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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • February 2012
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  • Recommended Reading

Making Christianity Illegal?

Dr. Benjamin Wiker writes the following article on Church/State relations:

While we are not asked to worship the president, congress, or the courts, we are, step by step, being compelled to bow to their moral agenda.

Consider Bill H. R. 1913, the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.” Allegedly, it only dealt with so-called “hate crimes,” that is, violent crimes against someone “motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim.”

So, it would seem that preaching against homosexuality, having in your possession a Bible that contains passages that clearly state that homosexuality is a sin, or belonging to a church that has a well-defined moral rejection of homosexuality would not land you in jail.

Or would it? The problem, as critics pointed out, is that under current U.S. law, any action that “abets, counsels, commands, [or] induces” a perceived “hate crime” shares in the guilt of that crime, and is therefore punishable.

Consider another angle, and another moral issue. Will it soon be illegal to oppose abortion? If an abortion clinic is bombed, then isn’t any opposition to abortion, however peaceful and reasonable, aiding and abetting the perpetrator? Or, who would ever have thought that the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), that was fashioned to combat organized crime, would be used against peaceful protestors outside of abortion clinics?

If you think things won’t go too far, look northward, to Canada. In 1998 a pair of abortion protestors were arrested outside a clinic, one with a sign that said, straight from the Bible, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The result: jail in a maximum security prison.

Another Canadian Christian, a nurse, was fined by the nurses’ association for speaking out against abortion—to the tune of $15,000 Canadian dollars. A Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission nailed the same nurse for speaking out against homosexuality. The fine? $20,000.

The list goes on. In 2002 a Canadian Catholic high school was forced by the Ontario Supreme Court to allow a male student to take his boyfriend to the prom. A Lesbian pair is suing Vancouver’s Knights of Columbus to allow them to rent a hall for their wedding, seeking the state power of the British Columbia Human Rights Council to bring the hammer down on the heads of the Catholic Knights. A homosexual choir is suing a Mennonite church who won’t allow them to use their camp retreat premises for a weekend retreat, asking the friendly folk at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission to compel the Christians to open their doors.

Continuing reading this issue of tothesource. . . .

The Spirit Of Religion And Freedom

From the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville:

The character of Anglo-American civilization…is the product…of two perfectly distinct elements that elsewhere have often made war with each other, but which, in America, they have succeeded in incorporating somehow into one another and combining marvelously. I mean to speak of the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom. (Democracy in America)

Faith

John Henry Jowett (1863-1923) writes about “faith”:

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-20 ESV)

Faith is energy! Always and everywhere faith is force. Take an advocate at the Bar. His duty to his client will endow him with a certain force and persuasiveness of speech, even though he has no confidence in the inherent justice of the cause he advocates. But let it be further assumed that he believes his own brief, that he has a deep, unshaken confidence in the rectitude of his cause, that he has entire and absolute assurance in his client, and what tremendous heritage of power attaches itself to his attack or defence! It is faith that tells. It is not otherwise in the Senate. Let a politician support a measure for the removal of some injustice, let him do it, not because of his conviction in its inherent right, but with his eyes fixed upon votes and popular distinction, and his support is altogether unimpressive and futile. But let a man speak with faith, with a solid core of definite confidence burning in his soul, and the glowing energy of his soul will get into his words, and his ministers will be a flaming fire. It is faith that tells. I need not elaborate the matter. On familiar planes the principle is evident. Faith is energy. “Lord, what shall we do that we may work the works of God?” This is the work of God that ye believe! Energy for all work is there.

But there are different degrees and qualities of faith. There is faith in oneself, and such faith is by no means unaccompanied with power. No one can read the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, from his obscure early days in Corsica to the brilliant days when he strode across Europe like a Colossus, without being impressed with the amazing energy which attached to an audacious self-confidence. He fought for no principle, he had no ideals, he was allured by no constant and noble ambition. His confidence was not in a cause, but in himself, and his confidence generated a marvelous strength. But there is a faith and confidence higher than this and endowed with a corresponding larger dynamic and resource. There is a faith in principles, in causes, in the tenacity of truth, in the indestructibility of virtue, in the invincibility of the righteous order of the world. Such faith is uninfluenced by bribes, undismayed by majorities, untroubled by threats and frowns: it tightly holds to the truth, and confidently waits its day. But still higher is the plane to which we can rise in the ascending gradient of faith. There is a faith in the living God, a faith in His love and good will, a confidence in His blessed Presence and companionship, an assurance that we are one with Him in the sacred inheritance, and that in Him we are partakers of all the mighty ministries of grace. That is the sublimest of all faiths, and it carries with it the most tremendous of all energies, for it has behind it the omnipotence of God. (“The Energy of Faith”)

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