Saturday, April 21, 2018

Persecution: The Church Is Under Siege, Does New California Bill Ban The Bible?, 'How Long Will I Be Allowed To Remain A Christian?

The Church is Under Siege

Alf Cengia 

Anyone who keeps track of the news should be somewhat aware that the church is under siege to varying degrees. The components of these attacks on the church vary depending on the global region. They range from mild persecution to outright murder.

One only has to track websites such as Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs for examples of extreme persecution and suffering which Christians are daily subjected to around the world.
Gatestone Institute writer Raymond Ibrahim  documents incidents as they occur. At the time of writing he has collected 2017 summary data for February and April. Unfortunately, as Ibrahim and others regularly point out, western churches generally ignore these atrocities.

The church is under siege in America too.

While Christians aren't being slaughtered here, there has been a progressive movement to silence (or mock) Christianity in the public arena and in schools. In a recent incident - by no means unusual - prayers were disallowed over a public school PA system because of an atheist complaint.

There are numerous reports documenting similar instances. One 2017 National Review article cites cases where the ACLU has taken litigation to religious entities. It notes:

Religious schools adhering to the historic vision of marriage are also at risk. They stand to lose accreditation and nonprofit tax status as well as eligibility for student loans, vouchers, and education savings accounts.

In 2015 John MacArthur's The Master's Seminary was threatened for its stance on biblical marriage. I commented on it HERE. Notably, that particular threat was supported by a professing Christian activist.

So the Western Church is also under siege. Despite the above cases, the real threats come from professing Christians. I see two main danger areas. Some will no doubt disagree with me.

The first one is a trend to conflate the gospel with social concerns such as racism, immigration and LGBT issues. I don't want to belabor this point too much as these areas are sensitive, contentious, and beyond the scope of this article.

But, for example, Thabiti AnyabwileMatt Chandler and David Platt recently raised the specter of racism in the church, the police force, and white America. Are they right? You can read the links responding to these people, at your leisure if you're inclined.

In one controversial interaction, the biblical definition of the gospel suddenly became blurred. This is very serious. Is the gospel directly related to racial diversity? Why aren't churches more racially diverse?

I liked what one pastor wrote in a Facebook comment: "Racial diversity is the outflow of the Gospel, not its specific aim." (See Col 3:10-11)  And this: "...we should insist on fighting for the purity of the gospel in any culture. That should be our battle cry."
A recent conference convened by high-profile Christians had the word "revival" tagged to its name. However its focus wasn't the kind of spiritual revival Christians should associate with. This was a contra-Trump Social Justice rally. Any true revival must involve getting back to our first love - Jesus Christ.

The second area has dogged the church since its inception. It is the systematic attack on God's word in the Christian market place. The movement professes to rescue the Bible from fundamentalism. In fact books written by these progressive Christians are designed to downgrade the authority of the Bible.

Remember that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would guide His apostles "into all truth" (John 16:12-15). What they wrote in the New Testament is therefore authoritative. And, like Christ, they respected the authority of the OT as well.

God has revealed Himself through His written word. We can't honor and pretend to know Christ while picking and choosing from Scripture based on personal preference. It leads to confusion, the embracement of sin and, finally, apostasy.

In the book The Inerrant Word John MacArthur notes that over the course of his ministry he's seen the worst attacks on Scripture coming from professing Christians rather than skeptics. But MacArthur points out that God is ultimately in control. He cites Puritan Thomas Watson:

The church is under siege, globally, and by different means. God sovereignly allows this for His own reasons. There may well come a time when Christians in the West experience the type of persecution seen in other parts of the world. If this occurs it could be for the church's good.
Despite all this we have assurance in the many precious promises found in God's word. Ironically this is the same source which is downgraded by progressive Christians.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:37-39
God is always in control. 

A new bill in California is said to be so vaguely written in its attempt to silence those who would seek to help those who are confused about their gender and sexual attraction that some, including a gubernatorial candidate, have said that if it became law it could be used to ban such books as the Bible.
Assembly Bill 2943 was introduced by open sodomite and member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus Evan Low (D).
The bill was shortly discussed on One America News in an interview with California State Assembly member Travis Allen, who is running for governor as a Republican.

Liz Wheeler asked Allen, "This is essentially criminalizing religious beliefs. And I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole here, but if this bill were to pass, would this prohibit the sale of the Bible, that teaches these things about sexual morality?"
"Well, literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would," Allen answered.  "This is, you know, PC culture, politically correct culture, gone horribly awry. This is really directly hitting at our First Amendment rights as American citizens. Now the Democrat legislators in this building, right behind me, the California state legislature, they want to tell you how to think, what sort of books that you can read, write and purchase."
Immediately, it should be noted that this bill states clearly demonstrable lies that cannot be substaniated.

Now, immediately many outlets latched onto the fact that the bill is so vague that it could potentially be used to ban the Bible, and I believe rightly so.
Tyler O'Neill at PJMedia writes:

Assembly Bill 2943 (A.B. 2943) would amend the Consumer Legal Remedies Act to ban as "unfair or deceptive acts or practices ... the sale or lease of goods or services" that promote "sexual orientation change efforts." If enacted, this law would enable any LGBT person to object to any good or service promising freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with a gender opposite your birth sex) as "fraudulent."
The Consumer Legal Remedies Act, passed in 1970, banned unfair commercial practices in order to protect consumers who had been duped or misled. As A.B. 2943 explains, "Existing law authorizes any consumer who suffers damages as a result of these unlawful practices to bring an action against that person to recover damages, among other things."
The new bill would add "sexual orientation change efforts" to the list of banned practices. A.B. 2943 defines these efforts as "any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."

“How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian?”
That was the deeply dismaying question posed to me by a friend with four young children as we discussed the plight of the Christian faith in America and around the world.
With each passing month, that shocking question becomes more relevant and even more disturbing.
To say that Christians and Christianity are under a withering and brutal attack in certain areas of the world would be an understatement.
In various parts of the Middle East, there is a genocidal cleansing of Christians being carried out. Women, men, and their young children are being slaughtered because of their faith and world leaders and most of the media turn their backs in bored indifference.
Here in the United States, Christians and Christianity are mocked, belittled, smeared and attacked by some on a daily basis. This is a bigoted practice that is not only increasing exponentially, but is being encouraged and sanctioned by a number on the left.
Too many of those who worship at the altar of political correctness have deemed that Christianity should no longer be respected. Rather, they assail it on a regular basis in a coordinated campaign to weaken the faith and its base.
The prevailing view in much of the media is that Christianity is aligned with Republicans, conservatives, or the views of President Trump – and therefore must be diminished and made suspect.
The New Yorker just described the opening of a few Chick-fil-A restaurants in New York City as “Pervasive Christian traditionalism,” and a “Creepy infiltration of New York City.”
Christianity is an “infiltration” to some on the left.
In college, they now teach about the evils of “Christian Privilege.” On Broadway and in theaters around the world, mocking Christians has become a massively profitable money-making venture.
In name, on the crucifix, and in art, Jesus Christ is desecrated in the most twisted and obscene of ways. In movies, on television and online, Christians are portrayed in the most dishonest, prejudiced and insulting of ways.
Across the country, Christian colleges are under constant assault from “social justice warriors” seeking to strip their accreditation and put them out of business.
Christian groups on campus are at times being persecuted, their offices and handouts vandalized, with members even being physically assaulted.
In a nation that is still majority Christian, those who follow the faith have been litigated or brow-beaten into being fearful to utter the words “Merry Christmas,” or to display a Nativity scene celebrating the one and only reason there is a Christmas Day.
Want to stay true to your Christian faith in the most innocuous and giving of ways?
To do so is becoming more perilous by the minute, when you stop to ponder just a sampling of the negative consequences. For example:
A high school football coach is fired for taking a knee in prayer. A teacher is fired for giving a Bible to a student who requested it. A Marine is cursed at and then court-martialed for not removing a Bible verse from her computer. Another Bible verse posted by sailors in a military hospital is labeled “extremism.”
For me personally, I continue to be ridiculed for writing and speaking about a vision I had regarding the 40 days after the resurrection.
If you are a practicing Christian in the United States and open about it, you, your congregation and your organization will become a target of some sort. It is only a matter of time.
Ironically, in some very real and ominous ways, it’s as if we are being transported back to ancient Rome.
Will we soon have to meet with fellow Christians in secret? Will we have to whisper our beliefs from the shadows? Will those Christians with “traditional” beliefs lose their jobs and livelihoods if discovered?
As more and more of the mainstream media, entertainment, academia and the hi-tech world continue to purge or discriminate against Christians, what future job fields will be open to young Christians?
Will those Christian children eventually be forced to renounce or deny their faith in order to get a job and provide for their families?
As a Christian, I truly do have the deepest respect for every faith. The vast majority of people of every faith are beyond good and do seek to follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Why do so many on the left, in the media, entertainment and academia not practice that most simple, loving and humane of rules when it comes to the Christian faith?

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