Friday, November 06, 2015
Christian Victories in the Culture--Are They Worth it?
A high school football player who was suspended from his team for "praising God" by lifting his finger to the sky has been reinstated and will now be allowed to play in his team's championship game.
Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, an Assemblies of God chaplain, has been fully reinstated after being removed from office for counseling according to his biblical faith regarding homosexuality and extra-marital sexual relations.
A CNN feature story asks, "Are Culture Victories Worth the Causalities?"
It all depends on how you define "victories" and "casualties."
There has been a number of these stories this fall, but the latest involves a high school football player---yes one of many---who was suspended for praising God and giving God the glory for his athletic ability.
Seventeen year old Pedro Banda raised his finger to the sky after scoring a touchdown last Friday night.
He was ejected from the game and given a one game suspension for "taunting." That one game suspended was tonight's championship game.
Pedro, who plays for the Phoenix suburb Dysart High School, says he "wasn't taunting, he was praising God."
AIA officials say they reviewed the video tapes of the game and have reinstated him for the championship game.
Earlier this year Christian Chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder, who had been assigned to the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina, was removed from his position.
Having served 19 years of exemplary service, he had one more year before retirement. His removal from office threatened the loss of all benefits related to his service.
The charges against him included his biblical counseling regarding homosexual relations and pre-marital sexual relations. And his teaching that the Bible says there are consequences to sin.
Family Research Council launched a petition drive asking the Navy to reinstate the chaplain. More than 100,000 people signed the petition.
I wrote about it and mentioned it on the radio at the time.
Now, after much prayer and effort on the part of biblical Christians, Chaplain Modder has been reinstated.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of these kinds of incidents in our current culture. Each is different, yet linked by the deeply held biblical beliefs of those who take a stand.
You may recall, a couple of years ago---2014, World Vision announced they were essentially changing their hiring policy regarding homosexuals.
A cultural explosion followed. The members of the board who had pushed for the change were shocked at the international outrage from the evangelical community worldwide, and became very defensive. One or more of the other board members resigned saying they could not support the change of policy on biblical grounds.
Within 3 days---72 hours, World Vision reversed their decision.
I wrote about it and talked about it on the radio at the time.
Rachel Held Evans, a religious Left best selling author also wrote about it and other "victories" a year or so later---after much thought and tears, she says.
CNN featured her story, titled, "Are Culture Victories Worth The Causalities?"
Evans begins with this: "In the midst of all the shouting over Indiana's new religious-freedom law, which many fear will lead to increased discrimination against LGBT people, culture warriors marked the grim anniversary of another conservative 'victory', one that left more than 10,000 needy children without their pledged financial support."
She then reviews World Vision's long tradition of helping people---children in need---which is true. I knew the founder, Bob Pierce. He loved God. He loved God's Word. He loved people.
However, she laments, within 72 hours, World Vision turned from doing the "right" thing to "its old policies of discrimination against gay and lesbian employees."
"This," Ms. Evans says, "was a result of pressure, culture war pressure, being put on World Vision."
She writes, "It had worked. Using wells and hospitals and child sponsorships as bargaining chips in the culture wars had actually worked."
She says, "Never in my life had I been so angry at my own faith tradition."
The Christian faith tradition has never believed, nor did Jesus and His Disciples teach, that the end justifies the means.
That is relativism, not the gospel.
She also fails to mention, although it was widely known, that those donors who were leaving World Vision were simply redirecting their donations to other similar ministries, not discontinuing to give.
She notes, "Eric Teetsel, director of the Manhattan Declaration, told Christianity Today he considered it 'The best news of 2014' for evangelical Christians---This was Christianity at its best."
"But as I survey the battlefield a year later," Evans writes, "I wonder if even the most strident culture warriors would consider the World Vision campaign worth its many casualties?"
Evans ends with this invitation to all LGBT people: "And to the wounded, I offer you this: You are not alone. Please know there are field medics---pastors and priests, artists and activists, poets and parents and healers and dreamers---ready to welcome you back to faith and to church whenever you are ready."
"We can walk the long road to healing together, even if its a limp," she concludes.
With her, and that of both the secular and religious progressive left, the concept of reuniting the sinner with the church involves the church redefining God's Word and its doctrines to square with the current culture.
God's model for redemption is not sinners being reconciled to a church that is "evolving with the times in an attempt to remain relevant, but to the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever---and to God's Word which will never pass away."
The goal, in the minds of the religious left, is to put aside the discrimination---although God condemns the behavior, and not seek forgiveness, deliverance and restoration from sin, but to achieve acceptance, affirmation and even celebration of the sin---thus denying the power of Christ's death and Resurrection.
That is indeed "a long road." And one that leads to ultimate personal destruction and a church without meaning, purpose or power.
The power of guilt attached to deception was used effectively in the campaign to redefine marriage in Washington State. It is always used.
The banner is always some form of this deceptive statement: "How can you deny a person the right to marry the person they love?"
Or, "How can a loving God condemn a person because of whom they love?"
Or, "True Christians are not haters or bigots."
Her "long road to healing" is emotionally appealing, but does not lead to healing. It leads to destruction and separation from the God who Created us.
It is written, "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end is death."
The true causalities are those, due to the silence of the church, who have never heard there is a road that leads to life abundant, freedom, restoration and eternal life.
We must tell that story. We must stand firm in the faith. And we must do it in the culture, not just in a building with a steeple.
That's Victory. And yes, its worth it.
Be Blessed. Be Faithful.