John Crist recently slammed critics of Lauren Daigle and John Gray. Is the comedian right?
Oh look, a can of worms. Let's open it,
John Crist, an absolutely hilarious Christian comedian who regularly posts both humorous and thought-provoking videos, recently posted something that was more provoking than funny.
Crist tells critics of Lauren Daigle, who refused to publicly condemn homosexuality to "just shut up."
Crist also told critics of Pastor John Gray, who recently came under scrutiny for buying his wife a Lamborghini, to "shut your mouth."
Is Crist right? Many are celebrating his bold response to Christian culture's latest controversies. Others are calling him out.
I personally land somewhere in the middle. Though, I must admit, I'm more concerned than ambivalent, more troubled than neutral.
AN EMERGING AND DANGEROUS PHILOSOPHY OF SIN
First, let's talk about the situation with Daigle and Crist's primary argument against her critics.
Regarding Daigle's reluctance to clearly renounce the sin of homosexuality, Crist uses an argument that many are using today in this and other similar situations. He downplays the power of sin by emphasizing the idea that everybody sins and that no one sin is any worse than any other (which, I dealt with in a two-part Charisma Media article titled, The Deadly Argument That Could Wipe out an Entire Generation of Christians and No, Not All Sin Is The Same—Here's Proof).
In his video, Crist says that he, "probably did 27 things yesterday that if you would have witnessed, you would be like 'Wow, I thought he was a Christian.'"
The argument that is emerging today and very dangerous is, if you have sinned recently, you have no right to deal with sin in our culture or in other people's lives. Shut up. Stop preaching. Remove the pulpits. Keep truth silenced. Refuse to remove the spec in another's eye. Let them remain blind.
The message Crist and many others seem to be conveying is, we cannot promote biblical standards of holiness if we have ever failed ourselves. We cannot expose darkness as Paul commands us to do in the book of Ephesians.
Now, Crist is right if his intent is to correct those who are shaming, attacking and attempting to do harm to Daigle due to her position on homosexuality. I've seen enough of that on social medial to cause me to wonder if some people should be banned from Facebook and Twitter until they pass an elementary test of kindness and decorum. People who do that should be embarrassed.
However, there is an appropriate—and necessary—way to respond when the spirit of the age is being promoted, especially within the construct of Christianity. I
f we remain silent on these issues, millions are put at risk of Hell. In fact, I'm stunned that an influential Christian worship leader stating that homosexuality may not be sinful is being dismissed as a non-issue. Shocked. What if the next up-and-coming Christian artist were to admit that they don't know if abortion is wrong? What about lying? Theft? Pornography? Murder? Will we continue to support them, arguing that their sin is no worse than any other?
Understand, if someone were to struggle with sin, if they were to admit that they are broken and desperate to find freedom from alcohol or anger or homosexuality, you better believe we should rush to their side, love and support them and, of course, refuse to throw stones. However, they must also be benched for a season while they work through their issues.
This is not what is happening with Daigle.
She took it to an entirely different level, and she has not been removed from public ministry. She also hasn't recanted what she said. What is that entirely different level? She is not renouncing sin. She is giving room for support of homosexuality in the lives of Christians. This, friend, is a very serious situation. This is why we must say something. I have a hard time believing her music is still being played on Christian radio stations and sold in Christian stores. Again, what if she said that she wasn't sure if sexual assault was a sin? Would the reaction be different? It absolutely would be.
Crist seems to be communicating that cutting someone off in line at the Taco Bell drive-thru is the same as promoting immorality. Both are bad. Both are no big deal. If we yell at the guy who cut us off in traffic or are wrongly angry or impatient, we have somehow been disqualified from ever preaching truth or standing for righteousness, even if we have repented and asked for forgiveness.
The two verses that are used almost exclusively to defend the argument that we should not address the sin in others are:
"And why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, 'Let me pull the speck out of your eye,' when a log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:3-5
So when they continued asking Him, He stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7
First, in Matthew, the instruction is not to ignore sin. In fact, it's the opposite, We must first ensure we are not hypocrites by living in the same sin as the other person. When we are certain we are living a pure life, then the prohibition of action becomes an expectation of action. We must remove the spec from the other person's eye.
Second, in John, we need to deal with two points. First, Jesus was exposing the darkness of their hearts. Their intent was violence driven by accusation and hatred. We can be sure that Jesus will deal with us if we assault others who have been caught in sin with such motives.
I'm sure Crist is mostly attempting to communicate exactly this. Quit being hateful jerks and learn how to love. I appreciate that message. The right response is to say, "forgiveness is yours, now stop sinning."
But, the analysis of that verse in John 8 doesn't stop there. Check this out from Adam Clarke's Commentary:
"He that is without sin," meaning the same kind of sin, adultery, fornication, etc.
The argument that we must shut our mouths when others are involved in or promoting sin just doesn't pass biblical muster. If I'm a thief, I absolutely better not rebuke another thief. If I'm committing adultery, I have no authority or right to speak into the life of another adulterer.
But, committing a sin doesn't remove our responsibility to endeavor to live in holiness and dealing with the sin in our culture. If a Christian is promoting sin, we simply can't stay silent. Our past sins don't require we abdicate that responsibility.
So, no, I don't agree with Crist. Daigle can't be given a pass just because she leads people in worship and impacts millions in a positive way. I implore you to read my timely articles that were released shortly prior to the Daigle controversy: Worship Leaders Must Take a Stand Against Homosexuality and Is Worship Music Lucifer's Next Great Battleground?
SO, WHAT ABOUT PASTOR JOHN GRAY?
The point I'm trying to make in this article is that we must stand for holiness. While the Daigle issue is a very serious one as she refuses to take a stand on something that is clearly sin, the Gray situation is different. What sin has he committed?
So, Crist is probably right by calling people out for attacking the pastor.
I'm not going to take time in this article to deal with the message of biblical prosperity, though we should at least know that it's God who gives us power to create wealth. If he gives us the power, we have to at least agree that acquiring wealth can't be universally renounced. Also, nowhere in Scripture does it say we must give it all away. Our validation as Christians or as ministers isn't gauged by how little money we can live on each month. A poverty spirit does nobody any good whatsoever.
The following verse affirms God's role in acquiring wealth, and also an accompanying warning:
If Gray has wealth, we should celebrate. If he uses the wealth to go after other gods, he will certainly pay.
Of course, Scripture deals quite a bit with impure motives in the area of money. The love of money, as we all know, is the root of all evil. But, money itself is not evil. It's benign. It's a tool.
I know, people are tired of ministers flaunting their wealth. I get it. They have all sorts of better ways the money could be used, and they would love to share their wisdom with everybody who uses money for personal enjoyment.
I'd encourage you read two articles that deal with the biblical money issue: 10 Things to Consider Before You Judge Jesse Duplantis for Believing for a $54M Jet and Why Giving Large Portions of Our Finances to Church Might Require Disobeying God.
But, again, specifically regarding Gray: He committed no sin, At least none that we are aware of. It is fully irresponsible to renounce a man who has done no wrong, You may not like the way he is spending his money, that, as we all understand, was earned with integrity. If the IRS doesn't have an issue, why are we assaulting him?
Should it come out that he acquired the money immorally, that changes everything. But until that happens, we should be quiet—and be careful.
The moment we reject the principle of biblical prosperity in another, we reject that principle in our lives.
In fact, if you are so opposed to prosperity, would it be OK for people to pray for poverty to visit your household? Is that more in line with your biblical paradigm? I pray it isn't. I pray the financial breakthrough you are seeking actually does come. It will come more quickly if we bless those whom God blesses.
I've talked with several people, including pastors, who have revealed how nervous they were to buy a new car or a new home or to go on a vacation. They knew other Christians would be calling them out, accusing them, judging them, wondering if they really needed something so nice. It's simply inappropriate. We should be rejoicing when others are financially blessed, Again, what's the alternative? Poverty?
IT'S ALL ABOUT HOLINESS
I wish Crist and others would demonstrate love and passion for holiness and for God as clearly as they are defending people. I'm not saying they don't have that passion, but we need to be preaching truth today without apology. We must assault the darkness and reject the destructive worldviews that so many Christians are adopting.
Homosexuality has become normalized because the church has been reluctant to call it out and to address it as eternally poisonous. The same is true for lust and pornography and other common sins of our day.
We can love people while refusing to compromise. We can call out immorality. We must. If we don't, the world will presume the church is totally OK with it.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
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