If you’re over age 50, you probably remember taking some sort of class, maybe Civics or American History, which taught you about the foundation of this country.  You learned about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, along with the brave and eloquent men who authored and instituted them.  

Maybe you even learned about their divine inspiration as they were guided by “The Creator” and “Providence”, supernaturally leading them to establishing the most wise and brilliant government the world has ever seen, and one way beyond the thoughts and inclinations of man.  And maybe, if you’re like me, you find yourself today looking at the culture around you, and asking “what happened?”

We, especially committed Christians, are indeed facing an existential threat, one that will one day bring us the persecution of our Brothers and Sisters in China, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and all places where proclaiming Christ calls for your life.  Sure, we’ve already had a very small taste of that in isolated instances, but we all know, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. So with National Religious Freedom Day coming Wednesday, let’s take a good long look at the topic of religious freedom.

 

Table Talk Notes

What did Paul and Peter mean about honoring and obeying whatever government God has placed in authority over you? Does that honor & obedience ever end?

 

Paul

Romans 13:1-7 | Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  

 

Titus 3:1-2 | Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

 

Peter

1 Pet 2:13-17 | Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

 

When are we to disobey or resist?

SCRIPTURE

Acts 4:5-20 | On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 

 

Acts 5:17-29 | But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.”

Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 

Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men…”

 

GOVERNMENT

First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

 

James Madison: “Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government.”

 

Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

 

John Quincy Adams: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

 

Daniel Webster: “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper, but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”   

 

Also Daniel Webster: “If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be. If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy.”

 

Noah Webster: “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

 

Thomas Jefferson: “God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

 

“Separation of Church and State”

The True Meaning of Separation of Church and State (Forbes)

Separation of church and state? Not what you think (WND)

 

How did “freedom of religion” become “freedom from religion”?

Dan Barker: a former Pentecostal minister, author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, and Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists

Penn Gillett: raised in a devout Catholic family, he left the church because the priest could not answer his questions

Madalyn Murray-O’Hair: in the words of her son, William… “She was an evil person who led many to hell.”

Public Schools & Universities: University: Our non-discrimination policy trumps Constitution

Residential Facilities: Seniors banned from saying ‘Merry Christmas’

Neighborhoods: Outdoor Christmas decorations banned by North Phoenix HOA

War Memorials & town Christmas displays: Nativity scene restored after council vote

Social Media: Facebook backs down after censoring Franklin Graham

Tech giants ignore ultimatum from 60 million-strong group

Vimeo shuts down religious group’s messages

“Freedom of WORSHIP”: Freedom of Religion = Freedom of Worship?

Opposition from Government:  7 top threats Christian churches in America face today

 

The Enemy’s goal: diminish God, then intimidate all from any public mention of Him, eventually until it is illegal. Click To Tweet

 

Why Christians are persecuted

 

From Mike’s new book “American Christianity’s Slide into Apostasy

There is a five-step process to the enemy’s plan to discredit the church and render her ineffective:

  • Creating doubt about truth
  • Softening the church’s resistance to this world by preaching unity and tolerance for anything
  • Mocking, intimidating, and threatening Christians into silence and acceptance of their agenda
  • Restricting the church to its four walls and eliminating its influence on society
  • All-out persecution where Christians are identified as a serious threat to society

 

“Did God really say…?”

Opposition coming from within the Body in the name of “unity”: Evangelical groups hop on LGBTQ bandwagon

 

Matt 10:21-22, 34-39 | Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved… “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

John 16:1-4 | “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

 

James 4:4 | You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

Gender Fluidity:

Bans on anything resembling “conversion therapy”, including trans-rescue ministries:  https://www.wnd.com/2019/01/dozens-of-trans-regretters-now-out-of-the-closet/print/

 

Non-Discrimination ordinances

Jack Phillips: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/october/colorado-strikes-at-christian-baker-jack-phillips-again-hellip-and-he-strikes-back

Barronelle Stutzman: https://www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/63174-barronelle-stutzman-is-a-victim-of-a-modern-day-kristallnacht

Brush & Nib in AZ: https://www.wnd.com/2018/12/8-states-blast-phoenix-attack-on-artists-speech/

https://www.wnd.com/2018/12/constitutional-violations-surge-due-to-same-sex-marriage-case/

De Pere, Wisconsin: https://www.wnd.com/2018/12/city-slapped-down-for-forcing-churches-to-bow-to-lgbt-agenda/

 

What starts in Europe…

Germany’s persecution of Christian home-schooling families (remember the Romeikes?) https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3969/europe-homeschoolers

Scotland’s police threatening Christians in order to protect Islam: https://www.wnd.com/2018/12/cops-clear-themselves-after-posting-signs-accusing-christian-bigots/

 

So…what can we do here?

Homeschool your kids, or find a good biblical Christian School!

Freedom Project Academy

Grace Christian Academy

Providence Academy

Make sure your kids are trained in apologetics.

 

Know your rights: Alliance Defending Freedom and Pacific Justice Institute

 

The Titanic is sinking.  

Our religious freedom, our country and the very world itself is destined for destruction, so just keep rescuing as many people off this sinking ship as we can, while we can, one person at a time.

 

Matthew 28:18-20 | And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Heb 3:12-13 | Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.