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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Where Are the Christian Celebrities on Marriage? (Updated)

This past Thursday evening, my undefeated (5-0) Atlanta Falcons faced their division rival, the 1-4 New Orleans Saints. The Falcons were on a bit of a roll, and despite playing on the road, were favored over the struggling Saints. Alas, turnovers and a hot Drew Brees did in the Falcons. Brees favorite receiving target that night was his tight end, the former University of Georgia stand-out Ben Watson. Watson had a career night, catching 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. (He had 20 catches for 136 yards all of last season.)

This is Watson’s 12th season in the NFL. He’s not a future hall-of-famer, but he’s had a long and productive football career. He’s also one of the smartest players in football. Prior to being drafted by the New England Patriots, Watson scored a 48 on the NFL’s Wonderlic Test (an intelligence test the NFL gives to prospective players). Watson’s score is tied for third highest ever in the NFL. Watson having a great night helped lessen the blow of the Falcon’s first loss for me. Lately, I’ve become even more of a fan of the former UGA Bulldog.

Watson seems to be a devoted family man. He’s married (only once it seems, which in-and-of-itself is quite unusual for today’s celebrities) to Kirsten Watson. They have five children: Grace, Naomi, Isaiah, Judah, and Eden. Note the biblical theme to the names. Watson is a Christian, and refreshingly, not a very shy one.

More than once in the past year, using white-hot current events, Watson has used his Christian worldview to present the world with the unabashed truth. After the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, in late November of last year, Watson wrote,

“I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through…his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

After the Supreme Court’s infamous ruling on marriage, Watson declared

“Relative morality is as capricious as the wind, leaving each generation to do what is right in their own eyes, while unknowingly undermining the exact concept of “right” that they are so desperately trying to attain. Instead of shooting for the mark, we lower it, doing what is good for “us” at the time, effectually creating our own truth, which when taken to its logical conclusion is always problematic.

“We, as a nation, have continued our course into dangerous waters, shaking our fist and becoming our own gods. This individual Supreme Court ruling is not the cause, but simply evidence of how far we’ve gradually drifted. The moral decay of America is not unlike moral decay in my own life, as I continually battle against self rule. It’s a gradual decline. The tire usually doesn’t spontaneously blow out. No, it’s an aggravating slow leak, that needs constant refilling of air, until eventually, busyness takes precedence and the now unattended to tire is completely flat. Life’s proverbial morality tire responds in much the same way. It’s neglecting to read and respect the Bible. It’s listening to or watching things that aren’t uplifting. It’s allowing myself a second look. It’s removing prayer from schools and our homes. It’s legalizing the murder of babies in the womb. It’s glorifying promiscuity and reducing sex to a simple physical animalistic act. It’s objectifying woman and praising the “playa”. It’s condoning divorce. It’s standing by in silence. It’s ignoring the promptings of the Spirit. It’s Christians, myself included, not living like Christians.”

It’s those last three sentences that’s bothered me lately. There’s far too many “standing by in silence” when it comes to the significant moral issues of our time. Sadly, this is especially the case when it comes to Christian celebrities. In other words, there are far too few Ben Watson’s out there.

For example, my older three children, ages 13, 11, and 9 have recently discovered that they really enjoy musical concerts—contemporary Christian concerts. They’ve attended several this year (in the state of Georgia where we live). Each of these events contained very popular Christian artists that most everyone would recognize if I named them. Tragically, at each of these worship events, hardly any mention of marriage or family was made. And no mention was made in the context of “Our nation is in a spiritual crisis when it comes to marriage and the family.” Neither were the grave matters of sexual purity and sexual temptation given any attention. This should not be.

All Christians have a responsibility to be “salt and light” in this dark world. This is true for the secluded or isolated Christian with a small circle of influence, as well as the celebrity Christian who can gain the attention of millions, and everyone in between. Of course, the larger your sphere of influence, the more opportunity you have to widely impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, and the world over, the union of one man and one woman is the foundation of every social institution. Strong and healthy marriages lead to strong and healthy families. Strong and healthy families lead to strong and healthy communities. Strong and healthy communities lead to strong and healthy churches, schools, businesses, governments, and so on.

What’s more, marriage is “the Crown of Creation.” It is the priority relationship within the family, with all other relationships being subordinate, and functioning subject, to it. After our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between husband and wife. The union is so profound that throughout the New Testament, God uses the analogy of the bride and bridegroom to describe the relationship between Jesus and the Church.

Of course, honoring ones "father and mother" is given specific attention in God's "top ten." I say "of course" because I assume most every American is aware of the Ten Commandments. It's not as if the Ten Commandments have been removed from our culture--oh, wait. If we take away the Ten Commandments, we shouldn't be very surprised that many Americans have decided that things like mothers and fathers are no longer very important. I suppose such Americans now find the Ten Commandments "discriminatory."

Of course, Satan is well aware of the significance of marriage. Virtually every sexual sin that plagues our culture—promiscuity, pornography, divorce, homosexuality, et al—is ultimately an attack on marriage and the family. Satan knows well that, if you want to destroy a culture, you go after the foundation.

Thus, there are very few things in the world today that deserve more attention of the followers of Jesus than does marriage. It is under attack as never before. Our witness to the eternal truth on marriage is more important now than ever. (See: The Marriage Commitment Challenge.) We must be very deliberate and opportunistic in our defense of marriage. Whenever we have the opportunity, we must speak out in defense of marriage. This is especially true of pastors, politicians, teachers, authors, and apologists.

Christian artists should produce music, movies, and other forms of entertainment that defend and glorify marriage, and whenever given a stage, Christian entertainers should vigorously defend what God gave us when it comes to marriage. Those of us who are policemen, firemen, work in an office, work in a warehouse, work on a farm, mow lawns, work in the home, and the like, must also take every opportunity to model and speak the truth on marriage.

As I’ve already noted, many Americans are going to have to make hard choices about whom they are going to obey. As we’ve already seen, such obedience will cost some of us our jobs or our businesses. For others, the loss of a job may be only the beginning of the suffering that results from standing for the truth on marriage.

As Pastor Rick Warren instructs us, we cannot be afraid to be unpopular (which is very hard for most politicians and celebrities), and we must remember that the only way to be relevant is to make sure that our words and actions align with eternal truths. We don’t need to worry if we’re on “the right side of history;” we just need to be on the “right side.”

Again, marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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