Chicken sandwiches and the gospel

July 26, 2012

A couple of weeks ago Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." In a radio interview shortly after his initial statement, he said: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"

Backlash from politicians and activist groups ensued. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee began to organize "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day", calling Christians to support Dan Cathy's company for their stance on marriage. Billy Graham even offered his support for the company. In the past several days my social media streams have been inundated with posts from well-meaning Christians vouching their support for the fast food chain because of their stance on marriage and family values.

While there may be some merit in offering support for Chick-fil-A (I certainly enjoy their food), we must not do so at the expense of marginalizing the gospel and the pilgrim character of the church (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13). In all of the social media posts and news articles I have read surrounding this issue, only one has mentioned scripture, repentance, the hope of the gospel, the coming Day of the LORD, or the glory of Jesus. Has the church's message been subtly reduced to moralism and chicken sandwiches instead of Jesus' return and signs that confirm it? With many tears like the prophet Jeremiah we should be lovingly calling the unrighteous to repentance in light of the coming judgment on unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). Instead we seem to be seeking to promote morality by gaining social and political influence. In doing so, as Alva McClain says, "the sharp edge of the church's divinely commissioned witness is blunted". It should be alarming to us that the American media's presentation of the church has very little to do with the glory of Jesus, His cross, and His return.

Where is the proclamation of Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2) that marked the preaching of the early church? Why are there so few sober, tear-filled warnings from pastors, leaders, and teachers in the church about the coming day of Christ (Colossians 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2 Peter 3:10)? Shouldn't we be ones known for our obsession and longing for Jesus' return (1 Corinthians 1:7; Romans 8:23; Galatians 5:5)? Do we bear witness to Jesus' cross as we "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21), blessing those who persecute us, feeding them when they are hungry (Romans 12:20)?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote more on this subject in an article called The politicizing of the church, which I would encourage you to read if it interests you. I am trembling and fearful that the enemy is deceiving us to set up our battle lines in all the wrong places, thus my earnest prayer is for myself and for the church that we may "know the hope to which He has called us" (Ephesians 1:18) so that we may "eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness" (Galatians 5:5). Beyond chicken sandwiches, may He give us grace to be faithful witnesses of Him and His glory until that day.

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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