Monday, February 27, 2012

Stand Up, Be Bold, Speak Truth

Have you ever heard someone say something and you just want to scream at them? They are on TV so they will never hear you but you just want to raise your voice in frustration and let them have a piece of your mind? This happened to me last week and as you read this you may want to do the same to me. You may be yelling at your monitor wishing I could hear you.

Last week Franklin Graham was a guest on Morning Joe. The panel of talking heads jumped right in and asked him if he thought President Obama and some of the Republican candidates were Christians. In my opinion Mr. Graham tried to be politically correct and say that he did not know, he said the President says he is and he would just have to take his word (Rick Santorum said the same thing when he was asked about the president's faith). When they asked Mr. Graham about Rick Santorum he basically said the same thing. He said he thought Santorium was because he said he was, Mr. Graham said Mr. Santorum seemed more sincere about his beliefs. They went on to ask if he thought Mitt Romney was also a Christian. Mr. Graham tried to dance around this one and say that he is Mormon and their beliefs did not line up with ours.

Here are my two points of contention with all of this. (This is not a bash the President post) First, it seems to me that those who call themselves Christians and find themselves in a position of leadership within the church more times than not refuse to do what Paul tells us to do in I Corinthians 5:
I Corinthians 5: 9-13 - 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
This passage is dealing with a specific sexual sin within the church but the implication is much broader than this. What Paul is saying is that if someone calls himself a Christian (brother) and is living a life that does not line up with the scriptures we are to judge him. If he refuses to repent and change his was he is to be kicked out of the church. How many of you who read this go to a church that practices this. Neither President Obama nor any of the other candidate go to the same church as Mr. Graham so he technically could not kick them out of his church, however, I believe Mr. Graham not only has the right to judge them but also a responsibility to judge them, to call them out when they fight for or stand for something that runs contrary to scripture. Mr. Graham had a right and a responsibility to tell the panelist that anyone (not just politicians) who claims to be a Christian but lives a lifestyle that runs counter to what the Bible teaches casts serious doubt on, or limits his being able to say "yes, I believe he is a Christian".

Second, Mr. Graham seemed unwilling to share John 14: 6 and Acts 4:12 to reinforce his beliefs.
John 14: 6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Acts 4: 12 - Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
I think we have far too many "pastors" who refuse to speak truth to a lost and dying world. Mr. Graham went on to get beat up pretty good towards the end of the interview. I believe that because he refused to answer the questions boldly, and he seemed to be more afraid of offending one of these men, he ended up weaving a very sticky web that he himself got caught up in it and seemed almost lost as to how to get out of it. I found myself cringing towards the end and he was being beaten up like an unprepared boxer in the ring with Mike Tyson in his prime.

I heard a guy just last week say that if you want to see just how Christian a politician is ask him one question and see how he handles it. Ask him "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and anyone who rejects Christ will spend eternity in hell separated from God?" See how well a politician or a celebrity pastor handles that one.

We need more pastors like Paul, Peter and Christ who will refuse to cower under pressure, who are willing to be laughed at for speaking the truth as opposed to being laughed at because they danced around the question and created a situation that made them look foolish. Stand up, be bold, speak truth.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. I saw the interview with Franklin Graham. The question that came to my mind was that it wasn't his business to decide who or who does not believe in Jesus Christ. Only God knows that. The gift ministries and leaders of the church have the main job of reconciling others to God. Jesus Christ's life is a great example, as was Paul and Peter as well.

    My personal thoughts on the whole interview was that Franklin Graham was in a situation that wasn't the best. He probably should not have answered those questions and instead asked them questions (like- 'why are you asking me this?). What fellowship has light with darkness! This was not a gathering of the church. In an interview that he gave on another channel later on, he reflected back on this and handled it differently.

    By the way, I have heard Gov Romney asked a question similar to the question you posed that should be asked to celebrity pastors and politicians. His answer was specific, that he believed in Jesus Christ and that He was his savior. I have heard Rick Santorum talk somewhat about his beliefs. I know that he is Roman Catholic. I have heard Newt's story of change and remorse. I have heard Ron Paul quote Isaiah. None of these men would qualify for me as 'pastor in chief', but one of them however may qualify for me as God's provision for this time. Pharoah recognized the power behind Joseph and elevated him to a position that provided a way of deliverance for his family and ultimately the Christ line. Pharoah was an Egyptian.

    Jesus Christ did the Father's will, that involved speaking up boldly sometimes to confront and at other times sat 'go and sin no more'. It is God's perogative how things are handled, it's our job to listen and obey.