A Washington pastor fed up with the "hijacking" of the symbol of God's covenant of peace created after what the Bible calls the great flood, wants to rouse Christians from their apathetic slumber and "take back the rainbow" from those using the symbol to push against biblical standards, especially the institution of marriage.
In the Book of Genesis, God makes a promise with Noah to never again flood the earth. As a sign of that vow, God creates a rainbow, explaining in chapter nine, verse 13 (NIV): "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."
The rainbow, God tells Noah, stands as a reminder of His "covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind" to never again bring a flood to destroy all life.
That symbol of God's promise has since been "liquidated of its meaning," according to Dr. Kenneth L. Hutcherson, Senior Pastor and Co-Founder of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash.
Hutcherson, in collaboration with Antioch's Bible school director Pastor James Hansen, says in an online commentary titled "Take Back the Rainbow," that Christians have surrendered entirely too much to the world, especially in regard to the issues of marriage and homosexuality. The fact that the rainbow, with its covenantal significance, has especially been co-opted by "the homosexual movement" is particularly troubling to Hutcherson.
"Rainbows used to mean something very different than they do today," the pastors write on Antioch's website. "It used to be understood as the sign God put in the sky to remind us that even when He's angry about sin, He'd never again destroy the earth with a global flood. But of course, that's not what most people associate a rainbow with today."
The commentary continues: "The guy who puts a rainbow sticker on the back of his Prius is sending a slightly different message: he's got a co-pilot, and it isn't God. If you really want the conversation to get going, try putting one of those stickers on your minivan right next to the Jesus fish logo. Talk about mixed messages. Is that guy straight? Is he gay? Do you think he's a liberal Presbyterian?
"How did we get here? Just when was this symbol liquidated of its meaning? When was the sign pointing to God's promise intentionally co-opted to point to a certain lifestyle choice? Let's just say that the homosexual movement has been busy over the last couple of decades and that many of these changes have taken place without so much as a peep from the larger Christian community. Rome's burning; Nero's fiddling; and Christians are taking a well-deserved nap."
It isn't that Hutcherson believes Christians fail to appreciate the theological importance of "this colorful little symbol."
"But I think that too many Christians may have adopted the wrong kind of rainbow," the commentary reads. "They're yellow with fear, green with envy, blue with depression and red from embarrassment. So, why are believers so off-color these days? Maybe they're tired of fighting the good fight. Maybe they haven't seen as much progress as they'd like. Or maybe they think someone else will carry the proverbial water. Sadly, as believers, we've gone from echoing Luther's, 'Here I stand, I can do no other' to 'Here I sit, I want my mother.' After all, why not put off today what someone else will postpone tomorrow?"
The Washington minister, who also points to the word "gay" being co-opted and re-defined, suggested to The Christian Post Thursday that Christians have an obligation to respond and take action.
"This is something I been thinking about for years," Hutcherson told CP. "I have been fighting for almost a decade now trying to get the Church to wake up to what we continue to surrender. We surrendered marriage...to politics; we have surrendered the sort of responsibility of keeping the world form decaying as fast as it is to be PC and not [salt and light]."
So much has the Christian Church yielded to the world that it has gotten "to the point that it is now totally irrelevant to young people," the minister said. "What's the purpose of being a Christian if there's no strong stance?"
Although Hutcherson is certainly not the first to call for a re-claiming of the rainbow, he and his Washington congregation are re-issuing the summons for Christians, the "Bride of Christ," to put away her "white flag of surrender" and start being more concerned about offending God than she is about offending people.
"So what is it going to take to wake up this sleeping beauty known as the Bride of Christ?" the ministers ask in the post. "Do we not see what is at stake? Don't we understand that if our symbols can be hijacked, so too can everything else we hold dear? The rainbow is only one example of many where the Church has passively sat by and allowed others to redraw lines on the playing field."
Although Hutcherson suggests in jest that pro-gay activists adapt the Islamic crescent moon or Wiccan pentagram star as the logo for their movement, the senior pastor told CP that "it was a funny way of saying that Christians are the only ones who would give up a fight to lose a tremendous symbol."
Comparing Christians to how quickly some Muslims respond to perceived blasphemous acts against their faith, Hutcherson suggested that "we as Christians have missed out on the whole aspect of...pride and honor in what God has given us."
In a move to reclaim the symbol from the homosexual community, Dr. Hutcherson told CP that members of Antioch Bible Church have made and started wearing rainbow pins, "as conversation starters" to spread their message.
"The rainbow is a symbol, but its meaning points to the very character of God. So Christians…use this God-given symbol for His glory. Using it won't make you a homosexual. It won't make you a New Ager. It won't make Leprechauns real. But it might allow you to get into conversations with people who need to meet the very One who gave us His promise in the first place," the web post reads.
Hutcherson hopes the Christian community will answer Antioch's call to redeem the rainbow and restore its God-given meaning to remind the world "that God gave all men the rainbow and therefore it does not belong to one single group of people," the evangelical minister told The Christian Post Thursday.
The minister added, "When God destroyed the earth with the flood, He gave us the promise...never again will He allow Himself to destroy the world with another flood. And because of that promise, it doesn't matter how bad the weather gets, we can rest in the promise that God has given us."
He added, however, that "the second part of His promise is also true" -- a reference to 2 Peter 3 in which the Bible states that, as God once judged the world with water, He will do so again with fire.
As the senior pastor sees it, that Day of Judgment is fast approaching "because of the very things going on in our society today" and because Christians fail to "stand on the word of God...and on His principles."
Hutcherson, referred to by congregants as "Pastor Hutch," co-founded the non-denominational Antioch Bible Church in 1984 with Mark Webster and Dwight Englund. The senior pastor is a former NFL middle linebacker and has authored several books, among them Here Comes the Bride: The Church: What We Are Meant to Be, and Before All Hell Breaks Loose.
"If you are looking for a church that is comfortable, quiet, politically correct, and strives to be 'cool' -- Antioch is NOT for you!" it reads on the church's website.