Season: 10 Episode: 150
Listen to episode 146 in Spanish:
Men dressing in drag at the Dove awards and mega churches hosting gay affirming conferences? What’s happened to the American church? Shanda talks about the dangers of compromise for the Christian and how it all starts with compromising a little here and a little there. Shanda uses examples from Lot and his compromise in Sodom but ends this episode with the encouragement of Hebrews 12.
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Today we are going to talk about what it means to be a strong Christian and what the church must do to come out of its state of weakness. Now, before I lay all of that out, I want to show you what I mean when I say the church is weak. The church is the bride of Christ so we have to be careful how we talk about the church. So I want to be careful not to insult the Lord’s bride, which I am part of the body of christ and I love the church, so don’t get me wrong.
This is why I need to explain this.
Before we get into that, I want to let you know about Tuesday, Nov 14th at 8:30pm EST – Pastor Matt from Logos Bible software is going to do a live zoom session with me and we are going to walk you through how to go deeper in your Bible study journey. I’ve had Logos for about 4 or 5 years and it is excellent! I don’t even scratch the surface of its potential. So we are going to go through it and see what it can provide for you as you learn to study. If you want to join that zoom session, I will post the link on my social media and send it to my subscribers this week so go to shandafulbright.com and subscribe. This is a free event.
With that said, I have a new YT series called Walking in the Word where you join me with your own bible and highlighters and we study the Bible together in context. Right now we’re doing the book of John. So far there are 5 short videos that go through tips on how to study and proper ways to study. Last week I dropped the intro to the gospel of John and this week I dropped a deeper dive into the history of the NT gospels and talked about what signs are and why John felt compelled to write about the signs Jesus did and the claims John makes in his gospel. This is meant so that you can go through the Bible with me and learn how to exegete (properly interpret) scripture yourself. I am so excited to do this with you and I hope you enjoy it too. We shoot the videos in small teaching sessions so that it’s easier to retain.
Alright, so let’s get back to the weak church, strong Christian topic for today. In this episode I am going to cover:
- What do I mean when I say the church is weak?
- How does the church in the West show it’s weakness? (Through compromise)
3. What is the posture of the Christian?
What do I mean when I say the church is weak?
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of John Cooper, he is the host of the Cooper Stuff podcast and the lead singer of the Christian rock band, Skillet. Totally my generation and one tough dude. I had the pleasure of meeting John and his wife last year at the NCCA in Rockhill, Sc. He is the real deal. He just authored the book called “Wimpy, Weak, and Woke: How the Truth Can Save America From Utopian Destruction.” I can’t wait to read it.
John was at the Dove Awards (Christian awards for music artists) where other Christian artists came in drag. Per The Roy’s Report, Former Caedmon’s Call singer-songwriter Derek Webb attended the awards ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, with openly queer Christian artist Semler and drag queen Flamy Grant.
They continued to report, “In response to the Dove Awards controversy, Weeb defended his choice of attire in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter.
“As a cis, straight, white man, I walk into a room like that and any room with an incredible amount of advantage and privilege,” Webb, who’s previously won 3 Dove Awards, explained. “If I’m attending as an ally of friends and colleagues, I should do everything possible to surrender that privilege at the door. If the way you look at my loved ones isn’t the way you’re looking at me, I’m not truly standing with them,” he continued.
Webb used to be with Caedmon’s call and left the group because of his beliefs and to work on his solo career.
We’ll get to John Cooper’s response soon, but let’s look at Weeb’s response again because it’s telling. He’s at the Dove Awards – a place where Christian artists are recognized for the music they make for the Lord. Yet, here he is, not identifying himself as a Christian, but as a cis, straight, white man. He’s the oppressor, guys. He’s using CRT language here, which stems from a Marxist worldview because Marxism is a worldview. What does that mean? His identify is wrapped up into the color of his skin and his straightness than it is in Christ. He has exchanged one ideology for another. He sees himself as heroic but he is actually just bowing to the culture.
Does this make the church weak? Well, what do I mean when I say the church is weak? I don’t think Webb, from the fruit I see … because we are supposed to judge fruit … lives for God. How can he? He doesn’t even say he is a Christian. He does not hold to biblical sexual ethics. This guydressed in drag at a Christian awards show. He is gay affirming. The fruit is rotten. What makes the church weak is that he doesn’t get tossed out on his butt by the church.
Does that sound harsh? Does that sound mean?
That’s biblical. Let’s read 1 Corinthians 5:1-12. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and this is what he says, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate (pause: Paul is talking about incest here. He said this was so bad, pagans didn’t even allow it but the church is. And Paul is addressing incest in the church):
A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.
2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? (Pause: this is supposed to be the posture of the church when it comes to sin. We mourn it and the brother or sister in Christ who confidently walks into the church with it) 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.
4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (Pause: oh, wait. Isn’t Paul being mean. Hand him over to Satan? Why? Paul says it: It’s the only hope for him so that his fleshly desires are destroyed and he may be saved. If the church applauds, the culture will continue to dwell in sin. Why not? No one is saying it’s wrong. But when the church gets bold and holds to the standards God has set, the culture can clearly see the lines of sin).
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (Pause: Ok, so leaven here represents sin and Paul is referring to a little leaven ruining the entire lump – what does that mean? Compromise. Don’t compromise because just like leaven, it will grow and run through the entire
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. (Pause: I don’t think it can be any clearer than that. Why are these men, dressed like women, allowed to be called Christian artists at least without the church calling it out? I’ll tell you why – because the church is wimpy, weak, and woke).
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
And there it is – expel the wicked person from among you who calls themselves a Christian and feels comfortable plunking his butt in the middle of the church, knowing the church won’t say a word.
Now let’s get back to the Dove Awards …
Per ChristianHeadlines.com, “Earlier this year, Webb released a song with Grant titled “Boys Will Be Girls.” The song’s release was part of Webb’s latest album, which he described as his “first Christian and gospel album in 10 years.”
John Cooper was on OAN and he said, “America is on the brink of destruction because the Christian church isn’t acting like the Christian church. There is a lot of compromise in Christian music just like there is in Christianity in general. The Dove’s did not host them or invite them because anyone can get tickets and come. However the industry is not doing a good job on clarity with what we’re willing to say what is okay and what is not okay. Some of the biggest worship leaders in the world has publicly published things that are pro-choice, affirming LGBT lifestyles, and calling out other Christians as hateful if they call Leah Thomas, a biological man, a man. What you’re dealing with right now, is the fact that a lot of Christian musicians are very confused about what the Bible says.
And to those worship singers I want to say, “You’re the one being hateful by confusing the world.
You’re the one being hateful by rejecting God’s created order. Isaiah said, ‘Whoa to those who call evil good and good evil.’ We have a lot of work to do in the christian music industry.”
When asked why we aren’t seeing more peoples rising up and speaking out against this, John said, “I think there should be but I understand sometimes why there’s not. It’s because we’re dealign with a culture and a church that is wimpy, weak, and woke. We recognize that we need to be compassionate and loving to people who don’t agree with us. What makes you wimpy and weak is when you don’t want to tell someone the truth because you think it’s more important to be polite.”
John is a strong male voice for the church and I am thankful and proud of him for taking the heat to speak up like he does.
You might think people like John with a huge following don’t need us to say thank you or show our appreciation, but he does. We are all part of the body of christ and when we see someone standing for the truth, it is our duty as part of the family of God support them for putting their necks on the line, for choosing to stand on the frontlines of a hostile and hateful culture, and tell them we are behind them. If that’s all you can do, do that.
That’s one example of how the church is weak today. It’s because of compromise – a little bit of leaven. We don’t want the fight. But here’s the thing – we are always in one. Ephesians 6 reminds us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but that this is a spiritual battle. We must remember that and fight this battle on our knees and with the word of God.
I posted this week about the Middle East war and the anti-semitism that is growing all over the world, especially on college campuses.
I never thought in a million years that the same attitude that started the holocaust and the gassing of over 6 million Jews, would run rampant in the country who said it would never happen again. Can you imagine what mothers of these young Jewish kids feel right now? The fear they must feel? And yet many in the church are quiet. They don’t want to speak out against the atrocities of terrorism. That would be too controversial.
Meanwhile, over in Lala land, there are Christian women literally dancing and singing to the books of the NT in rap and saying you can still teach your kids the books of the Bible even with a stank face.
There are Christian women dancing to reels saying how you should prepare your baptist church friends to attend a pentecostal church.
Look, I’m not a kill joy.
I’m all about having fun and I love to get jiggy with it every now and then, ask my friends and family. But we are talking about a Christian worldview, the state of our culture, the state of the American church, meanwhile, we’re rapping to books of the Bible.
And I say it in my opening of the podcast – does every Christian have to give a voice to every issue in the world?
No. How can we? We don’t know everything about everything, right. But is there a moral responsibility to speaking the truth? I want to ponder that thought for a minute. Is there a moral responsibility as a Christian to speaking the truth? Isn’t the answer yes? If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, that means Christianity is true and Christians are responsible to speak the truth if we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. What is the salt? It’s the preserver – the seasoning – it’s the truth. So if you know something is true or false, especially when it comes to biblical sexual ethics (marriage, male and female), then your responsibility is to speak the truth.
There are other examples of the church being wimpy. Andy Stanley is a mega church pastor, son of Charles Stanley, and he just hosted a huge conferences on how Christians can love their children through homosexuality and trans identity struggles, but said it was theologically natural. There is no such thing. And that’s code for, “I’m a wimp.”
How does the church in the west show it’s weakness? How did we get here?
The church shows its weakness when it wants the same things the culture wants. We chase after those the things that Jesus said in Matthew 6:23 that the world strives after these physical things with temporary satisfaction.
The church shows its weakness when we fear the world and the backlash we will get when we stand for the truth of God’s word. And with the fear of man comes the approval of man. The gospels tell us that many believed Jesus was the Christ but because they loved their positions in the political and religious sphere, they would not confess Him as Christ.
And we got here through compromise.
I’m studying the book of Genesis right now and just finished the destruction of Sodom. Before the Lord went to check on Sodom, He revealed His plan to destroy Sodom if the outcry against it was true. And Abraham pleaded with the Lord to spare Sodom even if there were only 10 righteous men in it. The Lord promised he would.
When God got to Sodom, Lot, who was Abraham’s nephew, was sitting in the town square where all of the hubbub was happening. Lot was comfortable enough to be in the middle of the town but he would not allow the angels of the Lord to stay there. He pleaded with them to stay in his house because Lot knew the evil in Sodom.
And as I studied, there were two words that stood out to me in regard to Lot’s attitude:
The men who pressed against the door of Lot’s house, trying to get to the messengers of God and have relations with them called him a sojourner which means someone who stays for a short period of time. He was just supposed to be passing through. But as we read Lot’s story and how he calls these men “brothers” we see he is trying to befriend these men who are clearly morally corrupt.
He offers these men his daughters to sleep with because sleeping with the messengers was too evil, but his virgin daughters is not as evil – according to Lot’s now skewed view of morality.
Lot’s compromise with Sodom becomes more and more clear as the messengers of God try and get him and his family out. The Bible then tells us Lot lingered. To linger means to stay in a place longer than you should because of a reluctance to leave.
And then Lot’s wife looks back while the city is being destroyed and she turns into a pillar of salt. She either longed for the city or she disobeyed God by not fleeing and not turning back, which could be both.
And finally, once Lot and his daughters are out, they find it within themselves to get their dad drunk and sleep with him so they can bear children by him.
How did Lot get here? Compromise. And that’s how the church becomes weak. It will always become weak by way of compromise. Scripture proves this time and again.
What is the posture of the Christian?
First, we do not fear. 1 Peter 3:14-15 says, “14 dBut even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. eHave no fear of them, fnor be troubled, 15 but gin your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, halways being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and irespect.”
In Peter’s letter we see we are to:
- Not fear those who cause suffering to the church.
- Do not be troubled. To be distressed or anxious.
- Be ready to defend the faith.
In many places in the Bible it tells us not to be afraid. To be strong and courageous because God is with us.
The Bible tells us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. Do not fret over evil because it only causes harm (Psalm 37). Our focus is on the Lord because our trust is in him.
Next, the church is holy. It is set apart. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
We don’t look like the world, act like the world, or sound like the world. Some translations say we are a peculiar people. Peculiar means strange or odd – meaning we stand out because we aren’t the same.
That has to be OK with us. When we want to be similar to the world, we begin to compromise.
I want to leave you with some more examples of the Bible from those who have gone on before us. And let me remind you that Hebrews 12:1 talks about the great faith giants who have gone on before us. It says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Chapter 11 tells us who some of those faith giants are – Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Noah.
But it’s also Moses who stood up and stood for a people enslaved by Egypt for more than 400 years. It’s Esther, who came into her position as queen of Persia to boldly walk into the Kings chamber and plead for the lives of those who were under the persecution of Haman. Daniel, who purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the delicacies of Babylon. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would not bow the knee in compromise to a statue of Nebechudnezzer and did not excuse it away by saying it’s only material, what does it matter if we compromise in this instance?
All of the prophets who lost their lives or went to prison for speaking unpopular truths to a nation that turned their backs on God are also the faith giants. These men and women looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, and we look back at His death and resurrection (the thing they put their faith and hope in) and we move forward with the same confidence and stand up and stand out in a culture that rejects the truths of God and His return.
None of these faith giants were weak. They did not compromise. They did not care if the culture accepted them or not.
Got Questions says this, “We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are spectators to the race we run. Rather, it is a figurative representation and means that we ought to act as if they were in sight and cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they obtained. We are to be inspired by the godly examples these saints set during their lives. These are those whose past lives of faith encourage others to live that way, too. That the cloud is referred to as “great” indicates that millions of believers have gone before us, each bearing witness to the life of faith we now live.”
I want to close this out today by reminding you that your courage and strength spurs on others running their race for Christ too. Your boldness in the face of evil straightens the backs of those who get anxious over these events.
I think of people who are not believers putting their necks on the line for basic truth. JK Rowling is a fierce advocate for women having their own spaces separate from men. She is a feminist and she lives out what she believes. I respect her for that, although I do not agree with her ideology. But she takes heat. She stands for basic biological realities. Why don’t Christians do that? Christianity Today doesn’t do that. Andy Stanley doesn’t do that. Instead, I am often surprised at the compromises made by Christian leaders and at the silence of others.
Look, this is a hard topic.
It’s a hard reality to look around and assess the church and say that overall the American church is at its weakest. But we can do something about it. We can be bold and courageous right where God has put us because He placed us here for a reason.
I have a podcast and a YT channel and I speak out about these things a lot. But one thing I often remind myself is that God also wants me to live my life daily with joy and to pour into those in my life – like my family, friends, and church. We cannot be consumed, or as the Psalmist put it – overcome by evil. We have to find the balance. But we are to never compromise our convictions or the truth of God’s word.
How do we do that?
I think we do it be viewing things from an opportunity type of situation. If I hear a lie, it’s the opportunity to speak the truth. If I see evil, it’s an opportunity to do good. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by because of fear of man or approval of man. See it as an opportunity in a moment of time where you get to stand for the truth as you run this race.
I know this episode was a bit on the heavy side. We have lots of opportunities for lighter episodes as we get into November and December, and I look forward to sharing those with you. But I also want to have real conversations because we are the family of God and we are in this together.
If you have any questions for me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll catch you on the next one.