Friday, May 19, 2017

Scorching Secularism VS Olympia (WA) Fireman's Faith

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Jonathan Sprague, a fireman in Olympia, Washington, had decided to be as open about his faith as other firemen were about their interests.

Sprague was not only discipline but fired from his position as fire captain.

His offense?

Not keeping his faith to himself.

Sprague got burned in the lower courts, but now the Washington Supreme Court has agreed to hear his case.

Brad Dacus, with the Pacific Justice Institute, told One News Now the other firemen would "post events and things coming up with them on an electronic bulletin board for the fire department".... "which included posts by employees selling concert tickets and babysitters."

Dacus says, "Well, this fireman decided to also post scripture and things that were important to him as a Christian. He was told that his speech was not allowed because it was religious."

Sprague was disciplined, then ultimately fired from his position as fire captain.

I would note that Sprague also formed the Spokane Christian Firefighters Fellowship in 2011---meeting strong resistance at that time as well.

He has now sued. And he has lost in the lower courts.


Dacus says, "To some degree, it's no surprise because the state courts in Washington have been known to be very liberal and not exactly the most friendly when it comes to defending religious freedom, much less religious freedom for Christians."

Very true.

He says, "Still, there are fundamental issues here dealing with protected rights that we believe are very applicable and that the state Supreme Court should take up---and take up very seriously."

"And," Dacus says, "this is a miscarriage of justice that we hope the Washington Supreme Court will rectify."

"Our first responders need all the encouragement they can get---and they certainly should not be fired for their religious expression."

We will follow this case.

In reading about this scorching attack on the fireman's religious freedom---most of us know this is not isolated---I was reminded of comments made last Friday by Ravi Zacharias at the Franklin Graham sponsored World Summit In Defense of Persecuted Christians conference in Washington DC.

Zacharias, a world renowned Christian apologist, warned the crowd to beware of "comfortable Christianity, rather emulate the prophet Daniel, who made several key decisions to avoid becoming corrupted in a deeply evil society."

He told the audience his calling is to hostile those one finds on secular university campuses.

He told the audience from all over the world, there is irony in this: "Who would have ever thought that of all the nations in the world, now I have to go with security on the campuses of the United States?"

He said when he spoke recently at an American Ivy League school---with bodyguards present---he was mindful that he had "just received a note from a Christian brother in Jakarta, Indonesia, reminding him that he and fellow Christians in Jakarta were praying for his safety" here in America.

He says of these "Scorching Pagans": "They will mock you, they will ridicule you, they will try to throw division in the ranks, and when all else fails they will use force."

And he reminded those in attendance, "This resistance to the claims of God is not new---other cunning leaders have strategized to erase."

He said they opposed Nehemiah when he tried to build the wall.

He said Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylonia in 605 BC, had a genius plan. He chose the brightest minds from among the Israelite captives, then effectively reprogrammed them in the language, literature, and philosophy of the Babylonians.

Language is what you communicate with, literature is what you illustrate with, and philosophy is what you think and act with.

Zacharias says, "In taking those three disciplines and retraining their thinking in this way, Nebuchadnezzar influenced these minds through the back door of their popular imagination and not just through the front door of their reason."

He spoke of the 3 lines Daniel drew to resist the scorching attack on his belief in God.

1. Daniel drew his line of resistance by training his appetite.

We must train our hungers and our longings if we are going to be in this world and not of this world. Daniel knew if he indulged in what was being set before him,---the language of the world--- he would lose sight of his primary calling. His personal vision.

2. Daniel drew a line in regard to his convictions.

From our convictions flow our actions---as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

Zacharias said, "We are at a time where we dare not set a tepid Christianity beside a scorching paganism. It is going to take men and women who are not only having integrity in the superfluous areas of life but deep in the very soul of their choices and commitments."

Our actions illustrate our deepest convictions.

3. Daniel drew a line of dependence on God---so he would gain not just knowledge and understanding, but wisdom as well.

Our minds can be stirred by good reading, but our soul can only be stirred and become vibrant with the Scriptures---that's the source of true wisdom.

Zacharias told the audience---some of whom were Christians from ISIS invested countries, "As torturous as the times may be, God will conquer not in spite of persecution. He will conquer through it as His name will be lifted up high as the blood of the martyrs gives rise to the next generation of young people who will see the courage and the strength of these men and women" who stand firm for Christ.

Thank God for firemen, and policemen, and business leaders, and athletes, and politicians and pastors and ordinary people like you and me, who are willing to take a stand for righteousness in a world that has gone very wrong.

Daniel harnessed an arena of persecution and turned it into a platform of opportunity, by resisting the temptation to blend in---relate, and become comfortable with the pagan culture.

Be Wise. Be Discerning. Be Strong. Be Blessed.