The Falwell Faux Pas: Another towering inferno
I’m sure many evangelicals squirmed in their seats as they watched Jerry Falwell trying to save himself on ABC’s Good Morning America by claiming he didn’t really mean what he said the day before on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club about homosexuals and abortionists being responsible for the twin towers tragedy. Fortunately, I didn’t witness either performance, but was nonetheless saddened by the accounts I read of his awkward attempt at covering one embarrassing faux pas with another.As much as we would like, mainstream America and its media are never going to accept the fact that disobedience to God has dire consequences. Don’t expect to hear any network news anchor admit to their audience that the “wages of sin is death”. By the same token, Christians should understand that any effort they make to fence-straddle their way into the limelight is going to end in a disaster. It is foolish to think that befriending the world with flattery and compromise, “for the sake of the gospel”, as Jerry Falwell and others like him so often try to do, will make them anything but a casualty in the culture’s own crossfire. It’s as silly as a conservative trying to win liberals over to conservatism by acting like a liberal himself…utterly ridiculous. All he gains is everyone’s contempt.
Jesus warned us about this in Matthew 16:25.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul…?” (Matthew 16:25)
Our Lord made it very clear that living carnally would cost us spiritually. His use of the word “life” in Matthew 16:25 refers not only to our physical existence in general but also to the elements that make up that physical existence like one’s own flesh, emotions, ego, money, possessions, home, family, career AND YES, even one’s own ministry. Matthew 16:25 applies not just to those of us sitting in the pews, but also to those of us standing in the pulpits. Unfortunately, many of today’s pulpit standers have erroneously concluded that “protecting their ministry” is the first order of business, as if God relied on that pastor for HIS survival and protection rather than the pastor relying on God for his. My question for these misguided shepherds is this: If it is YOUR job to protect your ministry then whose job is it to carry out that ministry while you’re busy protecting it…o ye of little faith”?
If pastor Falwell needed someone to blame for our country’s moral decline and current catastrophes he should have started his search a little closer to home and pointed his fearless finger at today’s salt-free saints and the reverends of relativism that make up the postmodernist church of political correctness. What is offered in our multi-million dollar sensory-driven sanctuaries is no more lasting or satisfying than a Saturday matinee. But, because today’s seeker-sensitive Christians see no difference in evangelism and entertainment they’re convinced that whatever’s showing down at the church is “AWESOME” as long as the name Jesus appears somewhere in the credits. Today’s pop church requires RELAT-ivism to effectively RELATE to the world and make itself “hip” enough to form the kind of RELATIONSHIPS that will bring in the cash, crowds, celebrities and charisma necessary to sustain a state-of-the-art experience they call “worship”.
And so now, even in church, we are tempted to serve the creation rather than the Creator. If we try to serve both by straddling that fence, then we, like Pastor Falwell, will offend both and the world will cheer as they watch us go down in flames.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)