Thursday, December 19, 2013

Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, A&E, and GLAAD: see what Dunamis power does in a dying culture!

Phil Robertson
A&E, the cable television station Arts and Entertainment, began producing a reality tv show two years ago called Duck Dynasty. The show centers on the real-life family of the Robertsons. Phil Robertson, the patriarch, is the former CEO of the company he began in 1973 with the famous Duck Commander duck call. The company grew and grew. Eventually, Phil Robertson handed the business to his third son Willie, who "used his business degree from University of Louisiana Monroe to take Duck Commander from a family business to a multi-million dollar empire." (source).

Because of the shortened rotations of cable television, the Duck Dynasty show began two and a half years ago but is entering its fifth season this January. As each season concluded, the show grew in ratings. The family is overtly Christian, but they are entertaining, intelligent, and just strangely backwoods enough to the NY and Hollywood producers to have kept them on. The show portrays the family in their work and in play, hunting, during holidays and just sitting around goofing. The show always ends with the family around the dinner table, and Phil praying the blessing. There was a minor controversy back along when people wondered why the name of Jesus was rarely mentioned in prayer, and patriarch Phil revealed that he always prays in Jesus name, but the producers and editors always cut it out.

Subsequently, there was some push-back from the Robertsons (as they had gained leverage and negotiating power) and from Christian Americans who watch the show. After that, there were more mentions of Jesus, a show where Phil and his wife Kay renewed their vows and eldest son, a pastor, officiated in Jesus name, and the show grew even more popular.

Their popularity perplexed the brass. They could not figure out why or how this family held such an attraction to so many millions of viewers, especially in the 18-40 year old range (the sweet spot for advertisers). But grow in popularity it did, and as long as ratings held and the money flowed in, the producers let it slide.

Many Christians were happy to see a show which reflected their values: God, family, and country. It was a cultural anomaly, but one that was appreciated by those who enjoy clean entertainment and their own values reflected back at them through the usually evil vehicle of television programs, scripted or unscripted.

That was then.

Phil Robertson was interviewed in the January 2014 issue of GQ, which was released this week. The GQ intro to their story goes like this (and don't you find it hilarious that camo wearing, plain-speaking, bearded Phil Robertson is in Gentleman's Quarterly?)

How in the world did a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters become the biggest TV stars in America? And what will they do now that they have 14 million fervent disciples?

In the interview, Robertson spoke about sin. He said, "Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong… Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men." Robertson then paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 from the Bible: "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. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

Phil went on to unhelpfully and crudely describe how and why homosexuality is illogical, naming body parts. He also correctly included homosexuality in the list of sins which also included terrorists and drunkards. Secular folks of course took issue with gays being included with terrorists, but remember, Christian, homosexuals are cultural terrorists. See below regarding GLAAD.

Immediately upon the magazine's release and Phil's comments were published, GLAAD erupted in an explosively vitriolic screed sent to A&E and released to the general public. According to GLAAD's website their history began in 1985, "In response to the New York Post's grossly defamatory and sensationalized HIV/AIDS coverage, GLAAD is formed with its original name "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting."

Make no mistake. GLAAD is a lobby dedicated to "changing culture by working directly with news media, entertainment media, cultural institutions and social media." Keep that in mind.

GLAAD's statement:

"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said. "He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans -- and Americans -- who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families."

On the same day, A&E suspended Phil from the show.

There are many good people weighing in on this. Dr. Al Mohler warned against partnering with secular culture and media and the resultant risk of public life. Denny Burk said "I predicted privately some months ago that it would only be a matter of time before the media sniffed out the views of the Duck Dynasty guys about sexuality. ...  It means that A&E is yet another sector of popular culture in which Christian views about sexual norms are not allowed." He predicted that this will be the end of the show.

Dr Russell Moore angled on the view that we all have a remote control and A&E's suspension of Mr Robertson is ridiculous. He wrote about the issue from the free speech aspect. He rightly said, "And if you don’t like his religious views on sexuality (views held also by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and evangelicals as well as by many Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and the Dalai Lama), you’re free to say why you think he’s wrong."

I want to examine the spiritual component. Dr Moore mentioned that all those other religious adherents hold the exact same view as Phil Robertson regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality. It wasn't long before Twitter exploded with this constantly retweeted photo exposing the illogical double standard:

Did you ever wonder why all those other religions hold to the sinfulness of homosexuality, but that it's only when Christians who declare it get slammed? Because it is spiritual warfare.

Satan owns all the other religions. He has them already. When a Christian declares a biblical truth to a sinful culture, there is dunamis power behind the words. It is only the words of a Christan that pierce like an arrow, splitting soul and spirit, bone and marrow.

Dunamis is a Greek word. According to BibleStudyTools.org, dunamis means in part

--strength power, ability
--moral power and excellence of soul
--power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
--inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth

Dunamis is used 121 times in the NASB and 83 of those mean power. It's where we get our English word dynamite.

We always hear of how the word of God is powerful. It's powerful to bring repentance in hearts, to change cultures, to wield a sword that holds back armies. This controversy about Duck Dynasty is an example of how dunamis works and why there is a double standard. When the Pope says homosexuality is a sin, there is cultural crickets and GLAAD snores, because the pope's words have no dunamis power behind them. When Phil Robertson says homosexuality is a sin, dynamite explodes in the culture because it's only his words that have the Spirit-piercing power carrying them along. God's words carried by the Spirit are explosive.

A WWI soldier silhouetted against an exploding phosphorous bomb. source
Dunamis is not just any power, it is not just raw power, it is not brute power. Note the definition, "moral power and excellence of soul." Note the definition, "inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth". The words of the bible are true by virtue of its nature, which is God's holy nature, and when a Christian puts the words forth, you have the power of God unleashed in a culture.

Look what happened when Paul spoke truth to the culture in Ephesus. It caused a riot. (Acts 19). Jesus speaking truth caused the Pharisees to plot to kill Him. (John 11). Stephen speaking truth caused his own death by stoning. (Acts 6).

Phil Robertson quoted the bible to support his stance, and this is dunamis power. The holy Word alone has the power of truth, because the Word is God-breathed. When Phil spoke those holy words to a sinful culture, coming out of Phil's mouth was God's truth, His thoughts, His very attribute of holiness. This always singes a culture and the culture reacts like the Wicked Witch of the West melting under the water. It's the same effect as vinegar poured on baking soda.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12.
In Acts 19 they rioted against Paul because they feared loss of wealth. In John 11 the Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus because they feared loss of government autonomy. In Acts 6, the synagogues of Freedmen disputed with Stephen because they were jealous of his miracles. Greed, pride, power, and jealousy- they were busy protecting their spiritual battleground, the top of which were the aforementioned sins.

Stephen preached to the Council, "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54, KJV)

What do you suppose cut them to the heart? It is the Spirit's word, carried along in dunamis power! When Phil Robertson spoke biblical truth, the eruption we see is a visible manifestation of the invisible spiritual battle going on all around us. Christians, instead of tut-tutting about the double standard, instead rejoice that the power of God's word is unleashed on sinful hearts. Rejoice that His word is living and active, and spearing souls. We don't always see such a powerful explosion, but there is an explosion of some kind every time we speak holy truth from His word to satan's face.

So that's why the double standard. There is spiritual power behind the words of God, and there is no power behind satan's word. His agents speak nothing but empty philosophies to a deluded world. It is why we're urged to hide God's word in our heart, so that if a moment comes when we can speak bible verse to the culture, His sword of the spirit will carry them to stopped ears, hard hearts, dead souls.

Rejoice that He has given us opportunity to speak these truths. Do not be surprised at the reaction. If they rioted against Paul when he spoke truth, if they stoned Stephen, if they killed Messiah, they will do the same to us, either killing our reputation, or slaying our very flesh.

Hamburger Hill, Viet Nam war, 1969.
Satan wants to protect his unholy hill of homosexuality because it is the last stage before a culture dies. (Romans 1:27-32). When an unholy person who does not have the Spirit speaks truth, there is no reaction because there is no power. Did you ever wonder why the culture didn't react negatively to Billy Graham's pronouncements of homosexuality as a sin?

Rejoice, I say, rejoice when you see rage from the unholy ones aimed at Christians. It is because the power of the holy Word is active. Active!

It is well that Mr Robertson is set financially and his suspension isn't one that will ruin him. It will be interesting to see which sin A&E will chose: money or homosexuality. It seems they are tending to homosexuality, but time will tell.

As for us, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16)

In other words,

quote, ~Maggie Kuhn. photo source
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further reading:

Got Questions: "What is the meaning of the Greek word dunamis in the Bible?"

US Weekly, "Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty Makes Homophobic Remarks, Groups Gays With "Terrorists" and "Drunkards"

Dr Al Mohler: You Have Been Warned—The “Duck Dynasty” Controversy



23 comments:

  1. The words of a Christian carry a lot of weight under the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a fierce battle going on in the spirit realms, and is manifested in the physical world. Praying for the Duck guys...

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  2. Outstanding! I missed the Dunamis point in my attempt at putting a rope around the hysteria on this whole thing. I'm sure Willie Robertson would claim that the entire hoopla is another example of "Facial Profiling"

    BTW - not only did Time Magazine pick the pope as the man of the year, so did The Advocate, the oldest gay rights magazine in the US. Duck Hypocrisy?

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  3. Elizabeth, this was a wonderful response to this situation. The best I have read. I really enjoyed your perspective on the whole dynamic of true believers having power when delivering the word, and false converts having none, thus no reaction. That is really the crux, I think of the lesson we can learn from all of this. Powerful.
    Thanks,
    Jennifer

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    1. I wanted to add to my earlier thoughts: I wonder if he would have left off his "unhelpful" anatomical descriptions, as you so aptly named them, if it wouldn't have been as big of a deal. Not to refute the argument that there is real power in a Christian proclaiming God's truth. But I think it is one thing to clearly state what the bible says, versus giving your view of the illogicalness of same sex behavior. Its not the validity of the illogicalness, its the way in which he delivered it. I understand that they asked his opinion, and I think everyone is entitled to their view, weather right or wrong or crudely put or not. But I think you can lose your effectiveness when you are not careful of your delivery. I hope I am making myself understandable. I could see how the gay people out there would have felt that was a "dig". Probably the whole thing would have been offensive, but as a believer, although I agree with him, there was something akin to a gear change when I read his comments. I was in step with him until he got into the whole anatomical thing. That just felt uncomfortable the way it was expressed by him. In my opinion, not necessary to proclaiming the truth, and possibly shutting a door of open ears up to that point.

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    2. At the risk of offending some, I have to agree with this anonymous commenter that Mr. Robertson didn't have to share all of his thoughts about the wretchedness of homosexuality in order to share the truth of God in regards to this particular sin. In fact, Ephesians 5:12 tells us it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. This doesn't prevent us from calling sin a sin, but it should prevent talking more specifically about the sin. I can't help but wonder what the reaction would have been if Mr. Robertson had stuck to just the truth of God's Word - yes, it may have still blown up, but then we would know that it was solely a reaction against the LORD, and not against Mr. Robertson's graphic thoughts.

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  4. It is interesting to note the deceptive headline of US Weekly claims that "Phil Robertson"... groups gays with "terrorists" and "drunkards""
    In fact, it is the Word of God, which Phil is quoting from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, that states this.
    Much the same as today, evidently some in the Corinthian assembly who had professed Christianity as a system of doctrine, but not as a rule of life. The apostle Paul warns that this is a fatal mistake. No one who can allow himself the indulgence of known sin in his life can be saved.

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  5. Phil spoke the truth. If his words are offensive to some then may I suggest that your imagination be turned to the acts the homosexuals do upon each other and let your offended mind camp out there for a while before you get on Phil's case. Also, be offended that these same gays want to occupy heaven with those of us who have washed in the Blood of Christ and that with their gayness being acceptable to God, because after all, God has been wrong for centuries.

    Speak your mind, Phil, and thanks for standing true to the Word.

    PS As usual the comments from Mr. Mohler are powerless and useless, finding fault with Phil's delivery, REALLY? How was your trip to Saddleback, Mr. Mohler? And you dare dis my brother in Christ when you have cozied up with the chief false prophet in America.

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    1. Agree, Darrell your comment that these same "gays"/homosexuals want to occupy heaven with those of us whose sins have been washed in the Blood of Christ, and that with their gayness being acceptable to God..."
      These want to enter heaven and carry their sin with them. They do not want to have their burden of sin removed and so are rejecting the offer of redemption from this bondage they are under. They love the darkness and the bondage of sin.
      John 3:19-21 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

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    2. Just so you know, Phil has spoken at saddleback and commends the celebrate recovery program, which comes out of saddleback. Google it. And I don't say that to be down on Phil, its just a fact.
      --Jennifer

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    3. I don't have a lot of experience in researching the Celebrate Recovery program, so for those that may not know what Celebrate Recovery is, Wikipedia explains,

      "Celebrate Recovery, also referred to as CR, is a Christ-based approach to recovery that was a response to twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. It was founded in 1990 by Pastors John Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, and is aimed at all "hurts, habits, and hang-ups", including but not limited to drug and alcohol addictions, sex addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and people who have been sexually abused. The founders felt that Alcoholics Anonymous was too vague in referring to God as a "higher power," and wanted a more specifically Christ-based program. Celebrate Recovery utilizes eight Recovery Principles that are based on the Sermon on the Mount"

      His sermon at Saddleback centered around personal sin, judgment, guilt, atonement and holiness of Jesus. If any people need to hear that message, it's the Saddleback congregation.

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    4. I don't have a problem with Phil preaching to the Saddleback crowd. I was simply pointing that out to Darrel, who implied that this Al Mohler fellow was in error to be involved in Saddleback, where as he described Phil as a brother. Just wanted him to know his brother preached there. Might make him evaluate his litmus test.
      Jennifer

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    5. Oh, I get it. Duh on me. Thanks for explaining to me, the blockhead!! :)

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  6. Another wonderful and thorough post Elizabeth!

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  7. Thank you so much for reading, everyone. I appreciate the feedback. We're all in this together and someday we shall see each other! (If we can tear our eyes off gazing at Jesus, that is :)

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  8. Ever since this became the headline, I've experienced something I now recognize in your words: wonder. Wonder at the spiritual battle going on around me, wonder at how satan's minions are responding on various tv shows, radio programs and even good old Facebook. Finally, I realized it's my absolute amazement at the power of God's word working, visibly, in a sick, dying society. All I can do now is watch in wonder...and worship my King.

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    1. Hi Tara,

      Thanks exactly it! Thank you! The spiritual battle goes on all around us invisibly but we forget...the Word is living and active and transforming dead hearts into live souls reflecting Christ, but so often we fail to notice. Our Lord is sovereign and His works are amazing, even the "negative" works, because they all eventually will work for His glory (and our good). He is wondrous! This is truly and amazing time to be living.

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  9. A person grounded in Christianity has these kind of laws inscribed on their heart and in their mind. To deny the Word of God, is offensive and hurtful. These verses and many more like this, are Christians laws. When the Government or any other man made traditions are contradicting God's words, the Holy Spirit directs us to the truth.

    Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

    1 Timothy 1:10 "The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,"

    Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."

    1 Corinthians 7:2 "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband."

    Jude 1:7 "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire."

    Mark 10:6-9 "But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Romans 1:26 "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones."

    Romans 1:28 "Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done."

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  10. Christian has to get ready and always stand together spiritual war is here and we have to be the voice of God and stand together...As for me and my house we will serve the Lord

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  11. It's another sign of the times we live in - Jesus & His followers are fair game for anyone who hates Christians. As the article said, we're entering a time of intense spiritual warfare.

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  12. @ Shannon
    Didn't know that Phil went to saddleback, if he went there to preach the Gospel, more power to him. It would be a unique experience for those folk. Mohler went under the radar and has yet to reveal his intent or Purpose since he seems to be more interested in building up his own name rather than preaching the Gospel. If given the chance (which will never happen) I would preach at saddleback, but Mr. Warren would also have to be there and listen. Being a nobody and not a pastor or preacher would pretty much disqualify me in the chief charlatan's eyes and especially because I would refuse to stroke his ego.

    It turns out that A & E knew some three years ago what Phil's stance was on homosexuality and did not challenge him (see current video up at msn.com). So all this controversy is really nothing more than catering to the boys at Glaad and the LGBTQ crowd who got their feelings hurt. Homosexuality will always be an abomination to God no matter how much complaining comes from those who refuse to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  13. Was out of town awaiting the birth of our 11th grandchild and am just now catching up on your blog.

    This Phil Robertson situation is a PG rating of "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth...then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him..." (Acts 7:54-58).

    The world is railing against Mr. Robertson. I'm waiting for the time that the church will begin to rail against the remnant of Christians within the church, "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:1-2).

    Mario

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    1. Congratulations Mario! What a blessing to have a large family and many grandkids. I enjoyed your comment. It is like you describe in the verse, gnashing of teeth and putting him out. Good scripture, thanks.

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