Twin brothers David and Jason Benham made headlines when their would-be HGTV show “Flip It Forward” was abruptly canceled two years ago. But even in the wake of what could easily have been a faith-shaking moment in the spotlight, the real estate moguls stood firm in their convictions.
It’s kind of what they’re becoming known for—being two guys who believe without wavering. And they see an urgent need for more Christians to engage in that spiritual and cultural battle.
The Faith Wire team met up with Jason and David in New York City’s Bryant Park one cloudy Tuesday morning to talk about their new book, Life Among Lions, and what it looks like to courageously live out the Christian faith:
Faithwire: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Jason: When you look at how dark the culture is right now, and how many Christians are running for the hills, running away from conversations that they should be actually entering into, David and I were submersed into this dark culture when HGTV fired us, and we got a chance to experience what the Holy Spirit can do when Christians actually run into the battle.
You can operate in love for the people that you’re speaking to while at the same time you can actually resist the ideologies and the ideas and the false presuppositions that people have that would keep them enslaved. So David and I realized, man, being in the midst of the battle is THE place to be. We knew we needed to write a book about this.
Faithwire: How did you see the Holy Spirit moving in the wake of the HGTV show getting canceled?
Jason: In the Bible it says when you’re drug before kings and magistrates and all sorts of officials because of me—which is because of our witness for Christ—don’t worry beforehand what to say, the Holy Spirit will give you utterance. We actually experienced that. When we’re on Megyn Kelly and O’Reilly and all these shows, honestly, we had no clue what we were going to say. Literally no clue.
But there was something inside of our hearts where we actually experienced love for the people who are coming against us. We actually felt that love for them. And in that moment the Holy Spirit began to speak through us. If your heart as a believer is you’re obeying the two greatest commandments, loving God and then loving others as He loves you—not as they are lovable, but as He loves you—well then God will speak through you.
Faithwire: You talk about conviction, commitment, and courage—where does compassion fit into that?
David: If you truly have conviction that transforms your heart, your heart will be transformed with the love of God. That’s what conviction’s all about. Conviction’s not about just your mind getting transformed. Conviction is about a heart transformation. And then commitment is wrapping your mind around that new identity. That new identity of love. How do you love your enemies? How do you bless those who persecute you? How do you do good to those who hate you and revile you? It’s all based on that original moment of conviction where the Holy Spirit then transforms your heart into a brand new identity. Standing on that conviction and commitment you can have courage because we can enter the cultural conversation with incredible compassion, but fierce courage. When it comes to principle, we stand like a rock. But when it comes to people, we love them with incredible compassion.
Faithwire: Are you ever concerned about creating division or is that just part of standing up and having courage?
David: When you read the scripture, what did Jesus’ messages often create? When you read the apostle Paul? When you read the prophetic books? See, truth is a divider. Now it’s not our attitude, it’s not our tone. But truth is a divider. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten so off kilter with the pendulum that we’re so concerned about tone that we’ve left truth back at the gate. It’s bringing truth and speaking it in love.
Look, you read the book of Acts, the apostle Paul speaks a message at Pentecost and just gives a solid message of truth and it says 3,000 were added. They were cut to the heart. Just a few chapters later he speaks the same message and it says they were cut to the heart and drug him out of the city and flogged him.
Jason: See, the same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the carrot. As Christians, don’t be concerned with turning the temperature of the water down. What we need to do is keep the temperature up, which means we love Jesus with all of our heart. The people that are turned away from us, that’s the substance of what’s in the water. Just like the egg gets hard, the carrot gets soft. We have to burn for the Lord—and we just keep burning for him with love for people. However they receive it has something to do with what’s in their heart, not what’s in our heart.
Faithwire: What advice do you have for Christians who don’t know what to do this election?
David: First and foremost, and we talk about this in the book right out of the gate, identity. Our identity as evangelical Christians is not as a voting bloc, but as the pillar and support of the truth as the Scripture says in 1 Timothy 3:12. We are the pillar and the support of the truth; we are not a voting bloc. Now, we do vote. Because as citizens of heaven, we are commanded by God to be good citizens of earth.
We see in Daniel’s life how he actually served three pagan kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius. He served these kings. So whether it’s Hillary or whether it’s Trump, we’re going to serve our nation and we want to see what’s best for our nation. However, what goes hand-in-hand with that is your vote is the currency of your virtue. That is, where you place the virtue of your faith is in the voting booth. And people say, well what about voting the lesser of two evils and all of that other stuff. As an evangelical Christian, do not identify yourself with either Trump or Hillary. Do not identify yourself with either Republicans or Democrats. Our identity supersedes all of that.
Faithwire: You guys were in the meeting Trump had with evangelical leaders. How was that?
David: Jason and I felt very strongly that quite often as the church we can get strategic before spiritual. Because right now is the time for a spiritual cry of repentance not a strategic call to Republicans. And it’s a very dangerous place for us to be as Christians.
Jason: We saw two different types of people in that room. David and I were in that room along with I would say probably half of the other guys that were there—evangelical leaders—to hear in person what Trump had to say. Are we going to hear something out of his mouth that we haven’t heard in the media? And the other half, honestly, were there to endorse Trump. We will never endorse him or anybody like that. But all in all, the important thing to know is almost every single one of the people in that room, when it was all said and done, were on their faces in that area, on their knees crying out to God for revival and repentance.
David: Yeah, with one voice every one of those people said, “Yeah, you know what? Donald ain’t gonna fix this.”
Faithwire: Do you not support candidates generally as a rule of thumb?
Jason: Specifically, we’ve been asked to endorse Trump on several different occasions and we’ve said absolutely not.
David: We can’t endorse a man like that. There’s no way. Like I said, your vote is the currency of your virtue. I’m not going to put my virtue and any type of platform God’s given us and leverage it to elevate a man like that.