"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, August 3, 2012

Religious Freedom Threatened - The Chick-Fil-A Controversy

by A.M. Kisly

This weeks support of religious freedom, freedom of speech and Chick-fil-A's President Dan Cathy stirred up firestorm of hatred and anger.  However, this controversy has also revealed that there is a lot at stake, mainly religious freedom in this country. I don't know about you, but I was taken back by the spin the liberal media, elected officials and supporters of gay marriage put on this story. What started out as an interview with a Baptist newspaper took a perverse twist when those pushing political agendas took hold of Dan Cathy's comments and proclaiming that it is hate speech.  Talk about a brainwashed society, hate speech?

Within days, elected officials in Chicago, Boston and New York were pledging to deny the company access to their cities. Huh? Incredible, isn't it. But more incredible was the anger expressed by some fellow believers at other believers for showing their support of Dan Cathy on Chick-fil-A day, to stand for religious freedom and to protect his business. After reading some of those rather ugly comments, a couple of good questions came up that we need to address, as I'm sure you may be asked them too.

For those who want to read an accurate account of the Chick-fil-A controversy, you can do so here: Al Mohler

So here's the question:

Why Are Many Christians Picking Just Two Issues To Vilify - Abortion and Gay Marriage?

The following excerpts are taken from the book, One Nation Above God: Permission granted to print, copy, or distribute.

There will always be a moral divide in America, but this should not deter us from making a difference. Instead of continually criticizing, we should thank Christians who are involved in promoting the sanctity of life and marriage. I wish there were more who would engage the culture.

Those who ask this question often fail to recognize foundational truths. 

Certain "rights" and "wrongs" called absolutes are given by God to save man from himself. In the same way that a foundation supports the entire structure-house or skyscraper, foundational biblical truths support the social structure. Nearly all social issues are related to the stability and structure of the God-ordained family. All issues cannot be equal-if everything is a priority then nothing is. "Can we legislate morality?" No and yes. No, we cannot change a person's heart by forcing a set of laws or rules upon them, BUT we can restrain evil and deter wrongdoing. Most laws are connected to some type of moral system-the laws of a nation establish the foundation. For example, some legislators have attempted to redefine marriage and the family in order to accommodate gay-marriage. I believe Christians err when they embrace one of two extremes. At one extreme are those who insult, or who are violent toward those trapped in this lifestyle; homosexuality appears at the top of their sin list; there is very little love or compassion. The other extreme excuses this sin and looks the other way. Biblically speaking, homosexuality, like all sexual sin, is morally wrong and harmful. In Matthew 15:19, when Jesus said, Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications . . . these defile a man, He condemned all sexual activity outside of marriage-"fornication" includes all illicit sex. Many other passages in the Bible contain strong warnings against any sexual activity outside of marriage as well. This really isn't debatable.

God's principles are guardrails through the canyons of life. They don't prevent us from enjoying life; they protect us from falling. You may say, "Times change." And you are correct, but God's standards do not. The sin that once amazed us now amuses us; just look at what is considered "entertainment" today. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of same-sex marriage, it will not change God's mind. I am the Lord thy God-I change not (Malachi 3:6). Marriage between a man and a woman is a foundational truth that cannot be degraded, changed, or altered. This applies to abortion as well: Psalm 139:13 says that God formed my inward parts; He knit me together in my mother's womb. We will always have the "freedom" to choose, but no one has the "right" to do what is wrong-no one!

On the issue of abortion and gay-marriage, there is only one position-God's position. Topics such as the environment, health care, and poverty, are all affected by the stability of society, which, in turn, is dependent on the stability of the family (as God designed it). We should be concerned about the environment; however, how can we truly be concerned about the environment but not saline abortions-where a salt solution is injected into the mother's sac for the baby to swallow? Once swallowed, the baby begins to experience a violent, slow death-so violent that the mother can actually feel the baby in her womb fighting for his or her life. How can we truly be concerned about health care and not D & E abortions-where a large crushing instrument is inserted into the uterus as the physician grabs the baby with this instrument and pulls off pieces (limbs) until he or she is completely removed from the mother? What a travesty to place oil drilling in Alaska, or the spotted owl before the sanctity of life and marriage. "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:30).

Those who ask this question often want to avoid controversial issues. 

Today, foundational truths have been neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of "not offending," "securing an audience," or being "politically correct." Nevertheless, we are to do what is right because it's right, not because it's popular. Politics that once focused largely on the economy, national security, and the deficit, now tackles important moral issues. These major issues have enormous implications; to remain silent actually makes a statement that we are not concerned enough. This is not just about the loss of jobs; it's about the loss of morality. We're not just talking about adding millions of dollars to the national deficit; we're talking about aborting millions of babies. We're not only talking about fluctuations in the housing market; we're talking about creating life simply to destroy it. Topics that are "too controversial" are often critically important; we can no longer ignore them.

In response to the question, "Why are many Christians picking just two issues to vilify-abortion and gay-marriage?" I believe that Christians are not vilifying certain issues at the expense of others; they are underscoring the enormous importance of them. Unfortunately, those who are bold in supporting biblical truths are often seen as irrational, judgmental, bigoted, and intolerant, when the opposite is true. How can we warn if we never confront; correct if we never challenge; and contend if we never question? We must speak the truth in love!

Unfortunately, we forget that apathy today will be our downfall tomorrow. The greatest threat to Christians in America is not false religion, secularism, atheism, or any other "ism," but compromise and apathy. When we compromise and remain apathetic, we avoid the difficult truths of the Bible and decentralize the Scriptures. We "play" Christian but compromise everything that Christ stood for. We pursue riches, wealth, and prosperity, but neglect boldness, righteousness, and godly confrontation. When we compromise, we can easily become insensitive, indifferent, ineffective, and self-righteous. "Where does Christianity destroy itself in a given generation? It destroys itself by not living in the light, by professing a truth it does not obey" (A.W. Tozer). Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but the conscience of the state." He continues, "If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority." What an insightful perspective, especially for us today.

Politics won’t save America; however, we cannot ignore our God-given civic responsibility and the massive impact that politics has on our society. Make no mistake about it: America’s leaders play an enormous role in shaping the direction of the country: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). For instance, there are legislators who support partial-birth abortion, as well as gay-marriage and other disturbing legislation. Do we honestly think that God is not concerned about our laws? “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).

Politics is not always a bad word. It refers to governing or leading a group of people. We don’t have to abandon our ethics or compromise our principles to be involved in politics—what good is salt left in the shaker, or a light that is hidden? Contextually, when Jesus referred to being the “salt and light,” He was referring to holy living at the individual level, but the overlapping principle applies to all areas.

Politics has been instrumental in movements to protect the unborn and the poor, as well as the abolition of slavery, and civil rights, to mention only a few. These events all transpired because Christians took action. Leadership matters!

That said, we must always remember that our first priority is the preaching of the gospel. It is salvation that transforms the sinful heart.

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