Just a Thought

Religious liberty long a cherished truth in American history and culture is under attack.  Often referred to as, “Our first liberty.”  The first amendment to our constitution guarantees the right to worship as one pleases without governmental interference.  What was deeply cherished in America historically is not mere “toleration” but religious liberty or freedom.  Now notice is said, “historically” because that is changing.  And it is not changing for the better!  We’ve moved from liberty to toleration.  Faith had long been considered a virtue – something to be encouraged and cultivated.  Today it is tolerated at best.  It is allowed to exist.  Even among those who are “religious” there has been a weakening of our historical position.  

I’m afraid the words of Fredrick the Great of Prussia sum up today’s notion of religious liberty, “All religions must be tolerated…for…every man must get to heaven his own way.”  Edward Gibbon in his classic work Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire boasted that one of the great virtues of Roman culture was that its people considered all the various modes of worship as equally true; while the philosophers considered them equally false; and the government considered them equally useful.  These views fit well within a postmodern worldview.  When truth is relative.  When truth is determined by whether or not it “works” for you – then the notion of equally true or equally false or equally useful religions is a workable formula.  But within an orthodox, biblically faithful worldview such notions are rejected out of hand.

From a biblical perspective when you are faced with competing notions of faith or worldview, Truth (capital T) matters.  Therein lays the rub for the church of the Lord Jesus.  We live in a culture that places a high value on inclusion and an exclusive message draws the anger of the “tolerant” majority.  This anger is due to the fact that today’s enlightened culture will not tolerate intolerance!  So, what do we do?  Do we soft pedal our message?  Do we adapt to changing times?  Do we spring the truth on them at a later date?  Do we paint a bull’s eye on our chest and say, “Have at us?”  

In a world consumed with personal whims and gods of our own making, we must dare to declare that the LORD alone is God.  I know, that’s not politically correct but it’s biblical.  Yes, it will draw the ire of a great many in our culture and even within the church but it is the demand of the Scripture.  We do not preach a generic god.  We cannot say, “Insert the name of your god here.”  We must preach the God who walked with Adam in the cool of the day.  The God who called Abram out of Ur.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The God who spoke to Moses from the midst of the burning bush and delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage.  The God of covenant.  The God who made himself known ultimately in the person of the Lord Jesus.  He alone is God and He is our message.  Here we must stand.  Against the odds.  Contrary to prevailing winds.  This is the truth we must declare.  Not in arrogance, not through clinched teeth but with resolve, courage, and passion.  May God give us strength to stand and courage to declare.

Have a great week!