Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson addressed the national controversy that has erupted over his comments during his interview with GQ at a Bible study he led Sunday at White's Ferry Road Church of Christ. A reporter from MailOnline was welcomed to join in, and reported that the patriarch of the Robertson family is unwavering in his Christian beliefs.
"I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater," Phil said. The Robertson family stands behind him and affirms that his remarks on homosexuality were not said with hatred. Phil highlighted his testimony of Christ's saving work in his own life in defense: "I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding ... Sexual sins are numerous and many, I have a few myself," he says. Phil added that God does not just limit sexual sins to homosexual practice, as the Bible warns against sins of pre-marital sex and adultery as well. "You open up that can of worms and people will be mad at you over it," he says.
Much of what Phil said about sin in the interview with GQ was in paraphrase of Scripture - "I am just reading what was written over 2,000 years ago," he says - "All I did was quote from the Scriptures, but they just didn't know it. Whether I said it, or they read it, what's the difference?"
Why would Phil, or any other Christian, take a stance which goes heavily against the grain of culture? We do so out of love, because God has provided the remedy for each and every kind of sin in the person and work of Jesus Christ. "If you give them the bad news, they'll start kicking and screaming. But you love them more than you fear them, so you tell them," Phil says of his boldness for Christ.
Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas was interviewed about the controversy recently on CNN. "What [Phil Robertson] says about homosexuality is in keeping with what the Bible teaches, and what has been the understanding of Christians for 2,000 years - and that is that God created sex for a man a woman in a marriage relationship," he says. Any deviation from God's design - whether adultery, pre-marital sex, or homosexuality - is sinful, Jeffress says. "I am no better than a homosexual or an adulterer," he reminds us - "We are all sinners who need God's forgiveness. He's willing to forgive us if we're willing to ask, but that means admitting our sin, and not denying that sin is sin."
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church was also interviewed recently on CNN's "Pierce Morgan Live." "While I may disagree with you on your views on sexuality, it does not give me a right to demean you, to demoralize you, to defame you, to turn you into a demon," he said, remarking that there has been a loss of respect in our culture for those we might disagree with. Warren notes that the definition of "tolerance" has morphed over time to mean that all ideas are equally valid, rather than agreeing to disagree respectfully with one another.
When asked whether his thoughts on homosexuality might "evolve" at some point in the future, Warren humbly stood his ground. "I cannot see that happening in my life," he says - "I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear your disapproval or the disapproval of society."
"The fact is, we are all sinners who need God's forgiveness;" Jeffress said in summary - "We all need the gift of forgiveness, and that's really what Christmas is about - that Christ came to forgive all sins." The Gospel Coalition has posted a blog on how a Christian should approach a discussion on the topic of homosexuality.
"I have made hundreds and hundreds of speeches and you can pick them apart and the center has always been Jesus Christ," Phil says. At the end of Sunday's Bible study, he prayed: "I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions."