God’s Word is Not Chained

No matter what laws and courts say, God's purposes will prevail

God’s Word is Not Chained

No matter what laws and courts say, God's purposes will prevail

These reasonable and long-revered beliefs are now the primary target of those who wish to undermine the authority of God’s Word and bludgeon religious freedom, including the freedom to live, speak and believe according to deeply held Biblical convictions.  People or ministries holding such views may be threatened with legal charges, face public ridicule or media scorn, lose business or sponsors, or jeopardize a career. 

The power, money and influence of zealous progressive activists pushing this agenda is relentless. Taking the path of least resistance by going along with the culture is much easier than standing for truth, and that adds to the temptation to compromise on sexual morality. Better to self-censor than lose my promotion, goes the thinking. Or, Easier to get grant funding if my research aligns with progressive ideology. Who wants to be labeled a bigot or transphobe? 

Standing for Biblical truth will eventually come at a cost. Remember 2 Timothy 3:12: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Päivi Räsänen, a physician, member of Finland’s Parliament and former Finnish interior minister, faced jail time for tweeting her Christian world­view. She simply disagreed with her denomination’s sponsorship of an LGBTQ Pride event. Even after two acquittals, the Helsinki prosecutor has continued to target her.

World Vision, a Christian relief and development agency, did not hire a candidate who failed to meet their standard for employees to abide by a Christian sexual ethic. The candidate, who was in a same-sex marriage, sued World Vision, demanding the organization either change its Biblical standards about marriage and sexuality or face a time-consuming discrimination lawsuit. 

Such lawsuits have been filed against Roman Catholic schools in Indiana and North Carolina following  termination of employee contracts for counselors and teachers who entered same-sex marriages against Catholic teaching. Courts constantly hear cases arising from LGBTQ activists who feel entitled to have their view of morality foisted upon churches and ministries.  

It was never enough to have freedom to marry in all 50 states; to celebrate rainbows for an entire month each June; or to dominate secular discourse, entertainment and education. The new frontier is to dismantle the beliefs, traditions and institutions that have yet to affirm progressive sexuality—namely churches and ministries with a Biblical worldview. Activists use the executive, judicial and legislative branches to force their “enlightened” view of marriage, sexuality and gender on religious ministries and nonprofits.    

Employment laws are a primary tool to chisel away at enduring Biblical beliefs about God’s merciful design for marriage, family and relationships. Weaponized sexual orientation and gender identity laws exist in virtually every liberal stronghold. Forcing Christian ministries to hire employees who disagree with Scriptural truths on these fronts is the camel’s nose under the tent. It would turn these ministries into watered-down, secularized versions of themselves, without the same grounding, passion and mission they have operated with for centuries.   

 Some judges clumsily parse out whether an employee is in a religious role held to Christian conduct standards, or a secular role where Christian standards supposedly don’t matter. To a follower of Jesus, this is nonsense. Scripture requires all of us to be ambassadors for Christ. 

Donors, supporters, volunteers and beneficiaries notice when employees representing a ministry live and behave contrary to Christian teachings. The spiritual significance of the public Christian witness of every employee is something courts or lawmakers should never cast aside. Judges and legislators can be poor theologians, and church autonomy—long a standard within American law—insists judges and legislators limit interference with religious beliefs, decisions and practices of ministries.   

The Supreme Court has hinted that religious ministries and schools do not have to abandon long-held Christian standards about marriage, sexuality and gender. Yet the court has failed to remove the uncertainty that exists when Christians are sued by a member of the LGBTQ community simply for living out their faith or for hiring faithful, like-minded staff. 

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that uncertainty about religious freedom comes at a cost; religious groups across the country “will pay the price—in dollars, in time and in continued uncertainty about their religious liberties.” Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas wrote that forcing a ministry to hire messengers who do not share their religious views threatens the continued viability of the ministry.

It is time for the Supreme Court to provide certainty and clarity that ministries do not have to forfeit cherished beliefs in order to lawfully exist, thereby honoring the First Amendment as intended in 1791. 

But even if it doesn’t, God’s Word will prevail. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” And as Paul wrote while in chains in 2 Timothy, God’s Word is not chained. His Word shall endure forever.  ©2024 BGEA

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. 

Todd Chasteen serves as vice president of public policy and general counsel for Samaritan’s Purse.

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