The Faith of Chip and Joanna Gaines Makes Them (And Us) “Cultural Heretics”

Posted on December 21, 2016 in Marriage, Sexuality, Theology by

Chip & Joanna GainesThe hit piece on Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer upper,” highlights a new low in American journalism and tolerance.

You probably saw the article a couple of weeks ago decrying the fact that Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a church where they teach that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The now infamous hit piece by BuzzFeed lamented that this very popular TV couple are conservative, Christian Americans that believe in traditional marriage.

This personal attack on the Gaines has much to teach us about the new reality we live in as part of the sexual and moral revolution.

If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a short recap from a recent article:

“In what can only be described as a politically-motivated witch hunt, BuzzFeed posted a non-story about how the fan-favorites attend a church where it’s apparently news that the pastor preaches straight out of the Bible. In her hit piece (disguised as journalism), author Kate Aurthur implies that Chip and Joanna may be hateful people for attending a church that has the nerve to believe what Scripture says! “So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers?’”

I tend to agree, this is a non-story. Chip and Joanna Gaines are not social justice warriors. They aren’t the face of a social movement. They help people buy houses on a very popular HGTV show. Their lives off the camera are not any business of anyone else. What I have to wonder is why the writer of this article didn’t seek to find out all the personal views of every person on HGTV. Why didn’t she find out if anyone is pro-life, or anti-immigrant? Why did she focus on the Gaines and their church?

I think the answer to that question is simply that anyone adhering to traditional, conservative, or biblical views are a target. The writer somehow finds it amazing that self-described Christians, attending a biblical church, would support the biblical definition of marriage. Perhaps the writer wants to think about expanding her hit-piece to include the millions of other Americans that attend similar churches and hold to the same biblical view of marriage?

Or it might be that the writer thinks the issue of same-sex “marriage” is settled and that everyone, except those pesky biblical Christians, accepts the redefinition of marriage. And she would no doubt call Christians out of touch with modern society. And yet, she would be proving she was out of touch with reality for not realizing that the issue is not nearly as settled, as she wants to believe. In fact, a recent poll suggests that support for traditional marriage is at 53%!

While Chip and Joanna Gaines have not responded to the attack on their religious convictions, others have. Their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, has responded by saying: “We are not only not anti-gay, but we are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He has made them to be.”

The common misconception about Christians is that since we don’t support same-sex “marriage” we are anti-gay. But nothing could be further from the truth. We deeply love people and desire for all people to hear the truth of the Gospel and experience the change Jesus brings. The fact that we believe homosexual behavior is sinful is a product of our theology and the biblical teaching on human sexuality. However, disagreeing with someone’s behavior does not mean we hate that person.

But in the culture wars we are now engaged in, disagreeing with someone’s behavior is considered a terrible offense. It makes us, as an article by The Gospel Coalition put it, “cultural heretics:”

“The Cosmopolitan article says the revelation about the Gaines’ church is startling due to ‘the diversity of their audience.’ If diversity were truly valued, then it wouldn’t be controversial to have a traditional Christian on an HGTV show. Just think. If uniformity on sexual ethics is required, then Cosmopolitan would, in the name of diversity, bar the door to a Muslim host of a show, or an Orthodox Jew, or a convictional Catholic. No, this is not about diversity and inclusion; it’s about enforcing the new moral orthodoxy by shaming ‘cultural heretics.’”

And while some might label us cultural heretics for adhering to our religious convictions, support has come from some unlikely places.

An article, written by a gay man, and carried by a number of news outlets, calls the article by BuzzFeed dangerous. Though there is much that writer says that I disagree with, he does make some very good points. He says, “I do not think these conservatives should be shamed or mocked. I do not think they should be fired. And I certainly do not think they should be the butt of a popular BuzzFeed article.”

Those are strong words coming from a gay man. He goes on to make the point that:

“BuzzFeed can’t argue that the same-sex-marriage issue is ethically settled, because it isn’t for a sizable population of our country and our world. It is no longer okay — indeed, it never was — to write cutesy articles shaming religious people as homophobic for simply being one of the many millions of Americans in 2016 who attend a religious congregation that does not support same-sex marriage. That is not a good move for activism or journalism.”

I agree that culturally, the issue is not settled. However, for many of us, the issue is firmly settled as a matter of religious conviction. You see, we don’t determine our beliefs ourselves. They aren’t ours to determine. We simply adhere to the unchanging, infallible Word of God. And God has settled the issue of human sexuality and marriage. So, until God changes His mind and re-writes the Bible to approve of something other than heterosexual monogamy between a man and a woman, there is nothing left to settle.

But there are a few questions I’d like answered. Among them are some of the questions asked by a blogger in his article “10 Questions for BuzzFeed.” I think it worthwhile for BuzzFeed to answer these questions as many of the people that read their hit piece would like to hear the answers.

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