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.”