CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Wanted: Men and Women of Courage

Aug 20, 2011

Whenever a time of crisis erupts, more than ever, there is a pressing need for individuals to take a stand, and to do so courageously. And unless you are blind, deaf, and dumb, you would know that we are certainly living in a time of overwhelming crisis.

The whole Western world seems to be going up in flames – not just London. Each new day we find plenty of headlines illustrating how a moral, spiritual, cultural and ideological crisis is upon us. But the only question is, in the light of all this, what will good men and women do?

How will we respond? Will we simply cover our eyes and pretend all this is not happening? Will we hope someone else makes a stand on our behalf? Will we deceive ourselves into buying the PC line that just getting along and not rocking the boat is the best option?

Or will we stand and fight? In my eyes the last option is our only option. The next question is, do we have the courage to stand up and be counted? Now is the day we desperately need men and women of courage – those who will not wilt under pressure or give up out of fear.

Of interest is the list offered in the book of Revelation telling us who will not inherit Christ and his Kingdom. Leading the list are the fearful, or the cowardly (Rev 21:8). Those lacking in courage will in effect deny their Lord in the time of battle.

Jesus made it clear how such people are to be viewed: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).

‘But,’ some will protest, ‘I have never denied Christ’. Please think again. When the very gospel is under threat yet we stand idly by and do nothing, have we not denied our Lord? When God’s institutions of marriage and family are under direct assault, and we sit by and do nothing, have we not denied our Lord?

When people are heading to a lost eternity yet we remain silent, have we not denied our Lord? When people are bound in destructive and terminal lifestyles, yet we do nothing to let them know they can be set free in Christ, have we not denied our Lord?

The tragic truth is, there is a cosmic battle going on right now, and lives are being lost, families are being destroyed, nations are crumbling, and hope is being taken away. Yet we sit by and do nothing and say nothing. But even the smallest things that we can do might be of help, yet we seem too fearful or incapacitated to do even these things.

courage 1What about taking 1.3 seconds of your time to press the ‘like’ button on Facebook when someone has posted a biblical quote or a helpful Christian word? It can be that easy and simple, and it may encourage another brother to keep on in the battle.

I often get people telling me they are discouraged and tired of all these struggles. They want to give up. They are discouraged. They think we are not getting anywhere. My usual reply to them is something like this: “If we ever find that Jesus has given up, has quit the race, has become too discouraged to continue, then we can do the same. But I don’t see this anywhere in Scripture.”

The truth is, Jesus drank the cup to the bitter end. He kept going all the way to the cruel cross – for me and for you. He loved us too much to want to drop out or to just live a quiet and peaceful life. He did not insist on his own rights, but gave them all up, so that we might live.

I sometimes get people writing to me, asking if I can remove their comments from my site which they posted in the past. Some have discovered that they are now public property – being monitored and checked up on in cyberspace. I reply by saying that unless there is a very good reason for this, I am not too keen. Why are they asking me to do this? Is it just fear, or not wanting to make enemies, cause trouble, rock the boat, etc?

Some say they have privacy concerns, etc. But I am not impressed with those reasons either. Sorry, but when we come to Christ, we lose our right to privacy. We also lose our right to a life of ease, comfort, luxury and security. In fact, we lose all our rights. We are no longer our own – we are bought with a price.

When we become a disciple of Christ, we give up all claims to living a selfish, comfortable and easy life. Quite the opposite. As Bonhoeffer rightly said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dead people have no rights – it is that simple.

Of course no one prefers living a life of ostracism, scorn and rejection. But that is what Jesus did, and he told us that the servant is not above the master. To follow Christ means we also will be rejected, ridiculed, hated and persecuted. And that is certainly not fun.

Does anyone really think I like all the flak, opposition, abuse, and persecution I get on a regular basis? Do I really thrive on all the hate mail and death threats? It would of course be so very easy to avoid all of this. I could simply stop what I am doing and say nothing: a guarantee to a quiet and peaceful life.

In fact, I can do what some “Christians” are now doing, and call God a liar. I can argue that what God calls a sin is not in fact a sin. I can say instead that something like homosexuality is God’s gift to mankind, and that to be compassionate and loving, I should instead promote and advocate for this lifestyle. I can even argue that Jesus would favour same-sex marriage.

That would be the easy path. Indeed, that would make me the flavour of the month. I would become terribly popular, and even the MSM would give me lots of praise and approval. Yet as Alan Sears has just written, “It doesn’t take courage to ride the wave of support for same-sex ‘marriage.’ It takes courage to stand against the surging tide.”

Quite so. To stand up for God’s standards of holiness and righteousness in the public arena on any topic is to take a courageous stance. If you want to be at rest and have everyone applaud you, then simply go with the flow, and stand up for abortion rights, pornography rights, homosexual rights, and other trendy secular left causes.

Anyone can do that. Indeed, any dead fish can simply float downstream. But it takes a living fish to swim upstream, against the current. The call to Christian discipleship is a call to swim against the world’s currents. The world will always be opposed to the things of God, so to stand for Christ will always be to stand against the world.

Such a stance requires courage. But the good news is, it is not a question of us mustering up some courage on our own. God provides it. He enables and empowers us. We cannot do it ourselves. I am probably full of fear most of the time. But as George S. Patton has reminded us, “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer”.

A.A. Hodge once put it this way: “It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.” But men of courage will inspire others. As Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

Remember what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” And if that is not enough (although it should be), let me finish with some words of fiction which I often turn back to. They come from the film version of The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn is mustering the troops to stand against an army of orcs much greater and more numerous that they, and he encourages the troops with these words:

“I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!”

In these days of unprecedented evil, Christ is looking for men and women of courage. Will you be one of them?

townhall.com/columnists/alansears/2011/08/18/outing_the_wildflower_inn

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32 Responses to Wanted: Men and Women of Courage

  • My mother – father – sisters – brother think I’m a crack pot. I can count my real friends on one hand with 2 fingers to spare and I call it all joy.
    Rejoice I say and again I say rejoice.
    Daniel Kempton

  • Dear Bill,

    This is one of your best! I am slain in the Spirit, and will earnestly strive for Christ at all times from now on. I know there will be times when I fall short of the mark I have set for myself, but I know that Jesus knows I am doing my best for Him and that He will complete me.

    I am blessed in so many ways, but one of my greatest blessings is to have found your preaching and witnessing of the Word that saves!

    Yours-in Christ

    Kenya Lowther

  • Many thanks indeed Kenya

    Bless you heaps.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Besides what you have included Bill about “When the very gospel is under threat yet we stand idly by and do nothing, have we not denied our Lord? When God’s institutions of marriage and family are under direct assault, and we sit by and do nothing, have we not denied our Lord?” Or when so called Christian politicians, when approached to speak up for Copts in Egypt, Iraqi and Iranian Christians do nothing, they too are denying Christ. I approached then Senator Fielding to make a noise about the two groups above thinking that as a Christian he would his response – after I sent a email to the Barnabas fund and cc’d him in, was just a call from his policy officer. Senator Joyce too was contacted – he’s too busy being a Queensland National to do anything, and as for Senator Nick “Any price for headline” Xenophon, thinking that he was a good orthodox man – a contemptible silence. Again I ask the question have they denied Christ by not speaking up for our fellow brethren who are suffering?
    Wayne Pelling

  • Thanks Wayne

    Yes that is another key issue which we should be involved in. Of course there is no one who can be involved in everything all the time. We each need to choose our battles and our responses carefully and prayerfully. But most of us can be doing (and praying) a lot more than we already are on many different fronts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I posted this call to action to those on my email list on 12 August. As you say, if everybody just did SOMETHING:

    David Cameron has promised to have a good look at British society following the riots and commence a fightback. It will be clear to him that this sort of civil war and terminal self-destruction is the natural consequence – and the ultimate aim of Gramsci – of left-wing ideologies implemented by governments. Our side can make this time a turning point by jumping en masse on every move the Left makes now and demanding a reverse direction from what has been inflicted on Western societies. That’s a REVERSE direction, not just a tempering of their next assault, say, making criminals of parents who smack their children, not even a holding of the line, but an incremental reversal of what they want and the damage they have done in all areas. Incremental because it’s more achievable than all-or-nothing and because it resets the direction of change. There’s a saying: it’s direction, not speed, that counts.

    David Cameron knows that his society no longer has enough social capital left to withstand further left-wing assault. He would know that the only reason civilization as we know it didn’t end after each leftist advance was because it was still eating into that vast inherited capital, not because it was harmless or beneficial social progress as the Left always claims. But now civilization as we know it has ended, and in the place where much of it began.

    If Cameron can reverse his country’s direction it will be the making of him as a genuine conservative politician and a genuine leader. It will be the making of conservative politics as what it should be – a political and social movement, not just a party. Conservative parties need to produce the confidence and courage to lead the assault on the Left, not just come up with alternative policies. It’s time to lead public opinion, not follow it.

    David Cameron cannot lead and win a counter-revolution on his own (presuming he really starts one). We do a lot of talking to each other, but now it’s time to upgrade our involvement in Cameron’s and Australia’s fightback. Please think about what you can do. Consider this: there are more than 6 million conservative voters in Australia, and quite a few Labor voters who share our positions on certain social issues. If each performed just one action each month (writing a letter to a newspaper, calling talkback radio, posting to a blog, contacting their local member, explaining an issue to colleague or relative, anything to be heard or affect the direction an issue takes) that would be 6 million actions that month, which is 72 million a year. Don’t you think that would make a huge difference? It need take only a few minutes out of your month. Can’t spare that much time? Look at the alternative. Look at the news each night.

    I posted this on The Courier-Mail’s and The Australian’s comment sites.

    David Plummer of Warwick Posted at 2:06 PM August 11, 2011
    I’m sure we will soon hear the usual left-wing explanations for this: poverty, racism, marginalization etc. The liars won’t mention their own contribution to the disaster, so I will: lack of moral formation and discipline of children, child rights, abolition of rightful authority, inculcation with hatred of their society, state-sponsored victimhood, welfarism, abolition of concepts of responsibility for one’s own life and actions, mass immigration of people with attitudes and values incompatible with the host society, destruction of the family, the repudiation of objective right and wrong, the replacement of respect for human life with ideologies of death. That is just to start. For now, we need to pre-empt the liars and fools who will use their dishonest analyses to demand more of what is at the heart of these atrocities, both for England and for us. We need to face the truth about what has been done to our societies and support the counter-revolution.

    Comment 46 of 50

    David Plummer

  • May I humbly and respectfully commend the my last two posts on my blog (http://hammeroffaith.blogspot.com/2011/08/child-abuse-and-millstones.html and http://hammeroffaith.blogspot.com/2011/08/lawlessness-and-child-protection.html). My dear wife and I have been fighting a bitter, bloody, costly, running battle (sometimes it seems like to the death) for the last two years with the Northern Territory Department of Children and Family Services–than which a more Orwellian and oxymoronic name cannot be found. We have been slandered and libelled, and our Aboriginal foster son has been subjected to unspeakable abuse at the hands of social workers, all at the behest of the CEO of DCFS. Thank God our son is no longer under a court order, but still our lives will not be the same. I am 60, my wife not far behind. She lives in fear, literally of the proverbial ‘knock on the door at midnight’.

    But we pray and at the same time do we whatever we can practically to bring this evil system of state-sanctioned abuse down. We gladly join with you in your efforts to pray God’s kingdom down on earth as it is in heaven–will you and your readers likewise join with us?

    Jesus Himself stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. For too long the Church has huddled pietistically, waiting patiently and passively for the rapture, while at the same time failing to understand Jesus’ imagery. It is the hell of Satan that is being besieged, despite appearances. The Church has the glove-hand of Christ, seating on His Throne and seated on His white horse. We are to be assaulting strongholds, we are to ever be on the attack by all means, prayerfully and physically. Victory is assured, even if it takes a thousand generations of God’s blessing to accomplish!

    Sorry for getting wound up, Bill – may God grant us victory!

    Steve Swartz

  • What the world needs more than anything else is men who will stand up and be counted and make a stand for the truth. While we are waiting for them thank God for mighty women of God like Wendy Francis and Loree Rudd (Kevin Rudd’s sister) who will stand against the gestapo-like politically correct forces of their day at great personal cost.
    Great article Bill Muehlenberg.
    Warwick Marsh

  • Thanks Warwick

    When I think of the few courageous male heroes in Australia today, your name always readily comes to mind. Keep up your terrific work.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I gave my life over to God on the 23rd of January 2001 after years of trying to ignore Him. There is nothing more important to me than honoring Christ who literally saved my life, and He stayed with me when everyone else left me to my depression (even though I was terrified of Him and hated Him because He wanted me to be alone) – He should have killed me for rebellion. But He offered me a trade. I traded my life of death for His life of righteousness, I don’t want my death back.

    Something happened to my mind when I did that. I all of a sudden knew what was right and what was wrong, and I all-of-a-sudden started realizing that my mind would not tolerate illogical arguments. I didn’t know what was happening to me, I thought I was going crazy. Stuff started changing in me where I understood things, and the more I understood the more I wanted to understand, poured into the bible, into lectures, sermons anything I could get my hands on.

    I can’t not ask, I can’t not speak, I can’t not notice and I dare not ignore it, this is what God has done and love him too much to forsake it. I found out that true agape love is willing to risk the relationship of the very person you are trying to speak to in order that they may understand and turn to God. And that Agape love is the choice of taking on personal responsibility for the eternal wellbeing of another person regardless of hardships, setbacks or roadblocks. To give up is to renounce agape love, and hand a person over to death.

    Joshua Ferrara

  • Very convicting, Bill and something that I am constantly wrestling myself. As a child, my reading matter included ‘Tortured for Christ’ sitting mesmerized in horrified silence devouring the pages of suffering of those Christians in Communist Russia, whole families being buried alive, a father having to watch his son beaten to death. The thought occurred to me then, in my childish mind, what makes us think that we here in nice, safe Australia would be any more protected than those believers suffering such conditions. Just this week, I heard the story of a Christian woman in Eritrea who was put into a metal container for years for her faith only to be dragged out for a beating regularly because she refused to stop singing praises to her Lord. She only got out because they beat her almost to death and they would have got in trouble if they had actually killed her. I believe that we are facing the persecution that Daniel saw in his vision that forced him into shocked silence. When we consider that Christians in the 1st century were boiled in oil and other horrific things, now, more than ever, we are going to have to reach for a supernatural courage, because our own human courage is just not going to cut it as the days grow darker. But the gifts that the Spirit bestows far surpass anything we could muster up ourselves anyway.
    Dee Graf

  • Thanks Dee

    One of the first books I read as a new Christian was Tortured For His Faith by Haralan Popof, which is similar to the Wurmbrand book. Such reading certainly makes an impact on one’s faith.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Amen Bill, I am reminded of a story I heard recently about William Booth. Apparently when he interviewed prospective candidates for ordination he would ask if they had made any friends, of course most had. He would also ask had they made any enemies, if the answer was no he would declare them unsuitable for ordination because they were obviously not standing up for truth.
    Garry Brown

  • Thanks Garry

    Hey I like that one!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yes Bill, I have decided that the battle I will engage in directly is to support our suffering brethren. Writing to pollies, contacting embassies and voicing my concern is one way. I too read TORTURED FOR CHRIST and recently I FOUND GOD IN SOVIET RUSSIA. These two books have made more resolved to speak up.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Well done Wayne.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • According to Jesus the crest of happiness in this world is to be falsley accused, insulted because of Him (Matt 5.11)
    Those persecuted believers around the globe are the tungsten tip of righteousness-they are the leaders of hope .
    Let us cultivate with them a holy fear (Noah) within our souls.
    Ian Clarkson

  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~Various wordings of this quotation are attributed to Charles F. Aked and Edmund Burke, among others.

    I was challenged by ‘Tortured for Christ’ too, and this is another challenge for me.

    Stephanie Mitchell

  • I’m having trouble keeping this short. I think it’s because it the whole Bible and the history of the true Church is jam-packed full of persecuted saints with heroic faith.

    But the COWARDLY, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Rev 21:8.

    The cowardly are listed first! Wow! And how could it not be referring to those who were too chicken to stand up for righteousness?

    God help us to have courage! Acts 4:29-31

    Then there’s … 2 Tim 3:12;

    Brother Andrew told the story of sitting in Budapest, Hungary, with a dozen pastors of that city teaching them from the Bible. In walked an old friend, a pastor from Romania who had recently been released from prison. Brother Andrew said that he stopped teaching and knew that it was time to listen.

    After a long pause the Romanian pastor said, “Andrew, are there any pastors in prison in Holland?” “No,” he replied. “Why not?” the pastor asked. Brother Andrew thought for a moment and said, “I think it must be because we do not take advantage of all the opportunities God gives us.”

    Then came the most difficult question. “Andrew, what do you do with 2 Timothy 3:12?” Brother Andrew opened his Bible and turned to the text and read aloud, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” He closed the Bible slowly and said, “Brother, please forgive me. We do nothing with that verse.”

    My heroes are the bold Christians – of all types of boldness – from Richard Wurmbrand to Fred Nile, William Booth to Billy Graham. Oh – here’s another – Desmond Doss (The Conscientious Objector – 2004 film). There’s a heap of ex-Muslims too. Blows your socks off. The kingdom of God has some fabulous examples to inspire us and fan into flame our passion for Christ!

    And it sure helps to clear the head.

    At least when I get a tincy bit of persecution, there’s a chance I might be building just a tad of treasure in my tiny heavenly account. But we just have to take care the persecution is really for the gospel, not just from acting like a heartless religio.

    Tim Lovett

  • Wonderful, stirring stuff Bill. You are in the front line taking a lot of flack. You and your family are always in my prayers.
    Romans 5:3-5 and 1 Peter 1:7.
    Graham Lawn

  • Many thanks for that Graham. Very much appreciated – and needed.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Great challenge, brother. I’m taking my stand with the Ephesians 6 gifts along with you. Love you, Bill. You keep keeping on. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord and greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. Great challenge. Took the liberty of posting some of it on my facebook.
    Joe Whitchurch, Indiana US

  • Thanks Joe. Keep up your great work as well.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill for keeping the raging battle clearly in the minds of all of us and our need to be involved.

    May our Lord and God continually bless you, your family and your ministry and grant us all the courage to speak boldly and truthfully.

    Shalom,

    George Kokonis

  • Many thanks George

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bil, for the first time in my life I wish I was on Facebook, so I could click the “like” bottom. So, instead I just have to tell you how much your posts spur me on to continue to do the works that God has predetermined for us to walk in. And if I ever asked you to take comments off this site, it would only be the ones that may not have honoured Christ as much as they culled have. So, if you find any that fall into that category, you’re welcome.
    There was a comment earlier by a passioned true believer that also encouraged and blessed me no end and I wish there was more of you.
    I am sending this whole page to my pastor. He is a wonderful true man of God and needs encouragement.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Bill, thank you for such an inspiring article. We know the end of this story. We win (whatever the cost). I am with you. Best wishes.
    Klaus Clapinski

  • Bill your words are deeply inspiring. I have found myself stirred into action more frequently in the last year than any other time. Years of letting things be has come to an end. Its time to reclaim our land for our children.

    I’m looking forward to hearing you speak in Adelaide.

    Keep up the fight.

    Aaron Downs

  • Thanks Aaron.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I must be the same generation as those who read Tortured for Christ as teens. When I said I was glad we would not be tried beyond what we could stand my friend said what worried her was having to go to that extent.
    Just now I was complaining about the stress of writing to pollies about marriage. Thanks for reminder that it may/probably will get more intense. But please don’t waste your ammunition on fellow believers. And please support those politicians who are trying to stand for Christian values.
    Katherine Fishley

  • How encouraging and reassuring it is to read all the above! What joy to know that there are many faithful servants of Our Lord doing their utmost for “His highest” — people who care that all God’s creation come to accept the gift of redemption and eternal union with Him. — so glad I logged on today — am fully cheered up!
    Anna Cook

  • +LIKE

    Michael Mifsud

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