Stephen and Cancel Culture

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Stephen was a man of tremendous courage who preached God’s Word with great boldness. On the occasion of Acts chapter 7, Stephen preached that he saw the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). In the audience that day were unbelieving Jews who rejected Christ. When they heard Stephen preach Christ, they were enraged and “stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him” (Acts 7:57-58). Notice from this text that the Jews “stopped their ears.” They refused to listen to what Stephen preached. Rather than listening, they stoned to death an innocent, godly man.

We live in a time when some refuse to hear any opposing view. Rather than granting others freedom to express opposing views, the culture “cancels” them. “Canceling” often involves some type of punishment against those—mostly conservative—who attempt to express controversial views. One may lose business, be fired, or publicly shamed if one dares to share an opposing viewpoint. Much like the unbelieving Jews “stopped their ears,” some “stop their ears today” and cancel all opposing views.

However, the unbelieving Jews who stoned God’s faithful preacher, Stephen, did not change the truth about Jesus. They refused to listen, even stopping their ears, but their rejection of Stephen’s message did not change the truthfulness of the message. 

Likewise, refusing to listen to opposing views today will not change the truth. Refusing to listen to the pro-life position that abortion is taking innocent, human life, does not change the truth about abortion. Silencing the voices of those who oppose homosexuality, does not change the truth that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s plan for human sexuality (Leviticus 18:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). “Canceling” those who affirm that there are only two genders, male and female, does not change the truth that being transgender is a distortion of God’s original plan (Genesis 1:26-27).

Christians must always speak with love and compassion for others (Ephesians 4:15). However, if ever there was a time when bold, brave, Christian voices were needed, that time is now! “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word” (Acts 4:29).

Mark Lindley
Chapman church of Christ
Ripley, MS

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