O’Reilly’s Advice to Christians Needs Biblical Tune-up

If you’re like me, you’ve probably read all you care to read about Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty. Of all the commentaries I’ve read on what he said, one by Bill O’Reilly in particular really caught my eye. It merits its own commentary because it purports to give advice to Christians about what Christianity means and what we’re doing wrong.

I only know Mr. O’Reilly for his commentaries, which I find thoughtful and thought-provoking. I doubt he expects everyone to agree with him.  And on his commentary about Phil Roberson, I found much about which I disagree.  Here are just a few of his “recommendations” to Christians and my corresponding thoughts.

“If you adhere to the Christian philosophy you know that Jesus was quite clear, all judgments about the consequences of sin are to be made by God and God alone. We’re all sinners, and because of that the Gospel of Luke 6:37, mandates — mandates that Christian human beings refrain from judging others. Again, that is God’s prerogative.”

Laying aside Mr. O’Reilly’s interpretation of the “mandate” in Luke 6:37 in the context of the whole of Scripture in which we also find Jesus giving us the “mandate” in John 7:24 to “judge with righteous judgment,” Mr. Robertson did quote accurately the Bible’s statements about who will or will not be found in God’s kingdom.  If the Bible is God’s word, which Mr. O’Reilly seems not to deny, then it seems to me at least part of the “judgment” Mr. Robertson articulated is, indeed, God’s judgment. The question is whether we’ll listen or just kill the messenger, which, by the way, is what sinners did to Jesus.

“Now you either buy into Christianity or you don’t. So Mr. Robertson’s vision is flawed, according to Luke.”

Biblical Christianity says when our lives are marked by certain recurring behaviors and attitudes then we are not in a right relationship with God. And if that is the case then we need to “repent,” a word used throughout the Bible and by Jesus himself.  So it seems to me that Mr. O’Reilly’s vision of Christianity is “flawed” if calling people to repentance in view of God’s standards of righteousness is not part of his Christianity. And the message of repentance does presume God’s standard for judging our lives has first been communicated. Otherwise, a person has no basis upon which to evaluate his or her need to repent.

“…this controversy is helping anti-Christian forces in the USA. The secular progressive movement seizes upon stuff like this to portray Christians as cruel fanatics.”

Telling the people of his day that their perceptions of their own righteousness were wrong and that they needed to repent resulted in Jesus being crucified. It comes with the territory if you’re a Christian that your beliefs will be misrepresented by “progressives.” Jesus said, “If they hated me, they will hate you.” Christian, don’t try to get yourself hated, but do get used to the fact that the “anti-Christian forces” are “anti” for a reason.

“[Secular progressives portray Christians as] only interested in imposing their point of view on the nation.”

Mr. O’Reilly really got this one messed up. We all advocate for our point of view, just as Mr. O’Reilly is advocating his.  But in our form of government, no one can impose on anyone his or her point of view. Americans vote for the politicians whose point of view they’d rather have guide our public policies.

“Portraying gay Americans as sinners gives license to harm them. It’s insulting and demeaning.”

I don’t know where this is written that “portraying” someone or anyone as a “sinner” gives others license to harm, insult or demean them.  If that is what some people think, then the proper corrective is not to be quiet about God’s righteous standards but to condemn such behavior and call those people to repentance too.  And the reason for doing so is simple.  God is our judge, and judge he will.

And because of that, it seems to me that not to share what God’s word says about how he will judge and the standard by which he will judge is not to insult or demean a person. Rather, it’s to love them enough to care that they not fall under his judgment and to respect them enough to tell them the truth.