10/15/2014

Houston, We Have A Problem!!!


According to this news report, the city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a number of pastors turn over copies of all of their sermons dealing with issues surrounding homosexuality, gender identity, and the city's lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.

Although all the details of this inquiry are not yet fully known, this has all the appearance of the government possibly violating the First Amendment rights of these Christian pastors, and for many, it feels like a mild form of persecution, and a foreboding omen of things to come.

Understandably, a lot of these pastors are upset about this demand, and many Christians across the country have expressed voices of outrage and are crying foul as well.

One pastor by the name of Dave Welch said:
"We are not afraid of this bully. We're not intimidated at all... We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights."

Another leader, Tony Perkins said:
"The state is breaching the wall of separation of church and state... Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I'd like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities- to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons."

According to the report, a number of pastors have said they will not comply with the subpoena request.

And as Americans, I believe they are taking the right position.

As a Christian, I believe their stance is completely wrong.

I am reminded of how Jesus taught us "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." (Matthew 5:40)

I am reminded of how Jesus said that when people falsely slander us and persecute us, of how we are to "rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great." (Matthew 5:12)

I am reminded of a verse in Hebrews 10:34, in which its author recalls how his church "accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one."

I am reminded of how the apostle James, the brother of Jesus, once said "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." (James 1:2)

I am reminded how in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul was wrongfully imprisoned on bogus charges, dragged to court, and instead of demanding his release (which was almost granted to him), he looked at it as an opportunity to share his testimony with the highest officials in the land, and demanded an audience with higher courts, and accepted more time in prison as a result.

And sadly in all of this, I am reminded again and again how many Christians in the Church of Jesus Christ in America simply are not prepared to suffer. We are much more American than we are Christian. Our attitude is far removed from anything we can identify as Biblical. We are much more interested in securing, protecting, and asserting our "rights" than we are at obtaining eternal and everlasting treasure and joys.

I hang my head in disbelief. If these pastors are acting this way when the slightest bit of opposition arises, how will we as a church respond when when real trouble eventually comes?

We simply are not prepared to suffer my brethren.

Our identity is bound up in our earthly citizenship instead of our heavenly citizenship. We would rather fight back than do something of greater worth.

These pastors should rejoice over the opportunity to share their sermons with the city of Houston. They shouldn't have to answer a subponea. They should gladly take their sermons down to city hall, and hand them to the mayor herself. They should even offer to read them back to her, if she so desires.

But it seems like their minds are otherwise occupied on other things. They aren't thinking eternally. They are thinking like mere men.

9 comments:

  1. But didn't Paul also invoke his rights as a roman citizen to NOT be flogged? If I remember right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct. Unless there be any misunderstanding, I'm not against us making use of the courts/legal remedies for issues. Even Jesus protested the servant of the High Priest striking him in John's gospel. However, responding to a subponea request to produce documentation is hardly receiving an unjust punishment, and at best, is a minor inconvienence.

      Delete
  2. Congratulation on being newly wed....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for this post. The way Moore wrangled Scripture in his post on this issue made me cringe more than once. He indeed attempts to restrict the New Covenant ethic to the most politically-friendly ends possible, and it is obvious(ly bankrupt). Paul was not "litigating for liberty", but cleverly gaining an audience for his evangelistic efforts. Matthew 5 stands as a corrective the very doctrines Moore has innovated, and is the Church's call to radical nonresistance---something most American Christians have no interest in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jesus once blasted the Pharisees for invalidating the command to honor father and mother because of their traditions. We often do the same thing these days in many other things that Jesus taught. Like, love your enemy... unless they are a Jihadist.

      Delete
    2. Excellent. A friend of mine on Twitter just the other day tweeted, on his newfound pacifism: "I just know you can't love your enemy while [killing] him."

      Delete
  4. I like to jokingly say, "I may be a pacifist, but my German Shepherd doesn't know that." :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even Jesus said "Buy a sword."---even if he didn't intend for Peter to use it! ;)

      Delete