Albert Mohler has a terrific piece in Christianity Today about the latest tantrum over Tim Tebow. In case you missed it, Tebow backed out of a speaking gig at a prominent Baptist church whose pastor is known for provocative statements and for teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful. We don’t know all the reasons Tebow canceled the engagement, but we do know the pressure to do so was intense. The secular press can be as fundamentalist as any hard core Baptist when it comes to its orthodoxies.
And at present, one of the worst heresies is to be in the same zip code with someone who takes a firm stance on homosexuality. From the Giglio Imbroglio to the Tebow Tantrum, or even the Chick-Fil-A controversy before that, we see the new way our world works. “If you espouse views we deem intolerant,” the logic goes, “or collaborate with someone who does, we will not tolerate you or anything you stand for.” It’s the Ivan Drago approach to cultural persuasion: I must break you.
So someone needs to refuse to be broken. Maybe some famous Christian athlete or actor needs to do it. Maybe a famous academic. Maybe a well known musician or humanitarian. Maybe you will be called upon this week to give account for your faith. Give it time and most of us will need to say something. What we must not do is allow the world to dictate what is and what is not a socially acceptable view on sexuality. The world may do that anyway, but we can at least play a little defense by refusing to play the game on their terms.
The next time—and there will be a next time—some famous Christian is pilloried in the press for maybe, possibly, at some point now or in the past holding to the traditional view of marriage, I hope he (or she) will come up to the microphone and say something like this:
Thanks for coming out today. I’ll try to make this brief and get right to the point.
Some people are really upset because they think I believe God does not approve of homosexual behavior. Well, I’d like to clarify: that is what I believe. Like everyone I believe some actions are good and some are not. We all have some form of morality. Thankfully, on a lot of topics most everyone agrees. Almost everybody agrees that murder is wrong and stealing is wrong and telling a bold-faced lie is wrong. But on other topics, we don’t all agree. That’s part of life. That’s part of being human. We have different views on raising children, on religion, on sex before marriage, on marriage itself, and on a hundred other issues.
I’m a Christian. That doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone. In fact, I’m a Christian because I know how bad I am and that I need a Savior. But as a Christian I believe the Bible. I believe God is smarter than I am. I believe God tells us about himself, tells us how to be saved, and tells us how to live in this book. That’s actually what most Americans have believed about the Bible throughout our history. I understand that some people in this country don’t believe in God or the Bible. I understand that some people interpret the Bible differently. But I think the Bible is pretty clear that sex is a gift to be experienced in the context of marriage between a man and a woman. I’m challenged by this teaching too. I am tempted to sin in a thousand different ways, including ways that involve my sexuality. But if God tells me what’s right and wrong in the Bible, I have to trust him. If Jesus is really Lord, then he gets to the call the shots.
I don’t expect everyone in a free country to agree that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord or that the Bible is the inspired word of God. But in a free country I expect that we can hold to different views without automatically resorting to shame and ridicule. I hope that my fans will understand that we can still root for the same team or watch the same movies even if we believe in some different things. I also hope my critics will try to understand why billions of people all around the world believe what I do about God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, faith, and marriage.
So the short answer to your question is: Yes I do still believe God designed sex for marriage between a man and a woman. And yes, I’m still accepting the invitation to speak. I don’t fault you for you doing your job. And I don’t deny your right to disagree with me in the strongest terms. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not going to let you dictate the terms of this conversation. I’m not going to be intimidated by bad press. And I’m not going to live my whole life trying to prove that I’m something I’m not. It ain’t gonna happen.
I’m a Bible-believing Christian. There, I said it. I’m out of the closet. I’m not bitter. I’m not on a crusade. I just think it’s time to stand up and say enough is enough. I don’t like making people angry. But I can’t live my life to make you happy.
I don’t think I have anything else to say about the subject. If you want to know what I believe and what Christians are like, I’d be happy to take you with me to church anytime. I hope you all have a great day, because that’s what I plan on having now that this is over.
I don’t know exactly what Louie Giglio or Tim Tebow should have said or done. I’m not privy to all the information or behind-the-scenes conversation. This post isn’t about the past. It’s about what is coming in our future. At some point (and many points actually), Christians need to simply take it on the chin, not back down, affirm the truth, put in a good word for Jesus, and keep on smiling.