Updated: Feb 17, 2022
In mid-December Phil Robertson of the reality series Duck Dynasty gave a controversial interview to GQ Magazine resulting in an indefinite suspension by A&E on which the show airs. The public outcry was so great that A&E lifted the suspension and Phil was reinstated nine days later.
I do not wish to write an indictment against the show or those who watch it. Nor do I wish to enter the fray over his comments to GQ in this particular post. I intend rather to discuss the faith of the Robertson family, as much has been made of their professed Christianity on their show, in interviews, as well as the multitude of posts I have seen on Facebook.
On the surface it would seem the Robertson’s have a deep faith in Christ. Phil, the patriarch of the family, has said many things with which any Bible-believing Christian could not disagree. He talks of the “good news about Jesus,” he mentions that he “repented and came to Jesus Christ” and refers to himself as a “Christian.” So what is the issue?
The Robertson’s are members of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ and a fundamental belief of the Church of Christ is that water baptism is necessary for salvation. In fact a staff member at White’s Ferry Road confirmed by phone that the church holds to this doctrine of baptismal regeneration. The issue is that the popularity and fame of the Robertson’s and Duck Dynasty has given them a soapbox from which to preach and attract seekers to their subtle perversion of the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).
Salvation is not a mixture of grace and works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Water baptism is not part of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), it is not necessary for salvation, nor does it put someone into Jesus Christ – that is a spiritual immersion made by the Holy Spirit at the moment a sinner calls upon God to save them through repentance and faith. If water baptism, or any other self-effort, is thought by a sinner to be a means of justifying them before God then their faith is not in Christ alone but rather a mixture of their works with what Christ already accomplished. Paul wrote, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace” (Romans 11:6).
Many people have their minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ by those who preach “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11). Satan beguiled Eve through his “subtilty” and he continues today with deceitful workers who use biblical words and phrases that upon a closer parsing reveal “another gospel” being preached. The “gospel” of the Church of Christ is not the gospel of the grace of God. We are reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ alone, not the waters of a church’s baptistry.
Satan wants to obscure the fact that we are too broken to fix ourselves and that only Christ is able make us right before God. The god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) rejoices when men become religious as long as they do not become truly righteous (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). A superficial profession may sound godly but the Devil is in the details.