We throw the word “church” around as if it were a lifeless building where we simply meet once a week, but the Bible refers to the church as followers of Jesus Christ gathered to seek and worship God, and then go out into the world as salt and light. The early church was a close, rapidly expanding group of disciples who often met in homes and then took the gospel out into the surrounding communities.
Church is not something we do for an hour or two on Sundays; it is being the hands and feet of Jesus in our daily lives reaching out to a hurting, hopeless world as His ambassadors. As the world avoids, hates, or ignores God and His Word more every day, some Christians are boldly standing on the truth of the gospel and going into their communities to spread the love and good news of Christ our Savior.
Today we are joined by Pastor Alvin Dupree who heeded God’s call to ministry, and then to also run for his local School Board in order to try to make a difference in education within his community. A former marine, Dupree is pastor of Family First Ministries in Appleton, WI. But when he spoke at a high school graduation and mentioned his faith in Jesus Christ – not surprisingly – he is getting resistance from some who believe Christians should just shut up and go to church, keeping their faith out of the public square.
Pastor Alvin Dupree who serves on the Appleton, Wisconsin school board, says he’s facing a tougher fight now than he did on the battlefield during the twenty years he served as a Marine.
Dupree vows he will not back down from speaking about Jesus despite pressure to do so. “This is who I am,” he told CBN News, “I will not be silenced.”
Dupree spoke at the Appleton North High School graduation last spring, at which time he spoke about the value of leaning on God through difficult times. Dupree was referring to the suicides of two students that year. One of those students was Erika Winkler. Her mother told CBN News her daughter was bullied for her faith, and that contributed to her suicide.
Regarding Dupree’s commencement address, the school superintendent received a number of complaints saying Dupree’s expression of his devotion to God was offensive. One woman told the superintendent she felt it was inappropriate that Dupree mentioned God, Lord or Jesus…
The Johnson Amendment was passed by Congress as an amendment to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code… stating entities that are exempt from federal income tax cannot “Participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – any candidate for public office.” The Left uses this to bully Christian pastors and groups with threats of losing their nonprofit status should they dare talk about the Bible as it relates to cultural, political, fiscal, and social issues, all of which fall under the category of moral issues.
Erik Stanley, author and Senior Legal Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, explained the Johnson Amendment was a bill that got inserted into the tax code through back-room deals made by a powerful Senator seeking reelection at any cost. As a result of the bill, freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have been trampled. Stanley stated: “We have grown up with a generation of churchgoers that believe it is illegal for their pastor to address candidates and elections in light of Scripture or church doctrine when there is no valid justification for believing that.”
By this self-censoring, the church has chosen to ignore open immorality in culture and in government while at the same time neglecting to call attention to those political leaders who do strive to live according to Christian morals and values. I do understand the concern some pastors have about mixing religion and government, but we cannot divorce our faith from our politics. If we do, we’d have to leave Jesus at home or outside when we enter the voting booth if that were even possible.
Politics affect many areas of our lives, and the Bible has answers and instructions for every single one. Christians must have a voice when it comes to who is elected, what policies get promoted, and which laws get passed. Someone’s legislation and worldview will surely be enacted and enforced in America – so will it be those who oppose Christianity or those who support it?