Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Coming Persecution

by Bruce Mills

As I watched and read the news stories this week about the loss of Miss California in the Miss USA contest because of her answer that she believes marriage is to be between a man and a woman, I couldn't help but think how the Christian perspective on truth has been marginalized in our society. Gone are the days when someone would publicly state a truth based on God's Word and there would be general acceptance and understanding across the culture.

This young lady, Carrie Prejean, is a student at San Diego Christian College, an evangelical school founded in 1970 by Dr. Tim LaHaye of the "Left Behind" book series fame. When infamous gay activist Perez Hilton, who was one of the judges in the contest, asked her whether or not she supported gay marriage since she was the representative of the state which narrowly voted for a ban on homosexual marriage, Miss Prejean answered the question by saying that while she did not wish to offend anyone, she believed marriage was to be between a man and a woman. Mr. Hilton gave her a score of "zero" for her answer, thereby knocking her out of first place and making her the first runner up. He then went on a media campaign, slandering her character and beliefs, stating that anyone who believed as she did had no business being Miss USA and that he couldn't believe she would interject her politics and religion into such a contest. Needless to say, the irony of him doing the very same thing as that of which he was accusing her was seemingly lost in the media reports. Even the pageant officials quickly distanced themselves from Miss Prejean, stating that they were saddened by her response to Hilton's question.

To her credit, Miss Prejean did not back off from her answer, repeating in follow-up news stories that she believes what she stated. She stated she knew that her answer cost her winning the contest, but that being biblically correct was more important than winning the contest. When I read that, my first thought was, "Wow! A beauty contestant who has character and is more than skin deep!" I know I shouldn't stereotype all beauty pageant contestants that way, but my past experience indicates that many, if not most, of them are like politicians; they are more concerned about telling people what they want to hear rather than speaking the truth regardless of the outcome.

Mr Hilton then followed his assault on Miss Prejean by publicly confronting other celebrities to ask them their viewpoint on gay marriage in an attempt to get them to commit one way or the other on the issue. He is apparently smart enough to know that many of them place very high value on maintaining their fame and stature within the entertainment world and, therefore, they are unwilling to say anything publicly to offend the strident gay activist movement of which Hilton is a part. Sure enough, several of them, including a couple who were supposedly from Southern Baptist roots, quickly came out with statements about how they support gay marriage and didn't want to be identified with the position stated by Miss Prejean.

Now, why have I taken four paragraphs to describe what many consider to be a seemingly insignificant incident that took place in a beauty contest that the majority of Americans, and certainly the vast majority of evangelical Christians, couldn't care less about? Because this incident is merely another piece of evidence that our nation has reached the point at which it has so completely turned its back on God's Word as objective truth that when someone publicly proclaims what it says, he or she is slandered, ridiculed, and ostracized as being unfit to even win something as seemingly innocuous as a beauty contest. Americans have rejected the idea that truth is absolute and objective, choosing rather to believe the idea which says, "Truth is relative. Whatever your personal truth may be is fine for you, but I have my own personal truth and although it differs from yours, they are both okay. Unless of course, you tell me that God forbids something that I consider to be my own truth, in which case, you no longer have the right to say what you claim is true. And if you do, it will cost you."

But we shouldn't be surprised that it has come to this. In John 15:18-21, Jesus said the world would hate and persecute those who are identified with Him just as they did with Him. Eventually, it will reach the point that those who are willing to stand up and proclaim biblical truth such as what Miss Prejean said will find themselves losing more than just a beauty contest; they will lose their jobs, their freedom, and perhaps even their lives. If they persecuted Jesus and the prophets (Matthew 5:10-12, Hebrews 11:35-40), what makes any of us think we are somehow exempt from such treatment?

Just to show how far this developing persecution of Christians has progressed, there is already a growing effort in our nation to require all physicians to perform abortions, even those who say it would violate their faith to do so. The abortion activists who support that position have publicly stated that any physician who refuses to perform an abortion is unworthy of being allowed to remain as a physician and should have to leave the medical profession. It doesn't matter to them that there are plenty of other doctors who are willing to perform abortions; it only matters that no one be allowed to refuse to perform one on religious grounds. They even go so far as to say that church-supported hospitals which refuse to perform abortions in their hospitals would have to comply or close. This area is clearly an example of where radical dogma has lost all connection with common sense.

In light of these growing developments, my question is whether or not you have considered whether or not you are willing to pay the high price of faithfully following Christ, even if it means the loss of all that is dear to you? Some people say, "Oh yes, I'm not concerned about losing my life for Christ because I know that if I am absent from the body, I will be at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). If that claim is true, then why do we have so few American Christians who are willing to go as missionaries to countries where losing one's life for Christ is a genuine possibility? But what if, rather than losing your life, your children were taken away by the state because teaching Christian doctrine to children was considered a negative form of brainwashing? That happens in some countries of the world. Or what if your house and life savings were confiscated and you were fired from your job or given a new job as a menial laborer under very harsh conditions, simply because of your faith in Christ? That, too, takes place in many parts of the world.

Don't think that it won't happen here. Perhaps it won't within the next decade, but the rejection of all things Christian within our society is coming, and the day will most certainly arrive when those who believe the gospel and hold to orthodox Christianity will be persecuted here in America. I pray that when that day comes, if I am still alive, that I will be faithful to our Lord till the end, regardless of the cost. And I pray the same for you and my children and grandchildren.

No comments: