Monday, February 13, 2006

Christian Courage

Hosea 4:1 (KJV) - Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because [there is] no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

That verse fits perfectly with the protest reaction of several Kansas legislators after Pastor Joe Wright was asked to lead a prayer in the open house session. Here is the prayer:

"Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess that we have ridiculted the absolute truth of You Word and call it pluralism.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and woment who have been sent to direct us to the center of You will and to openly ask these things in the name of You Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!" 1


Wow. Quite devastating to any hearer! Who would want to admit that their sin has overtaken them in their political decisions? How about those who quite frankly think they have no sin and don't have any need or inclination to repent of them?

As Janet Folger points out in her book, "The Criminalization of Christianity" many of the legislators were outraged and walked out during the prayer in protest.

Obviously, they must not have been Christians because such an act during a prayer (no matter whether one would agree or disagree with the content) is the height of rudeness!

What is interesting to note however, is that the Central Christian Church where Reverend Wright is a pastor received more than five thousand phone calls -- only forty-seven of them negative. Less than 10% of the calls were from people who either disapproved of the free speech right the Reverend took in deciding what he would pray about. Only 10 % disapproved of the content that Pastor Wright shared in that prayer!

Requests for copies of his prayer have come from, as far away as India, Africa, and Korea. Commentator Paul Harvey aired it on his program and reportedly receive "a larger response" than "any other he has ever aired." 2

Ninety percent of the people who called the church after hearing about the controversy supported Pastor Wright's free speech effort at the Kansas open session senate meeting.

I sincerely hope that this prayer continues to be broadcast, sent via email, posted on blogs and message boards. With this new kind of "seeker-sensitive" movement happening in some evangelical churches, we need a re-awakening to the fact that sin abounds in our nation today. We need to get on our knees and pray for forgiveness. We need to pray for our current government leaders. We need to pray about our future government leaders. We need to actively get involved and face head-on the current deluge of evil and sin that is being promoted in our land.

If we took the time to count the ways in which our values and freedoms are being attacked, I think that more Christians would come away from the sidelines and change their thinking. Many do not want to hear about the corruption, sin and deceit that is being waged in our nation; particularly towards our children. We each have a choice. Of course, as always, Christians can use their "right to remain silent" or speak the truth with the freedoms we still have. If we don't, we may find ourselves in the same or similar predicament that Sweden's Pastor Ake Green experienced. He was sentenced to jail for quoting Bible verses that a law deemed as hate speech. As Janet Folger mentioned in her book, he was "in prison for the politically incorrect."

In the last chapter of her book, Janet tells us:

"Christianity was never intended to be a spectator sport! Is is meant to be played out in every area of our life. Faith without action isn't a "nice outlook"; it isn't called a "good start." Faith without action is..."dead" (see James 2:17)."

She goes on and asks, "are you willing to live for your freedom? That means to use it to its fullest. Right now we have the freedom to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. But are we really using it? I know I haven't used that freedom fully."

"But the fact that it may soon be taken away makes me want to proclaim the name of Jesus and God's truths even more. I have come to learn that speaking the truths of God's Word in the public square is critical, n ot just for the future of our nation, but for the future of our freedom. Because if they can silence the truth, they will silence the gospel."

The Light of Christ's Gospel:

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (NKJV)

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Ephesians 6:19 - 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (bold mine)

Janet Folger's Faith2Action website.

1 David Ahearn, "Woe to Those Who Call Evil Good," (Torquay) Herald Express, 23 March 2004, 9.
2. Ibid.


Joe Brummer said...

As an advocate for the mentally ill and "welfare". I have to say you miss something here in this. Just a bit of an untruth.

The people on welfare are not lazy. I have met these people. The are disadvantage. They haven't had the best education, they haven't had the best set of circumstances and most, if not all don't want to be on welfare.

To make statements like this leaves out such an important part about humans. They have a sense of pride or we hope a little. It is hard to ask for help, let alone live on it.

In most states the days of "living off the system" are over. They people on welfare now that it has been revamped a dozen times, are on it because thats were they need to be. The other side of the coin is that these people are homeless and yes, we are talking about children here not adults.

Do you really want to see thousands of homeless kids?

I know a lot of conservative think everyone is just sucking up the system, but have you ever met these people? They don't want to be on welfare. They are so happy to get off it, they just need help in doing it. SO many have such limited life skills and are so happy when you teach them. Some of them have substance use problems they are happy to leave behind, they may have a lack of knowledge about how to manage money, they are so happy to learn.

I know the picture painted out there is that all welfare people are just sucking it up, and that may be true for a very, very small majority, but that isn't the truth about the majority of people in the system. Most are doing everything they can do get off the system. Unfortunately the government keeps making it harder and harder and harder.

I could go at great lengths to explain this, but I feel I have babbled enough. If you ask me, I could explain it further, especially in my state where the budget is about to cut thousands of people off welfare, and what will happen to these people? They will end up homeless. Other budget cuts will put more people on welfare, who then will be cut. Then what? What happens to these people? Where do they go?

Christinewjc said...

Hi Joe,

I don't think that the pastor meant the mentally ill when he made his reference to those who are lazy.

The first thought that came into my mind was about all of the deadbeat dads who get their women pregnant and either refuse to support them or just leave. It is mostly women is such predicaments (or so I've heard) that end up on welfare.

Unfortunately, before welfare reform came along, some women took advantage of the fact that the more babies they had out of wedlock, the more money they could get.

These are just a few of the scenarios that came to my mind when I read that portion of Pastor Wright's prayer.

Of course, only he knows for sure just whom, in particular, he was referring to. But I sincerely doubt that he was aiming the comment at those who were (or are) truly in need.