The “Phil Robertson Scandal” has garnered attention for more than a week now. In our day and time, anytime a celebrity scandal lasts more than 72 hours, you know that you’re dealing with something significant. In case you’ve been so overwhelmed with the Christmas holiday and had no idea that there was a scandal, let me fill in some blanks. Phil Robertson, the founding father of a ridiculously successful manufacturer of hunting paraphernalia and one of the stars of A&E’s smash hit reality show Duck Dynasty, made some comments in a GQ interview about some issues that are, shall we say, “culturally sensitive.” At the heart of what he said, was a biblical understanding of those issues – he just said it in such a way that might give some cause to blush. Those comments led A&E to permanently bench Phil from the show. To be completely honest, I read the article and was FAR more irritated by the reporter’s vile language than anything Phil said, but that’s not the point. (You can read the article here, but be warned, it has strong language that isn’t Phil’s).
What has been most interesting about this whole ordeal is how the media has handled it. One interview, hosted by CNN’s Piers Morgan pitted Dr. Michael Brown, a well-respected Old Testament scholar and apologist against Marc Lamont Hill, one of CNN’s political commentators. During the interview Piers asked Dr. Brown if Jesus ever said anything about the cultural issue of the hour. Dr. Brown gave him three instances where Jesus specifically spoke about these issues. Naturally, expressing a biblical view on this issue set off the more left-leaning Hill. He immediately began to refute Dr. Brown, claiming that the Bible never says anything about sodomy, even stating that God’s judgment against Sodom in Genesis 19 was a result of their lack of hospitality.
Welcome to 21st Century America. This is now the land of the “Twisted Scripture.” Now, instead of the Bible being the unchangeable plumb-line of morality, we simply look at the words and try to explain why they don’t actually mean what they say: that God didn’t judge Sodom for sodomy but because they were not very neighborly; that when God said that perversions are sinful, he surely didn’t mean my perversion. There’s logic for you. Our culture is more tolerant of a God who wipes a city off the face of the earth because of their hospitality problems than because of the gross and rampant perversions running wild in the streets.
Christian’s are up in arms over Phil’s departure. To a degree, this is certainly appropriate. I’m sure that A&E has gotten there plenty of good-natured, kind, Christian love expressed through letters, emails, and social media. At the end of the day, I trust that Phil can take care of himself. I suspect he wouldn’t miss a beat if the A&E production trucks rolled off his land once and for all.
What should bother us even more than Phil losing his job is the concerted effort to discredit biblical authority once and for all in our culture. Phil Robertson has done something that few others have been able to do – he has put the Word of God right in the faces of those who chose to ignore it: the liberal-minded, culture-shapers of the media. Now, instead of saying they don’t believe it, they try to twist it into something that it clearly isn’t.
Guess what, the Bible warned us that this would happen. Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:16, “He [Paul] speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.”
One of the best things Christians can do in light of the ongoing Phil Robertson saga is renew their commitment to the inerrancy and relevance of the Scriptures. The Bible is not old and stale, outdated and worn out. As we have seen in recent days, it always has a word to speak to the culture, whether the culture likes it or not. More and more Christians are going to need to be like Phil, willing to share it no matter how much it costs them.