CultureWatch

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

Christians, Stop Being So Glib about This!

Nov 20, 2017

About what? I am glad you asked. In the West the church is taking a hammering and the forces arrayed against it are growing by the day. The crack-down on true Christianity intensifies, and believers are being put under more and more pressure.

Persecution, in other words, is on the increase. While we are clearly warned about this happening in Scripture, and while it may at some point become inevitable here, I do tire of so many Christians who are just so glib and careless about this. You know what I mean. They will throw out lame clichés like these:

-Persecution is a good thing
-Persecution is inevitable
-The church thrives under persecution
-A bit of persecution is good for the church
-We should welcome persecution
-Don’t worry about persecution, it is bound to come
-Relax, we are promised persecution
-etc, etc.

Now some of those lines are more or less true – more on that in a moment. But the sad reality is, far too many of these Christians tossing out these phrases know absolutely nothing about real persecution, and if they did, they would not wish it on anyone, or treat it so cavalierly.

Sure, the church often thrives under persecution, and when a carnal, compromised and disobedient church refuses to follow Christ and the Bible, God often will allow persecution to come in to weed out the wheat from the tares, and to purify his body. We certainly know this from church history.

But no one should wish persecution on anyone. It is horrific indeed. Even persecution in the West can be bad enough. Simply being fired from a job for stating the biblical position on marriage is a massive hit to any believer. He may well have lost his ability to easily feed his own family. This is nothing to sneeze at.

And the glib reply, “Well, God will look after him” does not help much either. Unless you – the person saying that – are prepared to personally dig deep into your own pocket and help them out, you are just a hypocrite. Indeed, unless you open up your home to such a destitute family, all your Christian clichés mean nothing.

Joking about “prison ministry” and having a captive audience in jail is pretty unhelpful as well. Have these folks ever been in prison? This is nothing to take lightly. Simply the prospect of facing regular gang rapes should deter anyone from being glib about this. This is no laughing matter.

Of course, overseas real hardcore persecution is taking place, with beheadings, mass executions, churches being burned to the ground, etc. While believers there are certainly seeking God’s grace to endure, it certainly is not fun for them.

Yes the church often thrives and grows under such conditions, but I am sure God would prefer that his church grows and thrives simply out of its deep love for God, not because it is driven out of desperation and great pain. It is sort of like those who never go to the dentist, unless their teeth are in great pain. Waiting for a crisis period is not the ideal way to go here.

We should be loving and serving God for who he is. That is the ideal. Yet often we grow careless, apathetic and indifferent to the things of God, and it is not until the persecution heats up that we finally start taking our faith seriously.

That really is not how the Christian life should operate. And neither should we be so cavalier about the great blessings we now enjoy – blessings that include religious freedom. Yet even well-meaning folks can say rather unhelpful things in this regard.

For example, one person posted this after the homosexual marriage vote: “The people have spoken. Australia wants to legalise Same Sex Marriage. As followers of Jesus we will now be subjected to much ridicule from the YES supporters. Do not let it get under your skin and lose your joy. God is still God.”

Well, yes and no. Sure God is still in charge. That much is a given. But does that mean we just put on a happy face and run with the vote? One might as well say, “The people have spoken. Germany wants to let Hitler rule over them. As followers of Jesus we will now be subjected to much ridicule from them. Do not let it get under your skin and lose your joy. God is still God.”

Um, that is being a bit glib and superficial when the stakes are extremely high. Sure, fake marriage legalisation is a different matter, but the stakes are still quite high here as well. In this case we are still being glib about the very real persecution which all this will release on the church.

“Don’t let it get under your skin” is not exactly the appropriate Christian response. A biblical response, as I have written elsewhere, is to first of all weep, and weep deeply as we see God and his Word so brazenly attacked, and his institutions of marriage and family trodden under foot.

A bit of righteous indignation would not go astray here either. This is something to be greatly concerned about, and not something to just put on the Bobby McFerrin tune, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. That is not what you would call the Christian response to this great evil being unleashed in this land.

Being so glib and so seemingly unconcerned is not going to help us here. These are serious days indeed, and we must act seriously, and forget the false piety and Christian bumper sticker clichés. These things matter, and we should be taking a stand against such things, and not just pretend it is all hunky dory.

Many of these people take this line to effectively say we should not give a rip about all the anti-Christian bigotry and hostilities in the West. “Relax” they say, “persecution is good for the church”. It may be good, but that gives us no reason to sit back and ignore the full-scale assault on our faith and our freedoms.

These things are worth fighting for. To smugly, glibly and self-righteously tell believers to just chill here, and not worry about all this, is a real abandonment of Christian responsibility. It is a copout and a refusal to take seriously our calling to be salt and light.

It just gives the green light for all those who hate the church to waltz right in and shut us down completely. Sorry, I will not be a part of such irresponsible and foolish thinking. Religious freedom is hugely important, and it is worth standing up for and seeking to preserve.

Sure, a day may come when despite all our best efforts, we really do lose most, if not all, of our freedoms. Then we will really face the music. But I will not sit back and let it happen on my watch. I will fight for what is right, and I will seek to allow our freedoms to preach the gospel and do good proceed unhindered.

In sum, as I have said so often before, the Bible nowhere tells us to seek after persecution or pray for it. Things like religious liberty are incredibly valuable social goods and a real gift from God. We should not take them lightly, but do all we can to preserve them.

But Scripture does promise us repeatedly that opposition, hatred and persecution is the regular lot of the believer. If and when we do lose our freedoms in the once free West, then we keep on keeping on, by the grace of God. Until that happens however, such freedoms are well worth fighting for.

And we must keep the bigger picture in mind here. As important as religious liberty is, this is ultimately about a full-fledged war on Christianity itself. That is the endgame here, and that is what all believers should be deeply concerned about.

As David French rightly put it, “The battle is not between gay rights and religious liberty—although religious liberty is certainly at stake—but between the sexual revolution and Christianity itself.” To be glib about this all-out war on our faith is not the right response.

Sure, it may have been predicted in Scripture. Sure, it may have occurred so often in church history. But that does not mean we just take a defeatist and reckless attitude here and put up the white flag of surrender. No, we stand and fight, even until we are the last man standing. Anything less is a dereliction of duty.

So please, stop the glib remarks. These are serious matters indeed, and not to be taken lightly. Platitudes and clichés just do not help here that much.

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15 Responses to Christians, Stop Being So Glib about This!

  • Thank You Bill, this is a timely article. God Bless you for such a stand.

  • I read daily of brothers and sisters who and persecuted and put to death – and they proclaim it only makes them stronger!
    Thanks for the enlightening post.

  • Very well put Bill and a great wake-up call for us as true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many folk have prayed earnestly that the yes vote would fail but your thoughts here throw a light on why the Lord has allowed the unthinkable to happen. May we as the church in Australia be prepared to continue to stand forcibly on the strong unchanging Word of God in these disturbing days. This worldview has seeped into many once God fearing churches and we need to be aware and move out of them. God Bless you in your efforts to keep us enlightened.

  • I have suffered quite considerable persecution in the work place and on occasions even had claimed Christians stand by and either do nothing or in fact take part in the persecution. I have had numerous false accusations made against me and even on one occasion brought to court, thankfully not coming to anything but not before I lost my job and had wasted considerable money on a useless legal defense. You don’t ever fully recover from these things and next time I doubt I will waste my money. What I find astounding in all of this is how many people think it’s OK to put someone out of a business that they loved, had spent a considerable effort and money to build up, often with the aim of handing the business over to their children and often with few other skills to fall back on or with the necessity that they sell their home or businesses with all the costs and problems associated with that but a homosexual can’t go to another shop to buy a wedding cake of get flowers or whatever. This is the astounding double standards that we face. The mind-blowing lie of “accommodation” only ever goes one way with Christians always the losers. My guess is that the persecution that I suffered through deceit and misuse of the law will be nothing compared to what Christians will suffer with the new legal support for their sinful position. It also very much concerns me how many preachers only seem to be concerned about who they will be forced to marry or how their schools will be affected but there is very much more at stake than that. Most people do not live their Christianity within the confines of the church.

  • Bill,

    I’ve contacted a few MPs offices about the consequences of the falsification of the Marriage Act by including the sexuality and gender theories which have created the idea “marriage is between any 2 people.” A sexual worker and their client will meet the criteria of the proposed amendment to the Marriage Act as they are “any 2 people” and the word “marry” will mean “unite as one.” A sex worker and their client are both people who can unite as one for legal government marriage benefits. They are also people who can have natural children or they can have children with other people. This means that the children may not know who they’re biologically related with so they could have a sexual relationship with a close relative in the future. A sex worker and their client also meet the criteria of a legal divorce by their marriage (unity) is “irretrievably broken down” when their love and commitment for benefits and service are completed.

    A falsified Marriage Act creates a “Harlot marriage” which tempts people to purchase a state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony as their legitimate marriage and then they feel bad because they have to deny the truth about the real genuine marriage as public commitment to a lifelong faithful “one flesh” union (consummation) between a husband and wife who can naturally procreate, nurture and raise new-life with a male and female role model because same-sex partners can’t practice this natural human behavioural practice.

    Do genuine Christians want Christian Church ministers and their adult children to be involved in a deregulated civil registered marriage practice which has a falsified Marriage Act and falsified legal divorce practice and a falsified Marriage Registry with a falsified civil registered marriage certificate?

    The Australian laws are only established to detect, prevent and criminalise harmful behaviours and practices in order to protect the public from harm. The NSW government regulates a legal prostitution practice by allowing payment between client to the sex worker but the sex worker has to be registered on a public registry so government authorities can detect, prevent and or criminalise the spread of STDs including drug-resistant diseases such as gonorrhoea and HIV/AIDS which cause infertility and a shorten life-cycle. Also, the sex worker must pay income tax and collect GST on behalf of the government. This legal prostitution practice will come into conflict with a newly created legal “Harlot marriage.”

    It is obvious that the falsified Marriage Act is no longer regulating a “one flesh” marriage because the harm of adultery and breaking of a marriage oath (marriage contract) are acceptable behaviour and practice in a “Harlot marriage.” When the Australian parliament exchange the truth of marriage for a lie this leads to the deregulation of the civil registered marriage practice. This means government authorities are no longer regulating (controlling) the harm caused by “one flesh” marriage such as adultery and breakage of a marriage oath.

    The Australian parliament is now going to treat a civil registration practice like a cat and dog registration with a local council but require a public ceremony for public evidence. This will allow the government authorities to monitor the amount civil registration of marriage for legal government benefits, but it will no longer include Christians who don’t want any legal government marriage benefits. However, the Australian government will eventually workout that giving government marriage benefits for a “Harlot marriage” isn’t protecting the public and society from harm.

    I explained to the MPs about the deregulation of Aged Care and Nursing Homes which allowed unqualified and inexperienced people into the practice, and this has lead to a deterioration of nursing care and treatment, and over time registered nurses have left the practice as the work load significantly increase and the reward of payment is significantly lower than in a hospital. The reports in the news about Aged care and nursing homes have been very negative with reports of abuse, neglect, inappropriate care and treatment. This means future clients would prefer to stay in their own home than go into an Aged Care facility or Nursing Home. A falsified Marriage Act will lead to a similar problem which Aged Care and Nursing Homes are now experiencing is that many qualified registered nurses refuse to go into this industry. Why would a genuine “one flesh” marriage want to purchase a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony when this is a fake marriage. I don’t care how much government marriage benefits are offered, but I will still refuse to purchase my NSW marriage certificate as this isn’t my “one flesh” marriage. I wouldn’t want my doctor to falsify a death certificate on behalf of the state, so why would I want a priest to falsify a marriage certificate on behalf of the state?

    I have been married for nearly 20 years without me purchasing my NSW marriage certificate (number on it) and the only thing that can make Penny Wong married (united) to her partner is the purchase of a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony for legal government marriage benefits. Christians are going to have to choose between a falsified legitimate marriage and a genuine “one flesh” marriage as these are extremely different behaviours and practices which is like a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) isn’t the same behaviour and practice as a legal abortion.

  • Amen Bill!

    Holy Spirit inspire us ALL in these ever-darkening days to continue to speak God’s Word of Truth – Lord Jesus Christ we know you are preparing us for the battles ahead.
    Father God, Forgive us for ALL we have not done to promote your blessed name.
    May Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done.

    Practically, people you need to start being wise as serpents (avoiding the snares set for us) & through the spiritual gift as discernment. {I’m talking to our solicitor this week – know your legal rights)
    Gentle as doves – Blameless in God’s eyes – Quietly assertive without being a pushover – acting in compassion but NEVER EVER compromising on God’s Truth.

    Wow – What challenging times……

  • www.crisismagazine.com/2015/can-christianity-survive-sexual-revolution… I find this piece fitting with your article…it looks like its already too late for traditional churches to do anything as the damage began already with the churches itself…..

  • Dear Bill,

    Please pardon my ignorance, but if same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia, would churches and other religious institutions be forced to conduct them? I can understand that the secular state might legalise the marriage contract, but can it really force its atheistic will on believers in God? If so, this is really shocking and woe to any so-called men-of-God who would go along with such sin and bless these unions.

  • Thanks Arnold. They are doing that overseas and many will want to see exactly the same done here.

  • Thanks Bill for an honest perspective. The enemy we face is ruthless and brutal. Look at Hillary Clinton and what she would have done to Christians and Conservatives…the mind boggles. We are only just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg here. We started talking to friends and family members about this around a decade ago and we got cut off and asked not to talk about it. One (Christian) friend made a big joke out of it amongst our friendship group and made us look really silly. Now they’re starting to see what’s happening in the world and some of them are acknowledging what we were saying way back then. Foolish looking or not, we have to speak out. There are Christians who choose to live with their heads in the sand and firmly resist having anyone try to take them out.

    My favourite quote: “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” (Winston Churchill)

  • Thanks Bill for this article. Persecution is a good thing, wow, the tenacity of such a statement is truly disconcerting. Say that to the 90,000 [conservative guess] Christians world-wide murdered [2016 alone] for their faith (Open Doors). That’s right, murdered, likely tortured, raped and brutalised for their faith. Persecution is good thing, the fatuousness is astonishing……Moreover, according to Open Doors, one out of every 12 Christians today experiences extreme persecution for their faith; the total comes to 215 million around the world!
    There are true horrors occurring in the world every day and the West either doesn’t cover it or brushes it off. This article alone from Gatestone Institute is enough for me to NEVER be glib about persecution (link below).
    American television networks devoted six times more air-time to covering the death of a gorilla, Harambe, than they did to the Islamic State beheading 21 Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya, according to a study by the Media Research Center. How is it possible that the killing of a gorilla moves the Western public more than 19 Yazidi girls burned alive in a cage? Few people saw the photograph of Khaled al Asaad, the brave archaeologist who refused to lead ISIS to the antiquities of Palmyra. The henchmen of ISIS beheaded him and hung him upside down. We turned away in horror.
    To be so glib in saying that persecution is merely inevitable or a bit of persecution is good for the church is appallingly shallow, one needn’t do much research to learn what people endure in the world merely for following Jesus. Notwithstanding that persecution does strengthen the church, this indeed has been evident throughout history, but to be so ignorant of what persecution is in reality truly is a sign of just how weak the church has become. I pray that I could have the strength to endure what these Christians had to and continue to endure. Likewise with you Bill, the ridicule and hatred spewed out against you for pointing to God’s word is more evidence of the bigotry against one particular group, Christians.
    www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10297/christians-persecution-indifference
    Keep up the wonderful inspiring work and God Bless you.

  • I believe that the church needs to orient itself towards persecution and not be as naive as it has been.

    It should be thinking about things like

    1. a fighting fund to fund the families of Christians caught up in defending themselves from ‘lawfare’, instead of using the money to fund the legal defence per se (our opponents will use court expenses to bleed us), and thus relieving much of the worry over the outcome for their families and enabling the defendant to speak boldly.

    2. Safe houses in cities and towns where families and individuals can hide in both short term and longer term.

    3. The ability to print and distribute written material and or internet material which the government deems illegal or discriminatory, without being traced.

    4. The ability to get families out of the country quickly when child protection comes calling …

    I agree with you Bill about not wanting or being complacent about persecution. But we should be facing the writing on the wall and using this time to prepare networks and strategies for the coming years.

  • I agree Lennard. While we are not to be glib about persecution nor seek it, we should indeed be preparing for much more of it to come in the West. Things will be getting worse before they get better I am afraid.

  • J Sheryl Adam raises some important points. In the past immoral people have often taken advantage of the laws that socialist governments have set up , I believe often specifically to promote immoral people. As I am approaching pension age within a decade and my wife has died if I did again come into a relationship I seriously think I will deliberately not have it sanctioned by the government. I would make every effort to ensure the relationship is sanctioned by God and is based on true fidelity but state “marriage” has now become an unclean thing and as such I no longer want to touch it.

  • Michael Weeks,

    My German forefathers only had home church wedding celebrations for their “one flesh” unions as they refused to get married in their King’s State church because he was blessing all of his immoral acts in it. They came to Australia in the mid 1800’s as free settlers for religious persecution and they built churches free of any state control. They had settled in Australian life quite well despite their poor English. Government authorities used public records to locate them in the first World War 1, and they were put into a concentration camp outside Melbourne. The only crime was their German surname, so they lived as second-class citizen and married other people with a German background. My great aunt who is now 96 years old told me many years ago that I should never trust the government.

    The recent postal survey was suppose to be about a “Yes” or “No” for same-sex couples can marry. What we find out after the survey result is that government authorities know a lot more information about us than just “Yes” or “No” such as our religious beliefs and whether this may have influenced us to vote “Yes” or “No.” Therefore, the government authorities (ABS) were extremely deceptive about this postal survey, and why should people to be honest with their opinion in the future when this information could be used against us.

    Big Brother is definitely watching us, and the Andrews government are wants to expand existing terrorist laws in order to detain people on grounds of right or left extremist. We don’t know what they would define as extremist nor hate speech which is more than ISIS. Jesus Christ and Paul would be classed as extremist and the Bible could be classed as hate speech. Nobody is safe when they’re on a public record that government authorities can easily access to locate them. Australians have definitely lost freedoms of religion, conscience, speech and the type of education for our children. I wouldn’t want to remain a healthcare practitioner if the Victorian government demanded in the future that healthcare practitioners must legally kill terminal ill patients with their consent.

    It is impossible to teach children that they have no right to take someone’s life, but say, “It’s right to legally kill terminal ill patients with their consent on behalf of the state,” as this would be extremely confusing information for any child to understand because it doesn’t even make sense to us. The Victorian parliament and Healthcare practitioners duty and role is to protect the public and society from harm, but this is impossibly when they can legally kill them with their consent as there isn’t anything more harmful than death. The Victorian Education is failing to teach children to be critical thinkers and this is the reason people are making such poor decisions in life.

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