The apostle Paul writes, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18). This means we should not relish division between Christians and their opponents. We should avoid putting any obstacle in the way of their hearing the gospel.
Today countless Americans will heed Mike Huckabee’s call to rally in support of Chick-fil-a. Over 500,000 people have signed up to take part and to show support for a company that has been under fire over the last couple of weeks for its advocacy of traditional marriage.
For the most part, conservatives have answered the call. But Barnabas Piper is a notable exception and is calling the show of solidarity with Chick-fil-a a “bold mistake.” In his column for World magazine, he argues that the rally presents an “us vs. them” division between Christians and those on the other side of the debate. It unnecessarily alienates people whom we would otherwise like to reach with the gospel.
I think Piper makes an important point that we would do well to hear. The cause of the gospel is not served by Christians swaggering in triumph over threatened boycotts against Chick-fil-a. The apostle Paul writes, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18). This means we should not relish division between Christians and their opponents. We should avoid putting any obstacle in the way of their hearing the gospel. We desire to become all things to all men so that we may by all means win some (1 Cor. 9:22). At the end of the day, we wish to see people converted to Christ, not to Chick-fil-a.
Having said that, I don’t think that means that everyone needs to stay home from Chick-fil-a today. But it does mean that we should behave like Christians wherever we go. No swagger, no one-upmanship. Just humility, gratefulness, and love. If the watching world sees that from us today, I think we’ll be alright.
Denny Burk is Associate Professor of New Testament and Dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminar. He blogs on matters concerning politics, theology and culture at dennyburk.com This article is used with his permission.
Read the full Barnabas Piper commentary here.