Is the Church following the way of Jesus or the way of the Smiths’?

Recently, Will and Jada Smith has had an investigation my CPS due to a pic of their 13 yr old daughter, Willow, lying on a bed with a 20 yr old male (she was fully clothed). In the article, this is a statement that Will made regarding his children:


‘We don’t do punishment,’ Will told Metro last year.

‘The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been – it has a little too much of a negative quality.

You can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life.’

It’s that last line that caught my attention.  It made me think of the current progressive argument in our church about sexual morality.   It goes essentially like this:

So long as you are not hurting anyone and it brings you fulfillment, it should be blessed and honored.  

Our definition of sin, it would seem, has been reduced to nothing more than how it affects our human flourishing.   So long as you can explain to me why what you did was right for you to do, then we as a church should validate it.

I don’t blame Will Smith for reducing morality to what his 13 year old daughter can justify in her teenage heart and mind.    Such is the way of the world.   But when those who profess Jesus as Lord and claim Scripture is authoritative reduce morality to whatever a person can justify in their heart and mind, or prove that they are not hurting anyone, I have to ask whether the church has lost it’s way in favor of keeping up with the Jones’s Smiths’.



3 thoughts on “Is the Church following the way of Jesus or the way of the Smiths’?

  1. What you have put down puts an interesting spin on both the Church and the Smith family without discussing what I really hoped you would talk about. When I saw your post, I was excited to read it, but when you brought the debate within the Methodist Church on Homosexuality without engaging the Smith’s ideas or the counter arguments to your own unstated but easily guessed position, I was disappointed.

    If you don’t want to judge (or “blame”) the Smiths then why would you set them up as an alternate to life in Christ?

    I imagine you and I agree on our position on homosexuality in the church to a point, but you caricature the arguments in support of full inclusion or more inclusion for lbgt folks. Show a little more respect, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ even if we disagree with them. It shows your position as being less tenable when you dismiss them that easily.

    Lastly, if you are going to talk about (small-d) discipline issues for the church as a whole, why not do so? Why not engage with the early monastic commitments to obedience? Why not engage with the ban? Why not engage with the General Rules for Methodist Societies? Why not bring up proverbs? Why not really go crazy and see discipline leading to culmination in the Song of Songs? There is so much you could have done with this post as an idea using the Smith’s as a spring board, but no, you jump to our pleasure oriented society.

    I guess that’s up to you and however you can justify it.

    • Sean,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m sorry this post wasn’t up to par for you. There are other posts here which you might find more to your liking.

      One clarification: I wasn’t trying to set the Smiths’ up as an alternate way of life apart from Christ. Perhaps the “keeping up with the Jones’s” line at the end was too obtuse, but my point is simply this: Progressive views on sin seem to me to follow the same logic as the Smiths (or Jones’s or the world) when it comes to deciding what is best for us: so long as i like it, it makes me happy, and doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s good.

      again, thanks for reading.blessings.

  2. Thanks Chad for the response. The post didn’t do what I wanted it to do, and I was a little disappointed. Your ending comment didn’t really hit well, but that was not the most condemning part for Will Smith and company. The title of the article sets up the Smith’s choices as an orientation away from following Christ.

    Painting any group’s idea of sin as monolithic is expedient for conversation, but on the homosexuality issue it is unhelpful. A robust Augustinian or Aristotelian or Thomist view of happiness – or human flourishing – posits a very similar view of what is best for us as you describe the “progressives”. Now if I were to caricature you I could say, you think something that doesn’t make me happy or fulfill me and hurts others is good? That’s not what you meant, but perhaps this may make you realize that the view, or more appropriately views, progressive Christians (yep, they’re still trying to follow Christ) put out there cannot be dismissed with a pop culture reference.

    Egads man, these guys are our friends and fellow church members!

    As for the Smiths, we clearly do not have all the details and no parent can sound byte their discipline program for their children. Even “Tiger Mother” was probably inaccurate.

    Ok, sorry for the discussion, but I wanted to talk this out with you. Blessings on your work in Christ!

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