In Matthew 10:22, Jesus, while giving instructions to the 12 disciples who would lead the church following His ascension, said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. …”
Jesus knew that His followers would be routinely criticized for furthering the gospel and adhering to the tenets of God’s word. His words are certainly relevant today, as Christians are increasingly disparaged and mocked for living faithfully according to the Bible.
This week, WorldNetDaily reported that a homosexual man has brought suit against two Christian publishers, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, alleging that the Bibles they publish violate his constitutional rights and cause him emotional pain because they say homosexuality is a sin.
And while a U.S. district judge in Michigan has said he has “some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims” made by Bradley LaShawn Fowler’s lawsuit, it is still disconcerting that we have reached a point in time when Bible publishing or publicly honoring the Ten Commandments or mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance have become the focus of lawsuits.
Are we too blind as a nation to see that as we have increasingly discounted and ignored God’s word our society has correspondingly disintegrated?
WND reports that Mr. Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and $10 million from Thomas Nelson. Sure, it sounds frivolous, but so did the idea of two men marrying a few years ago.
Recall that celebrated actor Ian McKellen told London’s Telegraph that he rips verses from Leviticus out of Bibles in hotel rooms. He told Salon.com that he has determined this passage prohibiting homosexuality to be “pornographic.”
There was no media outcry over news of this. Imagine 20 or 30 years ago an actor admitting to destroying a portion of the Bible because he believed it “pornographic.” The phrase “you’ll never work in this city again” would have held true.
Today, our nation yawns.
Because this apathy exists regarding matters that were once deemed sacred it is possible for the Bible to be progressively more denigrated within our society. Look no further than today’s typical depiction of Jesus Christ in Hollywood to see that we have, as a nation, accepted His vilification.
I believe that our present moral climate – in which all truths are embraced – will eventually lead to severe persecution of those who choose to live their lives by adhering to God’s word.
So what shall we do? Panic?
No, we must keep speaking the truth of God’s word in love and kindness even as the temperature rises. As Paul noted in I Corinthians 9:22, we must reach out to all so that some will believe.
Also remember this: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). We must never waver in the defense of the Bible or attempt to modify the “sound” truth of God’s word to accommodate an ever-changing society.
As the Bible warns, “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. …”(Hebrews 13:9).
I pray that, as our times become ever more desperate, God’s people will humble themselves and reach out as never before to our lost and dying world, even when that world increasingly rejects us. May the grace of God sustain us and strengthen us as we work together for Him.
REMINDER: On Aug. 11-13, the historic Thomas Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., will host the Innovate Church conference, with “The Purpose-Driven Life” author Rick Warren serving as our headline speaker. Other special guests include: Chuck Colson, Tom Mullins, Jim Cymbala and Ed Stetzer. Please visit our website for more information or to register for this conference that is designed to empower and energize the ministries of pastors, pastors’ wives, church staff members and lay leaders across our nation.