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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

What if this happened in your church?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on October 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Imagine for a moment with me the following events occurred some Sunday morning in your church. The family is all dressed up ready to celebrate their faith and hopefully learn more about God. In order for this scenario to make sense I need to set up a series of fictitious events based on true events currently in the news.

Item 1: The ninth circuit court of appeals in California is reviewing proposition 8 on “gay marriage” and could possibly overturn the decision people voted on and approved. After overturning the people’s votes the issue is moved to the Supreme Court for consideration. With the recent appointment of a new justice on the court and the approval of the progressives (liberals) the court is not balanced or conservative. In view of a more progressive (liberal) concept of marriage, the court recognizes same-sex marriage and makes it the law of the land.

Item 2: The gay-rights activists (GLAD) are able based on the Supreme Court’s ruling to advance the gay-rights agenda. The first item up for revision is the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell policy.” A court over turned this Clinton era policy just recently. The agenda includes the concept that gay-rights deserve the same recognition as civil rights thereby changing laws that oppose their agenda. Within this agenda an exemption for churches and faith-based organizations that oppose homosexuality is removed. Hiring standards are now revised to include churches and other faith-based organizations such as: Christian universities, Christian seminaries, Christian orphanages, and Christian mission agencies. These organizations will be required to hire to prescribed quotas that include Gay lesbian, transgender, and homosexuals.

Item 3: Hate crimes legislation is expanded to include “hate speech” that allows for prosecution on both a misdemeanor and a felony level. Hate speech is given a new definition that spells out what is correct and acceptable language in regards to homosexual issues. Any speech that does not meet this level of political correctness (cultural Marxism) will be defined as hate speech. Churches, pastors, professors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and ultimately church members will by definition be in violation of hate speech standards based on current conservative Biblical doctrine.

 

Back to Sunday morning with our families in our houses of worship preparing to glorify God, imagine for a moment your peace and serenity is suddenly halted. Invading your sanctuary and houses of worship are government officials followed by local police authorities and local GLAD activists. The service is stopped by a representative probably from The Department of Justice, The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, The Local Prosecutor’s Office, and finally local law enforcement. They move to the front of the auditorium step behind the pulpit and began based on legal precedent to accuse everyone there of being in violation of local hate crime laws. The first order of business is to arrest the Pastor and the staff; they are accused of a felony violation of hate speech. Next they ask for either Elders or Deacons to come forward, placed under arrest they are accused of misdemeanor hate crimes. Finally Sunday school teachers and the congregation are given tickets indicating misdemeanor violation of hate speech. An attorney that has accompanied the activists now moves to the microphone, in a solemn act all of the members and staff are now served by the Sheriff with legal writs indicating their inclusion in a lawsuit accusing them of libel and defamation. The lawsuit has a dollar value of four times the total value of the church property as a potential settlement. Now the Sheriff and his deputies serve the rest of the congregation with legal writs including them in the same lawsuit and asking for potential damages. The attorney solemnly speaks to the crowd, “if the Pastor, staff and members will agree in principle and sign a proclamation declaring their support of homosexual marriage, gay rights and hire within 90 days a Gay lesbian, transgender, or homosexual all charges and lawsuits will be dismissed. And as a further condition the church will attend and support sensitivity training that includes gay lesbian, transgender, and homosexual issues from a gay perspective. Imagine if you will all of your current Bible translations being confiscated and replaced with a more sensitive and gender-neutral translation. Of course any reference to homosexuality must be removed in regards to its violation of hate speech. Any church literature that states its objection to homosexuality will be banned and confiscated. As long as the church maintains the standards of political correctness (cultural Marxism) and refrains from speaking against homosexual issues it is free to worship privately without fear of prosecution.”

I’m sure as an American we see this as is a far-fetched scenario that could never happen in our country. Unfortunately recent activities in several states point to this very behavior happening in localities and directed at people of faith who are specifically Christians. Recently in Canada several pastors were arrested for hate speech based on their preaching from the Bible in regards to homosexuality. They were released but the idea was to intimidate pastors from speaking Biblical truth. In New Mexico a photographer was arrested for refusing to photograph a ceremony for two homosexuals reciting their pledge based on her objection by reason of faith. Recently a young lady finishing her master’s degree in counseling was threatened with her degree if she refused to attend certain gay related events and sensitivity training because of her faith-based disagreement with same-sex marriage and counseling homosexuals for their behavior and lifestyle. There are numerous cases of individuals being arrested or threatened with lawsuits because of their objection to same-sex marriage and disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle. It is important to conservative Christians to maintain our orthodoxy regarding those who are not believers.  We have a greater purpose in our lives loving and caring about people regardless of the sin and reconciling them to Jesus Christ, while balancing our disagreement with sinful behavior. Condoning sinful behavior in pursuit of building relationships under the guise of witnessing about Jesus should not come into view. We are to be separate in our behavior, tell the truth in love, and provide examples of what true love looks like.

 

1. Are our churches ready to deal with social issues in a loving responsible Christian manner?

2. Most of the time churches are reactive instead of proactive, what kind of proactive strategy are our churches planning for a scenario like that listed above?

3. Churches have spent a great deal of money and effort on capital acquisition, buildings, property, if threatened with the loss of all buildings and property based on doctrine, how will churches respond?

4. If our pastors are arrested or threatened with major libelous lawsuits, what is the church’s position on support and protection?

5. Are we as members of a local congregation prepared to defend ourselves against the same actions directed toward us?

6. At the very least if churches are threatened with the loss of their tax-exempt status because of their support or disapproval of certain social issues how will they respond?

Hopefully this make-believe scenario never plays out in our churches. How prepared are we as Christians, Churches, Seminaries, and other Christian institutions to deal with this type of possible invasion of our faith. Unfortunately recent history reveals the church more willing to protect its assets than its doctrine. One of the best examples is Germany prior to the invasion of Poland. The fascists threatened the churches with retribution if they opposed Hitler and his Nazi party. According to the majority of historians over 80% of the guards at the concentration camps went to church on Sunday and killed Jews on Monday. The Catholic Church and its lack of support concerning European Jews and their persecution by the Nazi’s are well-documented. This happened less than 90 years ago and the church played a much larger role in daily life. Hopefully this exercise in fiction based on current events will cause some to be pro active in the arena of social issues and prepare for possible reactions from the government, the press, and the population at large.

 

Three ideas for every Believer

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on October 10, 2010 at 7:23 am

As Christians we are to go about everyday looking for where God is working. Through the empowering of the Holy Spirit ideally we join in and help. How does this come about and what do we do? Recently I was enjoying coffee at a local establishment with 2 friends both ministers of the Gospel.  We were having your average over the top discussion of theology (I thoroughly enjoy) and a young man was very intently listening in behind us (I noticed). I invited him to join us and proceeded to engage Him in what I call the five questions to see His spiritual understanding and background.

Do you believe in God?

What are your proofs?

Why are you are Christian?

How did we get the Bible?

What do you understand about the Trinity?

The young man was gracious enough to go along and we made sure He understood this wasn’t an interrogation just Christians who are interested in others and their beliefs. There it was God was at work and we joined in, this young man was trying to read the scriptures and understand them better. He was attending a church and being faithful to it. Now to the substance to the story, as Christians I believe the scriptures would have us do at a minimum one of three things. Encourage the brethren, challenge the believers, witnesses to the lost. Everyone we meet falls into one of the three areas.

Encourage:

 

(Deu 1:38 ESV)  Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

 

Joshua needed encouragement to lead the people after Moses is gone.

(Eph 6:21-23 ESV)  So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The people in Ephesus whom Paul loved needed encouragement because of the trials they were facing. Paul was in prison and he wants to encourage others and sends someone to do so.

(Col 4:7 ESV)  Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,

 

Paul is always concerned about encouraging the brothers, knowing the trials he faced were grave and desperate and the end of His life in view.

 

(1Th 4:14-18 ESV)  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 

The Father sends, the Son accomplishes, the Spirit applies!

 

Challenge:

(Deu 1:43-44 ESV)  So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the LORD and presumptuously went up into the hill country. Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Seir as far as Hormah.

 

This same people acted out on their emotions and brought about a calamity, before they went they were challenged.

 

(Deu 3:28 ESV)  But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’

 

The word spoken here clearly states charge and encourage, charge being understood as challenge.

 

(Col 4:5-6 ESV)  Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

 

The challenge issued by Paul for believers, how to act, speak and use our time.

 

(1Th 4:1-8 ESV)  Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

 

As a true God follower can anything be added to this challenge?

 

Witnesses:

 

(Eph 6:18-20 ESV)  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

 

Paul was very aware of His mission to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, our Triune God revealed through His Son who gave us His Spirit for the reconciling of lost sinners to the family of God.

 

(Col 4:2-4 ESV)  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

 

True believers have a mission to declare the mystery of the Personal God who is there. How He gave His Son to accomplish the payment of sin both eternal and temporal as satisfaction of a sin debt we owe. Then He provided His Spirit to live (dwell) in us to apply the mission in us and through us. The Triune God at work the Father wills, the Son accomplishes, the Spirit applies.

 

 

(Mat 28:18-20 AMP)  Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).

 

Our commission, challenge, encouragement and purpose!

 

(1Ti 4:-3 ESV)  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

 

The Father declares, the Son accomplishes, the Spirit applies!

 

 

 

 

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