Who is Phil Robertson?

I don’t watch Duck Dynasty and up until very recently had little knowledge of Phil Robertson. But it has been impossible to avoid the firestorm that followed his comments on homosexuality in a recent interview. Robertson professes to be a Christian and said that homosexuality was a sin. Before I comment on that I think it is important to make two observations regarding the interview itself. Firstly, it was conducted by GQ magazine. GQ magazine has no interest in a Christian perspective. It is not suitable reading material for any Christian and undoubtedly Robertson’s appearance in the magazine and the controversy that has followed have increased its sales. That in itself is an unwelcome development. Secondly, Phil Robertson could have, and in my opinion, should have made his point without reference to human anatomy. Many have spoken effectively against homosexuality and presented a strong biblical case against it without resorting to this coarse kind of language. It was both unnecessary and unwise. He is a popular figure and therefore his comments, now widely publicized, will be read by young and old alike. A much better choice of words would have been more appropriate.

However, the present controversy does not rage on these points but on the fact that he dared to say that homosexuality was a sin. Following his comments the A&E Network published the following statement: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

It is not my purpose to examine the business relationship between Phil Robertson and A & E and his suspension from filming; rather it is my purpose to consider homosexuality in the light of God’s Word. The decline of moral standards in society is obvious. Legislation to permit same-sex marriages is sweeping across the nation, homosexuality is largely accepted as an alternative lifestyle, traditional marriage has fallen on hard times, and while there appears to be tolerance for all of this, there is little tolerance for those who hold to a biblical view on these matters. Lying at the heart of the problem is the sinful heart of man and the refusal to accept the authority of the Word of God. It has been said that “the ultimate standard for all human activity is the Word of God. God sets the rules for the people He created. We are obliged to read those rules and obey them.” So the question is, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” In addition to a raft of references in the Old Testament, (Genesis 19, Leviticus 18, 20) Romans 1:23–28 delivers a powerful statement denouncing the practice of Sodomy:

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

Further treatment of this subject is given in 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1. In the light of these passages it is clear that anyone who acknowledges the authority of the Bible must accept that homosexuality is both unnatural and sinful. This is not innocent behavior but a sinful practice. God created our first parents male and female, and sexual relations are only to be within the confines of the marriage bond, that is, between a husband and his wife.

Homosexuality is sinful, but is not unpardonable. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul spoke of some who had been washed and justified and sanctified. Where sin abounded grace did much more abound. And this is the great message of the gospel. We are all sinners, capable of any sin, but Christ has come to set sinners free from the curse and condemnation of their sin.  As believers we must refuse to be drawn into the sinful tolerance of this age. We must not adopt the world’s view of sin including homosexual sin, rather let us pray for sinners and witness to them of the Christ who has power to save to the uttermost.