CultureWatch

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

Whose Side Are You On Christian Leaders?

Aug 2, 2017

I have a really hard time telling which is worse: anti-Christian militants who are doing all they can to shut down Christians, stymie the public proclamation of the gospel, and attack religious freedom, or the clueless and seemingly men-pleasing Christian leaders who actually defend the Christophobes.

This happens all the time and it bothers me no end. It certainly bothers those who are bearing the brunt of this anti-Christian bigotry. They are gobsmacked that some of these big cheese Christian leaders are actually siding with the oppressors here, while minimising or tut-tutting the very real persecution they are facing.

whose-side-are-you-onI have been in touch with so many of these folks who are now facing various tribunals, public rebukes, discrimination boards, and court cases. I have been in touch with so many of these folks who have lost their jobs or been fined or even been imprisoned for standing strong and adhering to their faith and Christian principles.

Yet we have a number of Christian leaders of the left who are essentially mocking these folks, and those of us who seek to stand up for them. I could name plenty of names here but I won’t. But to be honest many of these folks just seem rather pompous and full of themselves.

They seem to love the praise of men, and they seem to especially adore the praise of the leftist MSM. In fact, they will often appear on various leftist media programs and events, usually quite careful not to say anything that will offend anyone, while they seek to placate the leftist media and keep them happy.

Whose side are they really on?

And have these leaders ever actually met any of these folks who have been persecuted for their faith? Have they actually talked to any of them? Or are they too busy sitting in their ivory towers and academic easy chairs taking pot-shots at those who do? Are they too busy defending the secular left ABC?

They really pride themselves in not being “conservative” or “fundamentalist” or “narrow” or “intolerant”. Oh no, there is nothing worse than that! And they act as if they can just straddle the middle of the road and please everyone. But many of them are really just leftists who unashamedly are pushing their leftist positions.

I have gotten all rather tired of these folks to be honest. Why am I reminded of those whom Jesus so harshly condemned in his day? “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets” (Luke 20:46).

Whose side are they really on?

One of these leaders actually said this about some recent cases of clear-cut anti-Christian bigotry which Andrew Bolt highlighted: “A right-wing non-Christian shock-jock goads Christians into sharing his paranoid, fear-mongering spray about the evils of anti-discrimination tribunals, education departments, student unions, the Greens, ‘same-sex marriage extremists,’ and of course the ABC.”

So let me get this straight. Here we have someone who is clearly a ‘left-wing Christian shock-jock’ to paraphrase his own condescending and unedifying words, trying to tell us there simply is no such thing as leftist groups which really do want to remake society in their own image, with biblical Christianity clearly in their sights.

And he really is wanting to convince us there is no such thing as ‘same-sex marriage extremists’. What? You mean all the times I and others have had to run the gauntlet – complete with police protection – to enter and speak at a pro-marriage meeting because the same-sex marriage extremists were doing everything they could to shut down the meetings and prevent us from going in just did not happen?

You mean all the cases I have now documented countless times in my articles and my books about Christians being harassed, losing their jobs, being fined, or even jailed, for daring to share the gospel and for daring to say marriage is to be between a man and a woman simply never happened?

Does he really mean to tell us that I and others are just making all this up, that we are liars, lunatics, or as he so graciously and Christianly puts it, just ‘fear-mongers’ and “paranoid”? Wow. I get ad hominem attacks all the time from the militant left, be they angry atheists or radical homosexual activists.

But I certainly don’t expect so-called Christian leaders to engage in the same mud-slinging and ugly abuse against Christians and non-Christians alike, including those Christians who are indeed on the receiving end of all these nasty attacks. One really has to ask some hard questions of these leaders.

And he really thinks that the ABC is just peachy, and a great friend of Christianity!? Really? Um, which universe does this guy live in? He sure does not seem to live in Australia. I have written dozens of articles documenting numerous cases of deliberate and defiant anti-Christian bigotry coming from “our” ABC. Yet this guy thinks they do not exist, and the only troublemakers out there are folks like me and Bolt and the Christians who are bearing the brunt of these attacks.

Whose side are they really on?

On persecution

Now when I or a concerned non-Christian like Bolt speak of persecution and the like down under, we are all fully aware that there are of course degrees of persecution. If you live in a Muslim-majority country you can very likely be arrested, tortured and killed for being a Christian.

No one is saying that the numerous cases of anti-Christian bigotry in Australia and the West are that severe – at least not yet. So these leftist leaders are simply offering us straw men and red herrings. Of course these cases are not on the same scale as some cases of overseas persecution. But these leaders miss the point big time.

Invariably hard-core persecution begins with lighter persecution. We see that happening all the time if we study history. First, light penalties and assaults on the faith and religious freedom take place. Yet because so few speak out against this, it all gets ratcheted up, until before you know it, there is little or no religious freedom left, and Christian proclamation is considered to be a hate crime, punishable by the state.

This is always the way it works. It is the frog in the pan of boiling water routine all over again. Because it is piece-meal and incremental, many do not know it is even happening. And critics like these lefty leaders will mock, pillory and attack those of us who dare to point out the many cases of actual anti-Christian bigotry and persecution that are now occurring on a regular basis.

Whose side are they really on?

It is no different from what some of the switched-on and aware Christians in Germany had tried to say back in the 30s and 40s. They too offered many warnings about what was taking place, but plenty of Christian leaders just derided them and vilified them, accusing them of fear-mongering, paranoia, intolerance and extremism.

By the time a few others finally caught on, it was of course too late. Thus the very famous line by German pastor and Holocaust survivor Martin Niemoller certainly is most appropriate here:

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

The real champions here are the many brave and devout Christians who will preach the gospel on street corners, who will defend God’s institutions of marriage and family, who will publicly stand up for the unborn, etc. And they are doing all this and more even when it means facing the criticisms of men and the heavy hand of the law.

The heroes are certainly not all these armchair critics who delight in attacking Christians like this and those who defend them. They can call us paranoid and extremists and fear-mongers all they like. I don’t care really. The prophets were called the same. Jesus too.

Whose side are they really on?

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16 Responses to Whose Side Are You On Christian Leaders?

  • “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

  • Thank you Mr Muehlenberg for raising something that has been concerning me a lot lately.

    I fear too many of our Brothers- and Sisters-in-Christ are wrongly placing their trust in CINO (Christian In Name Only) groups like the ACL to defend Christian values and culture.

    The ACL was excellent under the leadership of Mr Wallace, a man who was unafraid to speak truth to power, but under Lyle Shelton it has become too willing to accommodate and seek the acceptance of secular society.

    The final straw was when I read that Mr Shelton supported the changes to 84 federal laws in 2008 to give sodomites equal rights. He said the changes allowed “people to have dignity.” See link below.

    www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-33983961

    The dignity a Christian should want for these people is for them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and to turn away from sin.

    Whether we win or lose the marriage debate, with leaders like Mr Shelton the world will think Christians now agree with granting sodomites equal rights under the law in all things other than marriage, and worse young Christians will think this is now OK too because the head of the ACL said so.

  • Thanks Peter. Yes I hear you, but a few points. Those changes were made back in 2008. At the time Jim Wallace, not Lyle Shelton, was the head of the ACL. Both supported these changes – and still do. For what it is worth, I did not support the changes, nor the ACL’s call to run with things like civil relationship registers or civil partnership recognition, instead of outright homosexual marriage. I explained my rationale on that at the time in various articles, eg:

    billmuehlenberg.com/2008/05/01/on-relationship-recognition/

    And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2008/04/04/scripture-theology-and-public-policy-a-case-study/

    And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2007/12/15/good-intentions-unhelpful-outcomes/

    Having said that, I am thankful for the many great things the ACL, Jim and Lyle have been doing on so many fronts, and are still doing.

    But my concerns in this article were more with Christian leaders who are much more of the left, and who are often critical of groups like the ACL, CultureWatch, and others, for being too conservative, even homophobic, etc. They are the ones I really worry about.

  • Pains me to say I know who you’re referring to…as much as I have appreciated some of the guy’s writing he’s definitely bordering on full blown regressive liberalism.

  • Thank you Bill and God Bless.

    I didn’t know Jim supported the 2008 changes. I always thought the ACL changed somewhat when Lyle took over, that it kind of became more seeker-friendly under his leadership, while holding the line on only a few key issues. I don’t know if anyone else had a similar impression. Thank you for correcting me.

    I wonder if Jim and Lyle regret their decision now that they cop so much criticism from the secular and Christian left? They could hardly have been criticised any more had they maintained a Biblical line on sodomite rights.

    For me this is very personal. We have a 20 year old who sometimes feels the temptation to seek out mainstream social approval. We do our best but fear losing him and all of his generation if we win the fight for traditional marriage but at the price of conceding on the normalisation of homosexuality in the minds of young Christians.

  • Keep standing strong Peter. Bless you.

  • Sir

    In England we’ve decided to take the first step and make a stand.

    Will you and your people pray for us?

  • Thanks Delta. But to pray more effectively, we need a bit more detail here: what are you making a stand against, how are you doing it, and what is your first step?

  • I believe there’s a quote from John Macarthur that describes Christians like above. Here’s part of his quote where he talks about Christians abandoning biblical creation but its the same as any Christian who throws their faith under the bus: “It’s a sinful tendency of the fallen human heart to crave worldly respect.” Unfortunately I know of some Christians who do this when they defend Islam or embrace the transgender fad but I’ll get into that another time.

  • Sorry to hear Peter Law’s criticism of the ACL because I think they are doing an absolutely fantastic job and I certainly know I could do no better.

    I, too, had misgivings when the Labor Party gave homosexual unions all the rights of true marriage because, obviously, they are not equal to marriage nor the same nor moral and this is supporting of sin but there are factors we need to consider. Firstly, there are homosexual unions that are raising children. These homosexual unions are already discriminating against the children involved and a civil society needs to ensure that it is not contributing to the evil already being done by others. Until the evil can be properly dealt with there needs to be interim measures. Secondly, the fact that homosexual unions already have all the civil rights of marriage means that the claim of people opposing equality can be shown to be false. Moral people have, in fact, bent over backwards to allow all of the rights of marriage despite the fact that homosexual unions are nothing like equal to marriage. This is roughly in line with doing good to your enemy. Thirdly, the ACL is clearly a political lobby organization and as such they do need to interact with people from all political persuasions and belief systems. If they are to burn their bridges this would undermine their effectiveness as a lobby group and so a level of pragmatism is required. They need to pick their fights and use their resources where they are effective. Fourthly, there may be a better way of producing political outcomes but no one I can see is doing these effectively, so in the mean time, we need to work with what we have. We need to attack on all fronts. If we had more of a public voice with better education there could be more effective interaction but we are largely confounded by an enemy that knows if he allows the truth to be heard then many people will listen. I am quite sure the giving of all marriage rights to homosexuals was instrumental in the removal of family promoting laws such as the allowance of “spouse rebates” but we do need to work with what we are given. This is how democracy works and we have to deal with it. We are not allowed to go around stoning abortionists or whatever and we have comparable issues with public funds used for abortions.

    I would have liked a more forthright rebuttal from the ACL of the nonsense claims about making wedding cakes for the divorced. Firstly, I don’t believe any Christian would be interested in making a divorce cake. Secondly, divorce is acceptable under certain circumstances. Even the Catholic Church allows annulments and Jesus said that, for the cause of fornication, it could happen. How is a baker to know if the person is divorced or whether the divorce is legitimate? If the baker was in a small town and knew all the circumstances and knew the divorce was simply a matter of adulterous behavior, I’m sure there would be many bakers who would not make a cake and would be perfectly within their rights to refuse to make a wedding cake in these circumstances. This is a problem with many people, not only the ACL but ministers of religion, who often do not know or understand the moral dilemmas people in the workplace repeatedly have to face when confronted with immoral behavior in their workplace. In some circumstances a bakery owner may be able to get away with not promoting homosexual sin but what about an employee working for an employer who promotes sinful behavior? This is a problem across the board with many Christians confounded by the number of businesses and jobs they cannot do because those jobs require a person to act immorally. This is just one of the many reasons why sinfulness within a society results in lower productivity and increased public debt.

  • Increasingly, the wolves are too contemptuous of “fundamentalist” Christians to even bother zipping up their sheep’s clothing…

  • Not everyone who claims to belong to Christ is a Christian; this explains the backslidden state of large parts of the “church” today and why many “christians” now openly support what the Bible declares to be abomination. It’s entirely possible to be very very religious and yet not belong to Jesus. Entirely possible to be a life long church attender and not be “born again”; to never have felt the need to sincerely repent before God, and therefore to have effectively not been “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin” and to therefore not have received the “gift of the Holy Spirit”. (Acts 2:38); therefore such as these are not Christian at all but remain “the natural man” spoken of at 1 Corinthians 2:14, and they do not belong to Christ; as the following scripture makes clear.

    Romans 8:9
    “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

  • Thanks Bill. It really is apalling how many Christians fit into the category of which you speak. God help us.

  • I can hear Jesus clearly saying, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.” You can fool men, but you can’t fool God.

  • Yes quite right Pamela.

  • I was speaking with one of my friends yesterday afternoon, David Paech, who is a retired pastor. Although in reality, pastors never really retire. He was also asking “Where are all the Christian leaders?”. Could you imagine if nearly all of them were as bold as St Paul? Or St James, St Peter etc.

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