By: Dr. Dix Winston, III
Sr. Pastor, Crosspoint Community Church, Centennial, CO
December 5th, 2017, a date which will live in eternity! On this date, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Kristen Waggoner will argue Jack Phillips’ case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jack is a Christian cake artist and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. One summer afternoon two men came into his shop asking him to design a wedding cake for their same-sex wedding. Jack politely declined, just as he would have done in response to a request for a Halloween cake, an anti-American cake, a racist cake, or even a cake celebrating a divorce.
Jack’s view of marriage, shaped by the Bible, would not allow him to use his artistic talents to celebrate an event in conflict with that view. But he did offer to sell them anything else in his shop or to design a cake for a different event instead. The offer to serve them in another way – a way that does not violate his conscience – was not enough. Later, the couple came back to picket his cakeshop and then sued him. The case has been ongoing for the past five years.
Jack, along with his attorney Kristen Waggoner, appeared on The View in June. It was here that Jack got “WWJD’d”. He was asked what Jesus would do, or more specifically: “Would Jesus bake the cake?” Jack said “No” explaining that to do so would violate Scripture. Jack serves all people, but he cannot use his God-given artistic talents to design a custom cake that expresses messages and celebrates events that violate his faith. Joy Behar, of course, adamantly disagreed with Jack’s assessment of Jesus’ response to a similar request.
So, what would Jesus do? In order to answer that question, we must first know who Jesus is. John tells us that Jesus was a lover and not a hater. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). But His loving of all sinners did not give wholesale approval to all behaviors.
“Real love isn’t an unlimited endorsement of just any behavior a person chooses to engage in,” write Josh and Sean McDowell in The Beauty of Intolerance. “Many of those behaviors are inherently and inevitably harmful, and to endorse, approve, and to encourage them is not loving; it is cold and uncaring.”
Not only was Jesus a lover, He was also a “Truther.” Speaking to the religious leaders of His day He said, “I speak the truth…” (John 8:46). But this truth was not His. He told the religious leaders, “I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught me” (John 8:28). And He spoke it in love (Ephesians 4:15). So what would Jesus do? He would speak the truth in love.
What does that look like? We see it in John 8. A woman was caught in adultery, and the religious leaders, whose hearts were as hard and cold as their stones, wanted to execute her. Jesus points out that they, like her, are not without sin deserving death (Romans 3:23). So speaking the truth in love, He neither celebrated, condemned, nor condoned her behavior. But told her “from now on sin no more” (John 8:11). That, Ms. Behar, is what Jesus would do! He would speak the truth in love.
Speaking the truth in love is not for the faint of heart. A. W. Tozer well said, “When we become so tolerant that we lead people into a mental fog and spiritual darkness, we are not acting like Christians – we are acting like cowards.”
Jesus was no coward and neither is Jack Phillips. Both Jack’s and Jesus’ hearts are warm to all. Both Jack and Jesus serve all, but serving all people does not mean sanctioning all behaviors, expressing every message, or celebrating every event. Neither Jack nor Jesus would design the wedding cake that celebrates same-sex marriage, because Christians cannot celebrate what God does not condone (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5-6). But they would offer the Bread of Life, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Let them eat Bread!