"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ."-Galatians 1:10.
I am not trying to be political, but this AP article caught my attention as a Christian. The title of the article is "Only Christians Are My Brothers and Sisters, Says Ala. Gov."
The link to the full article is below this picture.
I have no idea which polical party Gov. Robert Bentley represents, nor do I know what his theology, doctrine or which denomination, if any, he belongs to. What I do know is that from statements that he made to a church crowd on his inaguration day Monday have upset and offended people across the nation. This is the statement in question:
"Anybody here today who has not accepted as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The
The response from the Anti-defamation League was:
"His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor," said Bill Nigut, the ADL's regional director."
Wow. So we've went from being offended by the claims of Christ's exclusivity to saying because he's a Christian (who actually states his beliefs publicly), than he can't possibly treat others who aren't Christians with equal respect and even with love.
The sad thing, and again I know nothing about the man personally, is that it seems his motives are out of love for those who are lost in his state. He has since stated, thankfully not an apology, but that his intent was not to offend, and that he "wanted them to become his brothers and sisters" in Christ.
The statement issued from his office was not an apology either. Saying:
"The governor clearly stated that he will be the governor of all Alabamians — Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor. As stated in his (inaugural) address, Gov. Bentley believes his job is to make better,".
It sounds to me like he's concerned for the unsaved and wanted to let them know that we're not all God's children. That is a position reserved only for those who have been granted redemption through Jesus Christ's atoning death, being reconciled to God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (John 3:3 , John 14:6 , John 10:25-28 , Romans 8:14-17 , Romans 9:8 , Galatians 3:26-29 , Ephesians 1:5 , 1 John 3:10 , 1 John 5:2 )
The most vehement remarks came, not surprisingly, from the Ashfaq Taufique, the president of the Birmingham Islamic Society (you know the religion that is so peaceful and tolerant of others beliefs *insert sarcastic voice of your choosing here*). Their statement was:
"Does it mean that those who according to him are not saved are less important than those who are saved?" Taufique said. "Does he want those of us who do not belong to the to adopt his faith? That should be toned down. That's not what we need. If he means that, I hope he changes it. We don't want evangelical politicians. They can be whatever in their private life."
Thanks for the freedom, Mr. Taufique. It's okay for him to impose his beliefs. You know the belief that "We don't want evangelical politicians" and that Christians can be whatever they want to be in their private lives. And sadly, he's missed the point completely of Christianity. Christians don't stress the fact that apart from Christ people are eternally lost and bound for hell, because they think less of them, but because we want their eyes to be opened to the truth, and for them to be saved as well.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."-Mark 16:15-16
Should a Christian make his beliefs so public when they are in a political office? The opponents are already shouting that Gov. Bentley has violated the First Amendment in proclaiming the exclusivity of his faith. The real question is, How can a Christian truly be a Christian and not live and proclaim their faith publicly? Where does our allegiance lie? With men or with God?
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."-Matthew 10:32-40.
The Bible is true, so a Christian has no choice but to claim the exclusivity of Jesus Christ being the only way to salvation. We shouldn't be surprised as Jesus said they would hate us ("If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."-John 15:18), and the preaching of the cross is offensive and a "stumblingblock"("But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."-1 Corinthians 1:23-25) to the world and seen as foolish("For the preaching of the cross is to them that perishfoolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."-1 Corinthians 1:18).
We need not be shocked or discouraged, but it is one more sign of how we may very soon face persecution as Christians in this country. We're already being told we should keep our "religion" to ourselves and that to do otherwise is intolerant and even hateful. Now we are being told that it makes us unfit for public office and it could be soon that we would be seen as unfit for any job. And yet, we know that God has already been victorious over this world, sin, death, and Satan through Jesus Christ, and that we have overcome the world as believers in Him (John 16:33 , 1 John 4:4 ). May we stand strong and uncompromising regardless of comfort or even safety as God's grace allows so we may be to the praise of the glory of that grace given through Jesus Christ alone, the One True Living God.
|Stack of burned Bibles in Orissa State, India.|
"Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments." - Dueteronomy 5:7-10.