Friday, August 3, 2012

Of Chickens, Christ, Law and Gospel

Too much has been written on the controversy over Chik-Fil-A scion and exec Dan Cathy's comments about traditional marriage, and the support of Chik-Fil-A that was rallied yesterday.  So why not add more?

Except, I simply want to consider it from one angle, and that is from this question: Do we expect the world will be more friendly to the gospel than it is to the law?

It's a hot topic for debate --how should the Christian interact with the unbelieving world?  Should he do it with law or gospel?  Myself, I don't think we can generalize.  Jesus used law where people's hearts were hard and self-righteous, and they had to be shown they were sinful (like the Rich Young Ruler).  Jesus used gospel where people's hearts were already broken --they knew they were sinners, and they needed grace.

But, the meme that seems to be current that troubles me is this:  If only we (or those) stupid evangelicals understood that if we showed (or spoke) the gospel instead of standing up for traditional marriage, then maybe secularists would know we're not hateful, and they'd accept us, and we'd get invited to their parties like Jesus did, and we would be able to bring the gospel to them sans the offense.

Now, this is not about whether or not boycotts or rally days or political action, or buying chicken or portly former Arkansas governors of the left or the right.  That is an issue for another time, and it's been exhausted.

It's an issue of whether or not it's true that the gospel is somehow less offensive than the law.  There is no question that the law can offend.  People who are flagrant violators of the law are offended by the law.  But, pretty decent outwardly moral people like the law's message which is "do this, and live."  Salvation by decency.  Very doable, very nice, and nice people can do it.  Moral, respectable people can do it.  Or, they think they can.

The truth is, whether we lead with gospel or law, we are going to be offensive.  The gospel is more offensive than the law because it hits humans at the point of pride.  "Do this and live" stokes pride.  "You can't do it no matter how hard you try" slaps pride down.  We don't like it.  I don't care how degraded a person is --by nature, we don't like the gospel.  It is only by grace that we come to like, and then to love, the gospel.  The gospel shows me who I am, and I don't like that picture very much.  I'd rather not look in that mirror.  But, the gospel doesn't leave me in the crumpled heap of an accurate self-assessment.  It shows me a savior who is God himself, who died for me, not just so I can go to heaven when I die (which is a grand thing) but so that I can be restored to that original dignity for which I was created --not the mess I have made out of it.

So, think Chik-Fil-A is gauche.  It's okay.  Think that all the Christians who supported it are misguided or whatever.  But, don't kid yourself in thinking that if Chik-Fil-A, or you or me, or the coolest hippest pastor out there, led with gospel instead of law, he'd get the love of the world.  If the world hates you, it hated me first.  That is from the lips of the walking Gospel himself.