Since they first flew onto screen back in 2012, the Robertson clan has quickly become one of the most popular and recognizable families on television. With a mix of quirky humor and offbeat adventure, A&E’s Duck Dynasty has amassed quite the following and even broken several cable TV records. Now with the show entering its fourth season, Christian media is buzzing that the prime time series will be featuring more than beards and ducks, but a message of faith as well. The Robertson family are devout Christians and proud of their faith. This popularity has enabled them to spread Christ’s message to millions of viewers, as well as jump-start a movement for more shows portraying families who put God first.
In a recent article by The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter listed out nine things all viewers should know about Duck Dynasty, supplemented by words from the family themselves. Lisa Robertson, Alan’s wife, took the opportunity to mention how she believes the show will help take God’s message beyond their physical congregation,
To have a great church is good. But there are people out there that are not ever going to darken the doors that we have here. And they may not ever darken the doors of any church building. And so, if we can give them a little taste of Christianity, a little taste of God, but in a fun way, to tell them that just because you're a Christian doesn't mean that you can't have loads of fun and laugh all the time and just enjoy what God's given you.
Despite this, not all Christians are happy about Duck Dynasty’s success. Some fear the series makes Christianity look comical, while others worry the message of grace will be lost amidst the ducks, guns, and hijinks. The biggest concern is that God’s name is being used as a marketing tool to sell products. Sarah Bailey explored these ideas in her latest article, seeking out the opinions of different broadcasters.
“’There’s a risk that someone could watch the show and think all Christians are like that, but that would come from a place of ignorance,” said Jennifer Wishon, a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network. “They’re just guys from Louisiana who like to make duck calls and hunt and that doesn’t represent the interests of all Christians.’”
For my part, I feel this situation can be answered by Paul’s words from Philippians 1. You might recall that in the beginning of this book Paul is in chains, and has received letters from his friends asking how they should deal with the various preachers that have popped up in Paul’s absence. Instead of shutting them down, Paul writes,
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice – Philippians 1:15-18
Some people might not see Duck Dynasty as the ideal way to spread Christ’s message, but His message is spread regardless. The Robertson family have used their TV platform to show the world how much God’s grace has impacted their lives. Whether or not anyone listens, it doesn’t change the fact that the message is still there.
*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com
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