Back in 2014, Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan and a committed Evangelical Christian preached an Easter sermon about sin at Whites Ferry Road Church in his hometown of West Monroe, LA. The substance of the sermon, based on a verse from Corinthians defining “sinners,” eventually got him pushed out of his TV show and generally deplatformed.
“Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God,” preached Mr. Robertson.
We’ve watched Mr. Robertson’s sermon a number of times and while we can’t know for sure what was in the hearts of his audience at the time, we suspect that the basis for the congregation’s enthusiasm was twofold:
First, was Mr. Robertson’s leadership in confronting the sin that is right in front of all of us.
How many times in the past year, or the past month, have you gone to church and received a sermon on sin? Not very often I suspect. Sermons about sin are inherently politically incorrect, and too many pastors and priests decide it is better to stick to exhortations to join the church Youth Club litter pick-up campaign or urge the congregation to support the building fund than preach about sin.
Second, Mr. Robertson was preaching the Bible, not the editorial page of the newspaper.
In a bizarre twist, as priests and pastors have given up preaching against sin as defined in the Bible, they have found other non-Bible-based things to preach against. Voting Republican, climate change, gentrification, and a host of the favorite themes of social justice warriors are aired from the pulpit, while the sins Paul warned us about in his letter to the Corinthians are ignored.
As he wrapped-up that part of his sermon Phil Robertson made reference to an interview he had given that got him in trouble with the liberal news media.
He said, “The news media didn’t even know it [the definition of sin in Corinthians] was a verse! They thought I was just mouthing off. ‘Is homosexual behavior a sin?’ the guy asked me. I said, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived’.”
So, we ask again, will you hear the Bible this Sunday?
Will you hear the truth about transgender ideology, such as The Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington (Virginia) preached it in his Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology?
Will you hear that the claim to “be transgender” or the desire to seek “transition” rests on a mistaken view of the human person, rejects the body as a gift from God, and leads to grave harm. To affirm someone in an identity at odds with biological sex or to affirm a person's desired “transition” is to mislead that person. It involves speaking and interacting with that person in an untruthful manner. Although the law of gradualness might prompt us to discern the best time to communicate the fullness of the truth, in no circumstances can we confirm a person in error.
Will you hear that “gender-affirming” medical or surgical interventions cause significant, even irreparable, bodily harm to children and adolescents? These include the use of puberty blockers (in effect, chemical castration) to arrest the natural psychological and physical development of a healthy child, cross-sex hormones to induce the development of opposite-sex, secondary sex characteristics, and surgery to remove an adolescent's healthy breasts, organs, and/or genitals. These kinds of interventions involve serious mutilations of the human body, and, and said Bishop Burbidge, are morally unacceptable.
Or will you hear “judge not lest you be judged” offered completely out of context and as a blanket indulgence for any sin?
Or will you get Austen Hartke’s Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians a popular book so riddled with error that it misappropriates the biblical text and constructs a theology foreign to the text itself—a theology that defies the entire 2,000-year consensus of the Christian church?
When your priest or pastor closes the Easter sermon, ask the question each of us should ask every day, but especially on Easter: “What's Jesus coming back for?” Or as Phil Robertson preached, “To bring salvation to those who are waiting for it. Are you waiting on Jesus? Or are you afraid to see that sky busting, you see him coming?”
This Holy Week we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but that is only part of the promise of Easter. The first time Jesus came, through his death and resurrection, to take the burden of our sins upon himself. The second part of the promise of Easter is what Phil Robertson was talking about back in 20214, but all too few preachers and priests talk about today – that Jesus will return – and those who are in sin will be separated out, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have life everlasting, and those who are in sin shall face judgement.
Judgement doesn’t get a lot of attention from the pulpit these days, but there’s no better day to contemplate what kind of judgement awaits those who reject God’s most precious gift – the death and resurrection of his only begotten Son – Jesus Christ.
CHQ Editor George Rasley is an ordained Elder of the Presbyterian Church and a member of Faith Leaders for America. The views expressed in this column are his own and not necessarily the views of any denomination, congregation or organization.
So, Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5