Praise God for the pastors and church leaders holding high the standard that heals the nation – His truth presented in love. But would there have been such a serious assault on freedom if the church was not asleep?
The same thing happened to me in the late 1970’s when I read Romans chapter one proclaiming the consequences of not glorifying God and allowing His truth to be turned into a lie. People are given over to unnatural desires, burning in lust for the same sex, as well as other uncontrolled appetites, leading ultimately to reprobate minds. I was kicked off television in an attempt to silence my voice with the use of the terrible, unfair, anti-freedom “Fairness Doctrine.” Thankfully God’s people woke up and demanded “Freedom of Speech – the Right to Preach.” The church impacted the nation through prayer and their bold stand for freedom.
What many called “The Reagan Revolution” was actually the result of a spiritual move of God in the lives of believers and on those who understood freedom’s benefit when biblical economic principles are upheld and the government brought back under control. Freedom was spared, the Soviet communist lie overcome, the Berlin Wall torn down and for more than two decades the economy was stable and growing. Taxes were lowered, investments flourished, and technology exploded! However, some of the church began to look like an arm or appendage of a political party rather than standard bearers holding the truth high before all parties, all people and all leaders.
Playing politics never heals a nation’s wounds. Believers must impact political thinking, voters and candidates because we care too much not to stand, not to speak and seek the best God has to offer for all of His creation. Sadly, much of the church went back to sleep and pastors fearing the excessive, out-of-control government’s threats to take their 501(c)3 tax exemptions, allowed elected officials to take the freedom to preach boldly God’s Word. God help us, humble us and heal us as we turn from our wicked, indifferent ways. Surely we will learn all great things happen because someone prayed. I must add, and many of us become an answer to those prayers, as have those five subpoenaed pastors in Houston.
Please hear what my close friend and associate minister, Dudley Hall, wrote concerning the Houston situation. While sharing it, let’s live it!
We are appalled that city officials would think they could force ministers to have their sermons edited and censured by them. Many Christians have been asleep for a long time and have assumed that the culture would continue on the trajectory that was begun by the heavy influence of the New Testament gospel. They stopped proclaiming that message years ago and now seem genuinely surprised that culture is adopting a different value system. So what are we to do?
Of course we are going to cry “foul.” It is true that this action reveals the lack of understanding regarding the spheres of civil government and the place of religious liberty. These elected officials obviously haven’t been informed in a meaningful way of the necessity of such a distinction. The sleeping church did not equip our society in such knowledge. They were busy doing other things that seemed more consumer-friendly. Sadly, many pastors could not have adequately equipped their congregations, because they are not informed themselves. If all we do now is rail at the uninformed civil leaders because we don’t like our rights being stepped on, we will join the realm of protestors who make the news, but don’t often make a difference.
If the pulpits in Houston (and elsewhere) were filled with sermons proclaiming the message of Jesus who lived and died for real freedom; if people begin to appreciate the value and responsibility of their choices; if the kingdom of God were declared and explained; if we really knew the value of freedom of conscience; if believers accepted their role as citizens as being a stewardship from God that has eternal accountability, things would change. It has accurately been said that this is a wake-up call, but if Christians wake up only to scream, they might as well go back to sleep. The church must move past trying to build itself with just numbers. The competition over size has diluted the proclamation and the purpose of being “called out.”
True Christ followers must wake up to our mission to embody the message and life of Jesus. He came for sinners. He is not so much into keeping moral scorecards as He is into capturing people with a kind of love that changes them. We are all needy people and only when we know for sure that we are loved will we get honest about our real needs. We can refuse to be cast into the hopper of “hating the sinner.” We are the beneficiaries of meeting someone who loves us regardless of how messed up we are. We offer that kind of love. Some will scoff. Some will deny they need it. Some will respond. We don’t agree with those who deny truth, but we can offer a kind of love they have not yet experienced.
We can slow our schedules down and adapt our agendas in order to develop meaningful relationships with other pastors and Christians. We are all so busy in our own endeavors, that we have not seen such sharing as important. It is now.
Thank God for this eye-opening occasion and sincerely ask for His wisdom in how to respond for the best results.
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