Friday, December 27, 2013

The Calamity of Conceding Our Voice

It is safe to say that I will probably not be giving any Presidential Inauguration prayers in my lifetime. Is it possible I could be invited? Sure, I guess it is. But it is probably just as possible that I'll lead a space mission to explore Jupiter or be the next skipper of the Chicago Cubs to lead them to a World Series title (side note: we will probably be inhabiting condos on Jupiter before any skipper leads the Cubs to a World Series title). Bottom line: I don't have to worry about being asked for this honorable task.

But let's pretend for a moment that I was asked. Let's imagine for a moment that for some reason, some newly elected president had heard of me or knew me - it would probably have to be a hometown friend, but growing up in Lebanon, TN probably rules this theory out too - and wanted me to give the Inauguration Day prayer. Wow! What a privilege! What an honor! What an opportunity! It's ashamed I wouldn't be allowed to do it. 

"Why wouldn't you be allowed to do it?," you wonder. Legally speaking (at least right now), nothing would be able to keep me from doing it. However, the censorship police and mafia-like bullies represented by organizations like GLADD and others like them, would quickly pounce on the president-elect's choice of having me give the prestigious prayer. Why? Because I have written, spoken, and support the Bible's teachings on homosexuality being a sin. This would disqualify me for such a role in our ever-changing culture. The track-record is proving this.

The Silencing of Christians

Consider what happened to Pastor Louie Giglio in January of 2012. Giglio was asked by President Barak Obama to give the Inauguration Day prayer. Incredible! One of my guys (conservative evangelical) is given an incredible platform and opportunity. Yet, quickly after the announcement was made, Giglio rescinded the offer and issued a statement. He cited not wanting to be a distraction from the Inauguration. Giglio had been asked to participate because of his amazing work with Passion and leading a movement to end sex-trafficking and slavery around the world. What in the world could possibly make Louie Giglio offering a prayer a "distraction" on Inauguration Day? 

Are you ready for this? He preached a sermon speaking against homosexuality 15-20 years prior. There you have it. The censonship police and mafia-like bullies went rummaging through Giglio's past, searching tirelessly to find their silver bullet. They found it. A message where Giglio affirms Scripture's teachings on the sinfulness of same-sex practices. Hence, I will probably never be doing an Inauguration Day prayer.

While we are eliminating things I will never do, we can add being on a reality tv show now, especially on A&E. With the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty dust-up last week, we were reminded again that Christians are not allowed speak out or against homosexuality.  

The Bully Tactics

How did these things happen? How did Giglio get pressured into rescinding his invitation? How did A&E succumb to pressure to suspend Robertson? The answer: from the pressure of groups like GLADD and others. Their mission is to target and eliminate all views that oppose homosexuality. They intentionally target news media and entertainment media to push their agenda and to rid any conservative or biblical values on the subject from the discussion. 

How are they able to do this? Simple: they bully. They, along with the media, and others with liberal ideology, revert to bully tactics. They are not interested in rational conversation where ideas are exchanged and debated. They have one agenda: exalt their idea and demolish opposing ones. They have succeeded in winning some public opinion, not because they have debated ideas well, but because they have castigated their opponents. They name call: bigot, homophobe, racist, intolerant, judgmental, hate-monger. That's the strategy. Yet interestingly, amidst all the name-calling, they never provide evidence to back their accusations. This is classic bullying.

And before you are duped into thinking that the pro-choice, pro-homosexual movements are about tolerance, multiculturalism, and diversity, consider the truth. They are not tolerant of any view but theirs. GLADD exists to rid the media and entertainment of different views. Multiculturalism is a sham too. They do not want a culture with multiple streams of beliefs and values. Again, they want one - theirs. And if it is not self-evident already, diversity is not a value either. The conservative, Bible-believing Christian's ideas are not welcome or wanted by those on the left. There is no desire for a diversity of ideas; it's all lip service. It is a smoke-screen. It sounds good. But it is empty of any substance. 

Draw a Line in the Sand

At a time when Christians need to be speaking out, we find ourselves with a serious case of laryngitis. We have lost our voices. Many are silenced out of ignorance, they simply do not know what to say or how to say it. Others are silenced out of choice. The former issue is corrected through being taught about the issues and shown how to engage in them. The latter is only fixed when we get courage. Many do not want to speak out because they fear being rejected and/or persecuted by men. Many thought leaders in the evangelical world are making it a mark of spiritual maturity or gospel-nobleness to not fight this fight. I think they are wrong. (Doug Wilson makes a stinging case about this)
We need Christians and churches who stand strong and intelligently proclaim truth. We need not make homosexuality are only focus; however, we refuse to be bullied into silence. We need Christians who demand their pastors and leaders not be cowards. One of the saddest parts of the Giglio story often not discussed is the fact that detractors of Giglio had to search back 15-20 years to even find a sermon where he dealt with this issue. This issue has been raging in the culture for sometime now, and that type of extended silence is why we are in this current cultural landscape. It is a calamity to concede our voice. The church, which is made up of believers, needs to learn to speak again. 

The Voices of Saints From Old

Listen to Martin Luther's famous words when pushed to recant his beliefs that went against the power-structure of the Catholic Church: 
"Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Consider Calvin's words: 
“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent."
In a sermon Charles Spurgeon preached about the jeer of critics he said:
"Whenever the world reproaches you, say, "Well, I thank you for that word, I will strive to deserve it and you shall be more displeased, if you will. If it be a vile thing to serve Christ, I will serve him more than I have ever done, and be viler still; if it be disgraceful to be numbered with the poor, tried, and afflicted people, I will be disgraced. Nay, the more disgraced I am, the more happy shall I be; I shall feel that disgrace is honor, that ignominy is glory, that shame and spitting from the lips of enemies, is but the same thing as praise and glory from the mouth of Christ." Instead of yielding, go forward, show your enemies that you do not know how to go back, that you are not made of the soft metal of these modern times."
And later in the sermon,
"I pray God to send a few men with what the Americans call "grit" in them; men who when they know a thing to be right, will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop; men who will persevere all the more true to their Master because they are opposed; who, the more they are thrust into the fire, the hotter they become; who, just like the bow, the further the string is drawn, the more powerfully will it send forth its arrows, and so, the more they are trodden upon, the more mighty will they become in the cause of truth against error."
I'm afraid Mr. Spurgeon's desire for his London congregation to reflect American "grit" would be unfounded today. We have lost our "grit," at least in the church. Yes, we are to preach the gospel. But we are also to speak truth to the culture we live in. Preaching the gospel should not be our excuse to sitting on the sidelines while our culture is imploding. The church needs a recovery of her voice. It begins with her leaders. It will then spill into the rest of the seats. If the leaders will not speak and lead the way, then the church needs to find new leaders. May God give us the courage to clear our throats for such a time as this.

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  1. Erik. I went to Student Fusion at Highland Lakes and I had a great time! It was amazing. The words you said spoke to me alot and I had a lot of fun. Thanks for being there for me to talk to!