Commentary: The Grammys, the pope and invading culture for Christ

  |  Source: Denison Forum

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What happened on the recent Grammy Awards show was so immoral, and the backlash has been so quiet, I am grieved for our culture on a level I need to discuss.

I did not watch the show, but this description on Yahoo! prompted my response: “Megan Thee Stallion was one of the big winners at Sunday’s 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, taking home the Best New Artist honor as well as Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for her duet with Beyoncé. But it was another Megan duet, ‘WAP,’ that won the night, when she and Cardi B joined forces for their first-ever televised performance of their X-rated sex-positivity anthem.”

The reporter continues: “Megan and Cardi toned down the raunchy song as much as they could in order to make it past CBS censors. … But the performance was still racy enough that it didn’t air until after 10 p.m. on the East Coast … And it probably lit up the FCC’s complaint hotline as soon as the hip-hop queens left the stage.”

While Yahoo! lauded the performance, the Associated Press and others ignored it completely. Some commentators voiced their concerns, one calling it “absolutely disgusting and ridiculous,” but others praised “the best performance of the night.”

With the Academy Awards coming next month, I’m not sure whether to watch or not.

Three reasons the Vatican statement is good news

A story as far on the other side of the cultural spectrum as I can imagine: Pope Francis and the Vatican have declared the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.” While the pope has called for national laws for same-sex civil unions in the past, the latest statement reaffirms church teaching that bars priests from blessing such unions.

The Vatican’s pronouncement states same-sex unions are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan” and specifies acknowledging such unions is “illicit.” Those who followed the pope closely are not surprised, given he often has stated his opposition to same-sex marriage.

This is very good news for at least three reasons.

One: The Vatican’s statement reaffirms biblical truth at a time when such morality is under increasing pressure and rejection. The pope’s stand hopefully will encourage Christians to make public their commitment to God’s unchanging truth as best for all of us.

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Two: The Vatican’s statement shows Christians can engage the culture without compromising their convictions. Pope Francis has famously welcomed LGBTQ advocates to the Vatican. But his desire to share the grace of Christ has been balanced with his commitment to the truth of Christ. Like him, we all are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Three: The Vatican’s reaffirmation offers hope for evangelical churches and ministries concerned about their tax-exempt status and religious liberties. For the government to attack the Roman Catholic Church for its moral stance would be politically implausible. The church’s position gives encouragement to all who join in its convictions regarding LGBTQ issues.

Michael Youssef’s seven-step response to our “present crisis”

Given the moral degradation at the Grammys and across popular culture, countercultural stances such as the one taken by the Vatican are more urgent than ever.

Michael Youssef’s new book, Hope for This Present Crisis, sounds the alarm: “This is our present crisis—not an external threat from terrorists or warlike nations or a viral pandemic, but a decline of faith, truth, and morality. It is hollowing out our society from within.”

Youssef explains how critical theory and “woke” strategies have led many to reject absolute truth and biblical morality. He offers a seven-step response to this threat:

1. Remember the truth. Stand firm for biblical morality on a foundation of “irrefutable evidence.”
2. Restore the soul. Seek the approval of God over others.
3. Revitalize the family. Pray fervently for our children, and raise them to know and love God’s word.
4. Reestablish the classroom. Care for public school teachers, know what our children are being taught, and consider Christian schools or homeschooling where necessary.
5. Respect our freedoms. Know our rights, defend the rights of others, and pray for boldness.
6. Reform our society. Seek moral and spiritual purity for ourselves while praying for our nation and sharing the gospel with all people.
7. Revive the church. Demonstrate the forgiving love of Jesus at all times as we “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11) and seek opportunities to share our spiritual gifts.

“We need to go and invade these areas”

James Clear quotes philosopher and priest Franz Brentano: “What is at first small is often extremely large in the end. And so it happens that whoever deviates only a little from truth in the beginning is led farther and farther afield in the sequel, and to errors which are a thousand times as large.”

By contrast, Youssef said in an interview on his book: “We must take charge. Christians have abandoned so many areas of society, from media and the classroom. Instead of withdrawing, we need to go and invade these areas and take them for Christ and not be afraid. We are on the right side. We have read the last chapter, and it says we will win.”

What area of culture will you invade today?

Jim Denison is the co-founder and chief vision officer of Denison Forum. He pastored churches in Texas and Georgia and now speaks and writes to empower believers to navigate cultural issues from a biblical perspective.

Immorality at the Grammys and a papal announcement on same-sex marriage: Seven ways to “invade” our culture for Christwas first published in The Daily Article by the Denison Forum. Daily Articles are republished in the Baptist Standard under agreement with Denison Forum and are not intended to represent the Standard’s views.

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