About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Church And The Morality Of Tolerance
apostle Paul tells us to pray for, and obey the government.
(1Timothy 2:2, Romans 13:1) He
also tells us to try to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 14:19)
Paul's goal in life was to preach the gospel to as many people as
possible. This was made
easier if he was at peace with the prevailing government.
Such peace would give him the freedom to preach.
Peace with the ruling authorities was a nice idea, but the early
church seldom experienced such a luxury.
That's why the apostle Peter at times had to obey God rather than
the ruling authorities. (Acts 4:19) As
Christians in the western world, we have been fortunate to have peace
and freedom, but that's almost over.
includes any discrimination and/or harassment contrary to the provincial
human rights legislation, which includes discrimination and/or
harassment based on the following protected grounds:
- race, colour, ancestry,
- creed, religion
- sexual orientation
- family, marital or
same-sex partnership status
- disability or perceived
Notice who sets forth the
regulations for discriminatory policies.
It's not this church or its social service organization.
It's the government. Also
notice who cannot be discriminated against by failing to hire them.
Note also that the government has a different standard of
morality than Biblical based Christians. This Christian organization
cannot refuse a perspective employee based on any of the above
categories, even if it goes against their Biblical based morality.
Recently in a nearby
city, a lady in this Christian organization asked a male co-worker to
attend a church gathering. He
refused. She kept asking and
he kept refusing. Finally he
told her why he didn't want to attend these functions.
He said he was gay. This
lady answered by saying something like, "that's okay, if you come,
we'll help you become straight".
When I heard that, I groaned and shook my head in unbelief, and
you probably just did too. Subsequently,
this lady and this Christian organization were sued.
They lost the case and had to pay a certain sum of money to the
gay man. The lady had to
enroll in a program to learn how not to discriminate and to be taught
the morality of tolerance. Ironically,
my friend who told me this rose from his chair in the middle of our
conversation and closed the door to his office. I
suddenly realized that I'd better be careful what I say and how loud I
say it, even though we were in a building dedicated to the work of the
legislation and court cases are happening with greater frequency, and
not just in
What will your church do
when it receives a letter from a lawyer telling you to cease from
certain practices or lose its legal status?
Will your church cave in and hire a gay man as an assistant
pastor? Will your church
hire a Muslim as a secretary? Will
your church allow an atheist to teach Sunday school?
When the letter arrives at the door, churches will have two
choices. It either accepts
the government's ruling and keeps its legal status, or, it declines the
ruling and forfeits its legal status.
Does the church submit to a non-Biblical government or to Jesus?
The loss of legal
recognition from the government will be costly for your church if it
goes that route. Your church
will have to pay property
taxes which will push many churches over the brink into financial
disaster. Your church will
no longer be able to issue tax receipts for financial donations.
Your pastors will no longer be able to perform a legally
sanctioned wedding. The
organizational structure of your church will disintegrate.
It will look more like the illegal church in China
than what you've been used to. There's
all sorts of organizational and financial matters that will have to be
rethought. Is your church
prepared for this reality?
For those churches and
Christians who stand as Peter stood before the authorities in his day,
obeying Jesus rather than man is the only option.
I say, "bring it on."
I not only like the idea of a church not being recognized by the
government, I tend to think it's the church of
the New Testament. It's
a church where personal relationships matter.
It's a church where everybody functions in some capacity because
they are joined personally to a few real people, and not just to an
joined to fellow believers is different than being joined to an
organization. Many will
decline to be a part of this church.
It's too drastic of a change.
For others of us, it's something we've already tasted and will
It's time to seriously
think about these matters because in the name of protecting our personal
freedoms, we're actually in the process of losing those freedoms. As
weird as that sounds, it's true.