesus is the one who appeared to Saul of Tarsus in a bright light in
        Acts Chapter 9 and convinced him He was the Christ whose people Saul was persecuting. Saul went on to become the apostle Paul, preaching Christ throughout the Roman empire. This same Paul launched on homosexuals in Romans Chapter 1. Nowhere is it recorded in scripture that Christ re-appeared to him to tell him he was wrong in doing do – nor is there any other scriptural refutation of Paul’s unmistakable condemnation of homosexuality, which is also expressed in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (along with a condemnation of other unrighteous acts as well). This scripture says people who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 2 Tim 4:1 says Jesus will be the judge, so He will decide who gets to inherit the kingdom of God and who doesn’t, the criteria for which will
        apparently include judgment of lifestyles described in 1 Cor 6:9.

        One simply cannot take biblical scripture in context and draw the
        conclusion that Jesus Christ is in favor of (or even neutral about) the practice of homosexuality.

        I won’t even dignify your quip about abortion with a response aside from this: murder is murder. Pardon me if I err on the side of assuming that Jesus was probably not in favor of the right to choose to commit it.

        • Brooke

          “Nice try. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of scripture are legitimate and which are not.”

          Actually, I think you do. The NEW Covenant is for Christians, the Old Covenant is/was with the Hebrews. The New Covenant doesn’t tell you to shuffle back to Leviticus and offer reproof to every man who lies with another man that you know. Jesus gave very specific examples of how a Christian was to act, to be graceful, kind, loving, forgiving, pray for enemies and to be happy in suffering persecution for his sake to be approved of God. Arguing against homosexuality with those who are not Christians isn’t going to make them want to meet Jesus at all.

          • Brooke

            God changes hearts, humans don’t: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/god-desires-all-to-be-saved-and-grants-repentance-to-some

            Telling a man what he’s doing wrong isn’t going to make him want to learn the ways of God. Listening to God and being told of what God can do to enrich that person’s heart, mind, life, future here and after is all any human can do. Instructions to give reproof are for those who already in the faith, those who are already on the course and are stumbling.

          • JX12

            The Bible says faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). It’s the word of God which contains the teaching regarding what is right and what is wrong.

            The Bible also says one must repent of his sins before he can be converted (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19). Unless he knows what he’s doing wrong, he can’t repent of it. That doesn’t mean you hit him over the head with it, nor do you necessarily open with it – but the time will come when he will have to be convicted in his heart that he needs to repent of his sins before he can do anything about it and be right with God.

          • JX12

            First of all, the context of my post above was to respond to an assertion that Jesus did not say anything directly about homosexuality. The scriptures I used were to support my counter-assertion that He was nevertheless against it. The old covenant, by the way, was still in effect during His time on Earth.

            Second of all, I quoted eight scriptures from the new testament in that post, while only quoting two from the old testament, one of which (Genesis Ch. 19) depicts an event which occurred hundreds of years before the old covenant went into effect anyway. It does, nevertheless, reveal God’s disgust with the depravity He was punishing.

            Thirdly, there are universal truths which are constant and unchanging. For example, murder has always been wrong, whether under the new covenant, the old covenant, or pre-old covenant (i.e. from creation to Moses). Sexual sins appear to fall into this category as well. They’re condemned under the new covenant (Romans 1, 1 Cor 6, etc), the old covenant (Lev 20), and pre-old covenant (Gen 19).

            You say arguing against homosexuality with those who are not Christians isn’t going to make them want to meet Jesus at all. The scripture says you meet people where they’re at (or at least Paul did in 1 Cor 9:22). Whether or not you “argue against homosexuality” with them depends on where they’re at. I wouldn’t advise using it as your opening line, but once you gauge where they’re at (and pray about how to approach them), then you interact with them accordingly. If they are homosexuals, then, sooner or later, the subject is going to have to come up because it is among the sins of which they are going to have to repent before they can become Christians. No “hellfire and brimstone” rhetoric – just scriptural truths about what God has said, presented in a loving spirit.

    • Aysha

      Actually he said a lot more than just what the bible says. Which was the problem.

  • http://oneradicallife.com/ Jenn Arman

    I agree, Phil Robertson (as with other Christian celebrities) is not being persecuted for practicing free speech, he is however being persecuted for stating a personal belief. I didn’t see anything that I would consider “offensive” in the snippets I read from the GQ interview and I’m sure that Phil Robertson won’t be the last Christian who stands up for his belief and has to endure this kind of absurdity.

    • Terri

      He’s not being “persecuted.” What an insult to those who historically have experienced actual persecution. He’s getting a negative response to his comments made publicly before millions of people. His boss (the network) didn’t like his comments either and ended his contract. The same thing can happen if you make comments your boss doesn’t like at work too, and it’s not persecution there either.

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      If I hire someone, and he posts on Facebook that he works for me, then posts that the Jews got what they deserved, I am not persecuting him by firing him. I am defending the public image of my company and my own livelihood. So is A&E.

      That’s how a free economy works. Sorry you don’t like it.

    • http://oneradicallife.com/ Jenn Arman

      Sorry I haven’t responded before now, the holidays have been busy. It’s moot now anyway since A&E have agreed to end Robertson’s suspension, but I wanted to respond because I think you both deserve a response.

      Terri, persecution is defined as “cruel treatment, unfair treatment or persistent harassment”. I don’t see any where that it says only specific forms of these can be considered persecution.

      Now, I don’t have any problem with a “free economy”. I also think that many people misinterpret the 1st Amendment. I’m a big believer that everyone needs to be ready to take responsibility for the results that follow what they say.

      In my original comment, I never stated that A&E specifically was persecuting Robertson. I think they were, as Irish Atheist said, protecting the image of their company. In my opinion, the persecution is/was coming from other groups and media outlets who are expressing their beliefs and opinions just like Robertson did.

      I guess I’m not clear on why it’s okay for other groups to declare their beliefs about what Robertson said, but it isn’t okay for Robertson to declare his beliefs. That seems lopsided and unfair, but maybe it’s just me.

  • jennifermcilwain

    What was “offensive” about what he said? Offensive because he doesn’t agree with a certain population in America?????

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      I really don’t approve of that man you’re standing with in your picture. It offends my sensibilities. You are the same as people who have sex with dogs and horses.

      That’s what was offensive.

      • jennifermcilwain

        Really? You don’t approve of the man in my picture which happens to be my husband? I’m the same as someone who has sex with dogs and horses…and Phil’s comments were offensive. Dude you are seriously off your rocker! You really should be ashamed, but of course I see how it works…you have the right to say such reprehensible things to me, but by God if someone else (Phil Robertson) says something YOU don’t agree with…it’s offensive…yeah I see how it works now….Thanks for clearing that all up for me!

        • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

          Sweetheart, you totally missed the point of my comment.

          Phil Robertson said that gay people are the same as those who commit bestiality.

          You asked how that was offensive.

          I did the same thing to you.

          You were offended.

          Ladies and gentlemen, I submit Jennifer as Exhibit A as evidence of Christian hypocrisy.

          • Kyle Weaver

            That was very interesting how you did that. You make a good point. But the underlying issue is Jennifer’s beliefs are supported by The Word Of God. Hitler was offended by Jews, so he killed them. He can have his belief system but he is not the supreme power. You have set yourself as the supreme power by saying you are offended by traditional marriage. You can do that to your own peril. Just like I can buy a gun and shoot someone. But those actions are not supported by the God whose image is upon me and you

          • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

            1.) Please point out exactly where I stated that I am offended by ‘traditional’ marriage. I don’t know exactly what you mean by traditional marriage. If you mean a man marrying a woman, I will laugh at you extremely unkindly, because there was never even an indication that straight people marrying offends me. You simply made that up.

            2). I am fully aware that Jennifer’s beliefs are backed up by your holy book. That’s one of the reasons I find it so loathsome. I also find rape, slavery, and genocide loathsome, and all of those are backed up by your same holy book. I don’t exactly understand how you think pointing your finger at me and thundering about “THE WORD OF THE LORD!” is going to help your case with someone who knows the Bible just as well as you do.

            3). I have not set myself up as the Supreme Power of anything except my own body and mind, as is my right as a human being. I’m actually aware that in the cosmic sense, I’m a tiny speck of nothing, rather than believing that I’m so special that the cosmos were created for me.

            4).Until I have said that all Christians need to be rounded up and stuck into gas chambers, inciting Hitler as a comparison to me is not only laughably insulting, but intellectually dishonest. But what else should I expect at this point?

          • Kyle Weaver

            1.You said you were offended by the picture of her and her man. So that tells me you do not accept traditional marriage. Or at least you were playing that card.

            2} Rape and slavery are in the Word of God. Had you actually read the book you would know they are used as examples and penalties of SIN. In other words, when you sit your 8-yr old down and tell her nobody can touch her in certain spots, you are bringing up those issues but not promoting them. God brings up rape because people who do not fear the Lord, will do those things. No where is rape or slavery encouraged or supported by Jesus.

            3} You said, ” I have not set myself up as the Supreme Power of anything except my own body and mind, as is my right as a human” You say you are in charge of your body and mind. That is the same thing Dylan Klebold and every serial killer has claimed as well. You have to submit to authority to lead a fulfilled life. Jesus is the ultimate authority and He wants a relationship with you. Look at your life without Him. Look at the destruction, the tragedy, loss, it is all because of your sin or someone elses

            4} I never said you were Hitler. I was comparing him to having a belief system that was his “right as a human being” as you said. Hitler felt he had the right to kill Jews. He also did not read the Bible . All the signers of the Constitution eventually learned to respect and love the Lord. Do you know otherwise?

          • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

            Gods, where do I start.

            1). You also did not understand the point of my comment. Saying I was ‘offended’ by her and her husband was merely showing her how ridiculous it sounds when someone reverses that and says it about gay people. It wasn’t meant seriously. If you can’t even comprehend that, I don’t know why I’m expecting to continue an intelligent discourse.

            2). Rape is specifically condoned by God in the book of Leviticus when he commands that rape victims be married to their rapists to be further raped. God also specifically gave Moses instructions on how slaves can be owned and where to purchase them from. That is a far cry from just recording it as a result of sin. You have either never read the Bible, or are a liar.

            3). Many serial killers have been Christians. Many murderers have been Christians. Just because I believe that I am responsible for my own body and mind does not mean I am on the same level as every serial killer and suggesting such is offensive, disgusting, and actually rather typically Christian.

            Also, I can’t cite any tragedy or destruction do to my sin, but I can cite a multitude in my homeland from your brothers and sisters in Christ butchering each other and the rest of us.

            4.) Hitler was Christian. He was adamantly so. He stated over and over again that the Nazis were a Christian movement. He certainly read the Bible, as he cited it time and time again. Thomas Jefferson was a deist and very anti-Christian until his death. A basic historical overview would have been enough to educate you on the subject, but you chose to talk nonsense first.

            And finally, I don’t have to submit to ANYTHING to have a fulfilled life. I am happy, healthy, and fulfilled in my own life without you telling me to bow down before you and your idol.

          • Kyle Weaver

            God does not condone rape. There is such a passage you speak of. The word “rape” is the translated text but the original word was to lie down with, or some variation. You have to understand that sexual sin is any sex before marriage. When I say Christian, I am speaking of people who live like Jesus lived, or very close to his life. I think you would agree, He lived an amazing life..a blameless life…far from the passage you quote in the old testament. Hitler did not live a life like Jesus lived. The message of Jesus is that of love and compassion. Hitler was the complete opposite. You have every right to not believe. You don’t owe me anything. But to say you have never seen the consequences of sin in your life makes me wonder how old you are…I have enough for both of us :}

          • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

            I am 26. And I would hazard a guess that I have seen far more sorrow in this life than you.

          • Kyle Weaver

            Your last comment seems in dispute with your previous statement, “I am happy, healthy, and fulfilled in my own life.” You are obv on this blog searching out something, why else would an athiest feel the need to visit a Christian blog. Download the YouVersion app and listen to book of Matthew. Visit http://www.disciplestoday.org and get ready to watch your life propel forward. American Christianity is very watered down and hypocritical. But at its core and purest form, Christianity is real and true. Good Luck, sir!

          • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

            Perhaps it’s because there are several Christian writers I enjoy reading. Perhaps I enjoy engaging Christians in debates about their prejudices.

            The fact that you believe I can’t be here for any other reason than to bow before your idol shows a serious lack of imagination and an extraordinary ego on your part.

          • Hannah

            “But the underlying issue is Jennifer’s beliefs are supported by The Word Of God.” I’m not sure what Jennifer’s beliefs specifically are, but if she agrees with Phil Robertson on this issue, please remember that not all Christians would agree with your statement. I am a Christian and disagree with Phil Robertson’s views completely. But since when did Christians ever universally agree on everything?

          • Kyle Weaver

            Hannah, it is not whether you believe Phil Robertson, but do you believe Jesus? Therein lies the rub…many did not believe Jesus, especially “religious people” they mocked, flogged, arrested, convicted, and ended up crucifying Him. But He was right. If you are a Christian and have not read the Bible, then you are not a Christian at all. Jesus was man and God. There is nothing in the Bible that is extra or no longer relevant. The Scriptures can never be broken! Jesus loved the sinner but he hated the sin. Man is not supposed to sleep with man. But also sex out of wedlock is a sin, so a couple(man and woman) having sex premaritally is also committing a sin.

          • Hannah

            Firstly, you say “if you are a Christian and have not read the Bible, then you are not a Christian at all.” I don’t understand this statement. What if you’re illiterate and can’t read? What if you were born before the Bible as we know it was finished or compiled? What if you don’t have a copy of the Bible in your language? What if you lived in a time period when it lay people weren’t allowed to have Bibles? Reading the Bible is not a condition of being a Christian.
            Secondly, there exists no universal one interpretation of the Bible. And there isn’t a “accept this particular interpretation of the Bible and you’ll be a Christian” qualifier. Also, how we interpret the Bible changes dramatically between cultures and time periods. Interpretations that were once considered heretical are now mainstream, and vice versa. I don’t believe we can, as flawed humans, trapped in culture and time, come to a true perfect interpretation of the Bible. We can only let ourselves be led by the Spirit and do the best with what we have. Which is what I have done. I’ve obviously come to a different conclusion/interpretation than you on some things. There are many others who have done the same, and will continue to do so.

          • Kyle Weaver

            All of your questions are addressed in the Bible, through study of it you will realize: The Bible is to be spread to all nations before the 2nd coming of Christ. Everyone will have the chance to accept Christ. Christ came to earth and thus came the New Testament. Prior to the New Testament you would not obviously have had the chance to “accept Christ.” Being illiterate is no more an excuse than being pulled over for speeding and telling the cop you didn’t see the speed limit. That is what missionaries do..spread the gospel. They are doing God’s “job,” to fulfill His Law. Being led by the Spirit can be good but doing a “your best,” is not enough. That is like the 6th grader who tries hard but still fails. You aren’t going for a gold sticker here. You are reaching for Heaven. It matters what church you go to and what actions you take. I encourage you to pursue http://www.disciplestoday.org and visit a church near you.

          • Hannah

            Wow, there is *so* much that we disagree on. I’m ending it here though. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

          • JX12

            CoC, yes. ICoC, no.

            There are several examples in the Bible of God showing grace to people who had sincere hearts in trying to do the right thing, but they didn’t technically hit the mark (like Eleazar, and Ithamar in Lev 10) – while others (Nadab & Abihu, also in Lev 10) did not have the right heart, and they paid the price, even for what might have been considered a small technical error by our standards.

            God searches ones heart (Rom 8:27), and he dispenses grace in His perfect wisdom as He sees fit. Living in sinless perfection – even after we have put on Christ – is not possible for human beings. We will never achieve it on our own. Ours is to follow the teachings of the Bible as closely as possible within proper context (i.e. Old Testament for history, background, & wisdom, and New Testament for Christian living & worship) but we will still occasionally stumble, despite our best efforts. This is where God’s grace comes in and makes us “good enough.”

  • Kyle Weaver

    I see more and more that your using the name “Jesus” in your name is more for marketing that it is for the standard of your blog. Jesus never said, “if you cant say anything nice do not say anything at all.” He said, “the tongue is sharper than the sword,” and “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Please begin to study the Bible and read it thoroughly. Do not just go to church and succomb to whatever propaganda your wolf preacher may be mentioning. Very few churches actually get it. Even fewer bloggers get it. The Bible is about repentance of sin and turning from our wicked ways. Either stand by Jesus or get out of the way. He makes that pretty clear Himself. By continuing to use His name, you are setting yourself up for closer scrutiny on judgment day….Merry Christmas!

    • Gloria

      Pretty sure zach didn’t attribute the old adage to Jesus… I’m also pretty sure the Bible is about a man called Jesus who said that the greatest commandment is to love one another, and who calls us into relationship with him. Celebrities have to understand there are consequences for working for an entertainment company. We should too. Zach didn’t say Phil was wrong. This is just our world. A merry Christmas to you, indeed.

      • Kyle Weaver

        Yes, the greatest commandment is to love one another…That actually would have been a more appropriate way to end a blog when your running “American Jesus” as your tag line. The mantra, “if you can’t say nothing nice dont say anything” is at times appropriate. But girls that have been sexually abused have stayed silent for the same reason. That dont want to offend or cause trouble. What if MLK never spoke up? Rosa Parks? Check out a blog by Matt Walsh on the subject. Blessings!

    • Jonette Anderson

      he didn’t state that Jesus said “if you cant say anything nice do not say anything at all.” He said it was an ancient saying.

    • Brooke

      Repentence and turning from wicked ways doesn’t happen overnight and it needs to be constantly monitored. Humans easily slip and don’t even realize it. Moreover, if you are not doing the things Christ commanded, you are not actually following him, you are taking a free lunch and trying to get extra wages.

  • JB

    “We have the freedom of speech in America, not the freedom from accountability for what we say.”

    Thank you! I don’t watch the show, I couldn’t care less about the show, but no matter who you are, there are consequences for everything you say and do.

  • Kent F

    Certainly one of my favorite responses today – thanks! Jesus was crucified because he revealed the true heart and nature to the uppity religious folk, and they didn’t like what they saw. I have read more egomaniacal, dogmatic religious nonsense that has no basis in love today than I have in a long, long time.

  • Andy

    I completely agree with what you’re saying, we are accountable for what we say. HOWEVER, it’s not quite that simple in this situation. A&E hired a man that they KNEW believed this, they then allowed him to be interviewed without monitoring what was said, then acted offended when he said what they already knew he believed. Phil has the right to do what he did, A&E has the right to suspend him, but now they BOTH have to live with those choices.

  • Michael P

    I guess I have a few thoughts,

    If you don’t believe in a place that some believes you’re going when you die what’s the difference? Personally, I don’t think Muhammad is sorting me out when I die, so I don’t care if a Muslim does. It’s a difference of opinion.

    Homosexuality, is our generations civil rights movement and it took a long time, and is still taking time to get over a long history of hurt when dealing with anyone’s civil liberties. People deserve their rights. However, people are still entitled to their opinions.

    The part that is missed, or is not being discussed was Phil’s comments just after this statement in the article is that he means no disrespect and that he is called to love everyone. Even the people who’s lifestyles he disagrees with. We don’t have to agree with someone or like them for that matter to respect and love them. Does respecting them mean never saying what you believe? I feel like I have been in a similar situation when asked by a friend what I believe. I lost that friend for what I said and I miss them dearly. The thing is, my opinion has morphed and I have changed but that person isn’t around to have seen that change nor did they stick around to help foster that change in my belief.

    “We’d all be better off if we loved each other” – Phil Robertson (GQ)

    • Brooke

      “If you don’t believe in a place that some believes you’re going when you die what’s the difference? Personally, I don’t think Muhammad is sorting me out when I die, so I don’t care if a Muslim does. It’s a difference of opinion.”

      Just an off topic thought here, but while you may not care, your opinion is merely based on experience. If you had been born in Iran, or Pakistan, or Indonesia, chances of you being a Muslim are significantly increased. You would most likely care if Muhammad was “sorting you out” then, because it was the belief system you were exposed to. It’s all a matter of perspective. Also, while some Muslims may translate their holy book in ways that they seem to find justification for horrifying acts, we aren’t very different. There were calls not all that many moons ago to pray a prayer of death upon our president.

      As for Phil Robertson’s statement, perhaps that should have been all he said about these subjects and then he would not have been removed from the show. But, honestly, if his fundamentalist fan base had read it, they might not be happy that he didn’t take a stand for these controversial subjects, because they seem to believe that if one doesn’t do that, that person is not a sincere member of their group. They are incendiary because they believe God wants them to hate all humans. How they got that from Jesus’ “Love One Another”, “Love your enemy” , “pray FOR those that persecute you” statements, I cannot fathom.

      • Michael P

        My choice of using the Muslim analogy, or any other group that differs from your belief in afterlife destination (you may choose it is up to you) was that, we have the ability not to listen and cannot be forced to listen. Regardless of what country you are born in or experiences you have, if you believe something different from anyone and they think you will go to wherever, what would you care? My belief is you wouldn’t.

        We’re not called to be witnesses but witness. Is he not allowed to speak his beliefs and opinions? I’ll quote myself here, “Does respecting them mean never saying what you believe?” Before you come back know that I think the comment was made to too broad of an audience. Feelings like this are meant for personal discussion, and not for sounding off.

  • Nicholas

    Why don’t we get down to the real issue : fundamental Christianity’s outdated view on homosexuality that doesn’t take into account that science has already proven that many homosexuals were wired that way from birth. It’s the 21st century and we need to start looking at homosexuality scientifically. The writers of Leviticus and 1 Corinthians did not have this luxury or the access to this knowledge like we do.

    • Hannah

      Excellent point. Also, people continue to make “being gay” and “having sex with someone of the same gender” the same thing. Having sex with someone of the same gender doesn’t make you gay, and being gay doesn’t mean you’ll choose to have sex with someone of the same gender, etc. There is a lack of understanding about being gay as something you’re born with and can’t control, like being straight (or bisexual, etc). Too many people just see “being gay” as the same thing as actions they may find to be wrong. They need to learn to differentiate. While I can understand that many people will differ as to whether having sex with someone of the same gender or marrying someone of the same gender is wrong or not, *being* gay – as in simply born with a sexual attraction to people of the same gender – isn’t wrong. How you are born is something you can’t control and can’t be inherently wrong. Phil shows his ignorance of this in his interview and this is part of the ongoing problem.

      • Nicholas

        I totally agree. And I get tired of everything being black and white or right or wrong. Too many of these touching subjects are in gray areas and we owe it to our fellow brothers and sisters( gay or not) to look deeper and investigate the scientific aspects of being gay.

        Doing it any other way is overzealous ignorance.

    • JX12

      “It’s the 21st century and we need to start looking at homosexuality scientifically. The writers of Leviticus and 1 Corinthians did not have this luxury or the access to this knowledge like we do.”

      This is true. All they had was God Himself telling them or otherwise divinely inspiring them to write down what He wanted to impart to them (and to us) in regard to what is right and what is wrong. How primitive.

      God invented science. It’s not going to contradict Him, despite non-believing scientists best efforts to manipulate it otherwise. And in any case, who are you going to believe? God? Or “science?”

      Geneticists can’t even establish that identical twins have identical orientation toward homosexuality except in maybe 13% of the twin pair samples. If gays truly are born that way, then 100% of identical twin pair samples should be oriented identically toward homosexuality. (Even 50% would be more convincing – but 13%? No). This is not settled science – not by a long shot.

      God made us sexual beings. Beyond that, how we channel our sexual urges is up to us.

      If your inclination is to believe that the writers of the Bible didn’t have the luxury of access to knowledge, and that we’ve advanced way beyond that, then why use the Bible at all? Why even bother with Christianity (the origins of which are found in the Bible)?

      Either we have faith that God knows what He’s talking about, or we don’t.

      • Nicholas

        “All they had was God Himself telling them or otherwise divinely inspiring them to write down what He wanted to impart to them (and to us) in regard to what is right and what is wrong.”

        So Paul, Moses, Matthew, Timothy and the other male writers were perfect and were totally free from their own human thoughts, opinions and were somehow totally immune to the cultural programming and belief systems of their time???

        If by divinely inspired you mean that they were inspired by the work and ministry of Jesus Christ and used that inspiration to write then their work while ‘divinely inspired’ would not be free from their own thoughts, opinions and beliefs that they were programmed with pre-Christ.

        “God invented science. It’s not going to contradict Him, despite non-believing scientists best efforts to manipulate it otherwise. And in any case, who are you going to believe? God? Or “science?”

        Maybe you should read the definition of science again. SCIENCE is ‘a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.’ Humans and great minds ‘created’ science in order to help them better understand and explain the universe. God created the universe.

        Your argument on Geneticists is not based on any real facts but rather assumptions and pre-conceived notions. Since you are obviously against science then I would highly doubt that you would actually do any ‘scientific’ research.

        “If your inclination is to believe that the writers of the Bible didn’t have the luxury of access to knowledge, and that we’ve advanced way beyond that, then why use the Bible at all? Why even bother with Christianity (the origins of which are found in the Bible)?”

        The Bible is there as a guide. It is like a divinely inspired library full of books, poems, psalms and personal accounts that we can take from. The ‘letter of the word’ or Bible is there to help you find the Spirit of the Word which is the living Christ in you.
        Christianity is all about progression, from glory to glory. Even Paul’s writings show that he condoned slavery (Col 3:22)because at that time slavery was culturally acceptable. I mean they used to kill their enemies in the old testament and throw rocks at people who broke the law. Primitive? Look how far we have progressed since then. Shall we stop progressing? We need to continue to progress as long as their is suffering in the world.

        • JX12

          I have an engineering degree. I think I know a thing or two about science. At the same time, I have faith that God is the One who set the physical laws of science into motion. I also have faith that He can intervene to alter it from time to time as He sees fit (and as scripture records – it’s called miracles). I also have faith that what He has to say in the Bible about homosexuality (or creation, or whatever else) trumps whatever man thinks they know about it by way of “science.” Even if every identical twin matched up (and they DON’T), what God has to say about it would still take precedence.

          The argument that biblical writers such as Paul condoned slavery, just because he advised Christian slaves in Col 3:22 to be sincerely obedient their masters, is a cheap shot at best. Following this logic, one would also have to conclude that Jesus Himself condones physical smack-downs since He tells the one being slapped to turn the other cheek. He also apparently condones frivolous lawsuits since He tells the one being sued to offer his cloak in addition to his coat. Oh, and I guess He – Jesus Himself – also condones slavery since He tells the one who is being forced to travel a mile to go ahead and travel two. Does loving one’s enemy mean one condones aggressive actions against him and his loved ones? If it does, then I guess Jesus condones that, too. Shall I go on?

          You show your true colors when you make statements such as that. I have yet to encounter a person who says such things who has demonstrated to me any pretense of interest in Godly things.

          If the Bible is only there as a guide, then it’s worth no more than any other religious writing or self-help book out there. Your having accused biblical writers of condoning slavery shows you must not think it’s worth all that much either. At the very least, you don’t think it’s divinely inspired.

          Christianity is NOT about progression. It is about Christ and Him crucified in order to save us from our sins – an event about which we would have no knowledge were it not for the Bible. Neither would we know what sin is were it not for the teachings of the Bible. There is no Christianity without the Bible – not as a guide, but as the inspired word of God. If one does not accept the Bible as such, then he does not accept Christ, and is, in fact, not a Christian. Period.

          • Nicholas

            “I have an engineering degree. I think I know a thing or two about science.” lol I’m sure your engineering degree really brought you up to speed on the breakthroughs in embryology and neurophysiology.

            “I also have faith that what He has to say in the Bible about homosexuality (or creation, or whatever else) trumps whatever man thinks they know about it by way of “science.” So all the 40 men who wrote the books and letters in the Bible over the course of 1500 years are God Himself now? God didn’t write the books in the Bible, man did and the words are not infallible and or inerrant because those men who wrote it were not perfect or without error in thoughts or beliefs.

            “Christianity is NOT about progression.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? From glory to glory, From death to resurrection, From sick to healed,From lame to walking, These things are not progressive enough for you??

            “There is no Christianity without the Bible – not as a guide, but as the inspired word of God.” Maybe for you, not for the men and woman of God who have the living Word living inside them. I get tired of Christians who are nothing without their Bibles. They are nothing without their Bible because they don’t have the true spiritual confidence that comes from the living Christ within them. You speak of a book that was written by 40 men as the ‘word of God’ instead of knowing that the true Word of God is Jesus Christ who was with God before the foundation of the world. Was a physical book with God before the world began? If not, than why are you calling that book THE word of God??

            “If one does not accept the Bible as such, then he does not accept Christ, and is, in fact, not a Christian.” So unless someone believes the Bible is infallible and inerrant they are not Christians?

          • JX12

            Yes. That’s exactly right. They are not Christians.

            There is no knowledge of Christ or Christianity without the Bible. There would, therefore, be no Christianity at all without it. If it is fallible, then it’s completely worthless and not worth following. The men who wrote it were fallible, and I’m sure they produced a lot of uninspired writings in their lives, but the words they wrote into what was ultimately compiled into the Bible are inspired, and are therefore not fallible. God is – you know – GOD. He has the ability to preserve His inerrant word through the ages to ensure people like us have a pattern to follow. Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all.

            When Jesus walked the earth, the Old Law was in effect. It was written down. When he was rebuking Satan as He was being tempted in the wilderness in Matt Ch 4, He cited the Old Law by saying “it is written.” What was written? Well, it was all that stuff those ancient men (who apparently weren’t as learned and enlightened as we are) wrote down. We have the entire Bible (including – obviously – the New Testament). If the written word was what Christ Himself cited to rebuke Satan, then the written word is what we need to be consulting to find out how to live. Otherwise – again – it’s a free-for-all.

            You can get tired all day of Christians who are “nothing” without their Bibles. It doesn’t change the fact that they are, in fact, nothing without their Bibles for all the reasons I’ve already stated.

            And yes, I am serious – Christianity is not about progression, certainly not in the context in which you originally presented it, which was immediately following your discussion of how the Bible is nothing more than a divinely inspired library full of books, poems, psalms and personal
            accounts from which we can draw to help us find the Spirit of the Word which is the living Christ
            in us. Then you said it’s all about progression “from glory to glory,” whatever that’s that supposed to mean.

            Christianity is about Christ crucified to save us from our sins, and our acceptance of His gift by way of an obedient faith. We wouldn’t know about any of it, nor would we know how to go about accepting it, without the Bible.

            As to the discussion about science, I’ve already stated in nearly every one of my previous posts in our exchange that what God has to say about this subject – or any other subject – trumps what men think science has to say about it. So whether or not I am (or you are, or anybody else is) an expert in embryology or neurophysiology means nothing beside what God has already put forth in His word.

            The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, it is.

  • Deanna

    You are comparing slashing tires to speaking mind. That is like comparing apples and rocks. No, makes no sense. There should not be harsh consequences to speaking your mind unless you are threatening or insulting someone. That is the freedom of speech.

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