Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Attacks on Faith

Image Watching FOX News a few nights ago, I noted Bill O’Reilly’s editorial on what he calls the “War on Christmas.” He referred to one of a myriad objections being raised by segments of our society against the “Christian” aspect of Christmas observance. The attack against such religious observances is decades old. Whether it be a nativity scene on public land, or the large cross in San Diego, built 59 years ago at the Mt. Soledad Veteran’s memorial, which a federal judge ruled on Thursday must be taken down within 90 days. Many in America interpret the words of the first amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as precluding any religious observance in any public (governmental) circumstance. This interpretation would exclude prayer in school, a posting of the 10 commandments in a court of law, a nativity scene in a public park, or the national Christmas tree being displayed and lighted in front of the White House each year.

As Christians, we must filter our consideration of these actions through our faith. I confess that the proper response to such is a bit complex.

First, there is the reality that the Christmas holiday itself is not a Christian holiday. In fact, using the word “Christian” to describe any holiday would be unscriptural. The concept of the observance of “special” days, by Christians (save the Lord’s Day) had its origin in Catholic tradition. In fact, a study of the origins of Christmas reveals it to be an accommodation of pagan traditions. So, we have no problem with the objection to a religious observance of Christmas.

Second, there is the position (as reasoned by libertarians) that the government has no business being associated with religion at all. They argue that if government is involved with Christmas observance, (the nativity scene on public land, for example), then a dangerous door is opened for its regulation by government. If one is unconstitutional, so is the other. Whether one agrees with this contention, we all agree that we don’t want the government telling Christians what we can and can’t do regarding our faith (cf. Acts 4:18-20).

Most troubling is the societal desire to eradicate faith from our nation. To secularize America. To shut the mouths of those who would seek to convert others. To tell Christian business men and women that they must violate their consciences or close their doors. To call good evil, and evil good.
We constantly hear of attacks against men and women of faith. We admit that they do not reach the level of persecution felt by Christians in other times and in other lands. They do, however, give cause for concern. The trend has progressed from a mere desire to secularize America to an active hostility toward the Christian faith.

This is to be expected. Paul wrote, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The simple response of the Christian is to persevere. While we may strive to change public policy and opinion, we should be realistic, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).

Consider the words of our Lord to His apostles, “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mark 13:10-13).

Brethren, raise your focus above the horizon. Our faith on this earth, no matter the cost of it, prepares us for a heavenly and eternal life in the presence of the Lord.