You cannot watch an episode of Duck Dynasty without realizing there is a love of family. Their devotion to each other is commendable. Marriage is honored as a sacred institution where the spouses respect and love each other (Gen. 2:24). Parents and grandparents are recognized as authority figures to be obeyed, not back talked (Eph. 6:1-3). Brothers tease one another, but it is all in good fun. It is obvious they have a deep love and close bond. The nephews even look out for their crazy uncle Si.
The show also extols the virtue of hard, honest work (1 Tim. 5:8). The patriarch of the family built the duck call business from the ground up. He turned down a promising professional football career to follow his own path. His wife supported him, chiefly by being a keeper of the home—truly hard work (Titus 2:4, 5).
This is what most of America used to look like. We still crave it as is indicated by the show’s popularity.
The Bad & The Ugly
The Robertson clan has much going for it, but is a disaster at representing true disciples of Christ.
That statement will shock many people. Hear me out.
The Robertsons claim to be members of the body of Christ, the Church founded by Christ, the one you can read about in the Bible. However, their life is filled with worldliness that overshadows any godliness.
Consider this list of behaviors exhibited on the show—without shame.
Drinking: Willie bought a winery and had a wine tasting event (1 Pet. 4:3, 4).
Immodesty: the children and adults regularly reveal that which God says to cover; from short shorts to swim suits and more (1 Tim. 2:9, 10).
Euphemisms: the cast uses words that are not considered curse words, but the sanitized version of them. For instance, heck for hell (Eph. 5:1-7).
Gambling: the men of the show have placed bets with one another, either in golfing (Willing and Jase) or baseball (the work crew) (1 Thes. 4:11, 12).
Tobacco: in the episode where Phil and Kay looked for another home, Phil took his spit cup with him in the realtor’s car (1 Cor. 6:18-20).
When you look at the above list, what is so different about the Robertsons and any other family in the world? They are guilty of whitewashed worldliness or, what we might term, “Christianized worldliness.”
A family that is being held up as an example of what it really means to be lights in a world of darkness blurs the line between the world and the church, sinner and saint. Instead of leading people to the Lord, they are leading them to an illusion; to believing they are right with God while the world is still in them. It is sad. It is ugly.
The Bible tells us to be transformed, not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1, 2). When we drink, dress immodestly, use euphemisms, gamble, and use tobacco we are conformed to the world, not transformed from it.
There is much to be liked about the show. However, let us not kid ourselves and think it represents Christianity. It does not. It is simply a family that is striving to live in the Kingdom without leaving the world.