In the face of a vocal and increasingly hostile “Cancel Culture,” many Christians may be tempting to withdraw from the culture and from a sinful world, to focus solely on evangelism and await Christ’s return. But to do this misses a major part of our calling, set forth by Jesus himself.
David and Jason Benham—The Benham Brothers—shared this wisdom at NC Family’s first Virtual Event on August 24 on Christianity & the “Cancel Culture,” where they shared their story and some encouragement for Christians in this difficult time. Their interview with NC Family President John L. Rustin from this Virtual Event is featured on this week’s Family Policy Matters radio show and podcast, in Part 2 of a 2-part show.
Jason references 1 Timothy 3:15, where the church is called to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” “If the church is the ‘pillar and support of the truth,’ we should model the truth and lead people to the truth so that the truth can set them free,” Jason says. “And if Jesus returns, he returns, but we’re not about to sit there and say, ‘No, we’re just going to let the truth be twisted, and we’re not even going to act like the church. We’re just going to wait for ourselves to get saved out of here.’ That is not Christ-like.”
“God is calling each of us to become a bridge for people who are disconnected from him,” David adds. “But in order to become that bridge, it’s going to take boldness. We’re going to have to stand boldly for the Lord […] Boldness apart from brokenness makes a bully, but on the other side, brokenness apart from boldness makes a bystander. You can become a bully or a bystander, but what God would call us to is to become that bridge that connects heaven to earth.”
Tune in to Family Policy Matters this week to hear The Benham Brothers share encouragement for Christians amidst the “Cancel Culture,” in Part 2 of a 2-part show.
Continued from Part 1…
JOHN RUSTIN: Today, we bring you Part 2 of an interview with David and Jason Benham, the Benham Brothers, who were guests on NC Family’s Virtual Event on Christianity & the Cancel Culture on August 27th, 2020.
DAVID BENHAM: This is really where Jason and I are constantly calling entrepreneurs and believers in the marketplace back to the word of God. And I was just reading through Proverbs 28, and in verse 4 and 5, it says this, “Those who forsake the law, praise the wicked.” I mean, we’re seeing that! “But those who keep the law resist them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” Now is our time to really seek the Lord, to get before the Lord in prayer and fasting and humility, to seek the Lord in our own lives. What are areas of our lives that are not righteous before God? What are ways that we’re treating our wives or our children, or what are ways that we might even have some racism in our lives, or what are ways that we’ve got judgmentalism or maybe perhaps we’re hypocritical in some area? Really seek the Lord! And then God gives us understanding into this moment where we can shine the light.
There’s one way to shine The Light; that’s to lift up the name of Jesus in everything that we say and do. What happens when we shine our light as believers, that does two things. On the one hand, it exposes the world’s evil deeds. In John 3, you read the last half after 3:16, it says, “Darkness hates the light because it exposes that its deeds are evil.” But here’s how you shine your light, Matthew 5:16, it reveals your good works. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify our Father in heaven.” The light of our good works in the marketplace. The light of our good works with our marriages. The light of our good works with the way we’re raising our children. The light of our good works when we’re helping. Yesterday, I had an African American guy at my house. He and I were talking and I was talking about, “Okay, in your community, who are the families right now that my family and my business can come along side of and meet needs?” Boom. We listed out five families. You know, the Bible says, “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” so I’m not going to talk about what we’re giving. But these are the things that we’re doing because we’re seeking the Lord. And now we want to shine the light. When everybody starts doing that? You’re tipping; you’re writing on your receipts; you’re speaking to the servers. Someone shuns you cause you’re not wearing a mask or whether you’re wearing a mask or whatever, you know, just make room for the weaker brother. These are things God’s speaking to us. And I truly believe, John, that we’re on the cusp of either a great awakening or Jesus is going to return, because this world is going to hell and the Lord wants us to shine His Light.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, I think that’s really an inspiring and important message in the midst of all of this, that the Lord gives us the strength and the resolve to engage in effective ways. And I think one of the benefits of the cancel culture, which may seem sort of ironic, is that it has created so much sensitivity to different people in different circumstances. And at the very least, I think it sort of calls us out. As we’re engaging with other people, even as we’re talking with our neighbors, checking our spirit, that we are really seeking to treat people with dignity and respect. And while we may not agree with them, one of the counter cultural things that we can do is reach out with dignity and respect and try to understand where they’re coming from. But it’s not just us; clearly it’s the Lord. It’s not just us, but it’s also the Christian community around us. I imagine when you all got canceled by HGTV, that you had friends and family who came around you and supported you. What was that like?
JASON BENHAM: Well, you know, David and I have discovered that we’re called by God to resist with courage ideas that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. While at the same time, reaching out with compassion to the people that hold those ideas. And so that’s a fine line that only the Holy Spirit…like what you said, John, when you’re operating with truth and with love, that you’ll be able to do something like that. And when you do, and you get fired and you find yourselves in a position like David and I, that’s where you discover the beauty of the church in a way that you’ve never discovered it before. Where people come around you like a band of brothers. You’ve got couples that come around you to inspire you and to show you, “Hey, you know, we may not be in the great cloud of witnesses, but we’ve been witnessing what’s going on and we are with you.” And I’m just telling you, there’s a bond that happens when you suffer with other people and they jump into that suffering with you. It’s a beautiful thing.
DAVID BENHAM: And I think that’s a spiritual reality. If you read Hebrews 11 and 12, in Hebrews 11 it talks all about the great men and women of faith. And every single one of them went through horrific things like getting sawn in two, and their kids eaten in the Coliseum; it was horrible. We’re facing nothing like that right now, but then it says that all of those died and did not receive the promise, that only “together with us” would be made complete. And then in Chapter 12, it says, “Therefore, let us run.” You know, we see this great cloud of witnesses, therefore we’ve got to run this race with perseverance. And so, this is what God is showing us. It’s a spiritual reality that the community of faith that’s lived throughout the centuries, they’re watching us, and it’s our moment. And it’s exciting, and God wins in the end. And all we’ve got to do is just run the best we can.
JOHN RUSTIN: So, how do you respond to believers who say that this growing hostility that we see in the culture is really reason for us to fall back, to withdraw. To say, “We don’t want to stir the pot.” “We don’t want to fan the flame.” “We really need to be about just evangelism”—which is of course extremely important—but that the hostility that we’re seeing is an excuse for us to withdraw and disengage.
JASON BENHAM: I mean, there’s theology behind that. I was talking with somebody and she basically says, “Well, you know what, the goal is just to be saved, and then God’s going to take us off to heaven.” But that’s a real misunderstanding of even Christ’s prayer. When he taught us how to pray, he said we’re supposed to pray, “God, your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” You see, God’s will has already come down to earth. Now through us, God’s will needs to come out into the earth, and so we’re supposed to be mixing into the culture. I mean, even Jesus says you need to disciple your nation, which means make the environment in which you live a Christian nation. You’re supposed to be mixed in; you’re supposed to be blended.
DAVID BENHAM: Could you imagine if teacher Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller had that kind of theology and they didn’t engage? I mean, Nazi Germany was about as bad as you get. Could you imagine if George Whitfield, John Wesley, and Charles Wesley in the First Great Awakening would have had that idea because things were really bad in the colonies during that time before America. Could you imagine if Charles Finney—he’s the pastor in the Second Great Awakening—would have had that mentality? I mean, or could you imagine that if Martin Luther King, Jr. would have had that mentality in America? I mean, it’s ridiculous. God has called us to have dominion over what He’s given us authority in, and he’s given us authority to be here as the church of Jesus Christ, the pillar and support of the truth. That’s I Timothy 3:15. If the church is the pillar and supportive of the truth, we should model the truth and lead people to the truth so that the truth can set them free. And if Jesus returns, he returns, but we’re not about to sit there and say, “No, we’re just going to let the truth be twisted, and we’re not even going to act like the church. We’re just going to wait for ourselves to get saved out of here.” That is not Christ-like.
JOHN RUSTIN: So guys, as we wrap up our conversation here, knowing that you are men who have stood on the front lines for years, what words of encouragement would you offer in addition to what you’ve already said? What words of encouragement would you offer to our viewers knowing that we are going to be facing similar challenges, that this cancel culture is very likely only to continue to ramp up more and more? How can people just really stand firm, as you all have done, and follow your example to live, to be salt and light in the culture?
JASON BENHAM: Well, David and I, our most recent book that we wrote is called, Bold and Broken: Becoming the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth. And I look back to that prayer that I mentioned earlier, that Jesus teaches us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And then cross-referencing over to Ezekiel 22, where God said, “I looked for somebody who would stand in the gap, but I found none.” God is calling each of us to become a bridge for people who are disconnected from him. But in order to become that bridge, it’s going to take boldness. I mean, we’re going to have to stand boldly for the Lord, but there are ditches on both sides. Boldness apart from brokenness makes a bully, but on the other side, brokenness apart from boldness makes a bystander. You see, you can become a bully or a bystander, but what God would call us to is to become that bridge that connects heaven to earth. And so through brokenness and humility—our dad would say that only the horses broken by the Master were fit to pull the King’s chariot, the rest were left to pasture—by broken we mean just humble, knowing who it is that you are and staying in that place. But then on that foundation, standing in a posture of boldness, I will not back down from truth. And when you do, you become a bridge that connects heaven to earth. And if you don’t have that, then you’re not going to become that bridge, and you’ll not answer the prayer that Christ teaches us to pray.
DAVID BENHAM: And I would simply say one simple thing: Jesus has his best team on the court in the last few seconds of the game. It’s so humbling to realize that you and us and those that are alive right now, we’re alive in this moment. I mean, God could have put, who knows…. John Calvin or Martin Luther or MLK or any number of leaders, Bonhoeffer, William Wilberforce. He could have put any of those leaders here in America for this moment, but he chose to put guys like us and you. You for heaven sakes, John! God put us here. It’s almost like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers, when they said, “Hey, you need another guy on the court,” and he points over and he says, “My team’s on the court.” It’s like Jesus is saying, “My team’s on the court. I got the men and women out there that I want, so now stand and play hard.”
JOHN RUSTIN: That’s awesome. Hey, can I pray?
JASON BENHAM: Before you pray can I just say that North Carolina Family Policy Council, under your leadership, John, you guys are doing awesome things in our state. And if you’re watching this right now, I want to encourage you to share this, and take part in what they’re doing. I mean, these things don’t run themselves by themselves. I mean, they need money, they need friends and funds. Become a part of what NC Family is doing. David and I are, and we want you to become a part as well.
JOHN RUSTIN: Hey, Jason, thanks so much. And David, you too. And let me ask, before we close in prayer, where can our viewers go to get information about your books and the work that y’all are doing?
JASON BENHAM: You could just go to benhambrothers.com. Our last name, brothers.com.
JOHN RUSTIN: Great. Well, we’ll make sure that that link is available to our viewers and encourage them to avail themselves of the great resources that you all have.
So guys, thanks so much for your time. You are truly a light in a world that is growing more challenging and darker by the day. We are so grateful that you guys are part of the team that the Lord has called for such a time as this, and thanks so much for all that you do.
Father God, thank you for this time with David and Jason. Lord, we pray just a great sense of gratitude for them, for their leadership, for their boldness and their willingness to stand for you, and doing it in such a winsome way. Lord, that really is a light in a growing darkness in our world. We pray for their families, for continued protection for them, and just wisdom for them, and provision for them as they move forward. Thank you for the wisdom that they have shared, especially your words, tonight. And the inspiration that this is to us. We know that they are the vessels that you have used to bring your word to us tonight, and so we thank you for that. Lord, bless them and prosper them in the future, we pray, and thanks so much for this time together. Thank you for all of this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
God bless you. Thanks so much.
– END PART TWO –