There seems to be an “all out” assault on Christianity around the world today and especially in the United States. The level of animosity toward and intolerance of Christians may be at an all-time high here.
This has created an atmosphere of hostility for and disdain of Christianity producing attacks at every turn and a continual attempt to marginalize Christians and remove every reference to God and the Bible from American society.
While we certainly have cause for concern, we should not be surprised for Jesus said “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.” Christians do not belong to the world any more than did Jesus. (JN.15:18-19).
This is extremely disturbing in America because clearly one of the main reasons for the American Revolution of 1776 and the break with England was to prevent a state ordered official religion insuring “separation of church and state” and to maintain “freedom of religion” for all.
In fact, the first Amendment to the US Constitution reads in part “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Right now in America every religion EXCEPT Christianity seems perfectly acceptable!
The current environment has created a point of convergence and tension with regard to three streams of legal precedent and it is at the intersection of these three laws that the battle for “religious freedom will likely be fought: first, equal protection and civil rights laws, second public accommodation laws, and third the exercise of religious freedom
under the 1st Amendment.
In particular factual situations the Supreme Court will ultimately have to ferret out and decide the parameters and limits of each and which law takes priority in a specific case.
This includes the right of a pastor for religious conviction reasons to refuse to marry a same sex couple or a church refusing to allow them the use of their sanctuary or fellowship hall for a “wedding” service and reception.
It will take the wisdom of Solomon to make such a decision and only God knows the outcome!
Meanwhile, Scripture admonishes Christians, where a conflict exists, to “obey God’s law”, which is higher, regardless of the consequences (Acts 5:29) and to rest the matter with God (1Pet.4:19).
A wonderful hymn by Harry Emerson Fosdick called “God of Grace and God Of Glory” provides excellent advice through an appropriate prayer for our current challenge.
It reads in part:
Lord, “grant us wisdom, grant us courage –
- For the facing of this hour,
- For the living of these days,
- Lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal,
- That we fail not man nor thee!
Amen and Amen!
Rev. Dennis J. Mock
Pastor of Genesis Bible Church of Dunwoody, GA 30038
President of the Bible Training Centre for Pastors, Tucker, GA 30084