There is nothing new about the following article from World News Daily. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his book Gulag Archipelago tells that in the Stalinist era of suppression of Christians, they allowed the believers to pray in their hearts, but not publicly, and not in front of their children.
So, we now have the ban on public prayer and worship, and soon we will be told that praying before our children, and teaching them the Bible, is a violation of their freedom FROM religion.
Read the article, and then I will discuss some ways to live with this era.
by BOB UNRUH
BOB UNRUH joined WND in 2006 after spending nearly three decades writing on a wide range of issues for several Upper Midwest newspapers.
Christian company owners have been ordered by Barack Obama to fund abortions for employees, the federal government has insisted it has a right to set qualifications for ministers churches hire, and eliminating any public references to faith appears to be a national priority.
What has happened in America since John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"?
A new report recently released by the Family Research Council and Liberty Institute confirms that anti-Christian hostility is rising across the nation's public square, in schools and in government.
"America today would be unrecognizable to our founders. Our first freedom is facing a relentless onslaught from well-funded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, Congress, and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom," said a summary of the report from Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, and Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute.
In fact, "The Obama administration no longer even speaks of freedom of religion; now it is only �freedom of worship." This radical departure is one that threatens to make true religious liberty vulnerable, conditional, and limited.
"As some have said, it is a freedom 'only within four walls.' That is, you are free to worship within the four walls of your home, church, or synagogue, but when you enter the public square the message is, "leave your religion at home," the report said.
"President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have repeatedly echoed this same message in international forums, acknowledging only a right to the 'freedom of worship.' This is no accident and it has huge ramifications."
The report lists the results of "the radical shift in our culture's worldview that started with the rise of secularism following World War II and has accelerated with each passing year of the 21st century."
The assessment is not exhaustive, but presents "over 600 incidents of religious attacks and hostility in the United States' most of which occurred within the past 10 years," the report said.
The report documents cases, for example:
Of a federal judge who threatened "incarceration" for a high school valedictorian unless she censored references to Jesus in her graduation speech
A city prohibition
to seniors who wanted to pray before meals
A judge's opinion that prayers before a state legislative meeting could reference Allah, but not Jesus
A state attempt to regulate what religious seminaries could teach
The Obama administration argument before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches which pastors it can hire or fire
A ban from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to references to Jesus in veterans' funeral ceremonies
"These examples 'indeed, all of the examples presented in this survey' are but a few of the innumerable acts of hostility to religion occurring in the United States each year," the report said.
The report compiles incidents into related categories, including attacks on religious liberty in the public arena, attacks on religious liberty at school and attacks against churches and ministries.
Cited in the 140 pages of the report are cases in all categories. In the first, the report noted that in the Barton v. City of Balch Springs case, "city officials told senior citizens at a senior center that they could not pray before their meals, listen to religious messages, or sing gospel songs because religion is banned in public buildings. After the senior citizens filed a lawsuit, government officials told the senior citizens that if they won the lawsuit their meals would be taken away because praying over government-funded meals violates the 'separation of church and state.' "
Into the second category falls the Barrow v. Greenville School case. There, "a public school district denied Karen Jo Barrow an assistant principal position because she refused to remove her children from a private Christian school."
And in the third category was the HEB Ministries v. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, where "the state fined Tyndale Seminary $173,000 for using the word "seminary" and issuing theological degrees without government approval."
The survey revealed that "religious hostility in the United States is dramatically increasing, both in frequency and in type of cases," but it also showed that when organizations "stand up for religious liberty," they are winning the fights.
The question at issue isn't really complicated, the survey confirms.
"The free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with a person's practice of his or her religion," the report explains. "Our Founding Fathers considered religious liberty our 'first freedom,' and the bedrock upon which all the other freedoms rest. They understood that one's right to worship God and follow his conscience according to the principles of his religious faith was foundational to civic tranquility."
COMMENT BY THE EDITOR-- Steve Van Nattan:
As I said in my introduction, the above article states the problem Christians have in a national government which is slowly but surely forcing Christianity off of the street and the market place into the church house. The Word of God clearly tells Christians they are to be witnesses and exalt Jesus Christ in all of their life experiences.
So, what do we do if this attack on the Lord's Church gets worse and worse? The people at World Net Daily would tell you that such a situation justifies revolution. That is always the concept lurking in the background of articles like this. But, the Bible says that "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." The early Christians had far worse persecution by the state then we have, but they did not launch a revolution.
What shall we then do about this?
Steve Van Nattan's suggestions
I have lived on the missionfield where I grew up, and my wife and I were missionaries in Ethiopia during the Marxist coup of 1974-75. We saw how the Ethiopian Church suffered and dealt with Marxist oppression. I was in Kenya in high School when the coup and rebellion in the Congo resulted in severe persecution of the Christians there. I have done my research for this study the hard way.
Here are my suggestion you need to consider RIGHT NOW, not "someday."
is the last refuge
This does not demonize loyalty to one's nation. The fact is well proven by history though, that patriotism goes hand in hand with rebellion. It is thought that one can rebel against Caesar any day if one waves a flag and calls on the "founding fathers." To the Bible believer, this is not so. We are not to consider ourselves bound to human loyalties, especially if they put our local church in peril.
Christ is our example, for he did not resort to the patriotism of John Hyrcanus or Joseph Maccabeus. In fact the Catholic Bible contains those books telling the story of those zealots. They WERE godly, but the ancient Rabbis deleted their books because they mixed the holy with the profane (patriotism and rebellion).
1. Stop waving the flag and mixing patriotism with your Christian fellowship and worship. If we progress on into a completely Marxist society, though disguised as a free America, you will only complicate your fellowship and invite Caesar to totally control your meetings and Christian gatherings if you mix the state with it. Every saint is an ambassador, not a patriot. Patriotism will destroy your fellowship and result in imprisonment and death to Bible believers. Here is Paul on our relationship to those around us, including the state:
Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
You must STOP confounding your calling as an ambassador with other mongrel callings, lofty as they may seem.
2. Start a fellowship made up ONLY of believers, and only a few who know one another well. Do not designate a pastor to the community around you. Do not have a piece of real estate that is incorporated. Meet in homes. You are a fool if you die for a church house, real estate, a church sign, and the alleged right to incorporate. You cannot incorporate and be left alone by government officials. The Non Profit Corporation status of thousands of fool churches will end up being their death, literally in some cases. The Gulag will be full of them.
3. Use only first names. Your Bible teacher may use his last name. Teach children to say Brother Bill and Sister Mary. Chivalry is NOT more important than security.
4. Meet in different places. Do NOT rent a public building. Learn the laws in your state about disruption of private gatherings. Use the law to prevent intruders if possible. Call your gathering a prayer house, or a fellowship meeting. In some areas, as Christian gatherings are made illegal, tell your friends and neighbors you are having a party. If there is suspicion by officials or neighbors, ask everyone who comes to your fellowship to bring a case of Coke or a bag of potato chips. If there is an issue of singing being interpreted as a religious service, do not use instruments, and sing the old hymns of the faith. Loud is not as important as being able to meet together.
5. Do not have a bank account, and keep no financial records, at least not for public use.
6. NEVER put in writing anything about conduct of meetings, "minutes" of meetings, a church constitution, membership lists, NOTHING. Never write a church covenant members have to sign or agree to. DO NOT IDENTIFY WITH ANY HISTORIC CREED. It is madness to die for a man made creed.
Use ONLY the King James Bible as your final authority and ONLY written guide. This way, when you are called before courts or magistrates, they will only be able to find you defective based on whether or not your obeyed the Word of God, and the court will have to throw the case out for Constitutional reasons.
7. Do NOT bait anyone. You must NOT go after your rights. That is not taught in the New Testament. Simply obey all laws as best you can unless they forbid you to gather for fellowship, prayer, teachings, and worship. Any members who show tendencies to be confrontational with those outside must be run off. They are hirelings.
8. Do not advertise. Advertising draws people at random, and you want them to gather with you ONLY because they are already totally committed to The Lord Jesus Christ.
Do not invite sinners into your fellowship. This will make you Fundamental Baptists rage and roar. You slow bellies are too lazy to do all your evangelism in the market place, so you mix up saints and sinners, in violation of the New Testament model, and the result is sinners confounding the purpose of the Lord's Church gathered.
Witness at all other times outside of your gatherings, not because you have the alleged RIGHT to according to the US Constitution, but because lost souls are going to hell. God has called you to make only ONE point-- Christ died for sinners. So, your gatherings must be ONLY by invitation. When someone shows an interest in your gathering time, politely defer that interest while asking to visit with them one on one to fellowship. Study the Bible with them. Watch them carefully for some time to see if they are biblically illiterate. If so, they may be a spy. If they whine because you are not eager to take them around to the gathering of the Church, they are deadly. Teach them for a good long time, and if they come along, and the Holy Spirit gives you liberty, introduce them to a leader of your assembly for examination. One possibility is to insist they be baptized to become part of your fellowship.
9. Anyone who starts chattering about political things, government injustice, the Bilderburgers, the Trilateral Commission, or "our rights," must be rebuked, and if this persists, run them off with no explanation. Even if they send messages with bumper stickers or T-shirts and ball caps, this still applies. You MUST understand that Caesar may well send such a person to you to join your fellowship and give you a public identity with the Militia or the KKK etc.
If a law enforcement officer or Federal agent visits you, that is, if you suspect him or know who he is, confront him at once. Ask him politely why he has come. If he gets arrogant or sinister, tell him you are a private gathering, and you will call the Sheriff if he does not leave. If he claims he has no ulterior motives, and if you feel he is telling the truth, ask him in front of two witnesses if he is there to spy on you or if he wants to join you in worship. If he says he only wants to worship, then welcome him. Later, ask him to lead in prayer. If he is a fake, he will panic, and you will never see him again.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
10. If things get rally ugly, stop having large group gatherings. Most preachers believe that ..... where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them is true, but they crave large numbers so that the offering will be abundant. Being sent to the Gulag is a lot less desirable than improvising and avoiding that eventuality. So, have meetings of a handful here and a handful there. Your Bible teacher should circulate to each group and take prayer requests, pass news, and teach the Word. This is the method used by Menno Simons during the persecution of Mennonites by the Reformed churches in Europe in the 1500s.
11. Have nothing to do with denominational entities, traveling groups who claim to minister to local churches, and never go to a church that is giving in to the system for inter-church fellowship. Do not get on lists, and do not get in the yellow pages. Seek no sympathy from newspapers, and decline media people wanting to feature your local church. Do everything possible to support your local police except to deny the faith and your Lord and one another. You may even find community service work you can join in on a secular basis to make yourself useful and essential to your community. This must not be something that includes evil deeds to innocent people.
12. Watch for the little green man and his devoted wife. This is someone who is sent to your fellowship who talks the talk and seems to be a genuine Bible believer. But, they are there to destroy. They may be sent by Federal agencies, or they may simply be dedicated servants of Satan or the Pope.
But, they are there to make discord. They will cause your members to be divided one against another and against the leading men. Once identified, do not have a meeting or discuss church discipline. Do not give them a warning or second chance. Run them off with no explanation. I have done this myself as a pastor. I did not confront them in person. I did this by a phone call.
Having taken all biblical precautions, make your fellowship an oasis for the saints. Seek to have a merry heart one with another. If saints from other fellowships have a good report of their leaders, include them when they visit. The Russian Baptists during the USSR era learned that they could be infiltrated and deceived. Though this was possible, once they trusted their brethren, they avoided a suspicious mind set. You must not live in suspicion of your brother. There is a risk to Christian fellowship, but we are told not to avoid gathering one with another.
KISS-- Keep It Simple Saint
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
You must watch this video on mixing patriotism with your Christian faith:
who plays advisor is no longer ambassador.
are not an adviser to the world, to the USA, to your state.
You are not the nanny and nag of the wicked.
You can only tell ungodly men, even the patriotic ones,
that they are damned to hell.
As an ambassador of Christ, the ONLY message you have to give men is:
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ's stead,
Be ye reconciled to God.
ambassador is not simply an agent;
he is also a spectacle.
assure you, my dear diddle head,
that if you hold the Bible in one hand
and the American flag in the other,
YOU WILL BE TOP OF CAESAR'S HIT LIST.
So, do you want to suffer persecution for Jesus Christ,
Or, do you want to suffer persecution for a lost human estate?
For the record, Jesus Christ is NOT an American.
SEND MAIL if you need to talk about this.