Monday, March 12, 2012

Bold Pastors

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During this current election process, the issue of religion has come up more than once, and likely will again---and again, before this coming November.

Jerry Newcombe, who was a member of the late Dr. D. James. Kennedy's church and a guest columnist for the Christian Post, says he doesn't think pastors speak up enough on the critical moral issues of our times.

As a pastor for a good part of my adult life, I would agree. However, I must add that we are finding a fairly good response from pastors in Washington State in regard to standing for marriage. The ones who are communicating with us are wanting to help with petitions for both I-1192 and R-74. I hope this is true with others who are also standing for marriage.

Newcombe does make a good point, there is too much silence from the pulpits on the most critical issues.

Many of the moral issues of our day have become political ones as well, causing some pastors to be fearful due to misunderstanding the law.

Newcombe underscores biblical figures like Moses and John the Baptist who spoke out against the rulers and their rules and paid a price for it.

There is always a price to pay when an individual takes a stand for righteousness and biblical truth.

I remember the first time I looked down into the Roman Coliseum. Suddenly, those Christians who were thrown to the lions for sport as a result of their beliefs became more than an historical account on the printed page.

I doubt that any of us have endured anything close to that kind of persecution for our beliefs, but there is often a price to pay when one stands for something. Particularly moral truth.

The price we often pay is wrapped in ridicule and being tagged as a bigot, out of touch, hateful, etc.

Regardless, there is also a time to stand. This is that time to stand for marriage.

In his book, Original Intent, David Barton details the bravery of colonial pastors who spoke out against the tyranny of England and in many cases led the charge for independence. Barton tells the story of Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg, a Lutheran pastor who, on January 21, 1776, preached to his Virginia congregation concerning the crisis then facing America. He recounted to them how America had been founded in pursuit of religious and civil liberties and how they were now in danger of losing those liberties. He concluded with these words:

In the language of the Holy Writ [Ecclesiastes 3], there [is] a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.

And then in a loud voice, he quoted from verse 8 saying:

"There is a time to fight – and that time has now come!"

His sermon finished, he offered the benediction, and then deliberately disrobed in front of his congregation, revealing the uniform of a military officer beneath his clerical robes. He descended from the pulpit, marched to the back door of the church, and ordered the drums to beat for recruits. Three hundred men joined him, and they became the Eighth Virginia Regiment. Pastor John Peter Muhlenberg went on to become one of the highest-ranking officers in the American Revolution, attaining the rank of Major-General.

A statue of Muhlenberg stands at the Capitol today. He is remembered for his stand.

How we all, including pastors, respond to the attempt to redefine marriage and reorder the family and society, will long be remembered. The consequences will ripple across the next generation and beyond. Our children and grandchildren will live with the consequences.

Thank you for standing with us as we, together, stand for marriage.

I will circulate petitions. Sign up here.

I will give financial support. Click here.

I will remain silent. Spend some time in thought and prayer about it.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.