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: Are We A Persecuted People?

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Are Christians a persecuted people?

The answer to this question is an obvious and unequivocal, “Yes.” It is the lot of every Christian to suffer persecution of one type or another as a consequence of the profession of faith. It happens, and it is not uncommon. Fortunately, in our country we have enjoyed a long history of religious tolerance. Such tolerance is, in fact, a bedrock of our nation. We have long escaped state sponsored persecution and oppression. The persecution we have witnessed and experienced as Christians in America has been rather mild. For this reason we hesitate to even categorize it as such, fearing that we will be perceived as less than valiant.

Times change, and we have seen a gradual decrease in societal tolerance for our faith. The governing authorities are limiting our religious rights in a manner well beyond the norms of the last two and a half centuries. My son Josh, a school teacher, recently expressed his concern. He believes it to be possible that he could be fired from his teaching position at a public school because of something he preaches from a church pulpit. Some might think this to be a bit unrealistic. But consider the following news item that I came across this week…

An “associate pastor” for a Seventh Day Adventist church in Pasadena, California also holds a full time position as the public health director for the city. He was asked to be a commencement speaker for a local college there. He was not the first choice. The first choice was a screenwriter and homosexual activist whose invitation had been rescinded when a graphic internet video surfaced of him having sex with another man. The college had just fired a professor who had slept with students, and invited porn actors to speak to his classes, and thought the screenwriter was a poor choice.

Of course, some were upset at this turn of events, and became even more upset when the Public Health Director/Preacher was asked to speak in his place. So, a student group with the title “Students for Social Justice” posted a couple of videos of sermons the man had preached at his congregation, speaking against homosexuality and evolution. As a result, the preacher backed out, the college then apologized to the screenwriter and re-issued the invitation for him to speak.

And that’s not all. The city of Pasadena has now put the man on administrative leave while the city evaluates his future as public health director. An editor from the LA Times, in commenting on the subject, expressed the opinion that the man’s views on evolution “raise questions not so much about his beliefs as about his competence.” Of course, there is a more direct way to measure his competence in this instance. Since he is presently has the job, it is merely necessary to measure his actual performance. If he is ultimately fired, it will be an obvious instance of state sponsored oppression of professed religious faith.

Brethren, times are changing. I know that things are different on the coasts than they are here in the great state of Texas, but it only takes a little time. What should be our response? “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). It may bring persecution, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But, such boldness in the face of opposition will secure for us the crown of life (cf. Revelation 2:10).

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