I seem to have touched a nerve yesterday, given the fact that I was called a non-Christian and a liberal and supporting the mainstream media! You find out something new about yourself every day!
The main point made in the comments was that the demonstration at Chick-Fil-A was not primarily about homosexuality, it was about defending our First Amendment right to free speech. It was about showing solidarity with a company that stands for traditional marriage. Many people argued that they could go to Chick-Fil-A and still be just as loving and kind toward the gay community as before. Well, maybe.
I don’t think we can separate the issues of free speech and homosexuality as neatly as everyone claims. Regardless of your intent in going to Chick-Fil-A, we as Christians made a collective statement to the world. We said, “We will band together as Christians against your homosexual agenda. We are against your homosexual agenda.” No one may have said this individually, but this was the overall effect of the demonstration. We Christians hunkered down on our side while the rest of the world hunkered down on their side. We circled our wagons against the attacks of the wicked. Disagree all you want, but that’s how it is being interpreted by many people.
Trust me, I’m all for traditional marriage and I believe in free speech. I need free speech so that I can continue to proclaim the gospel boldly. I don’t want restrictions on gospel proclamation. I want to protect those values. But I strongly believe that we need to find more winsome ways to do it. We may have won the Chick-Fil-A battle, but I don’t imagine that we won any unbelievers to Christ.
Am I too worried about offending people? I don’t think so. I’m more than willing to offend people for the sake of the gospel. The gospel is an inherently offensive message, and I’ll proclaim the offensive gospel of grace and repentance until my dying breath. But I don’t want to offend unnecessarily. In 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Paul said:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Paul sought to avoid offense in order that people might be saved! As Christians, we must keep that goal before us - the salvation of many. Paul was willing to lay down his rights to eat whatever he wanted in order that people might be saved.
The primary problem with the Chick-Fil-A battle was that there were very few words used. The watching world did not hear our love for the lost, our love for Christ, and our desire to see them know the truth. It didn’t feel our compassion. It simply saw a bunch of fired up Christians eating chicken sandwiches. To me that doesn’t seem like the best way to defend the First Amendment in the name of Christ.
So yes, let’s defend the First Amendment, but let’s do it in a gracious, winsome, God-centered, Bible-saturated ways. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Paul said:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…
The primary weapon that Paul is talking about is the weapon of the truth! So yeah, let’s fight against the arguments of the world, but let’s do it by graciously speaking the truth, just as Jesus did and Paul did. Let’s work to protect what we value, but let’s do it with the truth, not chicken sandwiches. Write to your paper, engage in public debate, write your representative, blog, have coffee with your homosexual friends, and do it all with grace and truth. I love how John Piper regularly writes in to his local newspaper. Preachers, boldly proclaim the full counsel of God. Let’s proclaim the name of Christ in a way that shows just how glorious, wonderful, and attractive he is.
And when we speak the truth, let’s expect to be persecuted. After all, Jesus said that we would be hated by all men for his name’s sake.