And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 17, Number
In this issue:
The Houston, Texas City Council has issued subpoenas to local religious leaders, demanding their correspondence, communication and sermons for inspection to scrutinize their conduct concerning the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO Act). A firestorm of reaction has erupted. It is helpful to understand some of the back story:
"A recently-passed ordinance in the city of Houston which would allow all people dressed in women’s clothing, regardless of gender, to have access to women’s restrooms in all Houston businesses has sparked a lawsuit against the city, and it appears some local pastors have been caught in the crossfire.
"The Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, a local businessman, and two Houston pastors have filed the lawsuit against the city of Houston, Mayor Annise Parker, and the city Secretary for the “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance” (or “HERO”), which they argue opens the doors for sexual predators to enter women’s restrooms under the guise of “confused gender identity,” Breitbart reports" (Houston City Council Issues Subpoena to Inspect Pastors’ Sermons for Criticism of Its New Law, IJReview.com).
It is notable that Houston Mayor Parker, the first openly lesbian mayor of the city, is a fierce supporter of LGBT rights.
The subpoena to the pastors reads in part,
REQUIRED TO PRODUCE THE FOLLOWING RECORDS:
In other words, if you wrote about it, talked about it or preached about it, we want it. We are blessed to live in a country whose Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We believe this strong arm intimidation tactic will ultimately be defeated.
Which gets us to this main point. It is becoming very clear that the LGBT advocates do not merely want integration into American culture and society; their goal is domination.
The government, the ballot box, the court system, the entertainment industry and the public square are among the venues through which the LGBT advocates promote, coerce and bully their agenda into our lives. They do not merely want a "seat at the table" - they want to own the table! We can expect more such tactics, since "...evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).
Such things are not new, brethren. We need not wring our hands, becoming distraught and distracted from our duty to the Lord. Our ancestors in the faith faced these (and worse) methods designed to silence their voices from speaking and living the truth of the gospel:
"But that it spread no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." (Acts 5:17-20)
We cannot waver in our commitment to be true to Christ in the face of every threat.
We will declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). We will continue to be clear that the LGBT life is immoral and those who practice it are lost (Rom. 1:24-28; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). They need salvation, not accommodation.
We will oppose immorality of every sort (2 Cor. 6:16-7:1; Eph. 5:1-14). We must abstain from evil and show the lost the value of moral purity (1 Ths. 5:22; 1 Pet. 2:11-12).
We will hold up Christ and His truth as the only hope for dead souls and a decaying society. Only the truth of Jesus will free people from sin's bondage (Jno. 8:31-32).
There is an additional alarm to be sounded as we note the advancements of the LGBT agenda among the worldly. It concerns the advancement of moral and doctrinal compromise among New Testament Christians. Far too many Christians already refuse to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3). Doctrines and lives are being adjusted to accommodate this world of sin.
The evidence abounds. Social drinking is approved by many Christians (as if it is a virtue to stop at one or two drinks, 1 Pet. 4:3). Immodest clothing is being worn and defended (1 Tim. 2:9-10). Lascivious conduct like the modern dance is participated in while Christian parents defend the right of their teenagers to dance (Rom. 13:13). Adultery is condoned and facilitated by false doctrines that tolerate unscriptural divorce and remarriage (Matt. 5:32; 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11).
Where are the soldiers of the cross that fight against sin and error in an attempt to save some (2 Cor. 10:3-4)? Too many have already taken off their armor and surrendered. They say nothing; they are silent. Visit the websites of some churches of Christ today and try to find what they teach on moral issues like divorce and remarriage, on true worship and the true church. You may have a hard time finding out; the offerings are scarce.
Any wishing to know what this author teaches and this church stands for needs only to contact us or visit our website. We are glad to give your question a Bible answer. We will continue to speak the truth in love, without fear. To be silent is to yield to the devil. "We cannot but speak" what God says in His word.
Take heart, faithful brethren. Our cause is just and our Lord reigns. Our enemy does not sleep, but His time is short (1 Pet. 5:8-9). We must remain alert and vigilant with our faith firmly in God and not in men.
Scripture Reading: John 15:9-15
1. We must have a relationship with Jesus Christ. But, we must know what
that means according to the Scriptures.
I. CHRIST CALLS EVERY SINNER TO COME TO HIM FOR SALVATION AND THE RELATIONSHIP IT BRINGS, Matt. 11:28-30.
Wants to Dwell with His People, 2 Cor. 6:16-18 (Ezek. 37:26-28).
II. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS IS UNDERSTOOD BY HOW IT IS DESCRIBED, Eph. 2:10.
Savior and the Saved, Acts 4:12.
III. ONE DOES NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST WHILE LIVING IN DISOBEDIENCE, Lk. 6:46 (Matt. 7:21-23).
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:27-35
One's character and choices invariably decline into moral chaos when a knowledge of God is refused. Selfish lusts rule as God is pushed aside, Rom. 1:18-32.
I. DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, Rom. 1:30.
are to Honor their Parents by Obeying Them, Exo. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-2; Heb.
12:9; Lev. 19:3; Prov. 6:20-21; Deut. 11:26-28."
II. ATTRIBUTES OF DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN, Rom. 1:31. (foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless, ESV)
Undiscerning: Without Spiritual Understanding, Col. 1:9-10; Phil.
1:9-10; 1 Cor. 2:14; Prov. 4:1-7.
III. HITTING ROCK BOTTOM: REALIZING THE NATURE OF SIN AND JUDGMENT, YET CONTINUING TO PRACTICE IT AND SUPPORT OTHERS IN IT, Rom. 1:32 (18).
A. Although the Guilt of Sin does not Penetrate the Hard Heart, Man is Still a Moral Creature, Rom. 1:21, 19.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Megachurch Pastor Resigns
Mark Driscoll, founder of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, resigned this week after months of trouble stemming from charges of "plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his most devoted followers" (Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill Church, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, christianheadlines.com). "Driscoll's boisterous personality seemed to dominate Mars Hill, a congregation he built up to an estimated 14,000 people at 15 locations across five states. Weekly attendance is now reportedly about 7,600." (Ibid)
The church's board of overseers, which accepted his resignation, produced the findings of their investigation. They concluded that Driscoll had at times been guilty of "arrogance...a quick temper and harsh speech...and a "domineering style of leadership". They found other accusations against Driscoll were "altogether unfair or untrue". (Ibid)
Consider some brief lessons preachers, elders and churches can take away from this man's fall:
1. God's design of multiple elders (pastors) in each congregation guards the flock from abuse. The "pastor system", in which one man is the pastor of the church, is not biblical (1 Pet. 5:2; Phil. 1:1).
2. The danger of "preacheritis" is real. The preacher's personality and eloquence are not reasons why anyone should be drawn to the gospel (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Some preachers seem to have a cult following! You are a disciple of Jesus. Follow Christ and His truth. Do not blindly follow any man.
3. Multi-site congregations under one eldership is not the Bible pattern. Elders are appointed "in every church", not over multiple congregations (Acts 14:23).
4. Preachers and elders must not be bullies. Too often we hear of preachers whose personality is "overbearing" or "domineering". This man needs to get out of the pulpit until he learns this inspired instruction: "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle toward all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition" (2 Tim. 2:24-25). A man who has a "rule or ruin" approach to leading is unqualified to be an elder since he is void of temperance, sober-mindedness and good behavior (1 Tim. 3:2).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/20/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA