One of my mentors, Lynn Harnage, a man who possessed more spiritual insight and discernment than anyone I’ve ever known, used to infuriate younger Christians by calling Jars of Clay “Jugs of Mud.” I found myself wondering if old Lynn wasn’t on to something when I saw Jars of Clay perform at a Billy Graham crusade in Tampa, Florida. While they climbed the stage scaffolding a lady next to us did a pole dance for Jesus. Well, I’ve kept all of this under wraps for years, but never got it out of the back of my mind. Today, it’s all come back to me. Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay has come out in support of same-sex marriage in a series of tweets on Twitter. Here’s some of what he tweeted:
“Not meaning to stir things up BUT… is there a non-speculative or non ‘slippery slope’ reason why gays shouldn’t marry? I don’t hear one.”
“I’m trying to make sense of the conservative argument. But it doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women’s suffrage. I just don’t see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage. No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage. Anyone?”
“I don’t think Scripture ‘clearly’ states much of anything regarding morality.”
“I think the vast interpretation [of Scripture] has left room for people to deal inhumanly and unlovingly toward others that don’t fit their guidelines.”
“I don’t particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is ‘wrong… I care more about how it says we should treat people.”
Perhaps, Haseltine should get in touch with Elane Huguenin, a Christian photographer in Albuquerque, New Mexico who was sued for her refusal to photograph a lesbian couple’s same-sex wedding ceremony. He may also want to consider that the United States Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s unanimous guilty verdict. And, last but not least, he may also want to read the opinion of New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Bosson, who, while admitting Christians have a right to practice our faith in private, asserted that the compromising of our convictions in public is the price we must now pay for our citizenship. Haseltine might not see any slippery slope here, but I see a slope steeper and more slippery than any the church has ever faced in America.
What people like Haseltine don’t understand is that today’s gays are militant and on the march to silence the church’s preaching of the Gospel and to outlaw the Christian’s scriptural convictions. They are armed and dangerous, having an arsenal comprised of reputation destroying bad press, finically ruinous civil litigation for discrimination, and even the threat of criminal prosecution, thanks to our nation’s new hate crimes laws.
For those of you brave enough to face the truth of what is really going on in America today, I recommend you read my book—Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The Compelling Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage. The book is free and complimentary copies are available for distribution in churches. You can also read the book online here: http://bit.ly/1dVXpwgn
Looks like the “Jugs of Mud” (Jars of Clay) have gotten muddier since their frontman Dan Haseltine came out in favor of same-sex marriage. After suffering a considerable backlash for his disturbing comments from Bible-believing Christians, Haseltine honestly admitted that he has been secretly at odds with evangelical Christianity for some time. For instance, in 2012, while working on Jars of Clay’s album Inland, which is largely secular in nature, the singer shared some thoughts about his secret struggles with evangelicals in a blog post on his personal website. According to Haseltine, the fact that evangelical Christians would not embrace Jars of Clay’s secular music was somewhat of a “relief” to him, since, as he put it, “I am pretty weary from years of pretending to be more of something than I am.” He then added, “I am tired of carrying evangelical expectations on my shoulders.” Haseltine’s honest admission confirms suspicions I’ve had for a long time, namely, that many popular, contemporary, Christian recording artists are pretending to be something they’re not. The reason they practice such hypocrisy, which is what Jesus called it, is obvious; they’re not in it for the sake of Christ, but for their own sakes. Rather than lifting up Jesus, they’re seeking personal fame and fortune, and despicably using Christ’s name, as well as His church, to do so.
My long held suspicions about many of today’s contemporary Christian recording artists should not be misinterpreted to mean that I believe there is an absence of hypocrisy in other genres of music, like Southern Gospel, or in our church pews or pulpits. Neither should it be misinterpreted as a broad swipe at all contemporary Christian music. There are some contemporary Christian recording artists whose spirit definitely bears witness with my spirit, such as Chris Tomlin. I even believe God is using some Christian rappers like LeCrae to communicate the Gospel to people who I could never reach. Still, don’t expect me to pull up next to you at a red light with LeCrea’s music blaring out of my car’s woofers.
Two things are far more disturbing to me than Dan Haseltine’s descent down the slippery slope that Katy Perry recently traveled, which finally resulted in her denouncing both Christ and her Christian faith. First, there is Haseltine’s deceptive description of casting off the cross from his shoulders, the cross which all followers of Christ are called upon to carry in this fallen world (Luke 14:27), as a mere freeing of himself from “carrying evangelical expectations on [his] shoulders.” Have you noticed how much apostasy is being excused today as a mere revolting of the younger generation against the traditional church and the older generation? The young apostate characterizes his or her desertion from the cardinal doctrines of the historic and orthodox Christian faith as nothing more than a revolt against grandma and grandma’s church. When scripturally rebuked for departing from sound doctrine and the orthodox Christian faith, today’s young apostates refuse to defend their beliefs, words, and actions with Scripture, since they are scripturally indefensible. Instead, they just condemn anyone confronting them with the Scripture as an antiquated, self-righteous, know-it-all.
The above scenario is trapping the contemporary church in a perfect storm of apostasy. Apostasy grows unbounded in the contemporary church because of the reluctance of the older generation to contend for the faith, lest they incur the ire of the younger generation. At the same time, sound doctrine is becoming increasingly intolerable, thanks to the younger generation’s spurning of it as “uncool.” It’s all adding up to the biblically predicted “perilous times” of the “last days” when men “will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts…heap to themselves teachers having itching ears” (2 Timothy 3:1; 4:3).
The second thing more disturbing to me than the ear-tickling Haseltine is the lack of those with ears to hear in today’s church. Spiritual discernment is a rare commodity in contemporary churches. We seem to believe that the proof of genuine spirituality is worldly popularity. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches that the true follower of Christ will find himself/herself persecuted in this world rather than popular within it. The absence of the Spirit of God has become inconsequential to many a contemporary Christian who looks only for worldly glitz and glitter. As a result of stardust in their eyes, contemporary Christians place popular preachers and Christian performers atop the coveted pedestal of celebrity, where they are seen as above reproach. At the same time, however, the persecuted prophet of God is seen as a clueless old fool who doesn’t understand how to reach people in a post-Christian world.
As I stated early, when I heard Jars of Clay at a Billy Graham Crusade in Tampa a few years ago, my spirit went into the heebie jeebies, especially when they started climbing the stage scaffolding and a young lady sitting next to us stood up and started doing something that resembled a pole dance. Still, I must admit, as I looked around, it seemed to me that I was the only one failing to discern the presence of the Spirit in the midst of the goings-on. In all honesty, I’ve had similar experiences in many so-called moves of God over the last several years. Where others have seen God in it, I’ve failed to sense the Spirit of God anywhere around it.
Have you ever asked yourself why scandals involving Christian celebrities are normally uncovered initially by the secular press? Have you ever asked yourself how a pretender like Dan Haseltine can get by for years without raising a single antenna of spiritual discernment among his many evangelical fans? Why is it that contemporary Christians never seem able to discern spiritual pretense on the part of those attempting to use the church for their own ends? Whether it’s a politician attempting to use the church in pursuit of elected office or an entertainer attempting to use the church in pursuit of fame and fortune, the unsuspecting church keeps lining up at the polls and box office. Of course, once the politician gains office or the entertainer gains celebrity, the church and the Christian faith get tossed to the side like last week’s magazine.