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At the risk of offending all the sensitive pastors and young evangelicals who are so anxious not to be the “Religious Right,” I would like to propose that it is time they do something worthy of persecution. I had the privilege of being in a meeting with Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller last week and heard about the incredible work they are doing to support our persecuted brethren in countries where it really means something.
With the passage – again – of hate-crimes legislation in Congress last week as Democrats deviously leeched it onto the Defense Appropriations bill, the noose continues to tighten on biblical Christianity in America.
Also last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, our ACLU activist-turned-judge, postulated that as a resolution to the “unconstitutional” situation of a cross as a veteran’s memorial in the Mojave National Preserve, the federal government “remove the cross, then sell the land back to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which originally built the memorial 75 years ago.”
(A side note – Justice Ginsburg is late to the game … the “Market-Driven Church” has already “sold the cross.”)
To cap the week off, our president reaffirmed his commitment to destroy marriage and family by removing barriers to open gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. practices in our military and overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.
Not exactly a banner week for Americans who hold to traditional values and Judeo-Christian principles as espoused by 400 years of our forefathers. But then again, We, Those People, are really the problem anyway, are we not?
According to British theologian and author Os Guinness, the “Religious Right” is the cause of the militant gay-rights movement, and we repeatedly hear major neo-evangelicals apologizing for and distancing themselves from the religious conservatives who have fought for the sanctity of life, the protection of the family and God’s design of marriage.
Let me give some good news to those of the “new” evangelical paradigm: Very few of you are in danger of immediate persecution through hate-crimes legislation, the pro-sexual-diversity tyranny of the Obama administration, the global elites of the major media or even proponents of Islam and “inter-faith dialogue” on “social justice.”
Why? These evangelicals are no threat to them because they don’t preach from the pulpit or speak publicly anything that raises a standard of significant opposition but rather placates the American Christian church into a state of spiritual, moral, cultural and political neutrality.
The clear truth is that not even the most hardened secularist of the cultural or political left will attack a pastor for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked or sheltering the homeless. It is also clear that our Lord directs we do those things IN HIS NAME.
The problem is that the social side of the Gospel is only of value if it is inseparably linked with the spiritual side of the Gospel and the “hard truth” of our sin nature with redemption only through Jesus Christ. His name is the offense, not the actions of religious conservatives.
The message of our day for Bible-believing citizens is to feed, clothe and shelter the needy, but don’t do it in Jesus’ name; shut up and let us continue to steal your children, kill the unborn, glorify sexual perversions and force you to declare that all religions are equally true.
Not on my watch.
Those of us who refuse to parse our faith in that blatantly unscriptural manner are indeed going to be targets of various types of “persecution,” but it is time we just say, “Bring it on!” I must bow with shame before my brothers and sisters in nearly every Asian, Middle Eastern, African and South American country who truly suffer and often die for simply following Christ.
The American Christian church is largely an embarrassment to 2,000 years of our forebears not because we have stood too strongly but because we have not lived and practiced “holy living” as described by Dr. Moeller as the primary reason Chinese Christians explain the revival there under Communist tyranny.
We have reveled in our comfort and blessings, sought peace rather than righteousness and fallen down before the evil in our land. The God-given duty to govern righteously was thrown off of the biblical bandwagon decades ago by the evangelical church to focus on “spiritual matters.”
There are two basic biblical reasons for persecution, both found in Matthew 5, and I will leave you to consider which we legitimately can claim in this country today:
Option 1: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matthew 5:10, 11).
Option 2: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matthew 5:13).
Pastors in particular need to remember the warning by Mordecai to Esther as she was considering whether to risk her life to speak out:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
Paul Middleton, one of my early mentors and a pro-life champion from Washington state, used to quip that it was his goal to either help bring about renewal and revival or “be first in line for the firing squad.” How about you?