Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Faithfulness’ Category

That we live in strange times is akin to saying the sun is bright. Conservative Americans have seen their country’s moral universe turned inside out, especially with the 5-4 edict of the Supreme Court last summer pronouncing same-sex marriage the law of the land.

Not only is same-sex marriage now law, we are seeing that sexual freedom trumps religious freedom. Christian bakers and florists have been targeted by same-sex marriage folk in order to force those Christians to embrace homosexual weddings or face legal retribution. Under threats from the National Football League and big entertainment and big business, the governor of Georgia vetoed a state bill that would have protected ministers from having to perform such weddings. The Wall Street Journal described the bill in this way: “The ‘Free Exercise Protection Act,’ passed earlier this month, allows faith-based organizations to decline services or fire employees over discordant religious beliefs. The bill also aims to protect religious officials from having to perform marriage ceremonies or other services ‘in violation of their legal right to free exercise of religion,’ according to the legislation.”

North Carolina’s state legislature passed and its governor signed a law that requires persons to use the restroom of their biological gender. That is hardly radical, is it? The state has come under fire from liberal groups who think that transgender persons should be able to use the rest room of their perceived psychological gender, not biological.

So this is the slide into radical depravity down which western culture is descending and, in truth, should not be unsurprising. The apostle Paul wrote almost two millennia ago: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:24–27).

As sad it is to watch our culture’s collapse into moral degeneracy, not to mention what this will mean for our children and grandchildren, it is beyond sad to watch professing Christians follow the culture. Have breathed the philosophical air of secular education and popular entertainment, many professing Christians, including both younger and older persons, see little, if anything at all, wrong with sexual intimacy (either heterosexual or homosexual) outside of marriage, same-sex unions, or people changing their sexual identification. Others, who are more traditional about such matters, openly and proudly support political candidates who support abortion rights or who boast about their sexual “conquests.”

Why is this? Why do the folk next door who are in church on Sunday follow the popular trends of culture? Many right answers could be offered, but one stands out: the Bible simply is not viewed as authoritative over our lives. It may be “the good Book,” but it is held as a book of general guidelines instead of specific precepts.

It really does not matter how much of the Bible we know, how much we memorize, how many times we read it, or how much we revere it if we do not believe that it is the written Word of God that has authority over our thinking and our actions. Jesus’ condemnation of the religious leaders of his day could be given to many of our day: “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:7–9).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Our strange world seems daily stranger. For decades the call for tolerance has been preached by “progressives.” We must be tolerant of folks who are different from us. Fine—we should. The sexes are to be treated equally. Good, although that used to be simpler back in the ancient history of three decades ago when we were so silly to think there were only two sexes and they were determined biologically, not psychologically. We should be tolerant of other religions. Okay—no problem. And on and on it went.

The call for tolerance, however, did not stop with concerns that people historically have expressed. The call for tolerance took a bold step. We must become tolerant of what has been historically regarded as vice. We must be tolerant and even supportive of women who choose to end the lives of their unborn children. We must be tolerant of people who choose to have promiscuous sex, and now we must be tolerant of and even give tacit approval to those of the same sex who choose to be married.

We have come to the place where those who lead the call for tolerance have themselves been revealed as intolerant, and little reveals the intolerance of the “tolerant” more than what happens to those who take a stand for traditional morality.

We know the stories of targeted Christian bakers and florists who declined to participate in same-sex marriage celebrations. In every instance there were other bakers and florists upon whom the same-sex persons could have called. To do so, however, would have solved the problem without a confrontation, and it seems that confrontation is what the same-sex activists desire. They do not want tolerance. They want submission.

Some states have enacted legislation that essentially mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, but states which have waited till now to do so are being attacked by same-sex and transgender activists, as well as other “progressives” all too eager to heap scorn upon anything that resembles traditional morality. We live in strange times, indeed. As Albert Mohler has pointed out, “Demands for erotic liberty — the unrestrained right to full individual sexual expression, fulfillment, and legitimacy — now routinely trumps religious liberty.”

So how do we live in America today? It is helpful to remember that those who take following Christ seriously, have almost always lived in a strange place in history. Biblical Christianity is almost always out of step with its surrounding culture.

Be that as it may, disciples of Christ throughout history have faced persecution fed by hate and intolerance. From the withering persecution of dominant Islamists to unrelenting attacks by secularist activists, there are few places in this world where biblical Christianity is at peace. Christians have enjoyed a respite from wide-scale persecution in America because the settling of the country and the founding of the United States was grounded in a Judeo-Christian understanding of law and morality. Obviously, that is no longer the case. Indeed, many churches themselves in this country have jettisoned such understandings and mirror contemporary culture.

It is time that Christians in America comprehend the reality of Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 3:12–13: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Christians in America are being targeted for persecution.

Of course, 2 Timothy 3:12 also indicates how to escape persecution in America: simply surrender to the demands of secularists. Don’t allow godliness permeate your life. Many professing Christians go this route. Some claim to follow Christ while voting for politicians who favor abortion “rights” or same-sex marriage. Others simply lie low to avoid notice.

The apostle Peter knew something about persecution. May we heed his counsel: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. . . . Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter 4:12, 16).

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: