The internet is currently abuzz with the latest round of critique and analysis regarding ODM blogs. This time the issue is how certain blogs are allegedly covering the Carrie Prejean story.
The controversy regarding the Prejean issue revolves around the question, What is the correct Christian response in this situation? Prejean was obviously brave for speaking up for the truth but she is obviously a sinner. Those nude photos circulating around the internet prove it.
Should we celebrate Prejean's bravery while overlooking her moral short-comings? OR should we ignore her bravery and throw her under the bus BECAUSE of her moral short-comings?
Since so many people and ODM's are discussing this issue I felt compelled to weigh in on the matter.
My Foundational Thoughts
I am a FIRM believer and proponent of strongly, soundly, and loudly exposing and debating false doctrines and practices within the church. I believe that this "politically incorrect task" serves the body of Christ well by warning it about dangerous teachers, leaders and ideas. I even believe in and practice the time honored tradition of showing the absurdity1 of false doctrines and teachers IN ORDER to proclaim the truth and more importantly preach and proclaim the Gospel.
BUT, BUT, BUT I am NOT in favor of engaging in CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. I do not believe that Character Assassination is an appropriate tool of the Gospel.
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Yes there is a time to throw the "heretic card" and a time to "break fellowship" with an unrepentant sinner or false teacher. But the point of throwing the "heretic card" and/or "breaking fellowship" must be motivated by a deep and prayerful desire to see the erring brother or sister come to repentance and ultimately avail themselves of the forgiveness of sins offered in Christ. Unfortunately, If a person remains unrepentant in their sin and/or false teaching, then you must continue to warn the church. Although this may seem like dog-piling or beating a dead horse, the motivation for continued exposing and warning is to prevent people from falling prey to their sin and heresies.
With that in mind, it is important to understand that exposing sin and error should NEVER be an end itself, that behavior ultimately is nothing more than the sin of gossip.
What I Believe "The Christian View" of Carrie Prejean Should Be
1. I think Prejean was brave to stand up for what she believed and exercise her constitutional right to freedom of speech in the most awkward of circumstances. Not many people display this type of bravery now-a-days.
2. The wrath and character assassination that she has been subjected to by the mainstream media and homosexual activists is chilling and frightening.
3. Despite Prejean's bravery, I do NOT consider her to be a Christian roll model. There are some obvious "disconnects" and moral "short comings" in her that I pray that as she matures in Christ that she will repent of. (JUST LIKE there are some obvious disconnects and moral short comings in MY OWN LIFE that I pray that Christ will open my eyes to so that I repent and receive His forgiveness.)
4. Despite Prejean's moral short-comings, Christians should not be engaging in the exact same type of Character Assassination tactics that the secular media and homosexual activists are engaging in.
5. The Gospel is never served by self-righteousness and moralistic finger pointing.
6. The Gospel is served only when God's law is used to expose sin and show a person their need for a savior. Once that pre-work is done, we must proclaim the good news of the free and generous forgiveness of sins offered in Jesus Christ through His vicarious death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the grave.
7. The clarion call of the Gospel is "repentance AND the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name".
8. Christians are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God which is nothing less than a Kingdom of the Forgiveness of Sins. (It is NOT a Kingdom of Self-Righteous Moralizers)
2 Cor 5:18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
So what should we make of Carrie Prejean? Should we celebrate her bravery while overlooking her moral short-comings? OR should we ignore her bravery and throw her under the bus because of her moral short-comings?
I don't see this as an either or situation.
Carrie Prejean is an undeniably brave young lady who is our sister in Christ AND she is a sinner just like the rest of us. We CAN celebrate her bravery, embrace her as a sister AND call her to repentance, while offering her nothing less than the forgiveness of her sins won by Jesus Christ on the cross.
I think that a recent interview with Os Guinness on the Issues, Etc. Radio Program on the subject of Civility is worth listening too and I hope that it will be useful in the current discussion regarding the right Christian use of the gift of discernment.
1. Satire and Laughter can a powerful weapon in the apologetics arsenal. If you're going to show the absurdity of a false teaching or false teacher then make sure to have fun while exposing that absurdity. The devil doesn't like it when you laugh at and mock his carefully crafted lies. Neither the devil nor pietists have a sense of humor.