We need to face tough topics. The Church cannot be neutral on subjects involving sexuality and gender. We cannot be silent on subjects like alcohol sales and gambling. We must speak up on topics that are otherwise touchy, because if we don’t speak, who will? The only voice heard will be the one pushing the agenda. The LGBTQ+ movement IS NOT the only voice in the gender debate. The casino owners MUST NOT be the only voice heard in the gambling initiative. Surely there are louder voices than Budweiser in discussions about alcohol addiction and abuse. The Church should have a clearly defined response in issues that people don’t generally sit down and discuss. If we don’t speak clearly and often, the ones driving the agenda will continue to bring about the change they seek.
While change is good, all change is not good. We embrace change because sin embraces us. We should always look for ways to grow in righteousness. We should always seek to sharpen our communication skills, especially when it comes to the Gospel. A few generations ago movies, cards, pool and tattoos were taboo. The Church vehemently denounced them and anything connected with them. The culture created by pool halls was ugly. It took men away from their families and chewed up their paychecks (much like casinos today). Is it any wonder Churches decried pool? I’m not sure about movies and tattoos, but I’ll tell you this: there are lots of movies I would never watch or allow my children to watch today and there are a good many tattoos I wouldn’t want on my arm. But the culture has changed. We took a church bus to the movies the other day and we all have lots of friends who play pool. The item isn’t the issue, it’s the culture it drives.
One topic that always brings lively discussions today (as it should) is abortion. I understand both sides. I rejoiced last year when Roe vs Wade was overturned. I also lament the millions of babies that are discarded worldwide each year. I’ve been on the receiving end of unwanted babies and fully understand the heartache connected with each one. But unwanted babies do not fall into the same category as cards and pool. This is not a discussion that will change with the culture. This is a problem where the culture must bend to the issue. And in this case, it’s not bending fast enough.
The two sides of this argument sound like this. One, fetuses are not living beings. They are fetuses. They don’t come to life until they breathe their first breath. Therefore, it is entirely plausible to use them for testing, take them at term or less, rip them out of the mother’s body with no thought to the trauma caused the mother and toss them in the trash can. I’ve read and watched hours upon hours of testimony from Planned Parenthood workers, mothers who experienced abortion and doctors who performed them. There is no kind way to depict the job of abortion, but on this side, it’s just tissue we’re talking about.
The other side argues that life begins at the moment of conception. While this is not feasible for the first side to believe, this side has plenty of argument. The Bible stands in their corner with multiple references to life before birth. Science stands in their corner with literally countless examples of fetuses that lived, some for a long life and many for just a few breaths. This side argues that abortion is murder and I agree with their assessment. But for the sake of this article, my opinion isn’t necessary.
The point I’m trying to make here is the Church must raise its voice on hard issues. We cannot just say “Love everyone!” and make our exit. And we aren’t alone in this stance. Any other group trying to make a point will say the same thing. The only way we will make a difference is by articulating our argument clearly, compellingly and truthfully. That last characteristic is what makes the difference for us. You see, we don’t have a political agenda. We aren’t running for office. We don’t have a business minded angle. We aren’t trying to make money or trying to follow a successful business model. We aren’t in a popularity contest. We aren’t at the table to be everyone’s best friend. We aren’t trying to win an award. Our goal has never been achievement. We are simply a people who are shaped by the truth we’ve been given. And this truth tells us we must not be quiet in the culture we occupy. We are compelled to enter into the fray with explanations for the troubles we see.
Another hot topic is the truthfulness or validity of other religions. Universalism has been around for a long time and seen an uptick in the last generation. Universalism is the belief that everyone is going to heaven no matter the God or truth we pursue. They argue that everyone is climbing the same mountain, trying to reach God at the top. That argument works for every other religion; every other understanding of who God is and how we pursue Him and His ideals for us; everyone that is, except for Christians. For us, God left the mountain and came down. He pursued us. Generations proved our inability to successfully pursue Him. He broke all the rules and came to us. His stance toward us invites our obedience naturally, literally and supernaturally. We were made to follow and obey Jesus.
I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone, but if speaking the truth invites an argument, I’m ready. I’m not here to win. I’m just hear to be clear. You decide who wins with your life.