Category: Culture Wars

Why It’s Important To Get Your Facts–and Sources–Straight

Here’s an email I received the other day regarding my comments on the Tebow jersey/clutural bias against Christianity discussion. I’m deleting the person’s name so as not to make anyone uncomfortable, but this is a pretty good example of the few negative messages I got. I’m sharing this so that if someone else has the same thougths or feelings that this might answer some questions preemptively. There’s also another lesson here: before you crank out an email or other form of communication, make sure you have your facts straight. It saves time and generally makes for a much better experience for all involved. To my friend’s credit, it was not sent anonymously. I’m posting his email first, then my response.

And by the way, I do not know Tim Tebow. Have never met him or spoken with him. I’d like to, just to say “atta boy!”, but I haven’t. The only dog I have in this hunt is biblical truth, and that’s the only one that really matters.

 

 

Dear Rev.  Buckley and those who you influence,

I had to respond, as a Christian, to your opinions regarding those who do not approve of the public displays of religion.  To classify all of these individuals as “haters”, and l say this will all due respect Sir, is simply not fair, well considered nor well thought out by you.  Some people, such as I, do not agree with it and l am in no way a “hater”; I simply disagree with Christ and his message being displayed in this manner. To me it is degrading and disrespectful to God, reducing Him and His name to that of a commercial sponsor or a simply a ball player’s displaying an action that few truly look at it as a testament to God, but actually as a promotional act, self-serving and in no way serving the message even if well intended. There are many reasons that a person could and would take issue with seeing the Lord’s name on a piece of sports clothing….He deserves more respect than that. Look at both sides of this, I ask of you.

While l can appreciate your position and opinion, l take offense that you would consider a man such as myself a “hater” and strongly believe that you need to rethink what you said, how it’s possible that you and your words hurt other people in the Family of God and if you both have the right to do that.  So then do you become any different than those you accuse of being “haters” by saying things are to me were indeed hateful? You were the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black”, though l do not want to cast stones, l will take my fate for saying this as you offended me and assuredly other  Christians with your own words of hate. Reflect on what you said and ask yourself, did I act as Christ would have? In that is your answer, as it always is. When you do, you will surely find that the answer is the Lord would never have held the position nor said the words you did.

As a Pastor, I am honestly surprised that you forgot “Judge not lest ye be judged”, but we are all men, not perfect, and while l was, still am upset and disappointed in you, l do forgive you regardless if you see any wrongdoing in your words and/or deeds including becoming upset with me for stating my peace with you. I don’t need you to see and understand it to forgive you, but l would imagine the Lord would prefer you do, but that is between you and God.  May God bless you and give you both the sight and wisdom to understand those things you have been so far blind to see.

Your Brother in Christ,

 

 

My response:
Thanks for taking the time to write. Actually, I never referred to anyone as a “hater”. The columnist who quoted me used that term. I was not even interviewed directly by the writer who used that term–he simply cut and pasted a quote from a tv interview. There were no words of hate in anything I actually said. I encourage you to read the articles I wrote regarding this on my website, www.marcusbuckley.com.  You would be better served understanding what I actually said than what you think I said.
I understand your viewpoint and you have every right to your opinion, but the Bible is very clear that we as Christians are to boldly proclaim our faith at every opportunity.
To say that we are not to judge is only quoting part of the passage. It continues and says that whatever measure we use will be the measure we are judged by. Scripture, not personal or public opinion, is that measure. According to Scripture, we are not to cover our light but rather let it shine. The Great Commission calls all believers to make disciples of Christ  of people everywhere. That involves living out Christ in every arena, not just church. Incidentally, you judged me on something I never actually said, so you can see how important getting the whole message is important. Further, you have accused Tim Tebow of being “self-serving” and “promotional”, which certainly strikes me as judgmentalism on your part. How do we know that his are not genuine expressions of faith and gratitude to the God who has blessed him with his talents? I don’t know him personally, but I believe Tim Tebow to be very genuine.
I have, in fact, looked at both sides. In a radio interview with a station in Cleveland, Ohio, this morning I stated that I personally was not a big fan of the “Jesus” jersey. It’s hard to make a fair judgment when you don’t have all the information, much less incorrect information.
I’m not upset at all with you sharing your viewpoint. In fact, I completely welcome discussion about what people believe. What I find problematic is your accusatory language regarding wording I never used. In the future, it would be beneficial to look before you leap. You would be better served saying the things you directed at me to the writer who actually referred to people as haters. His name eludes me at the moment, but I’ve posted a link to the original article on my blog.
Please let me know if I can do anything for you in the future. Rest assured, there are no hard feelings on my end.
Rev. Marcus A. Buckley

 

Radio Today, Radio Tomorrow, and Props to Jennifer Phillips at FOXCarolina

I was on Tony Beam’s “Christian Worldview Today” here in Greenville this morning about the Tebow jersey drama. He read the article, saw my name, and said, “Hey, I know that guy!” (Tony and I are good friends), so he called me up this morning and asked me to chat for a few about what I said.

A few minutes ago, I received an email from a producer WKRK-FM in Cleveland, OH asking me to be on the morning show tomorrow. So, for those of you in the Cleveland area, tune in about 6:40 a.m. and you’ll get to hear me on “Kiley & Booms”. You can also stream it live at 923thefan.com. Rock on, Cleveland!

Jennifer Phillips over at FOXCarolina really deserves some credit for the reporting. The quotes from me that are floating around come from the segment I did with her last week. So Jennifer, even if they won’t give you the props, I do. Always a pleasure working with you and the crew from FOX Carolina.

What Are You A Fanatic About?

Yesterday I was quoted in a column appearing on Yahoo.com regarding the hullabaloo over Tim Tebow fans putting “Jesus” on the back of jerseys with Tebow’s number. Before the comments section of aforementioned article was removed, it became filled with some of the most vitriolic attacks on Christians and Christianity that I had seen recently. This was on a sports blog, mind you. Not one of the hot-button blogs that one would expect such things to pop up on. A sports blog. One attempted slur that popped up frequently was “fanatic”.

So it got me to thinking. Sports fans complaining about fanatics? Really? That’s not the pot calling the kettle black at all.

I suppose sports fans are more qualified to recognize fanaticism than most. Between closets filled with t-shirts and sweatshirts covered in team logos, flags flying from the windows of their vehicles, dog leashes in team colors, starting drunken fights at tailgating events, and stealing other teams mascots I suppose they understand fanaticism pretty well.

In fact, most of the complaints people level against Christianity can be likewise directed at sports fanatics. Closed-minded? Ask a Clemson fan how they feel about Carolina, or a Georgia fan how they feel about Florida. Narrow-mided bigotry will be the response. Unloving, uncaring, not respecting the opinions and rights of others to cheer for whomever they choose. Violence? Have you watched soccer games around the globe? Not to mention our own country, where riots have taken place after a city’s team has won. How about all of the fights and injuries we never hear about after the game or in bars where the fans have had one too many? Hate speech? Don’t get me started.

All of the commenters who exploded all over Tebow and any sort of defense of Christian living simply proved this point: everyone is a fanatic about something. You may be the world’s biggest New Orleans Saints fan, or have your man cave painted UNC blue. Bully for you. You have that right. But I have the right to be a Jesus freak. And I think that makes more sense.

Why? As big a fan as I am of the Alabama Crimson Tide, it doesn’t matter to them one bit how much Tide apparel or paraphernalia I have. They don’t even send me a Christmas card. As much fun as I have pulling for them, they have done absolutely nothing for me. They do not make my life better in any substantive way. They do not give me the strength to endure hardship. They do not answer me when I call for help. And most importantly of all, they can’t do a single thing for me when I die.

But Jesus can do all of that, and so much more.

Am I a fanatic? Well, yeah, I guess I am. I’m a fanatic about a lot of things. I love video games, cars, Star Wars, Batman, and ‘Bama. I’m a fanatic about my wife, who I think is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m a fanatic about my kids, who make my life better every day. But there’s one thing I’m more of a fanatic about than anything else, by a large margin. That’s the One who paid for my sin and purchased my place in heaven. The One who took my place at the cross. The One who is always there for me, my Rock, my Strong Tower, my Fortress, my Deliverer. The One who is worthy of all my praise and all that I am. I am officially a fanatic for Jesus. A Jesus Freak. Call me what you want, but I’ll gladly fly that flag and wear His colors in every season.

A link to the article, now with comments removed

And props for correcting the city. He clearly got the email :). http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/dish/201111/tebow-custom-jerseys-create-hullabaloo

Understand that this is not meant to be a tirade on anti-Christian media bias as much as it was evidence of it. The author of the article, or webmaster as the case may be, closed the comments section. Based on what I was seeing earlier, they may have done so because it was turning into nothing more than anonymous Christian bashing. So, thanks for the correction, and for closing the lid on the venom pouring forth. But if you’re going to quote me in a nationally–even internationally–read website, just give me a shout. I’d be glad to give the proper context.

If You Saw The Quote from Me On Yahoo.com, Read This

I was asked by the local FOX affiliate here in the Upstate to comment on the controversy with people replacing Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow’s name on their fan jerseys with “Jesus”. The question was asked whether or not I thought it was blasphemous. My original comment to FOX was that it depends on the perspective of the wearer. If they mean it to say that Tebow wants others to see Jesus and not him, then that is a very Christian concept. the goal of every believer should be that we are not seen in our imperfection but Christ thtough us. If it is meant in a way that is meant to mock Tebow’s faith in Christ–even in a good natured way–then it is entirely inappropriate. Either way, Tim tebow shouldn’t be getting heat for what fans are putting on jerseys, but he is. The reason why? He’s a vocal born-again Christian, which means the media can say what they want to about him and it’s fair game.

Here is a response to a comment elsewhere on this blog. I thought I’d post it here just to make it easier to find.

My complete thought was not fully expressed by what was placed in the article
on Yahoo.com. The original interview was done by a local FOX affiliate here in
the Upstate. I do not know Tim Tebow personally, but I do know that he has gone
to great lengths to proclaim his faith in Christ as the most important thing in
his life. As far as I know, he is not behind the jerseys with Jesus’ name and
Tebow’s number. He likely does not approve, and I wouldn’t either. The last
thing any human should want is to be put on equal standing with the eternal
living Word. What I said is that the impetus is not on Tebow, but on those
wearing the jerseys. If they mean it in a way to glorify Christ and state that
Tebow wants others to see Jesus and not him, then that’s one thing. If they are
doing it in either a mocking way referring to Tebow as “Jesus”, then clearly
that is blasphemous. My central point is that Tebow is taking heat for something
he likely has nothing to do with, and the media has a blank check to do so
because of his bold stand for Christ.

 

As I said above, the original interview with me was done by a local Fox
affiliate. The author of the Yahoo.com article apparently just took a loose
wording of an excerpt of my comments to prove his point. He didn’t even get my
city right, placing me in Greer, Colorado rather than Greer, South Carolina. My
email information was sent to him with an offer to get an accurate statement,
but I likely won’t hear back. I read a few of the comments which basicaly
validated my thesis, with one particularly sweet poster labeling me a “cult
leader”–now that’s a good one. The mainstream media prefers that “cult leaders”
like me be marginalized and mocked. This does not surprise or distress me in the
least, as it is exactly what Jesus said would happen. They hated Him to the
point of killing Him; why should we as followers of Christ expect anything
different? So let them think what they want and say what they say. I pray guys
like Tebow continue to stand up for what’s right and not what’s popular. And I
have absolutley no expectation of the media to get anything right about Biblical
Christianity or those who stand for it.

A Further Examination of the “Argument Against Hell”

I’m very appreciative to Fox Carolina for the opportunity to give a reasoned, conservative Evangelical response to the “progressive” view being espoused by Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins”, and by Chad Holtz, the local pastor who was fired from his church for publicly stating his lack of belief in hell and his universalistic belief that everyone is somehow going to make it to heaven. I want to be careful not to come across as unreasonable or, frankly, kooky, as so many conservative evangelicals are portrayed by the media, and I appreciate the fact that they used statements that very clearly expressed what we believe about Scripture.

I also want to make very clear that I have nothing personal against either Bell or Holtz. I don’t hate them, as some will certainly accuse me of, but I do indeed loathe what they are teaching. They, under the guise of being men of God and teachers of Scripture, have allowed their own opinions, perspectives, and ideas to supersede the authority of that which they are charged with teaching. As one who is under the same charge they claim, it is my privilege and responsibility  to “rightly divide the Word of truth” so that it might be understood as God intended, not as I think it best. It is for this reason that I stand so firmly against false teaching of this, and any, sort. Do they have the right to believe as they wish? Absolutely. But, as I said in the interview, one can only depart so far from Biblical Christianity before it is no longer appropriate to refer to oneself as a Christian.

The exclusivity of the claims of Christ–particularly, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6)–is a non-negotiable facet of Christianity. To suggest that salvation is attainable by any other means undermines the very foundation of what Christianity is. Further, if there is no hell, why is there any salvation at all? What are we being “saved” from? Why must we, as Jesus told the pharisee Nicodemus, be “born again” if we are to “see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)? If there is no hell, Jesus’ death on the cross is the biggest waste of time in all of history. Some quotes from Holtz on Fox last night:

“Is there a place of eternal, conscious torment? No, I don’t believe that.”

“I don’t believe that God’s love, and God’s mercy, and God’s patience stops at the point of death”.

Let’s examine a parable Jesus relates of this very reality. We do not know whether this is a true story (Jesus, being fully God, would have the perspective to know and see this as it transpired) or merely an illustrative parable, but Jesus tells it as an authoritative principle. In chapter 16 of the Gospel According to Luke, Jesus tells of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus (not the friend of Jesus who would be raised from the dead) who both die and go to very different final destinations. The poor man is carried to “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22), a phrase that refers to heaven, while the rich man is being punished and tormented in Hell (Luke 16:23). Jesus tells what transpires next: “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead’” (Luke 16:24-31).

Jesus makes very plain here that death is indeed the dividing line of the point of decision. Once a person dies, their fate is sealed. To suggest, as Holtz clearly does, that God is somehow unloving by not allowing people to have “one last chance” is insulting to the offer of grace providing through the substitutionary atonement of Christ at the cross.

“Let’s not resort to labelling people, or condemning people, or dismissing people from our fellowship just because they might have the audacity to actually believe that God may just win in the end.”

Those who don’t want to be labelled generally have a good reason. False teachers never like being called out as such. I realize that some might accuse me of the same, saying that I am teaching some false religion taught by some false teacher claiming to be a false God. The difference here is that I am merely declaring what the authoritative text of my faith teaches. I am not claiming to be of that faith and then manipulating of ignoring the teachings thereof. You might not believe what I am teaching, but it certainly is not false doctrine within the context of the faith of Christianity and the relationship with God through Christ. Scripture makes very plain that those who corrupt its teaching are to be identified and set apart, not to be listened to. Jesus Himself said to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Paul, never one to shy away from conflict, said that false teachers present themselves as anything but: “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

The apostle Peter has some harsh words for those who claim to be men of God but twist and manipulate Scripture according to their own ideas and interests. He first identifies them, saying “there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1), and later referring to them as “wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (2 Peter 2:17). The “blackness of darkness” that Peter is talking about? That would be the hell Bell and Holtz don’t believe in.

Peter goes even further than merely “labelling” them by pointing out specifically the foolishness of turning from Biblical truth after having once recognized it: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’” (2 Peter 2:19-22).

The apostle John also “labelled” false teachers: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

What you believe, and what you teach, does matter. If your child’s math teacher instructs them that 2 times 2 equals 6, wouldn’t you identify the teacher’s error? If their science teacher taught that gravity wasn’t real, wouldn’t you label that as erroneous? If their social studies teacher taught them that Karl Marx was the first president of the United States, wouldn’t you demand that they be reprimanded for the error, if not outright dismissed from their position? James, the half-brother of Jesus, said “let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). Labelling, condemning, and dismissing false teachers is very clearly taught as the responsibility of faithful, vigilant believers. And that is why, as long as false teachers corrupt the Word of God into a twisted shadow of the truth, we must be vigilant and faithful to defend the truth. God has won, through the grace, love, and forgiveness shown at the cross, that “whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). I pray that Bell and Holtz would see that from God’s perspective and not their own.

Watch Fox Carolina THE…10 o’clock news tonight. PETA last week, hell this week…

I’m being interviewed for the news again, this time about this: http://marcusbuckley.com/2011/03/24/a-pastor-loses-his-job-because-he-doesnt-believe-core-biblical-teachings-sounds-right-to-me/. Watch Fox Carolina here in the upstate at 10 tonight, or look for the video on foxcarolina.com. To see the clip from last week when I was asked about PETA wanting animals in the Bible to be referred to as “he” and “she” instead of “it”, click on this link :http://www.foxcarolina.com/local-video/index.html?grabnetworks_video_id=4607609

PETA Says the Bible Shouldn’t Be “Speciesist”. No, I Am Not Making This Up..

The People for the Ethical treatment of Animals, otherwise known as PETA, is petitioning the translators of the NIV to cease the Bible’s “speciesist” slant and stop referring to animals as “it”. Their request? Refer to them as “he” or “she”. Here’s a link to the article: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/23/peta-dont-call-animals-it-in-the-bible/?iref=allsearch

There are some days I feel I need to change the name of my blog to “Really?” This is one of those days.

They have made up a new word to accommodate their particular perspective–“speciesist”. In other words, they are comparing the serious social problems of  racist viewpoints with our view towards chickens. Really?

The Bible is very plain that God intends for humanity to be good stewards of the creation He has entrusted us with, as far back as the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:19). But animals are not of equal import to people. I love my golden retriever. He’s a great dog, a loyal and faithful companion. But he is not equal to my wife and children in terms of importance. What is ironic is that many people I have known that are involved with PETA, Greenpeace, and other animal rights groups are often staunch supporters of abortion. While this is not a blanket reality, the fact that such a twisted dichotomy is prevalent is telling of their worldview.

How do people arrive at such skewed viewpoints? Well, the Bible tells us that this is the natural result of rejecting Biblical truth: “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25).

They also try to suggest that the Bible teaches vegetarianism. This, too, is addressed: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:1-5). While I admit to helping the cows of Chick-Fil-A in their call to “eat more chicken”, I have to say that those cows are also awfully tasty, particularly with A-1 sauce. Lord, I indeed receive them with thanksgiving. Cooked to medium, please

I don’t mean to be flippant (well, maybe a little), but this sort of silliness is just over the top. I have a measure of respect for what PETA does, as well as other organizations that do their best to protect animals who are helpless and being needlessly abused or neglected. I commend them for their efforts and can support them to an extent because, as I said, we are to be good stewards of all of God’s creation. I cannot in any way support when they suggest animals are equal to, or more important than, human beings. In this particular case, the problem is that they have wondered far out of their realm of expertise by suggesting a specific Biblical interpretation.

What they are asking for, to refer to animals by male or female, is impossible given the nature of the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).  In their desire to be “progressive”, they are not asking for a correct translation, but a translation the reflects their particular world view. This matches up with my blog from earlier today, where the Bible warns that people will gather up teachers that teach what they want to hear according to their own ideas (2 Timothy 4:3-4). What PETA is asking for is a complete violation of every sound exegetical principle of Biblical translation and study. The NIV is not my favorite translation by a long shot, but if the translators succumb to this sort of pandering, it will have the same level of respect from me as the National Enquirer–trying for the truth, but manipulating it based on what people “want to read”.

We don’t have the right to interpret Scripture however we want to–it is to be done in the context of Scripture itself and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). We are to allow the Word of God to mold us, not vice versa. The Bible talks about the importance of accurately interpreting and teaching Scripture: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). God has high expectations from those who claim to teach His Word: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).

PETA needs to stick to what it does best: protecting animals who are genuinely abused or endangered, and leave the Bible translation to the experts.

I May Be On Fox Carolina, THE…10’o clock News Tonight

I’m about to be interviewed by Jennifer Phillips from Fox Carolina about PETA”s request for and end to “speciesist” language and refer to animals aas “He” or “She” and not “it”. This should be good. Check out what I’m talking about here, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/23/peta-dont-call-animals-it-in-the-bible/, then watch Fox Carolina t 10 tonight and see if they use what I say. SHould be entertaining, to say the least. I’ll blog about it later. “Speciesist”? Really? Sheesh.