If you think that the secularist agenda will allow the church to be the church, you are mistaken. If you think that this militant, monopolistic religion has any limits when it comes to humbling the church, you need to look to Denmark. According to LifeSiteNews:
- The nation of Denmark has voted to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies inside their sanctuaries, although one-third of all the denomination’s priests say they will not participate in such rituals. Danish parliament voted by an overwhelming 85-24 margin to compel churches to carry out unions for same-sex couples that are identical to heterosexual marriage celebrations.
- Under the new law, priests may opt out of performing the “wedding” service for theological reasons. However, a bishop must arrange for a replacement.
In Denmark, at least, it no longer matters what the church or the priest believes. He is now coerced to compromise his faith at the altar of an intolerant secularism that has only contempt for the Christian faith.
- Although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from dictating church doctrine, religious institutions have already been subjected to government censure or private lawsuits if they refuse to allow homosexual couples to rent their facilities for a ceremony that deeply offends the church’s core doctrines of marriage and family.
- The city of Hutchinson, Kansas, recently adopted a non-discrimination statute that would require houses of worship that rent their facilities to the public to allow same-sex “marriages” on the premises.
Tragically, this is becoming commonplace as government has quietly established the militant and intolerant religion of secularism, which is forcing all other religions to submit to its dictates.
It no longer seems to matter that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits religious coercion:
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
When the church is coerced into performing an act that goes against its teachings – especially within its own house – this unambiguously prohibits “the free exercise thereof.” What then is to prevent secularism from coercing the pastor to officiate? Already, in Denmark, the priest is legally compelled, even in his own church, to find a substitute if he opts-out.
Where will this abuse of the faith end? It now seems that the Constitution only matters to the secular onslaught when it can be twisted or reinterpreted to support their secular agenda.
What does the Christian do when faced with such threats? I think that before all else, the threat must be recognized, faced and exposed (Eph. 5:11). The hypocrisy must also be exposed – that today’s secularism, while posing as “neutral,” is actually intolerant, repressive and totalitarian.
Many Christians will object that exposing sin and hypocrisy doesn’t measure up to our calling - that it doesn’t reflect Christian love. However, this stance represents a misunderstanding of Scripture. Jesus called the religious leadership “hypocrites” and “vipers.” However, this was something that they needed to hear. Hard soil requires severe plowing.
John the Baptist castigated King Herod for taking his brother’s wife. This too was love, albeit “tough love.” It landed him in prison where, eventually, it cost him his head.
Although prayer is imperative, we also need to be mentally prepared for the tough times that are now banging at our door. This means that we must draw together and find comfort and encouragement from one another:
- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We also have to remind ourselves that we aren’t sorry hapless victims, even though we experience intense persecution. We are victors and over-comers (1 John 5:4-5) by the grace of our faithful God. These challenges are confronting us because God is allowing them for good. Therefore, we have to channel anger and bitterness in positive and loving ways.
Although it is manifestly clear that the government has no Constitutional right to coerce the churches into performing homosexual marriage, there is even a more important question. Are we offending our Lord by complying? In other words, is it sin to help facilitate a sinful act? Is it sinful to participate in the legitimization and public acceptance of a lifestyle that is sinful?
I think that the answer has to be “Yes!” Likewise, it would be wrong to drive the get-away car in a robbery even if we didn’t directly participate in holding the gun or taking the money. This is called “aiding and abetting” and is considered criminal. Consequently, if an action is sin, any activity to support it is also sin.
Yoking ourselves with those who are actively living in ways contrary to our Lord is sin. God had destroyed King Jehoshaphat’s navy for this reason:
- "Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made." (2 Chron. 20:37)
The righteous King Jehoshaphat had abetted the wicked Ahaziah, and the Lord regarded this as unfaithfulness. Although we need to love those who are trapped in the gay life, we cannot become yoked together and abet what is sinful before our Lord:
- Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Cor. 6:14-17)
Christian support for gay marriage gives society – and even our own people - the wrong message. It communicates that gay marriage is so acceptable that the church can support it materially. This violates our Lord’s commands to warn against even the appearance of sin. He warned Ezekiel that he must speak up against Israel’s sins:
- "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
How can we warn when we are actually facilitating the very thing that we are supposed to warn against! Besides, we are all “watchmen.” We are all to be the light of truth, according to Jesus:
- "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
How can we be the light exposing the darkness when we are passively or actively abetting the same evil!
Do coercive laws relieve us of our moral duties? The Apostles didn’t think so. When they had been brought before the court and forbidden from preaching the Gospel:
- Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29)
Threat of punishment does not relieve us of our responsibilities before God. Whenever there is a choice between obeying God or the law, God must come first.
What happens when we justify compromise in just one little area? Adam and Eve merely shared a single hand-picked fruit. However, the consequences of this compromise became a virtual avalanche of evil. They could no longer stomach the presence of God; they refused to confess their sin; they told half-truths and blame-shifted. Finally, the unrepentant couple were cast out of God’s presence without a word of remorse.
Should we comply with evil laws, especially as our brethren suffer because they refuse to be silenced? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was confronted with this very question as he contemplated the morality of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. Although he had his own car and didn’t have to suffer the indignities of taking the bus, King concluded:
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it…So in order to be true to one’s conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system. (Stride Toward Freedom, 51)
We too must refuse to cooperate with evil, whatever the cost. Many have already lost their jobs after it had been disclosed that they favored traditional marriage against the modern secular innovations. We need to stand in solidarity with them.