Fred G. Zaspel–

Any which way you look at it, yesterday was quite an event. It was quite an event to see so many people willing happily to endure long lines for their food in order, by that, to support both traditional values and the freedom of speech. I’ve read the criticisms — from the left and the right — but I must say that I think the event does reflect something good. We all know that this or other such events will never strengthen the freedom of speech or convince a homosexual to be straight. And it would be nice if all these people were as willing to help the needy and speak a gospel word to their neighbor. Yes, yes, yes. Of course. There could always be something more and something better. But to see this level of support for “the other side” would have been troubling indeed. And somehow it is good to see that there remains in our society such overwhelming concern at least for some kind of morality! Point out the shortcomings all you like, but this is not a bad thing. I don’t mind confessing — we ate at Chick-Fil-A on August 1, 2012 also.

What has been troubling to me is the aftermath. The people who thronged to Chick-Fil-A were on the whole decent, peace-loving people. There were no reports of widespread looting or violence. They made their statement quietly. As much as some may try, it really is difficult to characterize these people as mean and hateful.

 Yet this is precisely what has come. Just as Dan Cathy’s innocent remarks in support of traditional family were characterized as “hate-speech,” so yesterday’s chicken lovers have been villainized. Tweeters and bloggers were not shy to wish heart attacks and death, celebrated personalities pronounced similar harsh condemnations, and otherwise respectable news-casters described it as “national day of intolerance.” These peaceful people of traditional values, it turns out, are the real problem in this country!

 So many thoughts come to mind. First, perhaps, is “Well, of course!” I am never surprised when the world behaves like the world. And I have to notice that those who seem so opposed to “hate-speech” actually do a lot of it. And I just shake my head in wonder at the intolerance of these supposedly tolerant people. And I do get a smirk out of the fact that while the mayors of large cities declared that Chick-Fil-A does not represent the values of that city, every other restaurant in the nation was envious of the patronage and support Chick-Fil-A was given in those cities!

But what troubles me more is what all this says about us as a society. Who would have thought, even a generation ago, that stated support of traditional values would generate such deep resentment and anger. And what does it say about us when respected personalities and celebrities can without shame call good evil and evil good? What does it say about us when our elected officials seek to enforce immoral codes on business? And when we consider that such bitter and brazen hatred of morality is on the rise in our society, we also must wonder how that bodes for Christians in coming years.

 “Christophobia” may be a new word, but it is an old concept. Humanity’s natural antipathy for God will vent itself wherever and whenever it is allowed.

How we need the Savior. How we need the sovereign Spirit to open eyes, give repentance, and bring helpless and lost sinners to faith. How we need the gospel!

Peaceful demonstrations are not bad things. But only in the good news of Christ are sinners made right with God and morally transformed. Ultimately, it is only the gospel that makes any difference.

Fred Zaspel holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also the interim Senior Pastor at New Hyde Park Baptist Church on New York’s Long Island, and Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is also the author of The Continuing Relevance of Divine Law (1991); The Theology of Fulfillment (1994); Jews, Gentiles, & the Goal of Redemptive History (1996); New Covenant Theology with Tom Wells (New Covenant Media); The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2010); Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Crossway, 2012). Fred is married to Kimberly and they have two grown children, Gina and Jim.