The Evangelism of Phil Robertson

In a recent interview (click the picture to watch the full interview) on Fox News ‘Hannity,’ Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson made some interesting comments when asked about the terrible acts of violence recently committed by ISIS. I found them most interesting because he spoke using scripture and theology, which is something I do as well, every so often.

The soundbite that everyone is grabbing onto is, “In this case you have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them. I’m just saying convert them or kill them. One or the other.” This comment comes after he makes a number of scripture references and to be fair, deserves to be heard in the entirety of the interview. With that being said, I’ve got a couple issues I want to address.

1. “Convert them or kill them” is not effective evangelism because it’s not actually evangelism. This would be along the same lines as coercing a confession from an alleged criminal. Forced anything is not a choice. This does not square with the message of Jesus.

2. “Convert them or kill them” is, in fact, giving up. If the only alternative to conversion is removing the possibility of a future conversion by killing those who don’t convert, then we may have not only given up but given up on God. How would we reconcile this approach of evangelism with loved ones who have never “converted?” This reminds me of the time Jesus pulled that woman’s head out from the noose near the well because she converted. Wait, no it doesn’t because this does not square with the message of Jesus.

3. Phil Robertson quotes a part of 2 Timothy 2:26 talking about how the devil has “taken them captive to do his will.” He is right, it says that but it also says A LOT more that he does not mention. Verse 25 and the very same verse he quotes also say that opponents or enemies should be treated gently in hopes that God might lead them to repentance, come to their senses, and escape the trap they find themselves in. It does not say, “…and if not, kill them.” It is a dangerous and irresponsible thing to use scripture as a means to our own end and does not square with the message of Jesus.