Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-fil-a and the Gospel

I am a Chick-fil-a fan!  Not as much as my wife, who is a sweet tea addict, or my daughter who'd rather go to Chick-fil-a than to Disneyland (see video), but I am a fan!  Nothing beats a Chick-fil-a Club, and some waffle fries to dip into 3 or 4 containers of Chick-fil-a Sauce.  Tasty food!  It's not just the food, though.  I also like to show my loyalty to Christian businesses.  Galatians 6:10 says "...as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith," and giving my business to a Christian owned company, which is governed by biblical principles, is one way I can fulfill this command.

I will be buying myself some Chick-n-Minis tomorrow morning on my way to work, to show my support for Dan Cathy, but...

...the more I think about Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day — scheduled tomorrow — the more I wonder if we, as followers of Jesus, are fighting for our civil liberties at the expense of our Gospel witness.

Looking at all the hype, especially on Facebook, it just feels like the motivation is more about defending our constitutional freedom than it is about anything else; even more so than it is about defending a biblical definition of marriage.  Those things are very, very, important.  My fear, however, is that we are damaging our lines of communicating the Gospel with homosexuals by making this an "us against you" game.  Thousands of Christians will be flocking to Chick-fil-a tomorrow, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and most of them will be posting pictures of their sandwiches on Twitter and Facebook.  For what reason, and to what end?  Many are certainly properly motivated, but many more, I suspect, are motivated by something far less than a proper defining of marriage, or the greater mission of the Gospel.  Sadly, many tens of thousands will post their comments and pictures with great pleasure, as they rub my liberal and GLBT neighbors faces into their extra large sleeve of waffle fries.  This grieves me. 

This is just the flip side of boycotting, no?  How is either practice redemptive to the purpose of the Gospel mission?  They are not.  We might be taking back America, but we are also, I'm afraid, erecting unnecessary, non-gospel, stumbling blocks before the feet of those whom we might try to engage in the Gospel.

A friend wrote, when discussing this topic with me,

If someone were to ask me how I feel about the Chick-Fil-A issue, I would probably not answer the question. I would instead ask, "why do you care?" and then I would swing to the way the gospel intersects with the reason they care. Whether they support Tom Menino or Dan Cathy, every issue people bring up is a gospel opportunity. Let them be offended by the gospel, not by how you feel about the treatment of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Align yourself with Jesus so that they have to deal with him, not Dan Cathy.

That is wisdom.  Many have seen fit to use the controversy surrounding Dan Cathy's comments to show the inconsistency of the "tolerance buzz saw" and the christaphobes, but very few — I've seen none — are leveraging this occasion for the sake of the Gospel.  When controversy arose surrounding the ministries of Jesus, or one of His disciples, we repeatedly see them seizing the opportunity for an occasion to preach the Gospel.  Foolishly, we've consigned this, our greatest asset, to the bench.
Our fight for freedom of expression should never overshadow, or take precedence over, our fight for the Gospel.  This we know, Jesus never promised us a country where freedom of speech would always be available to us.  They hated Him for what he said, and they killed Him.  How much more harshly, then, will they treat us who follow Him?  My point is this, we should not hold so tightly to the graces embedded in our Constitution, that we compromise the very purpose for which those graces have been given.  Namely, that we might enjoy the freedom to announce Jesus and His Gospel of the Kingdom to the lost.  Personally, I'd rather have a pure gospel witness under the harsh fist of persecution than I would to have absolute freedom to announce a gospel that has been compromised by overzealous political conservatism.  If God should grace me by allowing me to suffer for the sake of the Gospel, His will be done; I just want to make sure I will be persecuted for the right thing.  Make sense?  

I will leave you with a quote and then ask you to consider what your motivations will be when you drive to Chick-fil-a tomorrow. 

"Everyone is an evangelist.  The question is not whether or not you are an evangelist, because everyone loves to talk about what is most important to them.  Our world is filled with diet evangelists, those people who are always talking about the best new diet plan; and political evangelists, those who love to talk about "their" guy who will save us from the "other" guy.  So, the question is not whether or not you are an evangelist, the question is what are you announcing as good news?" ~ Jeff Vanderstelt

What will you be announcing to the world tomorrow through your proclamation of Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day?  What will be the good news that you announce to your unsaved Facebook friends and followers on Twitter?  If it is something other than a "Christ crucified" motivated message, then you need to seriously consider whose mission you are really on.

Worth considering, right?


steve sanchez said...

Great article, Josh. Here's my take: http://stonethepreacher.com/2012/07/31/chick-fil-a-eat-mor-controversy.html

Michael Coughlin said...

Thanks for sharing that. I found your link on Jon Speed's article.

Here is my take as well. Let me know what you think:


Lee Anne said...

I love the considerate and compassionate nature of this article...plus it really made me think :)