The Supreme Court is in full stride, not only making sin legal, but requiring the Christians of America to acquiesce to their depraved worldview. The lawful structure of the U.S. has gone the way of Rome; Caesar is now being channeled by nine judicial activists with no checks and balances. In a June 25, 2015 interview with Todd Starnes, conservative columnist and commentator Franklin Graham said of the recent decision to legalize gay marriage, “The court is endorsing sin. There will be persecution of Christians.” Justice Samuel Alito, one of the dissenting judges, wrote, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”
In a campaign speech recently, Hillary Clinton revealed the mindset of social planners. Reading from her teleprompter, she confidently asserted, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.” Think about it—a frontrunning presidential candidate is prepared to take steps to “change religious beliefs.” Do you want the government to change your religious beliefs? The beliefs of your children? We are seeing shades of Nebuchadnezzar—bend and bow, or burn (Daniel 3:10–12). Furthermore, according to Clinton, it is the responsibility of government to change your “deep-seated” “culture” regarding sodomy, abortion, raising children, marriage, creation, gender distinction, and any biblical belief that stands in the way of the Left’s agenda.
Sex education in public schools has already changed the views of young adults. According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of young adults 18–34 years of age favor “gay marriage.” Some estimate that as many as 90% of kids now enrolled in public schools support it as well. Public schools forbid children from praying over their meals and do not allow mention of God in speeches or, in some cases, homework assignments. Creationism is ridiculed, evolution is deified, children are taught gender fluidity, and the influence of Christianity is stricken from history. When you decided to homeschool, you made the right decision.
Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas said, “Something very strange, if not bordering on insidious, is happening to this country. There is no light and darkness, only color preferences.” For a generation or more, the trend has been to reject the concept of absolute truth and promote a philosophy of moral relativism. There are now as many “truths” as there are people, and all truths are respected except the truth that there is only one truth.
We have come to accept the reality of reigning unbelief, the diminishing of our republic, the constant creep of socialism, and the disparaging of faith, but in the last five years there has been a significant escalation in the culture war. The dark side is no longer content to sit at the head of the table; they now want the entire table and demand that you express your appreciation for the food they spoon-feed you. It is not enough that you should back away from the table and say, “Have it your way; just leave me out of it.” Their new approach is to seek you out and force you to approve of their socially-engineered worldview. The Left highly resents the old paths that give recognition to a law-giving Creator. So in the last five years social engineers have gone into a frenzy to abolish all other worldviews, especially the Christian one.
Todd Starnes, addressing the Faith and Freedom Conference in June 2015, said, “The American way of life is under attack. There is an active and aggressive war on religious liberty in the U.S., and this war is not targeting people of the Jewish faith or Muslim faith or the Hindu faith. This war on religious liberty is being targeted against people of the Christian faith . . . this is about whether or not a government can begin to put limitations on the conscience and convictions of people of faith . . . our business, our land, and our churches are in jeopardy.”
It is not enough that our national laws should make provision for free and nonjudgmental expressions of all forms of deviancy and the murder of babies; the sodomites cannot rest until they force us to confess their moral equivalence. Cal Thomas spoke of this raging trend, saying that the LGBT activists “want to come into the churches . . . [and] demand in their Christian schools and pulpits, and in their teaching in their Bible study material that they legitimize this kind of thing.” As long as social planners suspect that somewhere there exists a small group of people meeting in an old country church who still teach their children biblical absolutes, they will remain agitated and aggressive in their war on truth. And those small groups of believers who hold to biblical absolutes are shrinking by the hour.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19–20).
The first wave in the assault on Christianity is to make certain forms of speech socially unacceptable—labeling them “hate speech”—and eventually make dissenting speech illegal. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio observed, “We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech” (May 26, CBN News). Christians are silenced by fear of being labeled haters, so that leaves the bully pulpit to the Left.
Many leftists have become speech police, demanding that people be fired from their jobs for saying anything contrary to the approved worldview. Fear of losing one’s employment shuts down most discussion and drives traditional, religious opinion into the underground. Pastors fear being politically incorrect, so they have tempered their public speech. With most people remaining silent, it gives the appearance that the traditional worldview is in the extreme minority. When only a few people hold to the old ways, it is quite easy for the media to dismiss their opinion as far-right and radical.
Listening to a news panel discuss what they called “corporal punishment,” I heard one child behaviorist say with an incredulous laugh, “What discussion? Where are the voices advocating for corporal punishment? Hitting children has gone the way of slavery and child labor. It is a thing of the past.” He could boldly dismiss this traditional and universal child rearing tool because, though 90% of all U.S. parents still employ some form of corporal chastisement, church leaders have been silenced by the ridicule of social planners. Today’s timidity is tomorrow’s captivity.
Just the other day one of our distributors challenged a large, well-known ministry to resume their distribution of our Bible story book Good and Evil. The president of the organization said, “It is a great evangelistic tool, and I would love to use it, but in the back it advertises two books that are very controversial—To Train Up a Child and Created to Be His Help Meet.” Pastors and leaders who once taught the exact messages found in these books are not mentioning them anymore lest they offend believers who are no longer comfortable with this part of God’s Word. Church leaders are being intimidated by the media, but it is the sentiment of fellow believers that paralyzes them into silence.
Once the social planners have intimidated us into being silent, public sentiment enables the secular progressives to pass laws that make certain forms of speech illegal, as has been the case in Europe and the UK for several years. On April 20, 2010, Dale McAlpine, a minister of the gospel in Workington, Cumbria, England, had a discussion with a man on the street. In the process, he mentioned a list of sins including homosexual acts. After a police officer heard him tell an individual that homosexual acts went against the Word of God, the officer arrested him and charged him with “using abusive or insulting language, causing harassment, alarm, or distress” in violation of the Public Order Act. Mr. McAlpine was arrested for his speech, and he is just one among many. Watch for it; it is coming to a city near you.
Here in the U.S. we are already in the era of legislative persecution. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed-and-breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia wellness counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.
The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that citizens are NOT free to quote the Bible regarding the sin of homosexual behavior. Bill Whatcott’s pamphlets (from 2001) using the word sodomites and criticizing the gay agenda in public schools were deemed to incite hatred against homosexual people. The ruling requires Whatcott to pay a fine to two homosexuals who claimed to be offended, plus six-figure loser-pays legal costs.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Christians must accommodate, celebrate, and even participate in the homosexual lifestyle. The court ruled that Gary McFarlane, a Christian British marriage counselor, was “rightfully fired” for refusing to enhance a patient’s deviant homosexual lifestyle through counseling, and, according to the court, Lilian Ladele, a Christian civil servant, was likewise “rightfully fired” for refusing to perform same-sex “wedding” ceremonies.
In Sweden, Pastor Ake Green preached a sermon in his church—not in public—saying that homosexuality was a sin and that a person cannot be a Christian and commit homosexual acts at the same time. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to one month in prison. The Supreme Court of Sweden heard his appeal and ruled that Green had violated Swedish law as it currently stands regarding agitation against a group, and that the “constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of expression as well as freedom of religion does not protect him. However, the Supreme Court also stated that the freedom of expression as well as freedom of religion provided by the European Convention on Human Rights, which is superior to Swedish law, gives him protection, since jurisprudence shows that a conviction would probably not be upheld by the European Court. So they overturned his conviction.” Vladimir Palko, the former Slovak Interior Minister, said, “In Europe people are starting to be jailed for saying what they think.”
The different branches of the U.S. military are now removing all Christian symbols from chapels and forbidding chaplains from speaking to family members about God.
One generation ago Ronald Reagan astutely observed,
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The increasing reign of secularism and the banishment of Christian belief are inevitable, and they are occurring on a bell curve that will thoroughly dominate the Western world before your little children are grown. And electing a Republican president will not forestall it. Republicans are, by and large, just the Democrats of ten years ago.
Having described the present times, know that I am not disturbed by this first wave in the war on Christianity. All of the arrows fired by the enemy cannot harm the church. It should make us stronger. The church needs a little persecution to drive the world out.
The second—and more destructive—wave in the war on Christianity is coming from within our own ranks. The actual physical persecution of Christians will not amount to much, for the persecutors just single out one here and there to make an example designed to intimidate the rest of us. But many Christians have been induced to side with the accusers of the brethren.
I have observed in the media as they single out a Christian minister or a family, resorting to lies and distortions to manufacture a disreputable caricature of Christianity. When believers should be coming to stand beside the errant Christian or the besieged family, the blogs and Facebook posts are filled with Christian cannibalism. The media make us bleed, and Christians pile on like hungry wolves to add their bite to the wound. The church at Galatia had this same problem. Paul warned them, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Galatians 5:15).
Believers are so fearful of being associated with sinners that as soon as there is the slightest allegation against a minister or prominent personality, Christians, out of a desire to show how virtuous they are and to distance themselves from the “sinner,” jump up on the podium beside the enemies of God and show their solidarity by loudly condemning the allegedly errant one. That is the disease that is killing the church, not Supreme Court decisions or inconvenient laws. The real threat to the church and modern Christian family is not coming from outside the walls of faith; it is coming from the pew in front of you and the sister church across town.
When a minister is guilty of sin, he should be disciplined by the church and, if it is called for, removed from the ministry. If he has committed a crime, he should face the normal penalty of law by means of the court. And if he repents, fellow believers should forgive him. Repentance may not lead to restoration of his ministry, but he should be embraced by the church. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). “Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).
When the Duggars were under attack, one “righteous” Christian woman wrote, “I always knew there was something wrong with that family.” Another continued the biting and devouring with this question: “Why would they go on TV claiming to be this righteous family when they knew they were harboring this dark secret?” Yet another chided, “There is no way you can have that many children and give them the care they need.”
I have never seen the Duggars on TV, never met them, and know very little about them. But I did follow the media assault, and I have to say I was highly impressed and proud to be a fellow believer with such an amazing family. They handled the situation with their son in the best of all possible ways. It was a godly response to a problem that affects over 50% of the homes in America, including Christian homes. That is why we wrote the two Yell and Tell children’s books.
Josh has found forgiveness through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. If God forgives, and the victims forgive, who am I to denigrate a man for the sins of his youth? I know I will lose a lot of support over what I am saying, but I would rather go down standing than to prosper bowing beside the enemies of God at the altar of social opinion.
Update (08/28/2015)—Just as this magazine was reaching the public, Josh Duggar was exposed as a pornographer and adulterer, living—as he confessed—“a hypocritical life.” Someone in the office suggested we quickly remove the former three paragraphs about the Duggar family. I said, “Absolutely not, I stand by everything I wrote, and it will stay as I wrote it.” I find this to be a perfect opportunity to reinforce a major concern that I have for the thinness of modern Christianity. Are we nothing more than a coat of white paint?
Yes, Josh has defamed the name of Christians—not Christ. Josh has made us all more suspect of hypocrisy. One commentator said, “That proves it; being a Christian doesn’t make you better than anyone else.” Somehow the unbeliever thinks our striving to be a better person is a claim to be better than them. Have we contributed to that impression? I know quite a few Christians that have come from a broken, sin-sick past who are not nearly as “good” as some of the unbelievers I know. And those bumbling Christians make no claim to goodness; they just rejoice in forgiveness. Yet, I know thousands of true Christians and families that are indeed better for their relationship to Christ—much, much better.
Josh and a thousand other prominent personalities, many of them high-profile ministers, have indeed caused Christians to lose credibility once again. But I think we have been wearing a uniform passed down to us, honored for past accomplishments, and have not earned the respect we covet. We must earn the medals we wear in public.
I remain proud to be a part of the Christian faith with the Duggar family. My heart aches for them and for Josh’s wife and children, and for Josh as well. Josh is a man overcome by the flesh. He needs the fear of God, followed by the grace of God. He—and the church—does not need a mixed chorus of believers and unbelievers celebrating his downfall.
Just as I stand with the righteous, I stand with the sinner, holding out the forgiveness that Christ has provided. I do not fear to be seen eating with sinners (Mark 2:16) even if it makes me a recipient of scoffing and derision, as it did Christ.
The woman caught in adultery did not come to Christ in repentance. She was caught against her will. Yet Christ felt the need to balance the condemnation she was receiving from the “righteous” with a shower of grace and mercy, saying, “Neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more.”
Did she go and sin no more? We don’t know. But it didn’t matter in the moment when Christ was a channel of God’s mercy. Are Christians a channel of God’s mercy today? Or are we the “righteous” Pharisees who will throw a sinner down in public and condemn him? Is that the only way we have of creating a distinction?
Cain, the first murderer, killed his brother over a religious dispute. God judged him and drove him out from among the faithful; but, knowing the propensity of men to turn and bite their fallen, God put a grace mark on Cain, a warning that anyone who did him harm would suffer a fate seven times worse (Genesis 4:13-15). The sinner in us makes that hard to understand. Think about it; God became the protector of the first criminal on earth.
God hovers over Josh, seeking his repentance and waiting for an opportunity to fill him with forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, to empower him to “sin no more.” If Christians filled social media with the kind of mercy and grace characteristic of the Spirit-filled life, we would earn a reputation as the people who are forgiven and who forgive—the people who love, rather than the people who think they are better than everyone else.
About a year ago the media jumped on another noted minister who had a long, honorable career. One woman came forward to say that the man had touched her hair and placed his hands on her shoulders when she was a teenager. Several others came forward to say they had experienced the same thing on campus as students. One woman accused him of “inappropriate contact.” Before taking the word of one woman against this fellow believer, we looked her up on Facebook. Her site was full of witchcraft and anti-Christian propaganda. Does the one she serves have an agenda against God’s servants? A friend who knows the family of the accusing girl says that her parents say she is lying about the allegations.
I do not know what the man’s heart was when he walked by and touched the hair of the girls, but I do know that the hasty, judgmental response of many Christians was disturbing. Our feed on Facebook was full of remarks from outraged, stone-throwing, professing believers. I presumed to say those judging didn’t bother checking to see if the woman who accused the man was walking in God’s light and truth. One woman posted, “It just thrilled me to see this come out; it is time to expose all these big shots who think they are something special.” It thrilled her? Again, another said, “I always knew there was something wrong with that man.” I would ask her, did you pray for the man? Were you saddened? Did it break your heart? How does God feel when we sin?
Who needs enemies when we have fellow believers ready to practice their gift of condemnation? “. . . ye bite and devour one another . . .” (Galatians 5:15).
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).
I have been intimately involved in the church since 1949 and have observed the changing tide. I have watched the ups and downs come and go, but without question, the ups have grown smaller and the downs much lower until the last twenty-five years when professing Christians have been locked into a perpetual downward slide of pride and divisiveness. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1).
We Christians should be concerned about the war on our Christian culture, but nothing can harm us if we love the brethren and walk in humility while boldly proclaiming the old-fashioned gospel of heaven and hell, of judgment to come, of the resurrected Christ, of his certain return, and of the new birth and spirit-filled life.
These troubling times will not get better. This is the falling away Paul predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. But it is also a glorious opportunity to be overcomers and give great glory to God. Heroes of the faith are not made in the good times, but in the bad (Hebrews 11).
In these last days of the reconstructed Sodom and the revival of Babylon in America when others are bowing to the pressure, remember the words of our Lord, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Believers should stand beside accused or falsely accused errant believers, not stand over them in denunciation.
Today Christianity is marked by worldliness and division as we cannibalize our own. Jesus didn’t say, they will know you are my disciples if you judge one another. He said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
It may seem to be a dismal hour in which we live, but I am encouraged by the many overcomers and the great families that are spiritually prospering in the midst of this Sodom and Gomorrah generation.
I am inspired by the story of Roy Costner who delivered his valedictorian speech at Liberty High School in South Carolina. The staff, knowing he was a Christian, forced him to submit his speech to the government for approval and censorship. After stripping it of all references to God, the faculty taped their God-purged version to the podium. This spirit-filled valedictorian stepped up to the podium, ripped away the approved speech, and tore it in half in front of the faculty and audience. He then pulled out his carefully folded and concealed version, and a smiling and relaxed Roy said, “I am thankful my parents led me to the Lord at a young age . . .” and then he recited the Lord’s Prayer to loud applause and cheers from the student body.
Less than five percent of Christian kids survive the public school with their faith and morality intact, but a few like Roy become Daniels in a den of lions, or like the three Hebrew captives in Babylon, they don’t bend, they don’t bow, and if they burn they will do it proclaiming, “My God is able to deliver me from the fiery furnace.”
On a personal note, I truly feel as if I live on another planet and am observing this world from afar. Every day our 100-acre farm rings with laughter and squeals of delight from grandchildren secure in love and grace. My family continues to dance in the light. By the grace of God we are overcomers, as are many of you. Let us love one another and stand uncompromisingly in the faith of Jesus Christ.
It is still true: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). No compromise. No apology. And we will not remain silent.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:7–8, 11).