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Chick-fil-A could pivot with this statement

Chick-fil-A could pivot with this statement

Drink and sandwich containers are seen on a customer's table during the grand opening of a Chick-fil-A freestanding franchise restaurant in Midtown, New York October 3, 2015. | Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi

Chick-fil-A has been known as a company that is unashamedly committed to a biblical worldview. And as such, they seek to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Christianity never condones or promotes a judgmental attitude toward anyone. A relationship with Jesus Christ produces love, compassion, tolerance, justice and forgiveness. The Lord graciously meets us where we are at as He calls us into a relationship with Himself through repentance and faith.

Chick-fil-A recently announced their decision to no longer make donations to the Salvation Army or to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. These two Christian organizations promote a biblical worldview. When you stand up for righteousness in our society today, it can produce some vocal opponents who attempt to paint you as being against gay people simply because you faithfully uphold the biblical sexual ethic of marriage between a man and a woman.

With these hostile and intolerant cultural realities in mind, the management of Chick-fil-A apparently decided they no longer wanted to be seen as wholeheartedly supporting God's design for marriage. Whether it is Chick-fil-A's intention or not, this is how many perceive their stunning decision. And for them, perception is reality.

Jesus made it clear that to whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48) Chick-fil-A has been given much from the Lord and from those who hold a biblical worldview, and much is expected. This company has been given a high calling and has faithfully promoted God's commands over the years. But when you suddenly appear to abandon your stand for a biblical worldview, it is naturally going to concern many of those who have been supporting you and cheering you on for years. 

In response to Chick-fil-A's decision, many Christians will now likely skip their weekly or monthly trip to Chick-fil-A. Instead, they might decide to give their "lunch money" to one of those wonderful Christian organizations that are helping so many people. The decision to redirect these personal funds is similar in a way to Chick-fil-A's decision to redirect their donations. 

Individuals and companies tend to support those causes that enthusiastically line up with their philosophy and spiritual values. This is especially the case with Chick-fil-A because it has perhaps as much "Christian clout" as any company out there today. Chick-fil-A has been "walking the walk" for years, while the critics have been taking swipes at their values in hopes of tarnishing their unblemished spiritual integrity and nudging them into a place of spiritual compromise.

I suspect Chick-fil-A will soon realize just how many of their customers have been equally committed to both the quality of their food, as well as the nobility and compassion of their biblical principles. When you seem to suddenly be scrapping one half of that hugely successful equation, it is going to result in some serious repercussions. 

The spiritual and financial damage that Chick-fil-A is about to suffer will likely be much greater than it would have been if this company had not initially welcomed such a high spiritual calling in the public square. It reminds me of these words from the Apostle Peter: "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them." (2 Peter 2:21) 

The perception many will have is that this company which has stood for biblical marriage and Sunday worship is now turning their back on God's institution of marriage. This does not bode well for the integrity and stability of their spiritual DNA, or the consistency of their financial growth. Chick-fil-A was not forced to enter this arena years ago, but once you are in it, you need to be "in it to win it." And when you are given the high calling this company has openly embraced, you are unwise to make certain changes that appear to endorse an entirely different worldview and a postmodern and illogical definition of "tolerance." 

The Bible describes a "double-minded" person as someone who can't seem to decide what values to promote and live out. Such a confused and twisted approach doesn't work any better for a "Christian company" than it does for an individual believer. Once you enter the land of the double-minded, you will remain miserable until you choose to walk fully in darkness or fully in the light. And those on both sides of you will be unsatisfied with you unless and until you wholeheartedly endorse their preferred ideology. 

Chick-fil-A has chosen to move into the land of philosophical uncertainty and moral relativity. For many companies, this is par for the course. But when you are wearing a God-given mantle and receiving supernatural blessings from the Lord, it is a dangerous move to say the least. The sooner Chick-fil-A realizes their error, the better. It is not too late for Chick-fil-A to reverse course. As Dr. Michael Brown beautifully pointed out in a recent CP Op-Ed, there is still time for them to come to their senses. 

If Chick-fil-A were to come out with the following statement, they would be choosing to pivot back to their philosophical and spiritual roots, and they would be reminding their loyal customers of why millions of people have been thrilled to ride the Chick-fil-A bandwagon:

"We made a decision to restructure our charitable giving in 2020. In an effort to increase our support for education, homelessness and hunger, we took an 'either/or' approach regarding some organizations we previously supported. We now realize that in order to assist the greatest number of people, a 'both/and' approach makes the most sense. Therefore, we have decided to continue our financial support of those loving and faithful Christian organizations that have been receiving our assistance in recent years. There will be some additional organizations as well that we will begin supporting in 2020."

It's not too late for Chick-fil-A to realize their mistake and come out with such a statement. The alternative is to remain double-minded on the issue of marriage. Remember: No one forced Chick-fil-A to enter this arena and accept this Christian mantle with all of its benefits, as well as all of the pressure. But unless you remain in it to win it, you will lose far more than you gain by capitulating to your loudest critics.
Thankfully, the Gospel isn't just for unbelievers and "secular companies." It's also for Christians and "Christian companies" whenever we temporarily lose our footing. The way forward sometimes requires us to go back to where we started when we were listening closely to God's call regarding our life's mission and our purpose for existence. 

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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