Sunday, July 19, 2015

Joshua Feuerstein, Franklin Graham and the visibility of Christ.

I want to start out this post by saying that I do not personally know either Joshua Feuerstein nor Franklin Graham. I'm not trying to speak to their character or defame them in any way. I assume that they are loving people, but I do disagree with them in their recent post, and that is what I will address.

I'm not familiar with Mr. Feuerstein other than I see his videos on my news feed from time to time. He recorded a video blog recently where he talks about the recent ruling by the SCOTUS on gay marriage, and that people are coming after churches and Christian businesses, and that it's what it's been about all along. Not to get into that topic, but just a point of context for his comments later in the video. You can watch the video here (warning the volume is loud so you may want to turn down your speakers): Joshua Feuerstein Video

The disturbing part for myself is that he says that his first amendment rights are protected by his second amendment rights. It is at that point in the video that he holds up a gun. He seems to be implying that he is willing to use deadly force, to take someone's life in order to protect his religious freedom.

Now for Mr. Graham, he's mostly known for being the son of legendary Billy Graham, although he is accomplished in his own right. He's the president of Samaritan's Purse, which provides humanitarian aide to different parts of the world.

In response to the recent tragic killings of four marines (and a believe I just saw a fifth person has died), Mr. Graham suggests that we cease all immigration of Muslims. He references WWII, and how the US ceased immigration from Germany and Japan. I think it's important to note that we also had internment camps. You can read the post here: Franklin Graham Post.

These two post are a snapshot of what has troubled me in the American church for a long time now. We seem to be consumed with worldliness. Usually worldliness is presented in terms of debauchery, but in America we shun debauchery and embrace violence and division.

I don't know of one solitary verse where in Jesus or the apostles speak of standing up for their rights, and taking up arms in the process. I do see Jesus telling us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who curse us, and to take up our cross if we should follow after him. I do read of Paul and Silas singing hymns in prison to the Lord, practicing their religious freedom behind bars. I do read that who the Son has set free is free indeed. I do read that whoever seeks to save his life will lose, but whoever loses it for the name of Jesus will save it.

I don't know of one solitary verse where in Jesus or the apostles speak of keeping immigrants from coming into their lands. I do read where we are to be kind to the foreigner and treat them with dignity. I do read that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind.

Part of the purpose for the church is to make Christ visible in this world. The message in these two post (and some of the messages coming out of the greater evangelical church) CAN'T be what is made visible to the world.

What these two men have said makes sense from a worldly prospective. If someone is coming after your rights, you take up arms and you defend yourself. If you perceive a people group as a threat, you keep them out. You quarantine and deport them.

However, as believers in the body of Christ, there is no such division between the spiritual and the secular, between the personal and the civic. There is no mention in scripture of Jesus being your personal Lord and savior. The gospel proclamation is that Jesus is Lord over all the nations. One of the reasons the early followers were killed is because they proclaimed this, that Jesus was ruler, and not Caesar.

We need to let Jesus rule in the shaping our opinions and what we support, and not any political party or social philosophy. Jesus has his own government, his own economy that doesn't fit into any of our categories.

The world holy means set apart. It is holy, when attacked, not to retaliate. It is holy to not return evil for evil. It is holy not to manipulate and force people into doing what you want. It is holy to look upon sinful people and have compassion and empathy, because you realize that you are sinful as well. It is holy to be a peacemaker, to be a voice of calm in the midst of ranting and raving. It is holy to treat foreigners, not with suspicion, but with welcoming and generosity.

Even though I disagree with Joshua Feuerstein and Franklin Graham on these topics, I will still speak the truth in love. They are holy, blameless, beloved by the Father. They are seated in heavenly places. They are saints, part of the glorious body of Christ. They are my brothers.

No comments:

Post a Comment