The church is being driven through the mire, being asked to capitulate on many levels. The current issue is gay marriage. Obama has unselected a man to give the benediction to his inauguration on this issue.
Rev. Luis Léon was selected after an Evangelical minister, Rev. Louie Giglio, withdrew under pressure. Rev. Giglio had been chosen to deliver the closing prayer, but inauguration officials expressed concern over that selection when they learned that Rev. Giglio had made public remarks against homosexual activities.
And in the UK, Cameron is (foolishly) pushing for gay marriage. Now, I don’t really care what happens outside the church. If a society wishes to destroy itself, there is little a Christian can do but run or rebel. But the Church is Christs, and there are grounds to think this will cause persecution,as a quarter of English Catholic Priests noted in this letter.
The priests write: “After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.
“Legislation for same sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.
“It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.”
Arguing that marriage as traditionally understood is “the foundation and basic building block of our society”, they add: “We urge Members of Parliament not to be afraid to reject this legislation now that its consequences are more clear.”
Now, I’m reformed, and I’m a Kiwi, but the family is of (mainly) English descent. And there is a long and fairly noble tradition of nonconformism among serious Christians in the UK. Not without cost. Even in Victoria’s age, you had to be a communicant of the Church of England to attend a University (and have holy orders to teach there).
So… if society wants to go down that path, bring it on. Because it will purify the church, and the glory of God will increase. If you really want to damn yourselves, keep down this path.
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
You see, it is not our power, as people, that preserves the church, or keeps us in the faith. It is Christ. For his power works in us and through us.
To speak the truth and to do good.
To speak the truth despite people bleating that are words are harsh and hurtful. Enabling someone to continue down a road towards destruction is neither loving nor helpful.
To do good regardless of how society perceives the person. To help the mad, the shunned, the persecuted. Even if they hate us, in fact especially if they hate us.
And we pray that God will keep us firmly committed to both.