Posted by Curt on 29 June, 2015 at 4:09 pm. 1 comment.


David French:

The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision is only three days old and already there are calls to end the tax exemption not just for religious schools, but for churches as well. Already we’re seeing public expressions of contempt for clergy, like this one reported by Father Jonathan Morris:

Even before the Supreme Court concocted a constitutional right to gay marriage, American religious liberty was being systematically undermined. There were widespread efforts toexclude orthodox Christian organizations from American colleges and universities, occasional attempts to literally coerce Christians into voicing support for homosexual conduct, and well-known efforts to destroy businesses that aren’t willing to participate in gay weddings.

All of this is worrisome, and all of it should be resisted, but none of it represents an existential threat to the church. The only real threat is surrender — caving to the cultural, legal, and political forces demanding conformity. The church can and will survive persecution. It will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth.

In previous pieces, I’ve amply documented the decline and fall of the Protestant Mainline, those churches — like the United Churches of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — that abandoned biblical orthodoxy decades ago, in the name of cultural relevance and “inclusion.” Some are declining so precipitously that they may cease to exist within a generation. Already we’re seeing similar signs of decline in those Evangelical churches that are abandoning biblical truth on questions of sex, family, and marriage.

The day before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Nashville Scene — a local alternative paper — ran a long, gauzy profile of Pastor Stan Mitchell and GracePointe, a Tennessee church that’s done exactly what the culture demands and embraced same-sex marriage. In the midst of the lengthy ode to his courage, this small paragraph of truth stood out:

“We’ve lost half our church,” Greene says, adding that some who left were major donors. New members who’ve joined since Jan. 11 — roughly 30 percent of whom identify as LGBT — have offset those losses somewhat, but Mitchell estimates attendance is still down 30 percent from last year. The church has cut staff and expenses to the bone. Mitchell puts the current annual budget for church expenses at $1.3 million; as for revenue, he expects to bring in approximately $900,000 this year. “You can do the math pretty quickly and see that’s not going to work long term,” he says.

No, Mr. Mitchell, it will not. Sure, there will be a few individual congregations that thrive — at least for a time — by embracing all the social change the Left has to offer, but at the end of the day, a church that conforms to the world is no church at all. It’s a social club that asks for money.

The church can and will survive persecution. It will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth.

Defiance, however, means more than merely ensuring that your church or your Christian school doesn’t change its policies. It means more than still donating to your church even if the day comes when you can’t deduct the contribution. It means a willingness to lose your job, your prosperity, and the respect of your peers. It means saying no every time you are compelled to applaud or participate in the sexual revolution. It means standing beside fellow Christians who face persecution or job loss — not just shaking your head and thinking, “There, but for the grace of God . . . ” It means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message — even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment. And through it all, it means being kind to your enemies — blessing those who persecute you.

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