Monday, September 7, 2015

Kim Davis is only the Beginning: Prepare your Ministry for Persecution

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." John 15:18 (ESV) 

I'll be brief, persecution is coming.  That is nothing new.  Persecution has always been common for the real Christian.  For the cultural Christian, persecution has never been a problem and it will never be.  They will simply embrace the new cultural ideas about marriage, as well as other areas.  But we are unable to do so, because we follow God's word, not the changing ideas of man.

Prepare your ministry for persecution.  Whether you're a leader or a follower, understand your rights under the Constitution.  Be aware of the law, and how it impacts your Christian walk.  You have the right to share your faith with others.  You have the right to say that homosexuality is a sin.  You have the right to say that abortion is murder.  You have the right to pray at your work place.  You have the right to pray in public.  You have the right to carry your Christian values into every area of life.

As expected, following the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage there is a slowly growing persecution against Christians in the USA.  

For someone who understands history, this isn't surprising.  When Canada legalized gay marriage a great persecution followed for Christians in that country.  Secular forces successfully forced Christianity out of the Canadian mainstream.  The same thing happened in many countries across Europe, most notably France and the United Kingdom.  

It's all part of the jettisoning of God from modern life.  That's the goal of secularization.  It's powerful in many circles, such as science fields, psychology, social work, k-12 education, the university system, government agencies, most of the mainstream media, and of course the extreme left.  All of these forces seem utterly dedicated to forcing Christianity out of all sectors of public life.  These forces must be apposed.  Unfortunately the courts seem to take the stand that homosexuality must trump religious liberty.  

The bakery which refused to bake cakes for a homosexual wedding were fined a ridiculously massive amount of money for refusing to do so: $135,000.  An appeal on the ruling was refused by the Oregon government of labor.  But Christians rose up, raising money for the embattled bakers well over the amount of the fine.  Praise God.

A gay couple has sued a bed in breakfast in New York for refusing to host their wedding, which mirrors an incident that occurred in the United Kingdom recently.  No word yet on how that will turn out.  Be in prayer for that facility and their staff.

Now that gay marriage has been legalized, a persecution begins.  So many gay activists said that all they wanted was to marry.  But now they've got the right, and they're going to punish those backwards Christians and shut down their churches and mock them into obscurity.  It's pretty scary.  Gay activists recently began protests demanding that churches should lose their tax exempt status.  So much for all those assurances that it wasn't about coming down on the church. 

Finally we come to the developing story of Kim Davis the Kentucky clerk who has refused to distribute gay marriages due to her religious beliefs.  The government's response?  They declared her in contempt of law and tossed her in jail.  Now that is pretty scary.  

Key evangelical Christian leaders threatened civil disobedience if the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.  Is this the beginning of that civil disobedience?  Perhaps it is.  Even so, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I wondered, "Is she doing the right thing?"  But now that she is in jail, I realize that yes she did do the right thing.  She stood for her Christian beliefs.  And now other government clerks and judges are following her example, refusing to issue gay marriage licenses based on their religious beliefs.  It's a beautiful thing, seeing how one person taking a stand can change the hearts and minds of many.  I thought at first that Kim Davis was fighting a hopeless fight.  But God rewards those who take a daring stand for their faith.  Recently a second clerk in Kentucky joined her in refusing to issue gay marriage licenses.  Shame on me for questioning her stand.  Kim Davis is after all, the only one obeying the law in that situation.

Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee among others have issued statements that they stand firmly with Kim Davis.  But still she remains in jail.  How long will they keep her I wonder?  Until she signs a confession in support of gay marriage?  Will she be required to publicly recant? (Update 9/10/2015: Kim Davis was released from jail after six days, being told she must not interfere with gay marriage licenses being issued by deputy clerks. Click here to read more.)

Yet despite all of the videos of Planned Parenthood execs discussing the sale of aborted babies for profit, not one person is in jail.  Welcome to America, a land gone mad with moral confusion.  Homosexuality is the law of the land, Christians are tossed in jail for upholding their Christian values, and child sacrifice is considered a good thing.  It's madness.  

Here is the truth of the matter: We have what you call a double standard in our government.  Consider this comparison: A lesbian judge in Texas named Tanya Parker refused to issue any marriage licenses in 2012, as a sort of protest to support gay marriage rights.  She was never declared in contempt of law and thrown in jail.  There was no media outrage.  She was simply allowed to do so, and she was supported for taking a stand for LGBT.  But when a Christian takes a stand for Christian values, then it's bigotry.  That's a despicable leftist double-standard and it's wrong.  

But I suppose that's what Frederick Nietzsche said isn't it?  The famous German atheist cried out: "God is dead!"  But he also feared what the removal of God from society would lead to.  He said a universal madness would break out, because the heart of man is wicked.  And when one doesn't have a belief system, they are liable to believe anything.

Christian leaders, Christians of all kinds, prepare your ministries for possible persecutions.  Click here to read an article by the Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission on how to legally protect your ministry.  Make sure your people are voting in elections and engaging in the arenas of government and politics.  If we refuse to participate it only increases the descent of the culture and society.  Make sure your children know that they have the right to carry their Bible in public school.  And they have the right to pray in school if they so choose.  Click here to download a free PDF on the rights of teachers and children in public schools.  But let me make a few further recommendations.

First, if your ministry is sued, threatened, or politically attacked the first thing you should do is make contact with a religious liberties organization like Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Institute, or the American Center for Law & Justice.  They can help advise you on what action to take and these organizations will defend you free of charge in certain situations.

Second, I would recommend bringing speakers on these issues to your local congregations if possible.  You can request speakers from these organizations to help get your churches educated on their rights as Christians.  If bringing speakers isn't possible then I recommend downloading this PDF from the Alliance Defending Freedom on how to protect your ministry from gay marriage related lawsuits and other political attacks.

Third, I recommend staying involved in the discussion.  I subscribe to email updates from several different organizations.  Alliance Defending Freedom is excellent for the latest news.  I also subscribe to email updates from Liberty Counsel and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Fourth, engage the culture on these issues.  Don't be afraid to discuss these issues, and bring them up in church services.  Engage your local communities and sphere of influence.  Engage with culture on the internet as well.  Be sure to "like" and "share" articles on social media.  Be sure to "like" Alliance Defending Freedom on Facebook.  Also "like" these pages: Speak up Church, Speak up University, as well as other Facebook pages.  Be active in discussing these issues with local leaders and amongst other Christian denominations.  

Fifth, and most importantly: don't be afraid.  Don't let them intimidate you.  Don't fear when people speak all kinds of evil against you, for you will be rewarded by your God in heaven when you take a stand for Christ!  Don't let them bully you into silence.  That's what they want to do.  They want to raise the noise whenever we speak up to share our values.  They are trying to supplant our values with their values, and they try to make us feel guilty and afraid to defend ourselves.  Don't be afraid.  Take a stand.  And stand firm.  You have the high ground, as much as they pretend to have it.  It may get ugly.  We may lose our businesses, or our churches.  But to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  

As it is written: "Even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" -1 Peter 3:14-18

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