A Timely Post From Denny Burk

 

Chick-fil-a and the Irony of the Tolerance Police

The irony of the tolerance police never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps you’ve heard about their latest sting operation aimed at Chick-fil-a. It all began earlier this week when Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-a, told a reporter that the company was pro-family. He did not mention gay marriage. Nor did he say anything specifically about homosexuality. Cathy simply said this:

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

That doesn’t sound very controversial to me. It just sounds like a Christian businessman answering a question about his faith. Have we really come so far that even these words are intolerable to the tolerance police? Well, apparently the answer is yes. Activists and sympathizers with the gay rights movement are castigating Chick-fil-a and calling for boycotts. Other media outlets have begun digging up past statements by Mr. Cathy, including one from last June about “God’s judgment” on those who wish to redefine marriage. Sensing the rising storm, Chick-fil-a tried to deescalate and released the following clarification:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

It doesn’t sound all that radical, does it? Actually, it sounds rather conciliatory to me. But that hasn’t diminished the outrage of the tolerance police one whit. No, they are still out in full force calling for consumers not to tolerate Chick-fil-a’s intolerance. Calls for boycott continue, and now politicians are beginning to weigh-in. The mayor of Boston has even gone so far as to declare a ban on Chick-fil-a’s in Beantown. Mayor Thomas Menino in his own words:

Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail… If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies.

Apparently, Christian business owners are no longer allowed to express religious opinions in Boston if they run crosswise with the Mayor’s views on marriage. If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, I don’t know what will. Again, the irony appears to be lost on the good mayor, who also fails to recognize that nothing Dan Cathy says indicates that homosexual persons will in any way be discriminated against at Chick-fil-a. In fact, Cathy says this:

We’re a business that serves the public, all people are welcomed into Chick-fil-A, and frankly we do not feel called to weigh in on a lot of social activism that’s taking place as it relates to the definition of the family, but we do definitely want to encourage strong families.

Do you see how this is going? You don’t even have to mention homosexuality or gay marriage. All you have to say is that you are pro-family, and certain municipalities will exile your business. Welcome to the brave new world of tolerance.

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UPDATE #1: The reporter who conducted the original interview with Cathy is now saying that Cathy’s remarks have been distorted in the press. Many of those reports spin Cathy’s remarks in a negative direction calling Chick-fil-a “anti-gay.” The reporter says that the term “anti-gay” never came up in the interview. “[Cathy] never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the positive side … He never stated anything negative.” Read about it here.

UPDATE #2: The ostracism continues. The Jim Henson Company has now severed ties with Chick-fil-a and will no longer provide toys for Chick-fil-a kids meals. Here’s the statement from the company: “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.” Read the rest here.

Hebrews 6

ImageThis past Sunday we had a great discussion in Sunday School around Hebrews 6. The discussion centered on the identity of those who were warned about falling away. I think there are three possibilities to consider.

1) They were believers who were tempted to turn from the things of God and return to Judaism and abandon the tenets of Christianity. They were saved but if they return to Judaism they would now be considered “carnal” Christians because they are not following Christ.

2) They were believers who had come to Christ but who would lose their salvation if they returned to Judaism. They would forfeit eternal life if they were to abandon what they had possessed.

3) They were unbelievers who had seen the power of God, they had experienced the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and they had heard the truth. But they had not committed themselves to Christianity and when persecution came they were looking for a way out instead of enduring to the end by keeping their eyes of the promise of God of eternal life.

My understanding is that the third group is in view here. The reason I lean in that direction is I don’t think the other groups are scriptural realities.  If I accept this first group than I must ask does becoming a Christian make a difference in a believer’s life and does it make a difference how a believer lives after he is converted. Or we might ask, is sanctification a necessary part of salvation? Does the life of a believer matter? I think scripture says it does. If I accept the second group I would have to ignore clear teaching that God saves the sinner and then keeps him with the same power.

Can a person receive Christ, clearly understand the truths of the righteousness of his life, the substitution of his death, and the justification of his resurrection and it not affect your behavior. Can a person have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and transformation be absent? I don’t think so.

We must remember here that a return to Judaism would be a repudiation of Jesus Christ. The Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah. Their rejection was so total that they crucified him and God moved past them to bring Gentiles into the vine.   Their trust was in the law, festivals, and ceremonies but not is Jesus.

In my opinion, the theme of Hebrews 6 is perseverance.  Perseverance is simply steady persistence and continuance in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. My conviction is that those who are genuinely saved will persevere in the faith. I don’t think that believers fall away because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit enables them to continue, persist, and endure difficulties to continue.

That does not mean that believers do not occasionally experience times of dryness and seasons of darkness. But these times are rare, they are temporary, and they are not total. A believer cannot walk away from Christ and have any assurance of salvation.  And anyone professing to be a believer and then falls away and returns to a previous behavior may indeed cross the line so that future repentance may be impossible.

The writer of Hebrews urgently makes these warning because of the seriousness of what some in the church were contemplating. They can return but they need to realize what it means, if they do. It means they were never converted and further salvation may be impossible for them.

While our understanding of these truths maybe different, it is always beneficial to search the scriptures to find truth. For that I am grateful.