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Blessed are those who are persecuted

June 2021 | by Mike Judge

Pastor Sherwood via Facebook
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Sometimes a series of events come together at the same time to shine a light on a serious problem. A chaplain fired and accused of being a terrorist, a street preacher unceremoniously arrested, and a consultation on whether aspects of preaching, praying, and pastoral counselling should be illegal. The common theme? Daring to stand up for biblical teaching on human sexual ethics.

No one will put you in handcuffs for talking about your favourite Christian author. No one will report you to the authorities for your particular view of eschatology. No one will seek to limit your freedom to debate the merits of various Bible translations. But you can lose your job, your business, or your liberty for disagreeing with the LGBT agenda.

Some Christians may say, just stop talking about it. Keep your head down. Pretend the problem doesn’t exist, and maybe it will go away. Certainly, this newspaper has been criticised for speaking out too often on these issues. But when believers are losing their jobs, being treated like terrorists, and locked in police cells, it would be a dereliction of our duty not to speak up.

Yes, it’s depressing. We are just as depressed to report it as you may be to read it. But the question is, will we stand up for Scripture, or will we be cowed by the culture? Be under no illusions, the activists want to silence what we can say in the pulpit.

Of course, in all this, we must never lose sight of the gospel. We must continue to proclaim the name of Jesus with grace, humility, and wisdom. Yes, we should be wary of getting sucked into the political culture wars. Yes, we must see people as lost souls to be saved, not as cultural opponents to be vanquished. But we also have to open our eyes to the increasingly hostile culture in which we live.

Where once evangelicals were viewed as an irrelevance to be ignored, now we are viewed by some as a danger to be supressed. We are moving closer to New Testament days. And words like these may become ever more real to us, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

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