What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?
That’s the question I would like answered by Carrie Underwood, other Christian celebrities and, quite honestly, most non-celebrity Christians and their pastors.
Last month Underwood, a country-music superstar, suggested in an interview with the U.K. Independent that she has no problem with same-sex relationships and marriage.
It’s not unusual, of course, for entertainers to take such positions – in fact, it’s expected. But what made the interview newsworthy all over the world is the fact that Underwood claims to be a Christian.
Here’s some of what she had to say about that:
- “I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry. … I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”
- She attends a “gay friendly” church and doesn’t believe she has the right to judge anyone.
- “Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me.’ No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”
- I then suggested in a column that Underwood should take her own advice from one of her most popular songs and “Let Jesus Take the Wheel.”
My intent was not to pick a theological fight with a 29-year-old professional singer. Just the opposite. I had a much larger point: Christians are, as Jesus said in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke supposed to be salt and light in our world – standing up for biblical truth and the Kingdom of God.
“[B]ut if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men,” Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew 5:13.
Christians are not supposed to get-along to go-along with the conventional thinking of the world. We’re supposed to be cognizant of right and wrong as defined by God. We’re not to condone sinful behavior – or even look the other way. We’re to confront it – not to be mean-spirited, but to express genuine love and concern for the lost.
For instance, let’s analyze one of her statements: “I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry. … I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”
Would Carrie Underwood, or the pastor of her “gay-friendly church,” suggest that a man married to another woman be free to commit adultery with another woman because we have “the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love”?
The Bible explicitly condemns both behaviors – adultery and homosexual activity.
Further, the idea that God doesn’t set rules about such behavior and that he doesn’t want his people recognizing and confronting sin in the world is absurd. In fact, it is the central theme of the gospel – to bring people to repentance so they can be forgiven and enjoy eternal life.
That’s what the life of a believer is to be all about. As Psalm 96 says: “Before the LORD: for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” Our job as believers – as disciples of Jesus – is to bring them that truth.
The alternative for those who don’t hear the truth about sin, because it’s uncomfortable to deliver it to them, is to be judged by God.
As Jesus says in Matthew 13:41-43: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Who are the righteous?
They are those who are obedient, true and faithful to the Word of the Lord – no matter what the wisdom of the world might suggest.
I understand the world is telling us to accept – even glorify – various forms of sinful behavior. There is enormous pressure to make some feel comfortable with their sin. Sinners march in cities across America today demonstrating their “pride” in their sin.
It’s no wonder when immature followers of Jesus stand on the sidelines and cheer them on – be they worldly celebrities or misguided pastors preaching a different gospel.
Jesus never said it would be easy being one of his disciples – just the opposite. He warned we would face persecution for following him.
But if we truly love Him – and the world He seeks to redeem – we must be true to His word and teachings.