WHEN RIGHT IS WRONG AND WRONG IS RIGHT

One of our new staff members was at a family gathering when she was asked where she was now working?  When she told them she started a job in the office of Church of the Rock.  The response was immediate and vicious;  “OH GOD, YOU WORK FOR THAT FASCIST NAZI!!  How bad could your last church and job been if you enjoy working there!!!!!” A Fascist Nazi?  I’ve been called worse, but it is hard for me to take it personally since nothing in my philosophy of life could be construed as Fascism or Nazism.  The lowest form of disagreement is always childish name calling.  It is pretty much water off a duck’s back to me.

I am a little  surprised by some of the names I am called though.  Because I believe in ‘traditional marriage’ –  that of a man and a woman, I am often referred to as an ‘extreme right wing radical’.    Since when did being a ‘traditionalist’ become ‘extreme radicalism’? This definition of marriage has been accepted for 1000′s of years and by every culture and every major religion on the planet.  But in the last ten years we have become radicals.  The same can be said for the issue of abortion.  I have been told I was ‘evil’ because I did not support a woman’s right to abortion.  Let’s think this through a little.  Because I think it is wrong for innocent unborn babies to be murdered by their own mothers, I am somehow evil?   Isaiah wrote of this day centuries ago when he said,   Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)  What a great description of where we are living today.  It is becoming harder and harder to hold to a biblical worldview with every passing day.

You may have noticed that many preachers are becoming softer and softer on the hot button issues as it is becoming more and more unpopular to take these positions.  People don’t want to hear that pornography, or divorce, or premarital sex are sin.  So they are mentioned less and less form the pulpit as pastors, perhaps unwittingly, are attempting to avoid being branded a crazy hell-fire and brimstone fundamentalist out of sync with his world.

Paul warned us about this day.  All who desire to live godly will suffer persecution. Too often we don’t recognize persecution for what it is when it comes.  Today persecution comes in the form of being told that we are wrong when we do right and right when do wrong.  It can be very intimidating.  I got a great real life illustration about this a month ago.  We had a huge White Pine fall down in storm and land in the lake at our families summer cottage.   I decided to limb the tree lying in the water and burn the huge branches to try to clean up some of the mess to the shore line.  I had noticed the day before that the fire hazard was high but did not see a restriction posted.  I built a fire on the shore and started cutting branches with the chainsaw, letting them fall into the lake.  My nephews were retrieving  the branches and throwing them on the fire.  The white smoke from the wet wood was billowing into the air.  Spotting the smoke a boater came by and angrily said there was a fire restriction in place and that I should put out the fire.  At first I did not believe him and kept burning.  Ten minutes later I hear a helicopter in the distance.  I knew that meant a visit from the Ministry of Natural Resources.  I told my nephews to douse the fire.  By the time the helicopter got there the fire was out but the white smoke was 100′s of feet in the air.  The chopper could not land and so circled us 4 or 5 times in a very intimidating manner.  The next morning the MNR arrived by boat with four officers.  I was quite nervous and figured we were in for a big fine.  After inspecting the burn site they told us that someone had reported a forest fire (the boater).  They said the burn site was appropriate, the fire was set at the proper time of day (evening), there was NO BURNING RESTRICTION in place and that we were within our rights to be burning.  Here I was doing absolutely nothing wrong yet due to the intimidation I got convinced that what I was doing was wrong.  That is what moral intimidation can do to us.  Even when we know better we can get convinced that right is wrong and wrong is right.

More than ever we need to be holding fast to the standard of God’s word concerning right and wrong.  If we are not careful we will be led down the garden path and convinced of all kinds of things that are not God’s will for us at all.  It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I am convinced the the bible is God’s greatest gift to man, for without it we would not know right from wrong.”

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30 Responses to WHEN RIGHT IS WRONG AND WRONG IS RIGHT

  1. Betty says:

    With everything, that is happening around us, I think your are doing a good job, Pastor Mark!
    This week, I was reminded of one message you had, Pastor Mark, earlier this year and part of it is something like this, “Don’t listen to the critics, just get on with what has to be done, you will always have opposition”.

    Jesus revealed to me, not so long ago, what it meant to live as a born again christian, instead of me asking myself, what am I supposed to do for Jesus, He answered and said: “Let JESUS LIVE Through You,” then I realized, I did not have to work so hard, to do the job, Jesus will do that through me and He will help us to do the right thing.

    I can only imagine a good atmosphere, surrounding at your new staff member’s job.

  2. Bruno says:

    Messages like these will sadly become more and more prominent in the follow years. I was just reading a chapter about “Reputation” and how God wishes us to have good reputation. However, as you said, it is now normal for pastors to feel like they need to accept everything to please everyone. The second part of the problem is a bit like Obama’s health plan. He’s been called a Nazi, a fascist… until people realized what the correct insult should have been, but in the meantime, shouting random evil words seemed fair.

    On a positive note, would I be right to say that you’ve been called more names locally than internationally on mission trips?

    (I’m in Japan) After discussing with people who went to help in the flood region, I was not only surprised to hear how interested they were of the Gospel but also that those who weren’t were still intrigued by it even if some of it might have gone heavily against their belief. The sometimes dangerous, yet peaceful “agree to disagree.” The deep understanding that some people hold different belief.

  3. Lorne says:

    Pastor Mark, thank you for continuing to preach with honesty and conviction. Your commitment to Biblical preaching that includes encouraging faith building sermons, but does not leave out the fact that we still need to confront our many short comings is why we are there each Sunday.

    It concerns me greatly when I hear of movements to remove the so called negative aspects of Christianity so that no gets offended. Maybe I am old fashioned but I think a good sermon should make me squirm in my seat a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I like to feel all warm and fuzzy, but I am not naive enough to believe that there is not something about me that can only be changed by the power of God.

    So Pastor, stand strong and keep firing! Your commitment to staying true to your calling will ensure that many will find the incredible saving power of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

  4. Karen L says:

    Now I know that I’ve ranted down this road before….Highschool…grrr…(shaking fist.)I am so incredibly frustrated, I can hardly stand it.

    I stood in line during highschool registration with another Christian parent, and she was telling me how her son almost got kicked out of school for wearing a shirt that said “straight pride” on it because it was offending someone in the classroom. Then with another Christian parent who said her son was also sent to the principal’s office for standing up for Christianty in the classroom.

    SO TODAY I’m looking through my daughter’s Social 30 textbook and there are bible quotes in there that are taken totally out of context to get the point across about idealology and how unrealistic the Christian worldview is!!! Then in English 30, they are learning about Darwinism…why in English I’ll never know. My daughter wants to confront the teacher, bible in hand, and tell her how offensive she finds this. How am I supposed to let her go into that firey furnace? It’s getting harder and harder for my kids to keep positive about living their faith where they are at, right now.

    It’s not “movements” of persecution. It’s a constant battle out there! It’s everyday, little drips that make a big puddle, but the minute you make a little ripple, the people who are against what Christ stood for make a big splash.

    Keep up the good work Mark! I wish there were more Pastors like you out there that aren’t afraid to share the true gospel and not sugar coat everything all the time.

    • Tara says:

      Karen -
      I’m a teacher and most of my friends are, of all different ages. Some of us are Christian, some of us atheist, some of us indifferent. I can tell you one thing – any GOOD teacher will welcome a student’s own point of view and individual beliefs! My teacher friends and I LOVE to hear students using their voice! Maybe your daughter should just bring up some counter-points to Darwinism in class and see if a healthy conversation ensues. I’ve heard even Einstein said after all his years of studying that the idea of no creator is absolutely impossible :)
      OR maybe your daughter should offer her teacher Lee Strobel’s “The Case for a Creator” or “The Case for Faith” or “The Case for Christ” as a comparative book study. That might be a little too cheeky, though, depending on the teacher!
      Whatever she does, as long as it’s done respectfully, should be welcomed by her teacher.

      • Karen L says:

        So she went to the teacher on Friday and explained that she felt that as a Christian, that putting bible verses in the textbook to be used as negative examples was offensive. The teacher explained that as a Christian that he is not allowed to explore Christian world view in the classroom, and that he didn’t like how it was presented either! So then why put it in the curriculum? You are not allowed to “encourage” Christianity discussion in the classroom, but you are allowed to rip it apart? There is something totally wrong with that…
        I wish you were her teacher Tara…I will get a copy of those books for her.

        • Tara says:

          Weird…there’s nothing in our contracts saying that we can’t talk about different beliefs – including Christianity. I’m sure we’re not allowed to PUSH our beliefs on students, but a healthy conversation about differences should be welcomed. Oh well…
          Your daughter gets an A+ for bravery and she should be very proud of her voice!

          • Jusuf says:

            We as a family of 5 live in this country for the past 6 years, and last year, I began to pray about God mercy in opening the door again for christian values in public school (PS). Beginning of this month, as a parent of 5 grade daughter, we received newsletter mentioning about requirement to have religion in PS. I believe, muslims have taken this opportunity in some big cities in US and Canada. Sometimes I wander why many churches in this city stay quiet.

            Meanwhile since I love watching the history channel about alien, proof of bible history and even darwin’s theory with my daughters & my wife, I always make an additional comment (not about right or wrong) for all of us to see a big pictures how the commentator said about alien or the theory and compare to the findings of bible from other film. The conclusion was there’s no such things as an atheist, because even the atheist still believe in “Ex/alien/supreme being”. They just do not want to say GOD. There’s always a missing link in the theory that cannot be explained by the commentator. The reason people refused to say GOD, because they have had bad experienced with anything related to the word “GOD” from someone, parent, institution etc. On the other hand, as a parent we should be able to explain how muslim who devoted themselves to GOD do hate and kill jews, christians and other muslims. It’s sad when a church differentiate christian and islam with just between Jesus and Allah …. it’s a bad answer

  5. Isaac says:

    I find it very interesting the different perspectives I’ve seen with unbelievers. There was one time at work somehow the topic of living common-law came up, and I mentioned how it was wrong, and was literally laughed at, “don’t wanna be livin in sin eh. haha”. Yet when I talked about how I think couples should commit to each other if they really valued each other, they full-heartedly agreed. They just didn’t see how those 2 statements don’t mix.

    It seems to me the world wants all the benefits of a life devoted to Christ, (joy, peace, better relationships, meaning, purpose) but without actually devoting their life to Him. It’s the original sin, wanting to be like God. Refusing to submit to the One who loves us perfectly. Thinking we can manage this life ourselves. And that’s something that every day we all deal with too.

  6. Sally says:

    Well Pastor Mark at least you haven’t been called “a Chrislam” yet! Thank God for that, of course!
    I was flipping the tv channels the other day and heard a woman speaking about some group as “haters”…I am not sure what she was referring too but it did catch my attention as I think I heard that same phrase in one of those endtime movies that called Christians “haters”…I suppose those days are next. In fact, I believe this happens after the rise of antisemitism and hatred to the Jews first then it happens to us believers in Jesus Christ. I think that day is fast approaching. Today we are seeing hatred being displayed to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the media and in reality in Europe. And with the upcoming UN vote on the 21st, where the Palestians are seeking their own separate state , we will see an escalation of more pronounced persecutuion of Israel.
    Yes I agree that people want to have all the benefits of a Christian but not really wanting to be a “real” Christian. The time is coming when darkness will cover the land and it will be that the only light seen will be the light of the real Christians. The darkness is getting darker so we should not be surprised that satan is doing his best to deceive as many people as possible such as we are seeing with the corruption in the school curriculum. May the Lord give us much wisdom and direction as we take our stand for truth and righteousness.

  7. Jim says:

    It is getting increasingly worse, this right is wrong and wrong is right event….the next few years should be painfully interesting…but mainline Christianity has a big problem…they cannot speak too vehemently about the “hot button” issues such as abortion and homosexuality etc, because of the so called human rights legislation. This coupled with the churches’ tied to the government through tax exemptions, and it seems it has effectively muzzled pastors from speakng out with “fire and brimstone” from the pulpit on these issues…this is sad. ..very sad..this is probably why we do not hear them hammering away on these subjects, and policies which encourage this abhorrent behaviour…so if we think it is bad now “we ain’t seen nothing yet” as the saying goes…these minority satanic groups will be all right and churches will be all wrong..(moreso than now)..and the government will stand by these satanic groups…so fasten your seat belts folks we are in for a bumpy flight the next few years, until Jesus comes back to our rescue!

    • Jim says:

      Christmas tree??? That should be offensive to all christians…read Jeremiah 10 where God forbids this tree thing as it is a pagan ritual…come on Christians before you condemn Muslims learn what our own Bible says so we are doing the correct thing!

  8. lesley says:

    The important thing is to go ahead and be verbally abused by nonbelievers, because that is what Jesus told us we would go through.

    I also knew of someone whose child was sent home from school with a note about his T-shirt – it was of Christ on the cross, his arms stretched out, and it said, ‘I love you this much’. It was apparently offensive to some of the students! Probably as offensive as a Christmas tree.

    I was taught that the bible is the word of God, and you can’t twist anything in it around to suit yourself. Gee, I guess I would be called all kinds of nasty things for having such a ‘black and white’ attitude!

  9. Sally says:

    Kudo’s to your daughter, Karen L. She is bold in her faith. Maybe you can get her to go to Toronto to the Valley Park Middle School and talk some sense into the School board there that is allowing Muslims to hold prayer in the school cafeteria!
    My big concern these days is the big inroads the Muslims are gaining in our schools. U of M now has room where Muslims can pray. And now this in the Valley Park Middle school, what next Sharia law?
    Just the other day at the St.Vital Mall I encountered a Muslim woman, or she may be a Canadian, I couldn’t really tell as she was wearing a black, head to toe burkha with only her eyes showing. It is very intimidating and upsetting, as I for one do not want to live as a woman under Sharia law which could easily happen if nothing is done about it.
    There is a Quebec female MP that is already trying to promote sharia law in Quebec….what is going to take to get our country back? And in answer to my own question, brave young woman like your daughter karen L who are not afraid to stand up for truth and righteousness!

  10. Sally says:

    I have to add a footnote as Quebec said a definite no to Sharia law but Ontario has not. Quebec is trying to get a law in place to ban the wearing of the Hajib, the muslim headscarf in Canada which I hope will pass. There is hope for our country afterall!

  11. lesley says:

    Yes, I have some of the same concerns as Sally. I know that not all muslim people are extremists, but it does bother me that this country was founded on Christian principles and I’m quite sure that we, as Christians, would not be allowed to build our churches and force our own belief rules in their countries, the way they are doing here.

    It bothers me that there are books about witchcraft in school libraries, but you are not allowed to mention God or Jesus in a school.

    And I’m really tired of this ‘Holiday’ season stuff, that we can’t even have the word ‘Christmas’ anymore, because it might offend someone. We really DO need to take our country back, but it’s probably too late, because it would be politically incorrect to demand that people who come here from other countries conform to our belief system.

    They can have their own beliefs, but why do we all have to conform to their rules and demands? I heard that in Denmark and Sweden, the children all used to be able to take swimming lessons together, boys and girls all laughing and having fun in the pool. But now the Muslim population has insisted that boys and girls must have their swimming lessons separately, and the school board has to go along with it.

    I really don’t think that I am a prejudiced person, but I’m pretty sick of all this.

  12. Jasmine says:

    It’s amazing how insidious “Deception” can be. The bible talks about how even the elect can be deceived. The “Accuser” can come in many forms, and usually very subtly.

    I’m sure you felt the accusation quite intensely, Pastor Mark, when that boater yelled at you about the fire restriction. We need to be on our guard and ask God for discernment, because the devil pounces when we let our guard down.

    He thrives on our fears and uncertainty, and those pastors who are uncertain or wishy-washy about their position on certain subjects that the bible is very clear about will have to answer to God if they have compromised their faith.

  13. Sally says:

    Pastor Mark,

    I watched the jets play their first game in 15 years. I thought it was so enjoyable. Except the fighting. These grown men are intentionally trying to hurt each other while defending their team mates and the fans are rejoicing. It is obviously wrong from a biblical standpoint. And furthermore, assault is illegal. Do you think this is an example of your quote from the prophet Isaiah?

  14. Sally Y says:

    Well,this Sally, unfortunately missed the Jets game due to other commitments. Being a hockey Mom to my sons and now a hockey Grandma, I can definitely say that hockey has changed as has many sports. It certainly has gotten rougher and the emphasis is win at all costs. That is why we are seeing great players like Sydney Crosby suffering on the sidelines with a concussion. Lou Engle(The Call in the US) gave a great insight to the God of Sports and how prevalent this idol is. He speaks of the stadium as the temple where sports fans gather together to worship their favorite sport Gods. We have come a long way from playing hockey on the pond like my Dad did. They never wore helmuts and used old catalogs to pad their pants and never got hurt, with the exception of the goalie of course! It was great when the mask was invented for them! I am a fan of hockey and a sport fan but there is a line to be drawn when it becomes your all consuming god.I did like my son’s teams to win and my sons to play well but I do not condone how the game has changed to the point where players are being intentionally hurt to win the game. The scripture that comes to my mind is 2 Timothy 1-4 that men will be lovers of self, malicious brutal etc. I still love to watch a good hockey game though especially if my guys are playing!

  15. Patricia says:

    Hello Pastor Mark. Persecution is so high right now that it is hard to see bushes for the trees persay. I think that it is a hard thing. I will share with you a peice of my trials and tribulations right now.

    I had been going to Church but stopped. I was brought up in a different Christian Religion than what I was attending. I suffered judgement of the fact that they felt they were fanaticals, then they thought no one should read the bible because it is misread by every men and women. Twisted. Then the new Church I was attending no one talked with me and it did not matter what I attended in groups or studies. I was alone, so I decided I do not belong.

    So when someone gave me a flippant mocking about going to Church I said stop going to church there, but added that they did nothing wrong at all. I just did not fit in. Many months have gone by, my own church that I grew up in as a child closed due to lack of membership and my extended family has decided that they are angry about the closure so they changed denomination of Christian faith. They asked how Church was going. I said I am not going to Church. They were horrorfied. It is confusing to me. I have the Church that I went to say that my faith is to leanient that I grew up with and the new denomination watered down that they are attending. I have been judged by both sides of the fence. I have lived on both sides of the fence.

    My point is, that the biggest thing we all need to get right is the fact that we are not to judge one another we are to leave that to God. We are to direct people to the right path. Like God has recorded in the Bible and I have said time and time again, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart come from only you Lord, my Holy Redeamor”

    You draw a huge crowd of believers to your church, and you have a lack of caos in your Church and parishoners leaving? If the first is yes and the latter is no, then I would say you are following God’s direction and in the end his opinion is all that matters. For we are to love the Lord our God with all our Mind, thoughts and strength. The best way in doing that is following his words in the Bible.

    I will pray for you that you have peace that surpasses all understanding and wisdom that speaks of great wisdom and strength in your sermons.

  16. Sally Y says:

    Patricia, I am sorry that you have experienced so much conflict with various churches. Don’t give up, there is a body of believers out there that you will fit into. One,however, has to be willing to give up any preconceived ideas and not be looking for perfection. If you are looking for a perfect church, you will not find one; as all churches are just filled with people who will, more often than not, disappont you. As we grow and mature in the Lord, the more we will realize that no one but God can meet all our needs. We need to go church to worship God alone, then we will find that He will bless us in all other areas of our life. If we put Him first and honor Him all other things just naturally fall into place. see Matthew 6:33. I hope you can find it your heart to let go of all the hurts, forgive and try again. Pray and ask the Lord to place you into a good bible believing church where you can learn and grow and I am sure you will find the right one just perfect for you!

  17. Jim says:

    If only “Christians” were as devout, and dedicated to their beliefs as Muslims, then we would not have to worry about our beliefs kicked out of schools, and public buildings..but we are too passive, and tied to the world, and worldly governments…yeah I know Paul said be subject to the worldly governments, but he did not say we have to agree with them on everything, and we can disagree with them, and we are still subject to them..so come on Christians take a stand on abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriages, corruption in government..lets expose it from the pulpits..hammer away on it, so our leaders get the message that we Christians, like Muslims are a force to be reckoned with (peacefully of course)…but no it won’t happen…”christians” too much in the world, and like their professional hockey, football etc..all the worldly distractions, and are content to ride the fence..well sorry folks that isn’t going to get it done..so quit whining about Muslims until your get the courage to stand for your beliefs like they do…they will take over at this rate, with their sharia law..and on the bright side, it will clear up the homosexual and abortion problems in a hurry…God bless us all!

  18. Sally Y says:

    I agree with you Jim we do need to be more aggressive in our stand for righteousness. It can start with everyone phoning or writing their politicians about what we see is wrong in our society. I am encouraging everyone to write our PM and MP Bev Oda over the newest granting of $6 million over 3 years to IPPF(International Planned Parenthood Federation CBC news Sept 23rd))which funds abortions in other countries. It was cancelled once in 2009 and here we are again having to fight against it again. We also need to repent. Repentence does a lot for the soul. We can turn from our wicked ways and our idols and God will heal our land! The point is to do something and not give up!

  19. Jim says:

    Yes Sally you are right on…as Christians world wide we are spending too much time criticizing others beliefs…never mind them let;s concentrate on our own beliefs and make sure we are doing it right according to the Bible, by carefully reading every word of our Lord and Master Jesus…we should concentrate on His four Gospels..and dwell on every word..because that is where Christianity comes from..Did Jesus get angry at desecration of His Fathers house..the temple..you bet He did..should we get angry at the terrible autrocities taking place in our world..you bet we should..and should deal with this peacefully, like ou say Sally by writing our representatives and speaking out from the pulpits..but there is a problem with this…Pastors in Canada and the USA have spoke out from the pulpit against the issues of same sex marriages, and abortion, and promptly received threats from the tax people (income tax) to yank the church’s tax exempt status, and tax exemption for offerors gifts in the collection plate…hmmm now how many people would still give as much if they could not claim tax exemption? This is the problem most large churches find thems in…so they are muzzled they feel by this…guess they should never have trusted governments enough to go for this tax exempt status…oh well..it’s one of the problems we face that God will use to test courage and resolve..Interesting times ahead…God bless us all!

  20. Richard MacKinnon says:

    But by the grace of God you are not homosexual or divorced or whatever…

    Remember this

  21. Mark Hughes says:

    It is by the grace of God… BUT we are all ‘whatever’. For all have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God.

  22. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Is that the grey I have always been informed about?

    I still do not understand how God will accept us even when we repent for sin.

  23. Liza says:

    We’ve been watching your sermons for a couple of years now. My husband and I are from Quebec, and it’s so encouraging to see Pastors’ stand up for the Truth.

    Quebec has the lowest percentage of evangelical/practicing Christians in North America.
    Many have been turned away from the Church due to abuse. It’s sad to see.

    All this to say, I’ve watched many Televangelists over the years, but few have spoken the Truth. I’m glad I could say you are one of those few.

  24. Dylan says:

    Saying that people disagreeing with your point of view is persecution, is really defining persecution down.
    Listen to yourselves. Worrying about sharia law, saying kids can’t talk about god in school and not having thee right to ban gay kids from forming a group is an assault on religious freedom. Don’t be surprised people don’t take you seriously.
    What a shame you are the voice for steinbach. And god forbid, the voice of Christ.

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