When I read stuff like this its hard to believe that in my lifetime we said prayers over the intercom and recited the “Golden Rule” every day in class. Now, a substitute teacher who gives a Bible to a student who asked for it is fired. Or a pastor who would presume to preach God’s truth regarding marriage is shunned. America is making it clear that citizens who wear their faith on their sleeve, would dare to attempt to unite faith and practice, or would hold to the truth of God’s Word despite the prevailing public opinion will be ostracized. It seems tolerance is a one way street.
I recently received an email listing all the major businesses that don’t say the word “Christmas” and was told that I should boycott them until they nix “happy holidays” and start saying “Merry Christmas.” I am told that these businesses
“…continue to insult and offend Christian shoppers by sticking with their politically correct “holiday” term.
While I can perhaps appreciate the sentiment of such efforts, I believe them to be misguided. Christians should not wage war as the world does, for the kingdom of Christ is not of this world. A boycott simply says, “do what we Christians want or we’ll show you how powerful we are.” However, in proving that we have a big enough power base so as to hurt someone’s business, don’t we also risk losing the essence of the gospel? I believe so. As Christians, we do not spread the gospel by forcing a business to use the term “Christmas” with our financial threats, nor must we prove that we are powerful enough to do so. No, Christians spread the gospel by doing just that…spreading the gospel. We keep Christ in Christmas by pointing to the true meaning of Christmas! Jesus Christ came in humility, not worldly power; in meekness, not threatening. He was reviled, but did not revile in return. He loved the hurting and had mercy on those who didn’t deserve it. And most importantly, he preached the gospel at all times, using words. And he practiced what he preached.
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
(1 Peter 2:23; 3:9 ESV)
“And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.¶ “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:40–48 ESV)
The problem in our nation is not that people use the word “holiday” rather than “Christmas.” This is only symptomatic of a much deeper problem: people do not understand the message behind the word. They do not understand the message that caused angels to break out into song in open fields one night long ago. They do not understand the message that caused shepherds to drop their staffs and worship a baby. They do not understand the message that compelled wise men to travel from distant lands. They do not understand the message that struck fear into the heart of a wicked king. They do not understand the message which brought the son of God into this world to die on a tree for sinners. They do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ¶ And I, when I came to you, brothers,did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” (1 Corinthians 1:22–25, 31–2:4 ESV)
Perhaps keeping Christ in Christians should not involve boycotting a store who says “holidays,” but rather in going there! Maybe Christians should go to those stores, show the love of Christ, and genuinely wish the people there a merry Christmas. Maybe we share the gospel with those at the checkout, or leave a tract explaining the true meaning of Christmas. Let’s invite them to our Christmas services at church, let’s demonstrate the love of Christ, not by power or influence, but by gentleness and kindness. Let’s demonstrate the gospel by a genuine concern for people’s souls. We should not expect lost people to act Christian, nor should we boycott them if they don’t. We should reach out to the lost, loving them and sharing the gospel with them. Change will not come by boycotts or protests or displays of power and influence, but rather by a genuine love for the lost and a desire to see all people everywhere know the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is how we keep Christ in CHRISTmas.
“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.””
(John 18:36 ESV)
Below is a letter written from Hobby Lobby‘s CEO David Green in light of the recent lawsuit they have filed against the Obama Administration which denied their request for an exemption for the healthcare mandate:
When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word. From there,Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.
We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.
But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.
Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.
So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.
My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.
The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.
Since you will not see this covered in any of the liberal media, pass this on to all your contacts.
David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc
So, one of the many outcomes of Obama’s big government policies is to force job creating, family owned and operated, businesses to pay huge fines, or forget their principles. For people of faith, the second is not an option. This is just the beginning of what this administration has to offer when it comes to religious freedom. Not a great start for the Obama administration in the quest to bring our economy back. In fact, it is these types of policies that will bring our country to the brink of economic crisis, and these types of mandates that begin to erode the freedoms upon which our country was founded.
So, this holiday season buy from Hobby Lobby. Let the staff know you’re grateful for their business, and right a letter do Mr. Green thanking him for sticking to his principles in the face of outright religious persecution. Let’s not stand for this.
Should we abandon fight for marriage? – Patrick Schreiner discusses an interesting and thought provoking article concerning the marriage battle, which ponders whether it should be abandoned in light of recent defeats
Obama already narrowing religious freedom – Obama administrations responds to Hobby Lobby suit with some telling statements. Apparently, once you open a “secular” business, all your religious freedom goes out the window!
The Bible and Alcohol – And again from the Credo House, yet absolutely unrelated, is the helpful and balanced article regarding the Biblical view of alcohol.
Another Free Pdf – Again from our friends at Monergism: “The Practical Implications of Calvinism” by Albert N. Margin
I was going to write about the election, but I’ll just defer to the president..of my school.
Tragedy of Abortion: Tragic story about a man and wife who lost their way. Rather than praise God for the gift and wonder of life (3 lives), they decided to take life instead. Instead of rejoicing over the blessing of triplets, they sacrificed the wonder and sanctity of life on the altar of convenience. What makes this even more tragic is that in our culture of death many would actually laud the decision, yet as you can see this man does not; it is something he will live with for the rest of his life.
Dever on Christianity and Politics: A sermon by Mark Dever on Christianity and politics called “Jesus Paid Taxes.” It has been described as “the best sermon I know on Christianity and government” and a “biblical theology of Christians and the state.” In light of the upcoming elections, I’d say it’s worth a listen!
Planet of the Apes? Interesting article on the recent successful experiment which involves increasing the brain function of apes. The idea is to eventually use such technology on humans. Interestingly, from a Darwinian perspective, this has already happened naturally millions of years ago, although the evidence for this is nill. Anyway, pretty sure this reminds me of a movie I saw recently.
The Pastor and Politics: “Jesus cares little for our political opinions and affiliation.” I think I understand what is being said here, but I wonder if this is actually true. In light of the issues at stake, I would say Jesus is very interested in our “political” opinions. Also, I wonder if the statement “Jesus takes us as we are” is not often misconstrued. Indeed Jesus has come to seek and save the lost. But note, he came to save the lost, and to call lost sinners to repent. Indeed, he grants a new heart and transforms our lives.
Politics – According to the Bible: Wayne Grudem‘s “Politics According to the Bible” for $4.99 on Kindle. Once a week I’ll be posing weekly blog posts, news items, and kindle deals I have found interesting or helpful, each accompanied by a short description.
Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show: Rachel Held Evans‘ book A Year of Biblical Womanhood has caused quite a stir in the evangelical community and beyond. While I intend to read the book at some point, a few observations can be made just from this interview. First, the project is perhaps a bit misleading. In following the “rules” of the Bible every time it references women in a wooden literal fashion, she is actually not doing what it says. For example, when she praises her husband at the gate, that’s actually not what the passage in question is talking about. The same is true with her spending time on the roof of a house. The context is actually ignored thus misrepresenting what the text actually says. I’ll have to read the book to see if this is true elsewhere. Second, she seems to indicate that there is a popular movement that follows what she attempts to do in the book. I am aware of no such movement. The idea probably stems from the use of the phrase “biblical womanhood,” but of course no one means by that what she seems to indicate. Rachel will appear on The View tomorrow, so if your interested in what develops tune in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say in coming months. See here for a recent response by Denny Burk.
A recent blog on The Gospel Coalition website entitled 10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate Is Never Asked by the Media by Trevin Wax posed 10 pertinent questions that pro-abortionists are never required to answer.
These questions are extremely important, as they bring out many of the inconsistencies involved with such a position. The bottom line is that these people must define personhood at some arbitrary point. Also, they really have no basis for opposing gender based abortions either, or for saying it is a “tragic choice.”
As the inconsistencies continue to mount up, we’ll see if they are ever forced to give an answer.