So Franklin Graham is boycotting Wells Fargo because one of their ads featured a lesbian couple. He then calls on … I don’t know the evangelical community I guess, to follow suit and to stand against the rising tide of moral decay. Let’s talk about how this is dumb, and how it tarnishes the legacy and image of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.
Let me be clear – this event has nothing to do with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has done plenty of morally objectionable things in the past, just like every other bank in the United States. I don’t know the answer to the question, but I wonder how deep into sub-prime mortgages Wells Fargo went? I wonder how many foreclosures did it process that could have been avoided? This is not about Wells Fargo, this is about homosexuality. (A topic which I have discussed so often I think it may require its own page).
Homosexuality in the Christian world will very often fall under the “hate the sin, love the sinner” category of behavior. Often coupled with verses such as “the Lord disciplines those whom he loves” the Christian falls into a trap where he or she genuinely believes that the best, most loving thing to do, is to publicly rebuke the offender.
Case and point: Westboro Baptist Church.
In this model of thinking, it is ok to hold a picket sign saying “God hates Fags” or some other absurd slogan. It might be a message of repentance where the believer says “Repent, turn to God, leave your wicked ways behind you!” There are two critical problems with this type of thinking.
Repentance happens because someone has been saved. I can say with a high degree of confidence that I had no idea that anything I was doing was morally objectionable before I understood who Christ was and had made a decision to follow the path he laid out for me. I met Christ, I understood who he was, AND THEN I looked at my life and realized I wasn’t living the way he wanted. So I changed. Note here, and note this is true for many people, change came AFTER I was saved, not before. Now perhaps both occur the same day, maybe within moments of each other, but I have never once seen a person truly repent for objectionable behavior without first being convicted and having a deep interaction with the person of Christ. Part of this means is that an institution is incapable of repentance, part of what it means is problem 2.
If all of this is being done out of love, can you honestly tell me that Franklin Graham’s boycott of Wells Fargo will bring people to Christ? Can you honestly tell me that homosexual persons who feel demonized by men like Graham say “I know he does it because he loves me”? The answer is “no.” Consider a child, a two or three year old having a temper tantrum in the grocery store. Now maybe I see that behavior as objectionable and the child should be disciplined for acting inappropriately. So I go over and spank the child. Does the parent thank me for loving their child? Does the child understand that I love him/her? No. It would be absurd to think that. It would be absurd if I wasn’t arrested for such maniacal behavior. So to, it is absurd to think that complete strangers would listen to condemning vitriol and think “oh that person really cares about me.” No, actually, even in close relationships, when condemning language becomes common, most counselors AND PASTORS would suggest terminating the relationship.
I don’t understand why so many loud mouthed Christians fail to understand that if you want to rebuke someone in love, you have to actually love them first. And that person not only has to know that they are loved, but they have to feel loved too. Sorry FG, but this is an epic fail on your part.