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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Believe what you want

We Christians in America are concerned these days about our religious freedoms. The framers of our Constitution didn't trust anyone, so they devised a Constitution that would specifically delineate what government could and could not do, very specifically retaining individual rights over States rights and States rights over federal rights. That is, the framers of our Constitution and its original Bill of Rights made a document to severely limit government, not empower it. Among those severe limitations was, of first concern (since it is the First Amendment), the unhindered free exercise of religion.

No more. Our society today, with the courts and laws behind it, is happy to cut off your free exercise of religion if they don't like how it makes them feel. Mind you, it's not a matter of harm, as some might foolishly claim. It's a matter of offense. "I want to buy the flowers for my 'same-sex wedding' from you. Oh, you are referring me to someone else? I'm going to sue! I'm going to file charges! And win!!" Be it flowers or cake or photographs or venue and more and on into whether or not you think a particular behavior is sinful and beyond, we are told, "You can believe what you want; just don't let it interfere with me." It's not harm; it's "how it makes me feel."

What they don't seem to understand is that "believe what you want" in this case cannot be separated from life. That is, what we believe drives everything we think, feel, and do. It is our worldview -- that overarching view that connects all of life. It is our source of values and perspectives. It is our marching orders, our purpose in life, our direction. Look, it's simple. "Believe what you want," they say. Okay, I believe that Jesus commanded us to make disciples wherever we go (Matt 28:28-29). That means that I'll be required -- in accordance with what I believe -- to be telling those around me the Gospel. Jesus said, "If you love Me you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) That means that I'll be required -- in accordance with what I believe -- to keep His commandments. These kinds of beliefs aren't simple little things I hold in my head without affecting anything else around me. They influence and shape every interaction I have with anyone anywhere.

We are, then, free to believe what we want in the same sense that you're free to yell, "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Sure, you're free to do it; just expect consequences. And I'm not just guessing at that (John 15:18; 2 Tim 3:12; Matt 5:10; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 5:9-10). And that's not a bad thing.

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