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We aren't moving to the back of the bus

 

Christmas is all about an innocent child who was born over two thousand years ago into abject poverty to homeless refugees on the outskirts of a brutal empire. A host of angels appeared in the sky to impoverished shepherds singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

That innocent child, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, grew up to live a sinless life, performed miraculous deeds of kindness and love, died a vicarious death as our Savior and Lord, rose victoriously from the dead, and defying the law of gravity ascended back to heaven where he ever lives to make intercession for us.

Yet, while He was on this earth He made people so angry they wanted to kill Him. He challenged their superficial religion. He exposed their greed and materialism. They despised and rejected Him, because He didn’t keep all the laws they had devised regarding the Sabbath.

They viewed with disdain and derision His claim to be God. They were jealous of the followers He amassed. Yet, they struggled in vain to find any real blemish in His character.

I have often wondered what would happen if Jesus were to be born in our day. Would his parents have to escape to some foreign land, because of the death threats of some modern day “Herod”? Would He mystify the religious leaders with His wisdom as an adolescent? Would He have reason to expose the religious (Christian) church for its compromise and indifference? Would he incur the same kind of wrath He did when He came 2,000 years ago? Would He be executed in some cruel and shameless way?

I believe He would garner the same kind of reception He did when He came to this earth 21 centuries ago. In fact, I’m confident that the false charges and animosity would be hurled at Him more rapidly and with even greater hostility. I am not sure it would take 33 years for Him to be crucified if He were born in America this Christmas.

I am beginning to see shades of Christian persecution here in our beloved land. Based on what has happened throughout history we can only expect it to increase. Jesus said, “And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22).

In Proverbs 29:27 the Bible says, “He that is upright in the way is an abomination unto the wicked.”

Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Centennial Celebration of Kilpatrick Association at First Baptist Church in Thompson. I stated, “Ten years ago I feared that the persecution of Christians may come in the lifetime of my grandchildren. Five years ago I feared that it might come in the lives of my children. Today I fear that it may come even in my lifetime.”

I have often wondered what would happen if Jesus were to be born in our day.

I have changed my criterion of success in the church. Once I thought success depended on how many were in attendance in Sunday School or worship, how many baptisms the church could report on its annual church profile, and how much money was coming into the coffers. That is no longer true. I believe a successful church today is that church that is adequately preparing its members for the coming persecution.

Last year the Bulloch Board of Education cracked down on religious expression in their schools by censoring Christmas cards. For years the teachers at Brooklet Elementary School posted Christmas cards in the hallways outside their classrooms, but last year the school board put an end to that.

It was reported, “They took down the cards so the kids can’t see them. Some of the cards had the word Christmas and some had Nativity scenes.”

Teachers have been ordered to remove any religious icons or items from their classrooms – ranging from Bibles to Christian music.

Two years ago the American Atheists placed a billboard in Times Square that showed a picture of Santa Clause and a picture of the crucified Christ, with the caption “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!”

What do you think would happen if anyone dared to put up a billboard of Mohammed with the word “myth” under his picture? There would no doubt be blood in the streets and denunciations from the White House and Congress.

I just don’t understand the thought process of those who want to suppress the true meaning of Christmas or ban religious freedom. There is a hue and cry for equality, but those who insist on equality are enthusiastic about celebrating the announcement that Michael Sam is the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL. Yet, they vilify Tim Tebow for unashamedly taking a stand for Christ.

There is ample information available to indicate that Marxist indoctrination is ongoing in certain public school systems in America; but some schools would be threatened with lawsuits if they dared to teach that America was founded upon Christian principles.

Evolution is taught as common fare in most public schools, but one of the American Civil Liberties Union’s top lawyers says that teaching creationism in science classes violates the U.S. Constitution and invites legal challenges.

Nineteen Minutes is a racy novel that 14-year-old English students in New Hampshire have been assigned to read at a local high school, but they can only read the Bible at their own risk and peril.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that he is moving toward closing the public schools of the city for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, significant days on the Islamic calendar, to honor the Muslim religion. However, in the same city students will get out of school for the last week in December for what they are calling, not Christmas holidays, but the winter recess.

Christianity has been relegated to the back of the bus in our day. We need someone with the determination and courage of Rosa Parks, who will say, “We have had enough of your intimidation. We are not moving to the back of the bus. We are holding our ground for the sake of Biblical equality.”