LISTEN: John Gray, Oprah, and the Call for Fair-Minded Americans to Recognize and Stand Against Intolerance (The Torch Leadership Foundation’s Cross in Culture Podcast #26 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the Torch Leadership Foundation’s Cross in Culture Podcast where we consider different perspectives on what is happening in our culture and apply a biblical worldview. I am your host, Daniel Whyte III. This is episode #26.

This episode is titled, John Gray, Oprah, and the Call for Fair-Minded Americans to Recognize and Stand Against Intolerance.

Recently, intolerance stuck its ugly head out of a new hole in the ground as John Gray, assistant pastor at the largest church in America, launched a new television show. This show happened to be on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Oprah has previously praised Pastor Gray and featured him on her “SuperSoul Sunday” program. But no sooner had the first episode hit the airwaves when dissent from some quarters of the LGBT community and those who support the pro-homosexual agenda popped up online.

Tweets posted by Pastor Gray in 2013 were dug up: in those tweets, he called homosexuality a “sin” along with “fornication, adultery, and lying.” In 2015, he also shared his personal decision not to shop at Target anymore after the company decided to implement “gender-neutral” bathrooms at the cost of $20 million — a decision which Target CEO Brian Cornell admitted has backfired causing “self-inflicted” losses for the company. While calling the pastor a “bigot” and a “hater,” critics have demanded that Oprah cancel his show so as not to give a platform to “anti-gay” views. (These same critics have also condemned the media mogul for allying herself with such well-respected men as T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen who have publicly stated that homosexuality is a sin according to God’s Word.)

This is not just a problem of how the world responds to the church, but often how people in the church respond to each other. Some Christians need to learn to be more tolerant of others. Recently, at an event for women during Mega-Fest, Pastor John Gray said some things about how a husband should treat his wife that I thought were normal. However, some people thought he had crossed a line and responded with harsh criticism, even questioning his motive for ministry. As Christians, we also must realize that there is an abundance of diversity and liberty in the body of Christ, and we have to respect that.

What we see in these incidents are examples of those who preach tolerance refusing to afford that benefit to those who disagree with them. Whenever someone expresses dissent toward “progressive” attitudes, the pitchforks come out and said dissenters are labeled haters, bigots, racists, and unloving extremists. They are painted as being on the margins of America. Typically, the so-called offender — no matter how biblical and justified their beliefs — equivocates and backtracks in order to save his or her reputation, pocketbook, or public standing.

Now, for the sake of our country and for the sake of future generations, we cannot let that continue to happen. America was founded on the principles of free speech, the right to public dissent without condemnation, and a respectful tolerance of other people’s views. A growing number of television networks prominently feature pro-homosexual perspectives. In a fair, just, and tolerant society, those who believe what the Bible says about homosexuality must be afforded the same public respect and public hearing. If we are interested in preserving America’s heritage, we must support people like Oprah Winfrey, John Gray, and others against the loud, intolerant sector of society. You can use social media to let Oprah and Pastor Gray know that they have your support. You can share with your family, friends, and neighbors the importance of tolerance in our country.

Don’t think that such simple things can’t make a difference. In December 2013, furor erupted after Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame told a magazine that Jesus could take away sins including homsexuality, adultery, and lying. The ‘tolerant’ crowd wanted A&E to cancel the show over this simple expression of his Christian beliefs. But people stood up and expressed their support for the Robertson family, and the show continued for three more years.

If the election of President Trump has taught us anything about America, it is that the “silent majority” is not a myth. If enough people stand up and make their voices heard, we can influence our culture for good and for God.

In closing, let me leave you with some Scripture and a quote to think about.

Isaiah 58:1 says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

Dennis Prager said, “I have never written that there is a threat of fascism in America. I always considered the idea overwrought. But now I believe there really is such a threat — and it will come in the name of tolerance and health.”

Robert Green Ingersoll said, “Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

In light of what we have discussed today, I want to remind you that in our ever-changing world, there is one Person who never changes. That person is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is not subject to the whims of society or popular opinion. He has an unchanging, eternal love for you. If you do not know Him as your Savior, I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thank you for listening to this Torch Leadership Cross in Culture Podcast.

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Until we meet again, remember to keep Christ first in our ever-changing culture.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.