Tag Archives: persecution

This is a huge issue that should be approached delicately

Warning. This is very much a current affairs issue, very much a sensitive issue, and very much an issue of which every Christian should be aware. I’ve read much, listened to posts, watched a variety of resources … and to be frank … where this is leading could be very confrontational and very much an open door of opposition to orthodox Christian belief and practice. I could write so much, but would like to share Dr. Denison’s great article that just approaches the topic. I also recommend Mohler’s briefing and other solid writers.

DOMA to now the RFMA. ……………..

Does the so-called “Respect For Marriage Act” threaten our religious liberty?

Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

The Senate voted this week to advance the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA). The legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which definedmarriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. DOMA was adopted overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.

The RFMA does just the opposite, requiring the federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages in the United States. In essence, it makes the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges into federal law.

In this sense, the RFMA changes nothing about the status of same-sex marriage in America. However, the legislation is raising enormous questions about First Amendment protections for those who support traditional marriage on religious grounds.

“Explicitly declaring the Bible is wrong”

On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators announced that they had crafted “commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality.” According to CBS News, the amendment “ensures nonprofit religious organizations will not be required to provide services, facilities, or goods for the celebration of a same-sex marriage, and protects religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution and federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

In addition, it makes clear that the bill does not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriage.

However, US Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) opposed the legislation and warned that it threatens religious liberty: “This legislation would enable activists to sue faith-based groups that provide vital services for our communities in an attempt to force them to abandon their deeply held beliefs about marriage, or close their doors.” He added, “The Respect for Marriage Act does not provide any meaningful benefit to same-sex marriages that does not already exist. It does significantly threaten religious liberty.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, likewise warned, “The bill will be a new arrow in the quiver of those who wish to deny religious organizations’ liberty to freely exercise their religious duties, strip them of their tax exemptions, or exclude them from full participation in the public arena.”

Matt Sharp, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, also warned that the legislation could open Christians up to lawsuits at the federal level, noting that believers running businesses and charitable organizations could be at risk. He also questioned whether some Christian nonprofits could find their tax-exempt status in peril.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the founder of Project Genesis and the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said in a Tuesday interview that the RFMA is the federal government “explicitly declaring the Bible is wrong.” He noted that it allows “any private actor to initiate a lawsuit if a religious school wishes to recognize only traditional marriages.” In his view, the act “means exposing our community to a host of bad actors willing to engage in litigation.”

In a day when six in ten Americans say the legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society, we should not be surprised that Congress would follow suit. And we should not be surprised when those who defend traditional marriage must pay a price for our biblical convictions.

“In the world you will have tribulation”

I’ll respond by focusing on a biblical fact that may seem surprising or even unwelcome: suffering for our faith is an indispensable part of the genuine Christian life.

Paul stated his aspiration “that I may know [Jesus] and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). The apostle spent time on his first missionary journey “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

If we are truly following Jesus, we must be going in the opposite direction from those who oppose Jesus. This is why our Lord warned his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). And it is why, as Paul observed, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

I do not mean to suggest that we need to seek persecution. If we are faithful to our Lord, persecution will find us. Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If he considers you a threat, he will attack. If he does not consider you a threat, he will leave you alone.

Which should be true for true disciples of Jesus?

“When I am weak, then I am strong”

The time to prepare for persecution is before it arises. So, decide now that you will be faithful to your Lord today. Ask his Spirit to control and empower your life (Ephesians 5:18). Pray for the strength to refuse temptation when it strikes (1 Corinthians 10:13). When you “submit yourselves therefore to God,” you can then “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

When your life and mind are surrendered to the Holy Spirit, you can claim Jesus’ promise: “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19–20).

If you choose to pay a price to follow Jesus, you are in excellent company, for you can say with Paul, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Will you be “strong” today?

——————

Again, thank you Dr. Dennison for these words.

Enemies at the Gate

The neighborhood was rough and crime in the area was real. So the church took safety precautions. During services, the doors would be shut and locked preventing any kind of entry. An usher would remain on the outside to observe and stand watch. But what happened next was not what you expect.

Read the article about it here

They came in police cars. They came armed. Uniformed and plain clothes service men pulled up to the church during the service and demanded entry. They banged on the door with the intent to shut them down.

The service was ending anyway so the pastor said the benediction and the worshippers exited the building. A car with dark tinted windows has a strange man within that took photographs of every worshipper as they left.

This wasn’t the first time the local government had shown antagonism and used their power in an attempt to shut this church down.

The shocking reality though is where this took place. This didn’t take place in China where the communist party is taking great strides to stop the growth of the church from imprisonments of leaders to blowing up churches. Nor did it take place in a Muslim controlled nation.

See article about China here

This police action took place in the heart of Chicago, just a mile away from historic Jackson Park. The mayor decided to shut the church down in an overreach of power during this time of coronavirus containment. I could understand if there was rebellion, rioting, threats, malfeasance, or harmful intent from Cornerstone. But they just wanted to worship. They took safety precautions, practiced social distancing, took temperatures of worshippers to allow entry, and more.

This took place in America. And I will warn you, it will happens more and more as time goes on. This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional issue. This is not a personal preference issue.

This is a spiritual warfare issue. And followers of Christ need to know we are in the middle of a battle that has gone on against God and his people since man has been around.

The Ascent Psalms are a worshippers guide to preparing hearts for worship. They are an insight to man’s conditions and God’s promises. The 129th Psalm Is the worshipper looking around and remembering this. People had come against Israel from the very beginning, yet she stood. Enemies, from the Hittites to Hitler have tried to eliminate them, yet she stood.

The church too has been the target of many, yet she stands. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. And in the end, she will be standing.

So when I worship, even if I have to do it in secret, under threat of arrest, fearful for my life … I remember this … God wins. And that is a reason to celebrate.

So pray for the church, at home and abroad. Pray for leaders in America that will defends our right to worship (but don’t be shocked when that right might be taken away). Pray for courage of church leaders who have to plan and lead under persecution. And pray for safety of worshippers. May we never take worship for granted.

And remember this repeated statement about God’s people from Psalm 129 … Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.

God wins the war … and for that, I praise Him through my worship.


“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
let Israel now say—
“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.”
The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward!
Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
with which the reaper does not fill his hand
nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
nor do those who pass by say,
“The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 129)