Have you heard of Cancel Culture, or been a victim of its vindictiveness? In the tsunami of irrationality now offered by celebrities and media, have you wondered whether truth can survive?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #39 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Years ago, I wrote a book called “Christian Liberty: Living for God in a Changing Culture.” The later ebook version was called, “Living for God in Changing Times.”
Theology hasn’t changed. I stand by what I said then.
The point was this: while God provides us in the Bible with a moral Do and Don’t list, which we ignore at our peril, that list is far shorter than many think or try to make others believe.
Beyond these moral absolutes about right and wrong, God gave us principles in his Word by which we can discern and make decisions, then he gives us the freedom to choose. This squares with how he created human beings as thinking, reasoning, if not always reasonable, choosing individuals.
This also means Christians are free to disagree. As the Scripture says, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Rom. 14:5).
This does not mean we are free to hold points of view and beliefs contrary to Scripture. We should agree, which is to say obey the Word of God, on moral issues that God has addressed. But we don’t all have to come to the same conclusion on every non-moral issue.
When that book was published in 2003, I said that Christian liberty may be the least understood and least practiced doctrine in the Bible. I still believe that, though I cannot prove it.
People want to believe what they want to believe. But some of them are not comfortable unless they press their belief upon others. But that’s not Christian liberty.
Christian liberty leaves room within the Church for disagreement. Not disunity but disagreement. God calls the Church to a unity of the faith (Eph 4:13) built upon right doctrine. He wants us to fellowship in community and unity because this is a rather pleasant place to be.
He also told us how we can disagree. And he told us about grace and forgiveness too.
Applied to politics, we have freedom to choose because it’s a free country and also as believers we enjoy Christian liberty.
But again, while I honor others’ freedom to choose, it does not mean I must agree with their choices or views.
That’s the primary weakness and will be the downfall of what’s called “cancel culture.” In this approach favored by the political Left, there is no grace, no room for difference.
Cancel culture feeds off the Leftist “woke” philosophy that, somehow, we’re all basically racists and bigots at heart. Therefore, those who embrace this irrational philosophy work not simply to argue the merits of points of view with which they disagree but rather to silence them altogether.
And then the Left woke philosophy goes further, attempting to silence or cancel the people who hold these views by impugning their character, trashing their reputations, getting them fired, getting their book contracts cancelled, demeaning their religious views, or otherwise unapologetically trying to destroy them,
to erase them. I don’t mean murder, like the Mafia, but erase them by wiping out a person’s influence and presence, if you will, in society.
It’s way beyond authoritarian. It’s totalitarian. George Orwell’s 1984 come to life.
For woke enthusiasts, others who disagree can never be woke enough. They are always subject to collectivist social media condemnation and a summary vote off the island if they make the slightest faux paus in saluting wokeism.
That’s what happened, for example, to retired football great, Drew Brees, who in the middle of the NFL’s National Anthem kneel-down for racial justice controversy a while back, dared to say he liked the National Anthem and thought it was worth respecting. Then he was literally attacked online and in media, called a bigot, and accused of not supporting his Black teammates to the point he felt forced to grovel an apology.
In Left-leaning cancel culture wokeism, “No one is going to be safe from the false cries of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.”
“Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama once strongly defended marriage as between a man and a woman, as recently as 2008. But the left gives them a free pass now -- they’re never attacked for being homophobic – while those on the right who have Biblical objections to homosexuality are.”
No one, at least on the Right or among Conservatives or among Christians, who disagrees can ever be rehabilitated or salvaged, and certainly not forgiven.
Cancel culture is in this sense the opposite of Christian liberty, or individual liberty and freedom of speech for that matter, because it is outright censorship or what some have called viewpoint discrimination or prior restraint.
“However it’s characterized, at base the progressive cancel culture is less about deplatforming extreme ideas and more about persecuting people with whom they disagree. Their aim is not correction but destruction.”
Christian views no longer acceptable—homosexuality, transgender, abortion, salvation, judgment, sin nature. “Our crime is not the adoption of those beliefs but our refusal to abandon them, as the truly enlightened folks seem to have done.”
Christians are charged with homophobia, sexism, transphobia, judgmentalism, being unloving, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-progress. But Christians must not do as surrounding culture, (Ps 1:1, Jn 15:18, Mark 8:38.) We are to love others, respect others, but never let them tell us what to believe or practice or say. They are loved but they are not the Lord.
We are not to give in to cancel culture, for Eph 5:15-16 instructs us to walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise. We will experience reproach because we share Jesus’ truth.
But with an eternal perspective on reproach and reward we can accept whatever comes with speaking the truth. Remember, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, then Daniel paid a price for speaking truth.
Author Joe Dallas said, “Belief in the exclusivity of Jesus is viewed as discriminatory, Belief in hell is viewed as archaic, Belief in man’s sinfulness is viewed as self-loathing and judgmental, Belief in normalcy of male/female sexual union is viewed as homophobic, Belief in the immutable nature of our assigned sex is viewed as transphobic, and Belief in the value of the unborn is viewed as misogynistic…
Today, human feelings being hurt are interpreted as human rights being trampled…For those who’ll embrace it, truth liberates. But it irritates, sometimes beyond measure, people whose beliefs or agendas are at odds with it.”
In a culture that no longer believes in truth, a culture that has repeatedly rejected moral absolutes, to say you believe something is true is grating to the ear, judgmental, bigoted, offensive, and even irrational or crazy.
So even “speaking the truth in love,” as the Scripture commands (Eph. 4:15),
can be rejected by those with whom we share it, even family members or friends. And it is not easy to be seen as the enemy by loved ones simply because you believe what you’ve always believed. You believe the truth of God’s Word.
But “Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).
In the end, God’s Word will not be cancelled. Truth will not be cancelled.
And while we may in the providence of God suffer short-term vulnerabilities, ultimately, we will not be cancelled either. Because God said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022
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