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Max Lucado, cancel culture, and the rise of the Christian Left

Courtesy of Lucas Miles
Courtesy of Lucas Miles

While it may be appropriate to label Max Lucado “Christian-lite”, I don’t believe it’s fair to call him a Christian Leftist (at least not yet). His recent retraction and apology for his past sermons regarding same-sex marriage though have left many Christians wondering if the best selling author of over 100 faith titles folded to the pressures of progressive ideology this past week.  Lucado, who claims to still personally affirm a biblical view of marriage and sexuality, faced backlash after being invited to speak at the Washington National Cathedral by the left-leaning Episcopal Church's Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Paul in the City and the Diocese of Washington. Ultimately, Lucado was allowed to address the church through the virtual event, but not without demands for leadership to rescind his invitation and to cancel his talk after statements from a 2004 sermon he preached condemning same-sex marriage surfaced.

Several issues are wrong with this situation, notwithstanding Lucado’s own response, but’s let start by addressing the greater problem – that a so-called ‘Christian church’ would support a liberal LGBT agenda over the teachings of Jesus, scriptural interpretation, and 2000 years of well-established church history. At some point in time, in denominations like this sect of the Episcopal church, Christian views on original sin, morality, and the dangers of libertine sexuality were replaced with a rampant embrace of licentiousness and every en vogue moral departure. In the past, this form of neo-Christianity, which has more in common with Marx than Christ, was mostly isolated to academic circles, but over the past few decades it has leaked it’s left-leaning heresy into the pulpit and now into the pews.

With that said, Lucado’s response doesn’t make him apostate, and any cries from Christians to ‘cancel him’ only cause us to resemble the leftist mobs we criticize. What it does show though is how easy it is for a solid Christian leader to succumb to political pressure and fall short of defending the faith.

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The early church dealt with a similar issue which was vividly captured in St. Cyprian’s work, The Lapsed: The Unity of the Catholic Church, in which he tells of Christians who folded to pressure from the Roman state to offer a pagan sacrifice contrary to their faith. Individuals who conformed to the religious demands of the empire, only to later return to the church to reconfirm their faith in Christ, were known at that time as ‘the lapsed’. 

Of course, Lucado didn’t go as far as to offer a pagan sacrifice, but he did seemingly apologize for holding scriptural beliefs. In the end, his efforts failed to satisfy his progressive opponents and unfortunately caused his fellow Bible-believing base to question his witness. I won’t be so bold as to call Lucado “lapsed,” but I do believe his efforts were misguided. Nonetheless, as St. Cyprian modeled to the early church, individuals like Lucado, assuming he continues to embrace a biblical worldview, should be allowed back into believers’ good graces – though not without caution.

In line with biblical grace, let’s remember it’s easy for those who have never experienced a furious onslaught from a cancel culture mob to criticize. It is hard to say what any of us would do if we were to undergo this type of societal attack against our careers and livelihood.  With that said, the right answer for Christians is to always hold fast to scripture and to never apologize for God’s word. 

Lucas Miles is the host of The Lucas Miles Show and the author of the new book, The Christian Left: How Liberal Thought Has Hijacked the Church (Broadstreet Publishing, 2021). Follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasMiles.

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