Subject: In America: Our Ignorance of the Bible is what harms the cause of Christ
Luke 6:38 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
In his December 19th ‘Talking Points’, Fox News star Bill O’Reilly criticizes Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson as personally judging homosexuals as destined for damnation: “’Talking Points’ believes Mr. Robertson has a constitutional right to define his religious beliefs but is misguided by targeting specific groups of people for damnation. If you adhere to the Christian philosophy you know that Jesus was quite clear, all judgments about the consequences of sin are to be made by God and God alone. We’re all sinners, and because of that the Gospel of Luke 6:37, mandates — mandates that Christian human beings refrain from judging others. Again, that is God’s prerogative. Now you either buy into Christianity or you don’t. So Mr. Robertson’s vision is flawed, according to Luke. As I said last night, this controversy is helping anti-Christian forces in the USA. The secular progressive movement seizes upon stuff like this to portray Christians as cruel fanatics. People only interested in imposing their point of view on the nation. I don’t know Mr. Robertson, but I believe he is acting according to his conscience. But, in the process, he’s actually hurting his own cause.”
What did Phil Robertson say that prompted O’Reilly’s criticism that Robertson was judging? Robertson quoted 1Corinthians 6:9-10: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.” So Mr. Robertson was not offering any personal judgment against anyone. He was actually pointing to what the Bible says.
As a matter of fact, if we were really interested in the heart attitude of Phil Robertson, O’Reilly and the rest of the mainstream news media would have included this quote of Robertson in the interview: “ You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.” Robertson goes on in his interview to make the point that he would never judge who is worthy to be in heaven or hell: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus – whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later.”
So Mr. O’Reilly not only missed the fact that the words Robertson used were from the Bible, but he was also wrong to criticize Mr. Robertson as judging someone’s eternal destiny. But with approximately 625,000 viewers in the 25-54 age group, and over 3.2 million total viewers, the damage was done.
And what about O’Reilly’s application of Luke 6:37 as the basis for Robertson judging others? Luke 6:37 contains words of Jesus, where He says “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.” Jesus isn’t prohibiting making judgments. He is warning against judging hypocritically. Everyone, regardless of your worldview, makes judgments. But then in Luke 6:38 Jesus expounds on verse 37:: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Jesus is saying that when each of us makes a judgment, we will reap back on us what we sow. But this is not judging the eternal destiny of others – this is judging the actions and words of others. So how I test my judgment of another’s words or actions? Stick to God’s words from His Bible. Which is what Robertson did. We all know, and Jesus makes it clear, there’s nothing worse than a hypocrite who judges others to a standard he or she doesn’t apply to their own life.
But where is the voice of the church in standing up in our culture for the supremacy of the Bible, the Word of God? I do appreciate that Mr. O’Reilly has taken on anti-Christian positions on his show, and has even challenged the church to speak out against the cultural assault on Christianity. But I am hopeful in 2014 that the Church of Jesus Christ will take more of a leadership position in giving an accurate interpretation of the Bible to our culture than we are seeing on secular television.