One War On Two Fronts

Imprimis_Share-250x235I’m a Canadian — born and raised in Saskatchewan. But Kathleen and I lived for 18 years in the United States where I went to college and seminary and where we served pastorates. We now live in Canada but spend five-and-a-half months each winter in Florida.

This means when we are home in Canada we listen to Canadian cultural and political news, and when we are in Florida we get American cultural and political news.

In both countries, it seems the news media we follow report the same culture war between sexual revolutionaries and Christianity.

The sexual revolution is not new, tracing its beginning to the years following the Second World War, intensifying in the sixties of the last century, but in recent years showing open and increasingly malicious opposition to the Judeo-Christian roots of the western world.

The April, 2015 issue of Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, reports a speech given there on this subject in April by David French, a writer for the National Review.

He says, “… the battle is not between gay rights and religious liberty … but between the sexual revolution and Christianity itself.” In his long piece he convincingly supports his contention.

Yet, there is a guarded optimism in his presentation. He contends that “From the grassroots to the intellectual elite, conservatives are girding themselves for the long war, and a long war it will be.”

Those who cast this conflict in favor of gay rights have come forth with fierce aggression. By attempting to overwhelm the culture they try to define committed same-sex relationships as equivalent to marriage.

But French casts a ray of hope. Pointing to the church, he writes, “not a single orthodox denomination is making or even contemplating such (doctrinal) changes” so as to support the same-sex “marriage” drive.

“This means,” he goes on, “that tens of millions of Americans will remain – indefinitely – opposed to the continuing expansion of the sexual revolution.”

At the same time as I read David French I read a news report from Christian Week here in Canada for the same month. It was headed, “Christian Worldview Under Fire.” Christian Week is a substantial and thoughtful evangelical paper published in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Christian Week piece is about Craig McCartney, a member of the Canadian parliament from Vancouver Island, and his decision to leave the conservative party to sit as an independent. He does so, he says, to get greater freedom to speak out more effectively against what he calls an attempt by atheism to silence the Christian worldview.

With a federal election in view, he says, there exists a smear campaign “to undermine and discredit those who hold a Christian worldview in politics, law, medicine and academia.”

This threat can be documented from many incidents. Here are just two examples: On both sides of the border, heavy fines have been leveled against small businesses when, for reasons of conscience, proprietors refuse certain services intended for religious observances. And the legal establishment’s effort to keep a university from creating a law school simply because the university is a Christian institution.

If David French is right when he writes “a long war it will be” then Christians on both sides of the border must face the questions: Is it going to be a war worth fighting? How do we wage spiritual, not carnal, warfare in a conflict like this? In such an environment can the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of marriage be shored up, at least in the Christian community?

Here are three things Christians — whether nominal, Protestant, Charismatic, Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, etc — can do to make our influence more clearly felt in the ensuing struggle. First, there is widespread need on both sides of the border to take the Christian faith more seriously at the personal level.

St. Peter wrote to Christians in deeply troubled times: “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3). That could mean revival.

Second, we should commit ourselves by prayer and participation to strengthen the local church we are a part of. Congregations of all sizes are in need of a deepening in both pulpit and pew that will make them greater spiritual powerhouses in our world.

Third, there is need for Christians in greater numbers to make our voice heard more clearly in public life – via comments to or from the various media we have access to, in public discussions, and in private conversations.

May the prophetic words of the prophet, Amos, never apply to the present community of faith on this continent at this critical time: “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion” (Amos 6:1).

 

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Image credit: imprimis.hillsdale.edu

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2 thoughts on “One War On Two Fronts

  1. Pastor you get the news in USA & Canada,a very large region of our planet. I get the news in my country,UK,a small group of islands on the other side of the ‘pond’. I’m sorry to tell you the news here in UK,your parents original land, is similar to yours.

    I have often heard that in North America,conservatives are fighting against the sexual revolution.Here it is the opposite.The conservatives are leading the sexual revolution.The UK Conservative party last year, at last succeeded in getting through patliament, a law to legalize same gender marriage.

    UK is probably different to Canada and North America ,in that we are an established Christian state,even though our church attendance is woefully less than yours..

    Our head of state,Queen Elixabeth ,has the title ‘Defender of the Faith’The Church of England and the Church of Scotland ( Anglican churches) are recognized by law as the official churches of UK ,the established churches,subject to regulation by law.The Anglican Church in Wales,my mother country,,a stronghold of nonconformity both Wesleyan and Baptist, was disestablished in 1920 .The Church in Northern Ireland ,nation of presbyterians and Catholics ,disestablished even earlier,in 1869.

    There is no established church in any other nation in the Queen’s realm – not in Canada ,Australia,New Zealand or any other Commonwealth nation.

    Our head of state must be a Protestant Anglican , though our prime minister can be any Christian denomination,,or Jewish like Disraeli ,or even atheist.Gladstone,an Anglican PM,tried but happily failed to exclude all Catholics and nonconformists,all but Anglicans,from political office..

    Christian leaders have been integral parliamentary leaders in my country since before the Reformation.

    In our second parliamentary chamber,the House of Lords,sit 26 Lords spiritual,all bishops in the Anglican church.They read prayers at the start of each days business and .are fully active in law making and in the political life of the second House.They often admonish governments for their unchristian treatment of the poor, being naturally obedient to Christ’s commands to look after the poor.The Lords spiritual regularly call upon people to serve Christ before Mammon.

    The Lords spiritual do not represent a party or a constituency.Their vocation is to lead the people in prayer and to preach God’s word.And to represent Christians as well as all people of faith who believe in God.The Lords spiritual ,as Anglicans,do not condone same gender marriage.This is not allowed in any Christian church I know of in the UK.Same gender marriages would have to occur in registry offices.

    I’m not even sure if a registry office marriage is a Christian marriage.Is it a marriage under the Lord if the couple don’t even invite the Lord’s presence? I don’t know.

    In any case the Conservative government of UK legalized and now champions same gender marriage.They can’t make the churches hold same gender weddings.I know of no such thing as a UK same gender church wedding.

    Yet UK Christians who do not support same gender msarriage,who stand for Biblical standards in life ,now face legal action.An example was on the BBC news this very day.

    Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with no sitting Conservative MP.It is the only part of the UK where ‘gay’ marriage is still banned

    Nevertheless a Northern Ireland bakery,Ashers bakery, run by devout Christians, is facing legal action The bakery had been asked to make a ‘gay ‘themed cake by the pressure group ‘Queerspace’ who campaign for same gender marriage.’

    Queerspace’ provocatively demanded the Christians bake and ice them a cake featuring Sesame street characters,, nodding to America’s pionerring ‘gay’ marriage.’Queerspace demanded the Christian bakers ice the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’.The Christian bakers refused.

    In its statement, the firm’s general manager, Daniel McArthur, said: “The directors and myself looked at it and considered it and thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was at odds with what the Bible teaches, and on the following Monday we rang the customer to let him know that we couldn’t take his order.’’

    Mr McArthur said the company had offered to fully refund the customer, who wanted to have the logo of the pressure group QueerSpace on the cake
    He said: “We thought that was the end of it, but approximately six weeks later we received a letter from the Equality commission. The commission’s letter said that we had discriminated against the customer on the grounds of his sexual orientation.”

    Mr McArthur said he was very surprised by the watchdog’s letter and had asked the Christian Institute, an evangelical pressure group, for advice. The institute supports the bakery’s stance and is providing legal assistance.
    McArthur said: “I feel if we don’t take a stand on this here case, how can we stand up against it, further down the line?”

    He added that it was not the first time his company had refused cake orders: “In the past, we’ve declined several orders which have contained pornographic images and offensive, foul language.”

    The Equality commission for Northern Ireland said: “In this case the commission has granted assistance to the complainant, and has written to the company concerned on his behalf. The commission will consider any response before taking further action.”

    It seems to me people are trying to force these Irish Christian bakers to renounce their Christian beliefs

    .In Iraq,Afghanistan,Libya ,Nigeria,Somalia and Egypt ,anti Christians are trying to force Christians to renounce their faith at sword point.If they refuse ,the Christians are beheaded.Many refuse and are beheaded.
    In Ireland anti Christians are similarly trying to force Christians to renounce their faith.

    In this case the persecution is not so brutal or violent,but it is needless and vindictive,a clear provocation..Christians are threatened with litigation here,not beheading.It is still Christian persecution ,carried out in order to prevent Christians following their Biblical faith.A clear attempt to limit freedom of faith.

    May we Christians under attack be ,as Simon Peter ,Christ’s Cephas ,called for ,be innocent as new born babies. Yet ,as Amos warned,be not complacent in Zion.

    This weeks ‘Just Call Me Pastor’ blog is a timely call to faith.

  2. There’s been a development in the Ashers bakery affair.It’s all over the UK news day and night,and has become known as ‘Cakegate’.

    The latest development is the Irish Christian bakers who refused to bake a cake for a clien,t with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’,have been fined £ 500 by an Irish court.

    Politicians from all the major UK political parties have lined up to agree with the court decision – Conservative,Labour and Liberal all side against the Christian bakers..

    All through last night ordinary Christians phoned in the BBC radio stations to complain this was unfair.The support for the bakers was pleasing.

    But all politicians and broadcasters seemed to argue that the Christian bakers should be fined for standing up for what they believe. It seems so unjust.Especially as same gender marriage is still illegal in Northern Ireland where the court fined the bakers.

    Pastor Don,you have put your finger on something very worrying that is happening now in the West.A few decades ago I wouldn’t have thought such a state of affairs were possible.Pastor ,you seem to have seen this coming.Christians really should stand together to uphold Christian Biblical standards in public life.

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