Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whose Opinion Matters?

Michele and I just returned home from a trip across the country. This year we visited several friends and family scattered across the U.S. from Arizona to Wisconsin. There is really nothing new in that bit of news. We have taken a 6,000+ mile driving tour every two years for awhile now.

The shocking news and the reason I find myself writing today is a shift in American culture that has become too widespread to be ignored. Tolerance and Political Correctness have pushed Christian thought and Christ centered values out of the public forum. The new reality in America is everything is tolerated and everything is protected except Christian speech and Christ centered values. Imagine my surprise at the breakfast table, sitting in the heartland of America (Iowa City, Iowa) when I hear the anchor person of the morning news say, “Well, you realize they are Christians. So, they are incapable of reasonable intelligent decision-making.”

Psalm 111:9-10 “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (KJV)

            I must confess I was not paying attention to the news. I was enjoying breakfast with my wife, but we were both taken aback by the comment of that broadcaster. Michele and I are both Christian, both well educated, and both successful in our careers. Just hearing someone say that “Christians are incapable of reasonable intelligent decision-making” was an unwarranted slap in the face not only to us but to the whole concept of what was America.

Psalm 33:11-13 “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.” (KJV)

            Liberty, equality, justice, the value of life, each of these abstract concepts find their origin not in the mind of man, but in the revealed Word Of God. Reverence and respect for God’s opinion is the only thing that insures continued success as an individual or as a nation. Removing God for the public forum does not bless, strengthen or encourage us as a people it pushes us further down the slippery slope toward total depravity.

Hosea 4:5-7 “Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.” (KJV)

            The unfortunate truth is this attitude is not confined to those outside the church. It seems to have found its way inside and taken up residence. As Michele and I visited with friends in Indiana, they told us about an Evangelist and Christian music group who here turned away from Christian churches because the Pastors and their congregations did not want to hear messages about Salvation through Christ or songs about the Blood of Jesus. Does anyone else see a problem with this approach?

Hebrews 9:22 “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (NIV emphasis added)

Hebrews 10:19-23 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (NIV)

            Another stop in our travels found Michele and I at a church in Maplewood, Minnesota. We were blessed to attend their summer Sunday school. They invited published authors from the congregation to present different aspects and perspectives on the power of the written Word. In that class I was inspired to BLOG. Differences in perspective and approach bring to the discussion and debate a richness that cannot otherwise be achieved.

            My difference with the presenter that morning is rooted in an attitude toward Scripture. He said, “I purposefully left the Bible reference out of my writing.” I take the approach of purposefully and liberally putting them into my writing. Our faith is shaped by what we read. If we avoid or neglect the foundation of the Bible, what foundation are we left with and how can we decide whose opinion matters?

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (KJV)

            God’s opinion matters. His Word is eternal and as His children Christians, cannot allow their speech to be marginalized or Christ centered values to be pushed out of the public forum. Liberty, equality, justice, and the value of life are Christian values and America was once a Christian nation. Speak freely and articulately about what you believe and why you hold those truths as sacred, but do not compromise your faith to satisfy another’s sense of Political Correctness.

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