Current Events Monday: Harsh Backlash is Nothing New

James Hassell   -  

You’ve likely heard the somewhat wise, albeit cynical, axiom: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Country music star, Luke Bryan, learned this axiom the hard way during a benefit concert over the weekend. Bryan is well known not only for his music but also for his appearances as a popular judge on the “American Idol” television show. He has generally received strong recognition and accolades from people of all types of backgrounds and world views. Yet, Bryan stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism when he appeared onstage with Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, at a hurricane relief concert. Bryan either knowingly or naively believed that his actions would not garner much political backlash, if any. And boy, was he wrong!

Critics quickly took to social media to cry foul about Bryan’s actions, some resorting to the emotional character bashing which now seems quite typical and predictable behavior for people of all political stripes when they feel provoked or offended. In fact, it should be said that this article is neither set upon heightening the criticism for Bryan, not is it a defense for his actions. The point here is that we should not be surprised with the vitriol spewed online.

You can read about Luke Bryan’s experience by clicking on this link: Luke Bryan defends DeSantis appearance at concert | The Hill

What we call “cancel culture” is nothing new, and it existed well before the advent of Twitter. We can make a fairly good argument that cancel culture first landed on the scene when Cain murdered his brother, Abel, out of sheer anger and jealousy (Genesis 4). Jesus himself was bashed from all sides during his ministry. The religionists of his day called him all sorts of sordid names and did everything in their power eventually to kill him. Plus, the crowds who initially loved Jesus also turned on him. Do you recall how the people cheered Christ as he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday? The same voices would shout, “Crucify Him!” by the end of the following week. And let’s not forget about Paul the Apostle. His credentials for ministry were criticized from the beginning of his conversion. People to whom he ministered even criticized his small stature and supposedly poor speaking skills (2 Corinthians 10:10). Some historians even criticized Paul for his baldness.

Many people likely desire to stay out of the fray of modern cancel culture. It does seem much easier to put our heads down and go about our business. But if some good old-fashioned bashing happens to find you out (especially because of your faith in Christ), how do you respond? On this October 31, we could take a lesson from Martin Luther. It was 505 years ago today that Luther famously nailed his “Ninety-five Theses” to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s contentions, although meant to provoke more questions and conversation about corruption in the church, resulted in tremendous backlash. When brought to trial about the issues, Luther famously retorted, “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.”

Luther thereby kicked off the Protestant Reformation and its subsequent fallout that is still experienced today. In fact, a group known as the “Radical Reformers” soon developed, among whom were the people we called “Anabaptists.” These Christians paved the way for us at WWBC by highlighting believers’ baptism, local church autonomy, separation of church and state, and the priesthood of the believer doctrine. Some of the Anabaptists gave their lives for our freedom to worship God according to our conscience.

So, when it comes to matters of faith in Christ and conscience, speak up. You may get some blowback, but if you do everything for the glory of God, then you can swiftly answer the critics by saying: “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.”