Since death comes to all men, regardless of nationality, color, education or rank, every thoughtful person knows that, even at best, he cannot stay here very long…With the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah, the mortality rate has been the same the world over – one death per person.
Gus Nichols, 1973
What stand does your congregation take in regard to various moral issues that are at the forefront of American society? Yes, I am confident that those who read this – preachers, elders, strong members – know and believe what the Bible teaches relative to abortion, homosexual conduct, gay marriage, drugs and alcohol, racism, divorce, living together outside of marriage, etc. But the question is how firmly and how specifically is the truth being taught on such matters? And, how confident are we that attendees and the community around us know we hold an unwavering position?
The world (and maybe some in the church) does not consider it “politically correct” to be dogmatically against things that have become acceptable to society. The pernicious bullying tactics of the gay rights movement, for an example, seek to label any who oppose their perversions as being backward, bigoted, and hateful. The front cover of the April 8 issue of Time magazine says: “Gay Marriage Already Won. The Supreme Court hasn’t made up its mind – but America has.” Though we are persuaded that the majority of Americans do not favor gay marriage, it appears media and political bullies are being successful in suppressing opposition. Schools teach toleration in respect to the feelings of gays, but are intolerant toward those who want to uphold their Christian convictions. Some religious leaders have openly endorsed sodomy (though they would be offended by the frank use of the term). The AARP website features a link favorable to gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgenders (LGBT). Situation comedies on TV portray everything turning out well for those who pursue the homosexual lifestyle. Major retail corporations give financial support to so-called gay rights organizations.
We expect that older and mature Christians have their minds settled on this and other moral issues. We have to be concerned, however, with what philosophies have been impressed into the minds of rising generations. Public schools will not uphold righteousness. It seems obvious that movies, TV, music, and the internet are the dominant forces for shaping American concepts of right and wrong. In a culture of ever loosening standards we cannot expect children and youth to learn godly conviction by associations with their peers. It must begin with parents. And the church as a God-given mandate to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering [great patience] and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).
As the above text continues, some “will not endure sound doctrine.” When the church takes a bold stand there will be people offended. Some visitors will not come back. There might be members who decide to leave. The church may get a reputation of backwardness and bigotry. There may be charges of “hate speech” and lawsuits. We can even imagine protesters marching in front of our buildings. Eventually the tax free status of churches may be taken away from those who insist on biblical morality.
Certainly our opposition should not be hateful, but it must be frank. It is one thing to say in general that we agree with Bible teaching. It is more to the point to present actual texts, to give the sense of what they say, and to declare that is wherein we stand.