You might call this troubling, concerning, disturbing or alarming, but to those who have studied the Bible and understand the times, this trend of silencing Christians is mostly disappointing.
We should not be surprised.
On the other hand, though our culture and country seems to be heading for destruction at breakneck speed, believers know this means we are getting closer to more fulfilled prophecy and ultimately, the promised return of Jesus Christ.
One of the more eye-opening things I read this week was the fact that even with all the cases of discrimination against Christians in recent years from the public square to social media, many Americans do not support the basic religious freedom of Christians.
I’m sure you know many of the stories.
- A Christian florist who had served homosexual customers on countless occasions refused to provide floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding, and she was sued by two homosexual activists. Baronelle Stutzman might lose everything. The Washington Supreme Court has punished her for peacefully operating her business consistently with her faith.
- Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, was sued for the same reason even though Phillips has also turned down cake requests for bachelor parties, anything profane, occult-related, violent, or perverse. In many states, bakers can refuse to write a Bible verse on a cake but are not allowed to decline to make a gay-wedding cake. This pivotal case is headed to the Supreme Court.
- Christian geologist and believer in God as Creator, Andrew Snelling, was denied access and opportunity to study the Grand Canyon for three years until the National Park Service finally relented and accepted his application.
- Donald Vander Boon’s meatpacking center in Michigan was targeted by the the federal government for having marriage brochures on the employee break room table. The Christian family proudly says on their website the company “seeks to glorify and honor God in all we do,” and were shocked to find out during a visit by the USDA that it wasn’t their beef that was being inspected — but their faith! The inspector took offense to the literature and told Don they’d call off the inspection if the material wasn’t removed. Within hours, he was threatened with the closure of his business.
- An Ohio library banned a Christian group from meeting to discuss natural marriage unless the group also included supporters of same-sex marriage.
- Christian farmers, Steve and Bridgett Tennes, were refused to participate in the East Lansing, MI farmer’s market because of their Christian beliefs. Country Mill Orchards was kicked out of the sellers group last August after a post on Steve’s Facebook page revealed his beliefs supporting natural, God-ordained marriage.
Both of them military veterans who understand the cost of religious freedom in America, Tennes stated,
“My wife and I both volunteered to serve in the military to protect freedom. Now we come home and the freedom that we worked to protect, we have to defend in our own backyard.”
…The U.S. Department of Education held a panel discussion on fatherhood and LGBT groups protested, demanding conservative viewpoints not even be allowed.
If culture is downstream from the church, and politics (government and policy) is downstream from culture, it’s easy to see how this nation is no longer unified as one nation, under God, or indivisible. Why?
On a recent Stand Up for the Truth radio program, we discussed some dangerous and influential voices impacting the church. It is disappointing how many followers these people have. One example if you haven’t heard the latest, is Christian author, Jen Hatmaker. She not only endorses same-sex marriage, she now goes so far as to say (ready?) she believes gays and lesbians who are married should receive counseling from the Christian church – to strengthen their marriages if they want to be part of the Christian community.
She previously said same-sex relationships can be “holy,” after which her books were pulled from LifeWay Christian Store. More recently, Hatmaker said she dreams of a day when church is safe for the LGBT community. Okay, define ‘safe.’
When liberal Christians, the left, progressives, or the emergent church preach “unity,” what they often mean is uniformity. They are fine if we conform to their watering down the true gospel. They love the idea of diversity as long as we unite around their progressive worldview that distorts the truth and deity of Christ.
Since we are commanded to love our neighbor, do we love others enough to tell them the truth even when it is not popular?
In a Gospel Herald article on this topic, Rosaria Butterfield, a FORMER lesbian is quoted. Concerned that by affirming the gay community, Jen Hatmaker is damaging them, not helping them. Butterfield shares this story:
“A few years ago, I was speaking at a large church. An older woman waited until the end of the evening and approached me. She told me that she was 75 years old, that she had been married to a woman for 50 years, and that she and her partner had children and grandchildren. Then she said something chilling. In a hushed voice, she whispered, “I have heard the gospel, and I understand that I may lose everything. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? Why did people I love not tell me that I would one day have to choose like this?”
That’s a good question. We cannot have it both ways with one foot in the world and one in the Bible. Everyone must choose for themselves.
God or man? Justification or judgment? Repentance or rebellion? Christ or culture? The questions remain.