I don’t see a need to weigh in beyond what others, such as Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Trevin Wax, and Joe Carter, have already said (everyone with a blog has commented on this story; sorry if I missed you). And I do need to put this aside and do the work God has called me to do on this day. But I’ve noticed a change in the analysis of the Phil Robertson story since it broke last night, and I wonder if anyone else has seen it too.
Initially Christians were justifiably outraged that one of their own apparently lost his job for merely saying what they believe and the Bible teaches. They wished he hadn’t used certain words to express himself, but they stood with him on point. Now the conversation is turning to style, and the gruff way Phil spoke about the sin of homosexual practice. Even some on the left are saying that it’s not so much what he said but how he said it that was particularly hateful.
A few takeaways, halfway through the spin cycle:
1. We cannot be too gracious when talking about this sin, especially given the fact that it isn’t ours. True blue heterosexuals should only ever mention this sin with tears. If there is even a whiff of condescension, we may win the argument but lose the person. If there is an entire bottle of it, we may lose our job. Either way we’ll have to answer to God.
2. Agreed that Phil blew this on style. He should have done better, and easily could have if he wasn’t so disgusted with the people who now live like he used to. But does anyone really think it was his attitude alone that landed him in hot water? Wouldn’t he have been placed on hiatus if he had merely quoted the Bible and left it at that?
3. I can’t imagine using the language he used and would never condone it. But I’ve heard gay leaders on national television say just about the same thing and no one batted an eye. If you think his words were vulgar, and they were, then consider the act he was describing.
4. We’re not far from the day when neither his descriptive words for the human anatomy nor his “firing” for quoting Scripture will come as a shock. I’m thankful that at least for now, both of these events are still newsworthy.