I wish I could have said “Watch the Benham Brothers on HGTV.” I enjoy the programming on that station – much of the time. The Property Brothers turn run-down homes into beautiful dream homes for their clients. Love it or List it is a program that remodels an owner’s home while, at the same time, trying to convince them to sell it and move to a new one. I especially love House Hunters International because we get to see homes in different parts of the world. I usually conclude that show very grateful that I get to live in Texas! I was saddened to hear of HGTV’s decision not to air Flip it Forward starring the Benham brothers. Every Christian ought to pay attention to this story and to why HGTV cancelled the show.
The Benham Brothers are conservative Christians and very vocal about their faith. A USA Today article reported the concept for their show: “After a decade of flipping houses for profit, the Benham guys would now help families buy the home they thought they could never afford — a small-scale, personal Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In each episode, the brothers would find a fixer-upper and “transform it into their forever home.” Then HGTV made the announcement they would not be airing the show.
An article in Christianity Today reported the reason HGTV cancelled the show: “HGTV has stopped production of a new house-flipping show starring Christian twin brothers. The network announced the decision on Twitter this week, following a post from Right Wing Watch (RWW) labeling the stars – David and Jason Benham – as ‘anti-gay, anti-choice extremists.'”
The Benham brothers responded to the cancellation of their show saying: “We promised we would give Jesus glory whether in victory or defeat. Sure seems like we’ve been defeated lately. But you know what? God is bigger than all of this.”
Why should Christians pay attention to the cancellation of this television show? You might not even be a fan of HGTV and the programming. The reason this story matters is that it illustrates a trend that is going to affect each of us who will choose to teach and preach the Scripture as truth. This story is especially important for those of you who are parenting the next generation.
Unless Christians begin to change our culture we will soon be persecuted by our culture – and it will not just be an exchange of words. Our sons and daughters, if they have been vocal about their faith, will experience the consequences. In this era of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication, our actions and our words become permanently etched into history. It is now a common practice to search the Internet before hiring a candidate for a position. Will your son or daughter be refused an acceptance letter to a university or not hired by a company because they have been vocal about their faith? I know it seems like the answer is “no” – but current trends would indicate that answer is more likely “yes.”
Jim and I have written quite plainly about what the Bible teaches and we could be labeled with the same description as the Benham brothers were, by those who would seek to discredit us. There are television shows, publishing houses and even churches that would not want to associate with us because of the things we have written.
The purpose of this blog post is to try to explain that while those of us in public ministry are standing on the front lines right now, all who stand with us will be persecuted as well. If our culture remains on its current course, Christians in our nation will experience, in very significant ways, persecution.
The Benham brothers said, “We were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision. With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principles, and dedicated professionals. If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”
Matthew 5:10 reads: Blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus spoke those words in the Sermon on the Mount – to a group of people who would eventually change the world. I think we need to be reminded of what he was telling those first followers, and Christians today. Jesus taught, if God is the King of our lives, we should expect persecution and accept persecution. The good news is this: If we make choices and live according to God’s leadership, even persecution is a blessing.