“If persecution should arise, you should be willing to part with all that you possess—with your liberty, with your life itself, for Christ—or you cannot be his disciple.” — Charles Spurgeon

There are many who look to this world for their freedom and for their hope. There are many in our world who go by the name of “Christian,” and yet have so little understanding of what it means to be free in Christ.

Back in 2007, a friend forwarded me an “Action Alert” from the American Family Association (AFA) which is just as relevant today as it was then.  This newsletter is warning Americans about a situation that the AFA feels threatens to tear apart the very fabric of their religion.

“If pastors and other Christians don’t aggressively oppose a bill now in Congress, in the near future they will be subject to huge fines and prison terms if they say anything negative about homosexuality.

The proposed law would make it a crime to preach on Romans Chapter 1 or I Corinthians Chapter 6. Or even to discuss them in a Sunday School class. If churches and individuals want to keep the government from telling them what they can and cannot preach and teach about homosexuality, they better get involved now!

House bill H.R. 1592 and Senate bill S. 1105 would make negative statements concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a “hate crime” punishable by law. This dangerous legislation would take away your freedom of speech and your freedom of religion.[emphasis theirs]”

What caught my attention this time was the concern in my young friend’s email which simply said, “This was given to me by one of the deacons at church. Something we all need to take action on, otherwise, our freedom of speech & freedom of religion is at stake.”

I readily admit it, I am frustrated with the message in the AFA’s letter, so please allow me to speak openly and candidly with you all.

Every single fear that is generated by this message is rooted in the false assumption that our freedom comes from human governments and it is within the power of these groups to constrain our freedom. The crass ignorance of the AFA, and those of the same ilk, has infected far too many of the Faith. Even if the US government passed a law that forbade Christians from speaking the truth of the Gospel, this would not inhibit our freedom for one second! It would not prevent any true follower of Christ from preaching any part or truth of the Scripture. Paul was imprisoned many times, but yet he was freed by God to preach the Gospel. Paul was put in chains, but he was never stopped from sharing the Gospel.  The only people who fear these laws, are those false teachers who seek only the profit of the Gospel without any of the sacrifice!

I submit to all who read that our freedom is not in jeopardy because neither the US Government nor homosexual activists are the guarantors of our freedom. My fellow heirs in Christ, do not let yourself be controlled by the fear-mongers and religious idolaters. Yes, the AFA are fear mongers because they profit in the production of fear when true Faith is rooted in hope. Yes, the AFA are idolaters because their religion is rooted in the freedom of governments and not the freedom of Christ Jesus our Lord.

To all who are of the Faith, let me make two things clear.

First, we have nothing to fear form governments or political activists (gay or straight). They can marginalize our social status, they can destroy our flesh, but if we obey Jesus, then our freedom cannot be stolen!

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed [emphasis mine].” (John 8:31-36, NASB95)

Second, we have nothing to fear from governments or political activists (gay or straight). They can marginalize our social status, they can destroy our flesh, but if we are Sons of the Most High YHWH, then our freedom can not be stolen!

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it [emphasis mine].” (Romans 8:14-25, NASB95)

The AFA clearly believes that their freedom rests in the hands of world powers. They conclude their Action Alert with these words,

We are looking for one million Americans willing to take a stand and not allow a small group of homosexual activists to take away our freedoms.”

Do these fears in any way reflect the nature of freedom’s hope we read about in Scripture? No! Could the US Government put you in jail for preaching the truth of the Scripture?  Yes, but they can never take away your freedom!

Family, do not allow your faith to be shipwrecked by such reasoning and do not put your faith in the political actions of any government. Rest assured, the freedom of Christ is upon all those who follow His word and who have the Spirit of Promise. Don’t waste your Faith filling out useless petitions endorsed by the confused religionists. Don’t waste your blessings by enriching the coffers of the snake-oil salesmen who fill the temple courts. Rather, call upon your Father in Heaven and lean on him for hope and strength. It is true that times of trial and hardship are fast upon us, but rest in Jesus for we cannot and will not lose our freedom!

NOTE

I wrote the AFA on July 17, 2007 to make them aware of my criticism and have given them a fair opportunity to respond.
Read more of my article on Faith & Politics @ TheFaithNews.com

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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