Q&A with Pastors Gary & Austin Hamrick

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Christianity & Culture: Addressing Contentious Questions with Biblical Clarity

Story by Carmel Flippen

Popular culture issues and dilemmas touch us all—often causing strong dissension among Christians and unbelieving friends, as well as heartbreaking divisions between believers. Calvary Chapel Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, VA, has boldly and biblically addressed these issues facing our country.

As cultural and sometimes legal pressures against Christian values have multiplied, so has the volume of questions from his congregation about them. In January 2022 alone, Gary received more than a thousand questions. He responded by sponsoring a Q&A series with his son, Austin, an assistant pastor at the church. The following—discussing political involvement, illegal immigration, and racial tensions—is summarized from Part 3 of the series.

Austin prayed at the session’s end: “Lord, we don’t have all the answers, but You do. I pray that we collectively would dive deep into Your Word, … that we may be able to discern between truth and error in a very confusing culture.”

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Gary Hamrick (left) and his son Austin (right) of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, VA, participate recently in a Q&A event at the church. Gary is the senior pastor and Austin is an assistant pastor. The sessions, called Christianity & Culture, address biblical answers to the prominent issues of the day that often cause dissension among Christians and unbelieving friends and even between believers.

"Political" engagement: How do we biblically respond when other Christians say we should not get involved?

Gary Hamrick: I don’t see myself as political, honestly—just biblical. When you start talking about God’s view of right and wrong, you’re going to touch on social issues that are "political" in our world—but that doesn’t make you political.

I’ve been railing against our school board recently. I want to always say that I respect that there [are] some wonderful educators, administrators, bus drivers, and so on in the school system. But when a school board is advancing policies like 8040 (allowing students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity), redefining biology and God’s design of gender by allowing students to pick whatever gender they want, and I talk out against [it]—that’s not being political.

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That’s just saying, “Hey, here’s what the Bible says: So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). End of discussion.” We have a heart for people with gender confusion; we want to get them counseling. But it is doing them a horrible disservice to embrace and celebrate their confusion.

You have to throw out a bunch of your Bible to say, “The church just shouldn’t be political.” Every Old Testament prophet confronted the kings. In the New Testament, John the Baptist confronted Herod about his immorality. If people of faith shouldn’t be engaged in political discourse, then John should’ve kept his mouth shut, I suppose. Now in the end, he got his head cut off.

There are prices to pay when you step into an arena where people think you shouldn’t be, but how can the church be silent on “political” issues when much of what the world’s done is [to] politicize biblical issues? When we stay silent, we can’t be the salt and light God calls us to be to really have a penetrating influence on our world.

 

Immigration is an extremely sensitive subject. As believers, how should we view this issue?

Gary: It’s a very terrible crisis on our border. All I know is that in the Bible, God is for nations and borders. Even the land of Israel was divided by the 12 tribes’ borders and territories. God is also a God of law and order. I want people to be able to come into America freely, but we are a nation whose jurisprudence was founded on Judeo-Christian law, and we should be law-abiding people. When I see the chaos on the border, it doesn’t seem like we’re recognizing borders or law.

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My dermatologist is Vietnamese. He is so upset about what’s happening from a personal standpoint. He said, “My grandfather was a translator for the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Even so, it took him 30 years before he could enter the [country]. It grates me to see people encouraged to just come over when my family waited decades to do it the right way.”

Austin Hamrick: The Bible also says, [God] loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10:18b, NIV). God cares for the foreigner, and so should we. We should have a compassionate heart, but compassion doesn’t necessarily mean we should compromise on law.

 

What’s the Christian stance on issues involving Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory?

Gary: The Church is the only group of people that has the right answer on race. You know what it is? We are all equal in God’s eyes. Jesus died for all because He loves all. The Church should be the most loving and unified body of people regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality because we’re all united under the Lordship of Jesus Christ for as many as follow and love Him.

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View the Christianity & Culture Q&A sessions: Part 3 which covers the topics in this story; or browse the Full Series

cornerstonechapel.net

                  

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.