When Jesus said in Matthew 24:6 that one of the signs of His soon coming would be wars and rumors of wars, automatically we think of military wars. And indeed it means that. Military war is not only what He meant, in my opinion. He didn't use the word strateuo: "to make war" (from stratos, "an encamped army"). He used the word polemos which means war but it also means battle, strife, quarrels.
The word 'polemos' that He used in English is 'polemic.' A polemic is "a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific belief and the falsity of the contrary belief. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about very controversial topics." Polemics address important issues in religion, philosophy, politics, or science. The word is derived from the Greek meaning "warlike, hostile" which comes from polemos, "war". (Wiki)
What we have in the Chick-Fil-A controversy is a very open war- a culture war with polemical battle lines drawn on one side and the other. This week America was engaged in a national convulsion in polemics, AKA culture war, strife, battle, and quarrel. Christians brought biblical light to a Godly value (heterosexual marriage) and focused it in such a way as to shine it directly into the eyes of those who are yet in darkness. My own opinion is that this is also what Jesus meant when He said 'you will see wars and rumors of wars.'
Now for the relevant application. I'll boil the culture war down to two people, Adam Smith and Rachel.
|Distribution of Chick-Fil-A restaurants|
in the US. Wiki commons
"Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that ... We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles." SourceHis mild and gentle but clear statement caused a firestorm of protest. The usual protests came from the homosexual segment of the population, but this time the politicians and Mayors of major cities, particularly Boston and Chicago, stated that they would do everything in their power to stop Chick-Fil-A from operating as a company in their city.
The usual argument in culture is one thing, but the US is founded on principles of freedom of speech and religion, and this not-so-veiled attack on those principles ignited a peaceful protest by the conservative segment of the population. They decided to go and buy Chick-Fil-A food as a sign of support. On August 1, 2012, Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day happened. Boy, did people turn out for this!
Even in GASP! Boston!
|Boston, Burlington Mall|
My Christian brother in Norway tweeted, "Why is everyone from america talking about this chick-fil a or something??" I told him that the national convulsion we're experiencing here is simply the latest iteration of an age-old battle. This week it burst into open warfare in such vitriolic proportions that the culture war spilled overseas to the notice of other nations.
You might ask, the homosexual agenda has been visible for a long time, this isn't the first time it has burst open in America. Remember Stonewall? How about all those Pride Days, Gay Parades, and legislative rallies and protests for homosexual marriage?" Yes, that is true, that is part of the culture war. It's been one-sided so far. But this week was the first time in my memory that the initiative was taken by Christians, in a well-planned and organized push-back.
People who are not in Christ are in satan. There is no in-between. Satan deludes the unsaved into thinking that there aren't that many Christians. They think we are kooks, living exclusively in the south, and that we have no power. Christians are no-account in an unsaved person's life, because they simply don't see us. We are invisible to them because satan has blinded them to the Light of Jesus that is in us. I cannot stress this enough.
I can say these things because I wasn't saved until I was 43 years old. Until then I was a New England liberal elite who thought Christians numbered in the dozens, maybe hundreds, living Deliverance style in the woods of Mississippi. Or maybe all in one subdivision. They were easy to avoid and had no impact to my life. When I did get saved and moved to the south I was shocked, shocked I tell you, at the sheer number of Christians. Before, they were invisible to me. And that is because satan has blinded their minds.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
I have four points I'd like to finish with.
On Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, Adam Smith, an executive at an Arizona company named Vante, sat for a looooong time in the drive-thru. He was there to buy some water and to tell the employee serving him that she worked for a horrible company that denies homosexuals their rights. He said he felt good, purposeful and jazzed to be doing it. We know all this because he filmed his encounter and posted it on Youtube. The next day his company fired him.
A day or so after that, Smith posted an 8-minute video apologizing for his actions and stated he wasn't just saying this because he was fired and he has a lot of time on his hands to reflect on his actions. His video is below. You can watch for yourself. First I'll post some of his comments and embed them in the context of the (culture) wars and polemical arguments bursting out all over.
"You should know I never planned to say the things I said that day...and how I said them. I planned to peacefully participate in the Youtube post where Jackson Pearce asked people to order a large water as a sign of support for the gay community. But when I got to your window, after seeing all of the people in and outside the restaurant, that came to support Chick-Fil-A, I lost it. I just lost it. I couldn't believe the number of people that came out to support a corporation..."
1. What he really means there is he couldn't believe how many people came out to support a corporation that openly embraces a Christian value. Because, of course, liberals and homosexuals and the unsaved come out in force and in numbers all the time to support or oppose corporations. Look at the Occupy Wall Street protests. They oppose Bank of America or other banks. Last time I looked, those were corporations.
2. I can just see how sitting in that long line for all that time roiled Mr Smith. He got madder, madder and madder. Satan opposes God. When someone is deeply reprobate, they will be angry when confronted with truth. Smith had buckets of time in line to watch truth in action. Romans 1 says that all have seen God because He has revealed His invisible qualities to us through the creation. In this case the truth hit him on the nose and he couldn't help but see the numbers of people who support corporations with Godly values. Those who deliberately suppress this truth descend on a path that gets darker and darker. Confronted with truth, they get angry. They will become the things they claim to hate!
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless." (Romans 1:28-30).Smith could not believe the number of people who love God and who support Godly principles. Smith was confronted with visible, tangible proof of the fact that God exists in many people and he shrank like a vampire from holy water, screaming 'noooo noooo nooo'. OK maybe not literally, but pretty close, seeing his own words above! "I just lost it." So he lashed out:
"For me, the main goal of supporting the gay community outweighed any collateral damage that Rachel became. ... I just literally saw Rachel as collateral damage."
3. In other words the war in the reprobate to win at all costs no matter who gets hurt in the process is clearly unveiled. This is because in suppressing the truth, they are filled with all manner of unrighteousness as described above. Their unreasoning, satanic hatred of all things Godly will darken them to the point that they rise up in violence. This is a war. When presented with the truth become so blinded with rage they lash out and as in any war, there is 'collateral damage.'
Huffington Post reports, Homosexual "Manny Castro has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the "Tastes Like Hate" message painted on the side of a Chick-fil-A restaurant Friday morning in Torrance, Calif." Castro claims that he, as a homosexual man has few rights and that the people at Chick-Fil-A were trying to take away what few rights he has left. "When Castro saw news photos of thousands of Americans lined up around the block to buy a sandwich in support of the company on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," his heart sank even more." Castro says Americans eating chicken sandwiches to support their preferred restaurant is the "same thing" as when 40 years ago Christians protested whites marrying blacks. Therefore, he reasoned, his defacement of local property is "not that much of a crime."
You notice that it was when Castro "saw" the photos of lines upon lines of people at Chick-Fil-A that the polemical issue really affected him. "His heart sank." It was when he was confronted with the truth that he was angered into negative action, that is.
They will never see the irony in that a hate filled heart will, under cover of darkness plot an evil plan, buy paint, gather together in unrighteousness, and in their foolish battle, they break the law in order to claim that others hate. Breaking the law is the most hateful incivility in the highest degree. But their reprobate minds just lose it and in the ensuing war, there is collateral damage. In this case, an innocent restaurant manager who had then to deal with the aftermath of reprobate hate plastered on his building.
Smith goes on to say that the reaction against him subsequent to his video posting and then his firing was discouraging. He has received threats against himself, his family and his co-workers. This is unfortunate and is not a Christian value. People who do those things, no matter what side of the culture war they say they are on, are reprobate with a foolish heart and a darkened mind.
However Smith also says that on the other hand it is encouraging. Because, he says, "If people can get this passionate about a guy being rude to a girl in the drive-thru, how much more passion can we have for our fellow human beings have whose basic rights are being threatened by a corporation like Chick-Fil-A?"
4. So you can see that he is not really sorry. His heart is still darkened. He recognized the light inside of Rachel the woman he berated, but he wants to harness that light for satan's purposes.
This "war" will continue and even deepen. The lines are drawn so clearly now.
The chasm between the Light-filled Christian and the Dark-Hearted Reprobate will shrink, and shrink and shrink, until one day Christians will be raptured and we will study war no more! The Dark-Hearted Reprobate will have no one left to battle with...so he will turn against the next guy whose heart is even darker than his. Because their war is really against God. They will continue, because Romans 1:32 closes out with:
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.May God have mercy upon them...but His wrath is building.
Original video of Smith going through drive-thru on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. It is a little over 2 minutes.:
Adam Smith's apologetic video, it is about 8 minutes