Duck Dynasty is more than a reality show – it’s a full scale brand of bearded men, duck calls, clothing lines, band aids (yes – I said band aids) and more.  Who would have thought that a group of bearded men would sweep our nation in such a powerful way?  The popular show on the A&E network has been the subject of controversy due to the graphic nature of Phil Robertson’s comments on sexuality in a recent interview with Drew Magary from GQ magazine.  In the interview, Phil Robertson said the following when asked to define sin:

Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men…Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

Dr. Albert Mohler, in commenting on the interview, said that Phil Robertson’s use of language was “rather crude and graphically anatomical” in making his point. Drew Magary explained, “Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out.”  Magary is right about that – Phil Robertson is very outspoken and if it comes out that way in his show, you can only imagine how outspoken he is on a daily basis related to the cultural sins that are so prevalent in our day.

As a direct result of Phil Robertson’s words in his interview, A&E released the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.

As of now, Phil Robertson is on “indefinite suspension” from the program.  Apparently, his views do not align with A&E and the modern sins of our culture, so Phil Robertson must be suspended.  The interesting details surrounding this controversy are complex.  First, you have Duck Dynasty as a brand.  Their slick marketing team is using every means possible to fly as high as possible as quickly as possible and stay up there as long as possible. Everyone in marketing knows that the eventual downward turn is inevitable.  On the other side of the equation, you have the television network A&E riding Duck Dynasty as far as they can, as quickly as they can, in hopes of staying there as long as they can. From the beginning A&E completely disagrees with their politics, personal positions on sexuality, and their religious beliefs.  But – it’s all about the almighty dollar to A&E – so they are happy to use the bearded men so long as their stock is high.

Many are amazed that it has taken the liberal left so long to actually call the Duck Dynasty family on the carpet for their views on marriage and sexuality.  Why has it taken so long to pick up on their language?  That being said, I’m asking another question this morning.  Why has it taken so long for the Christian community to pick up on their language of “baptismal regeneration” in their YouTube sermons and religious speaking engagements?  What exactly is the Duck Dynasty gospel?  Why isn’t anyone talking about the evangelistic ministry of the Robertson’s church (White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ) called – “We Care” led by Larry West?  He clearly articulates baptismal regeneration in his video “Step Into The Water, Is Baptism Essential?” which can be accessed directly from the website.  In fact, the mere question of baptismal regeneration and Duck Dynasty in a conversation with Christians today may cause people to turn on you for “picking on” the Robertson family or it may just result in a room full of yawns.

I agree with much of what Phil Robertson and his family believe regarding politics, the state of our nation, gun rights, hunting rights, and more.  I laugh at their “southern style” jokes.  I watch the show.  I applaud Phil Robertson’s comments on the issues of sexual sin – after all – they originated in the Bible.  However, I must draw the line when it comes to the gospel of Christ.  When I listen to the Robertson family share the gospel I’m constantly frustrated with their language of “believe in Jesus and get in the water.”  The greater controversy to me is not that it has taken so long for America and the LGBT community to pick up on the biblical language of the Robertson family related to sexual sin.  The hidden controversy has yet to be discussed openly.  Why has it taken so long for the church to discern the language of baptismal regeneration that is continually overflowing from the gospel presentations of the Duck Dynasty family? Could it be that the church is using the Duck Dynasty phenomenon in much the same way that A&E has been using them?  We need to be clear on where we stand on human sexuality.  Even more importantly is where we stand on the issue of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

For more on the issue of baptismal regeneration and the Robertson family – read the following:

Pastor Josh Buice