I have been absolutely terrible with keeping up with this lately. The Lord has been teaching me so much but it will have to wait until another time. Right now, an issue has come to my attention that has been heavy on my heart this week. Before you read the rest of this post, please read this article.
"Supreme Court takes case of student group that bars gay members" http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20091207/ts_csm/achristian
One guess what kind of student group that was. That's right...it was a Christian club called the Christian Legal Society at Hastings College in San Fransisco. Please hear me...I in no way desire to be extremist but I do believe Christians and non-Christians alike need to be aware. The dynamics of certain aspects of our country are changing. And they are not changing in favor of believers. This group is being charged with discrimination against a fellow homosexual student who desired membership within the group, as well as a potential leadership position, but refused to sign the contract necessary to become a member which included things such as: belief that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was resurrected, returned to Heaven, the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, sex before marriage is wrong, etc.
Are you seeing anything un-Biblical yet? This group was holding its members to a high standard which I greatly admire. As a result, this case is being brought before the Supreme Court. Did you catch that? The SUPREME COURT! Guys, depending on how the court rules, we could see religiously based organizations on our campuses forced to changed their rules drastically or be disbanded. That means your fraternities, sororities, FCA, Christian clubs, anything and everything religious could be required to change their membership qualities to include anyone who wants to join and will be charged with discrimination if they choose otherwise.
If I am being honest, this scared me. My desire is to write Christian based material in a secular college setting for the next two years of grad school and it is possible that this ruling could effect that as well. As I began to think and pray about it, the Lord brought two passages to mind.
The first is in Acts 4....let me break this scene down for you. Peter and John have just healed a lame man through the power of the Lord and are now preaching about Jesus to a big crowd. I want you to note several key things and see if they remind you at all of this big decision that is about to go before the Supreme Court or of the changing temperament towards Christians in our nation right now.
Peter and John are arrested by the religious leaders of the day, who were pretty much the Law to the Jewish community. They were disturbed that Peter and John were preaching about Jesus and that people were listening and responding. Here is an interesting fact...the Sadducees were a religious sect that were part of this arrest. Here is my favorite part. This sect was described as being "liberal, compromisers, and political opportunists." Ring any bells? I'll leave political parties for you to think about.
Anyways, these leaders threw Peter and John in jail to shut them up and then brought them before the Sanhedrin (which was a place where these leaders all got together to make big decisions or in this case, try Peter and John). Know what their question was? "By what power or by what name have you done this?" (vs 7). Hm that is a very loaded question and sure enough Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, lets them have it. Know what he does? He shares the gospel with them!! He boldly claims the name of Jesus Christ, and claims the power of His death and resurrection.
Here is a cool part. So the leaders are listening to these guys and it says that "they saw their (Peter and John's) boldness, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, and they were amazed." (vs 13). Now let's stop and compare. These leaders could not deny the boldness of these men, nor could they deny that technically by society's standards these guys were working class, low, and dumb. But yet they spoke with confidence and knowledge, and they could not deny the evidence. This lame man is standing right in front of them! They saw the evidence of a changed life. May this be said when this decision is brought to the Supreme Court. My prayer is that they see the boldness of this group and regardless of what happens they cannot deny the evidence of changed lives.
But to keep going, stay with me, I know this is long...the leaders deliberated and came back to Peter and John and commanded/threatened them not to speak or teach the name of Jesus anymore. Peter and John pretty much tell them, "Hey you are the religious leaders, you let us know whether it is better to listen to God or you, but we are going to keep telling of what we have seen and know." Did they back down? Absolutely not!! Did the judge and jury's decision ultimately matter when it came to things of the Lord? Absolutely not!! So you draw your own conclusions of what I think of the Supreme Court's decision either way.
So the first thing Peter and John do is they go back to their companions and it says that "they raised their voices with one accord" and then acknowledged the awesomeness power of their God. I don't know about you, but some of the sweetest times for me this past summer were spent with friends talking about the Lord, encouraging one another, praying, and then worshiping our God! There is amazing power in that.
Now here is the most important part of this whole passage to me. These followers of Jesus pray that the Lord will grant them all boldness to share Him and that amazing things will be done through them in His name. Then look at the power of their prayer..."And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." (vs 31) Wow!
So let's bring this back home to 2009 and the Supreme Court's ultimate decision. It is so easy to sit back and say, "Well I have no power here. What happens will happen." Hello! Do you realize apathy is wrong? The Lord has called us to proclaim Him boldly! So let's do it. What can we do? Let Christians know about this...it will most likely not be all over the media. Look it up for yourself...research it. And then as Christian students and adults, let's be of one heart and mind like the example of this early church. Ultimately, the decision doesn't matter. Our God is Sovereign either way. And let's pray...let's see our country shaken. We have a relationship with the God of the Universe!!! Talk to Him and surrender this decision to His capable hands.
The final thing I want to share with you is this: 1 Peter 5:8 is a warning to Christians. "Be sober, be vigilant for you adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." Be on guard, be aware of what is going on in our country and the changing atmosphere and attitude towards believers. Here is the promise after that verse...verse 10 and 11 say "After you have suffered awhile", note that it says after and not if. It is a guarantee that suffering will come. But in the end the Lord promises to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. We may be undergoing personal attack as Christians but we are being beautifully perfected by our Savior in the process. My prayer for each one of you is that we are bold and see the hand of our God in the midst of this.
Praying for boldness,