Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 4.1.15 – If the Church Is Marginalized . . .

African_Zion_Baptist_Church

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post that religious freedom finds itself under attack. I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again: those seeking to press the attack against a traditional view of marriage do not understand the consequences of their actions.

So let’s imagine for a moment that gay marriage is the law of the land (and I assume by June it will be). Let’s go beyond and then assume that churches who hold to a traditional view of marriage pay the price. Pastors are imprisoned for refusing to perform gay marriage ceremonies. Churches are stripped of their non-profit status. Perhaps some or many churches are forced to close.

If the church is marginalized to this extent, it won’t come without a cost. Think on five suggestions I’d have to complete the sentence: “If the Church is marginalized…”

1. …physical needs will go unmet.

I know many churches who have food and clothing outreaches. Many (I certainly won’t claim all) of these churches hold a traditional view of marriage. Less support in high need communities will result if the Church is marginalized.

Should we imagine together what pressed families or individuals will do for food when it’s not available in traditional outlets?

2. …freedom will trump hope.

If the Church is marginalized, the ability of local bodies to provide necessary support to struggling families will shrink.  With less staff and resource and increased scrutiny in counseling approaches (yes the government has already had a say in the legalities of counseling), hurting people will either take longer to get the help they need or the Church will find itself unable to help in meaningful ways.

Is freedom to define sexual and marital boundaries more worth the risk of jeopardizing resources that speak hope into people’s lives?

3. …people truly struggling against homosexual feelings will find themselves trapped.

Not all homosexual attraction is welcomed. This may be tough for gay-marriage activists to acknowledge, but after almost 16 years in ministry I whole heartedly believe it is true. Who will speak into the lives of those abused by a same sex attacker and find themselves struggling with unwanted attractions? Who would be able to counsel a young boy kidnapped by and then rescued from sex traffickers to perform homosexual acts for those who paid for them? If it is illegal to counsel people away from gay desires, who would be able to help a child in this situation who desires an opposite sex spouse, kids, a future?

It won’t be the Church. The Church won’t legally have the ability to recommend a course of treatment. Neither will a professional counselor, school counselor, or any other licensed public figure.

4. …gays will lose support from healthy friendships with Christians.

If the ONLY appropriate label for traditional marriage Christians is “hate-filled bigot”, how confused will gays become who currently experience loving, caring friendship and support from Christian friends? Gays in those relationships will have new dilemmas about how meaningful a relationship with a caring Christian friend should be.

It is simply not true that all Bible believing Christians hate gay people; many love them dearly and treat them respectfully and professionally while disagreeing with their lifestyle choices. These relationships and supports systems will suffer greatly if the Church is marginalized.

And finally, lest you think I’m just whining because “my side is losing” . . .

5. …it won’t stop the Church’s mission from going forward.

Forceful men may lay hold of the kingdom of God. But it’s God’s kingdom. Men may build their kingdoms and set up their rules however they wish. The historical reality is God’s kingdom cannot and will not be thwarted.

Christians have been persecuted, killed, pressed, harassed, etc. throughout history. Has any government anywhere prevented God’s glory from increasing through His Church? No. And so while the rules may change and the Church may be pushed to the edge of society, nothing will stop the spread of the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection. If those pressing against the Church studied history (or even recent events in the Middle East), they might know that using government as a means to reduce the influence of Christians in the public sphere can often have the opposite effect.

Think. To what extent do you believe the Church will be marginalized? Do the points in this article sharpen your thinking on the issue? Why or why not?

Act. Be ready to speak of faith in Jesus and repentance of sin with courage, boldness, and love to a culture who ready to refuse and squelch the message. Continue to show love even in the face of persecution!

 

Comments

  1. And don’t forget the states that have banned conversion therapy, even for those who want it. Parents of those minors no longer have that option. And yes, I do believe The Church is going to be regulated “out of business”, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop resisting these changes and fighting. Timothy 6:12,
    “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses”.

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