6-14-18: Contending for the Faith

Isaac Crockett:             I’m joined by our regular host and the president of the American Pastors Network, the Honorable Sam Rohrer, and by Dr. Gary Dull, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He’s also, among many other things that he does, one of the hats that he wears is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network. And we have our good friend with us, our special guest who’s been with us before, Dr. Joseph Green, pastor of Antioch Assembly in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I’m Isaac Crockett, senior pastor at Hamburg Bible Church in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, all eyes are on the Supreme Court of the United States of America this month, as they have over … I guess it’s over two dozen major cases affecting everything from religious liberty to online privacy, immigration laws, voting jurisdictions, unions, and other things that they are expected to make major decisions on this month before they get their usual, I guess you could call it kind of like the students get their summer break, they get a break at the end of June. And so everyone has probably heard the news from yesterday, and we talked about it on the program yesterday as well, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor in a large number, seven to two, favor of Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who turned down the request of a homosexual couple to make a specialty cake for their same-sex marriage. He felt that it was against his religious beliefs.

Isaac Crockett:             So, Sam, could you maybe give us a little bit of an update and kind of recap some of what you talked about yesterday with Mat Staver from Liberty Counsel, who was in the courtroom when the decision was made? Just kind of clear up what went on there with this kind of culturally explosive subject, and explain to our listeners what the ramifications, and what kind of precedent this might be setting for us.

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, I can, Isaac, and there’s a lot of discussion out there. I’ve been listening to commentary from those who were in favor of the baker, Jack Phillips, those I’ve heard from that are in favor of … Support a position of LGBT rights, and both, in many cases, are saying, “We won, we won.” I think at the end of the day, a couple walk-aways is this. I think the only real winner in this case was Jack Phillips himself. Jack Phillips was declared [inaudible 00:02:11] by the Court that the case against him could not stand, so he was a winner. However, does that mean that there was a win for morality? So, for those that, for instance, are supportive of Biblical values of marriage and what the Bible says about homosexual relationships not being Biblical, as an example, did that case do anything to decide that issue? The answer is no, it did not.

Sam Rohrer:                 This was not a ruling based on Biblical morality, it was not a win for the Bible, it was not a win for God, from that perspective. There was, though, a very narrow definition, and this is why I say it was not a win all across the board. It was narrowly defined, in that the judgment came down against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who were the ones who had raised the suit against Jack Phillips in the first place, and effectively, the Court said, “You, Civil Rights Commission, manifested more or less a hostile, totally over-biased position against Jack Phillips, and because you were overarching, we’re going to rule against you and say there has to be some kind of equality on the two sides of this issue.”

Sam Rohrer:                 That’s where they came down, so [inaudible 00:03:35] this. The other court cases that are before the Court on similar issues, and there are some out there, will this case as ruled by the Court mean it’s more favorable for these other cases that are coming up? And the answer is no, not really. I don’t think we can bear anything out and say that this ruling will negatively or positively affect any of the cases that are before the Supreme Court.

Isaac Crockett:             Wow, so it is interesting. It’s exciting to see that in this particular case, that there was some help for religious liberty, but we’re still kind of on the edge of our seats, then, waiting for more of these decisions to come out. Gary, we’ve talked a lot, and you and Sam and Dave especially have really focused on some of these things in the past that deal with the Supreme Court and the justices that work there. Could you maybe remind our listeners what the role of the justices serving in our Supreme Court, what their role is supposed to be, and then, while we’re talking about that, just … I would like to get your opinion of the job that is being done by the Justice Department, which is, of course, being led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, somebody that you have met with many times — you’ve had sessions with Sessions — and Sam and I actually just last fall got to meet with him in his role as Attorney General, and he’s, of course, a Trump appointee. So I’d just like to kind of see what you think of the job that’s going on, but also what the role should be of the Supreme Court.

Gary Dull:                     Well, I think that the role of the Supreme Court, according to our Constitution, is to basically … Not to make the rules, not to make the laws, but to interpret the law. In other words, when a case comes before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has the responsibility to make certain that what is done is done according to the Constitution. I think that over the past years, and maybe we can go back a generation or two, where we have found that one of the fallacies of the Supreme Court is the fact that the Court has started to legislate from the bench, and I don’t believe that … Well, I know that that’s not in accordance with our Constitution. They are just basically to interpret the law, to make certain that every case that comes before them is indeed … Is good law, according to the Constitution. Over the years, I’ve got to say that I’ve been very concerned about that, but that’s what their responsibilities are, according to Article III of our Constitution.

Gary Dull:                     As it relates to the Justice Department, I don’t know. I have been kind of concerned, Isaac, about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I have liked him down through the years, but I would have to say, to make maybe a long story short, I kind of think that he is a little lack in leading the Justice Department. I think there’s things that he should have done that would have strengthened his position there, that he’s walked away from or hasn’t done anything about. The only thing is, we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, you know that, Isaac? And because of that, it’s hard to make a full judgment, but I do have my concerns with the way Jeff Sessions is leading the Justice Department these days.

Isaac Crockett:             All right, thank you, Gary. Sam, just in a couple seconds here, is it important for our Supreme Court justices to take the Constitution and the laws literally, to be textualist, as they call it?

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, the answer is yes, it is, and that’s one of the big differences, and one of the things that are looked for in candidates that are proposed by the president for the Supreme Court, is how do they interpret the Constitution? To be a literalist, meaning taking what it says, that’s what they ought to do. I also put in here, there are some things that the justices should not ever do. They should not attempt to redefine God’s basis of morality that underpins the Constitution. They should not ever violate what the Constitution says in their ruling, and they should not ever usurp legislative authority or step into any other jurisdictions. Those are three things I put down as that they must never do, but I believe they sometimes have been doing.

Isaac Crockett:             We’re glad to have you with us, and as we started our program looking at the importance of the next few weeks, as we expect to see lots of rulings handed down from the Supreme Court, we were also getting into this whole issue that everyone seems to be talking about, the Court decision for Jack Phillips, the Christian baker. I just kind of want to use the story of Jack Phillips to transition into the overall topic of knowing when do we try to reach out — some might call it a compromise or capitulate — and when do we confront or counterattack what’s being done? And so I want to welcome our special guest, Dr. Joseph Green. He’s the pastor of Antioch Assembly in Harrisburg; he’s also an author, an entrepreneur, a businessman. I want to welcome him back to our radio program today. Joe, thanks so much for clearing your schedule to be with us on this day to talk about these important matters.

Joe Green:                   Thank you, Isaac. It is always a pleasure to be with you guys here at Standing in the Gap, so thank you for the invitation.

Isaac Crockett:             Now, Joe, you were recently with us on our TV program, Stand in the Gap. I guess you could call it Stand in the Gap TV. In fact, the second part of our interview with you airs tonight, for anybody who lives in the area around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, up to Williamsport and parts of New Jersey, or anyone who has Internet access can get it through our YouTube channels here at Stand in the Gap, as well as American Pastors Network, their app. Or you can just Google “Stand in the Gap TV,” and you can watch the interview that we have with Joe, the second part of that interview, or the first part of it, or any of the other ones that are archived there.

Isaac Crockett:             But on that program, you were speaking about racism, and about the 2019 Movement that you’ve started, and racial reconciliation. And in light of this news story with the Christian baker who refused to take part in this wedding by creating a special cake, how do you respond when people refer to his actions as being equal to racism and segregation, kind of comparing it to what took place in our country up until the 1950s and ’60s when the Civil Rights Movement brought in legal reforms, or even the government putting quotes out there, comparing this baker to Hitler, to the Nazi movement? How do you respond, somebody who’s working with reconciling racism? How do you respond when they compare this situation to racism?

Joe Green:                   Well, personally — and I get that question a lot, we’ve been having a lot of discussions about that topic over the years — and I personally, as a pastor and as a black male, I get offended by conflating the issue of race with civil rights and the LGBTQ agenda, because they’re very different, because one deals with the right of persons, when you’re talking about civil rights. The other deals with … They’re a matter of sexual preference or lifestyle choices. And to equate the baker with a Nazi is actually … It’s flipping the whole scenario, because if you understand fascism or Nazism or whatever, they were imposing their viewpoints on other people, so in essence, the couple that wanted to impose their lifestyle on the Christian baker was actually more as a fascist than the actual baker himself.

Joe Green:                   The example I use a lot, I got into a debate a few years ago, and the person sent me a picture of … You know, in the Jim Crow South, they had water fountains, and it would say “whites only,” or no coloreds could drink out of the water fountain. And I told him that you actually proved my point. I said, “Because think about … When you’re talking about the color of someone’s skin, and the civil rights was about basic principles of wanting to live a life, a normal life like everyone else, and to be segregated based on simple skin color was ridiculous.” And I said, “If a white homosexual male drank out of the water fountain, no one would be able to tell that he was a homosexual unless he told them, or unless he demonstrated something.” I said, “But no matter what I do, if I walk into a room, I don’t have to tell anyone that I’m an African American male; it’s very evident.”

Joe Green:                   And therein lies the primary difference. It’s about identity, it’s about who I am, and because of that fact, racism is so hurtful for many people because it’s something that I can’t change. I could be the greatest person in the world, but I’m being mistreated simply because of the color of my skin.

Isaac Crockett:             Joe, that is very helpful. That helps a lot as we talk about this topic. Now, Gary, as a pastor, we know the commands that Jesus gave us to love our enemies, and to go the extra mile, to turn the other cheek, and there are many times where we look at, for example, what Paul did, saying he wanted to be all things to all men for the gospel’s sake. And so, what are some ways or some issues that maybe some of our churches could be looking at doing a better job of being willing to make changes on things in order for the gospel to advance

Isaac Crockett:             For example, here at the American Pastors Network, we have an initiative called Bridging the Gap, and Joe is part of that as well, and it seeks to help bridge the divide in areas that sometimes divide our churches or our communities, things like age, ethnic background. Are there areas that you have seen over the years that are maybe important for the church to wake up to now, Gary, that maybe weren’t issues in the past, or maybe are continual issues that you would say we need to be aware of those issues?

Gary Dull:                     I’ll tell you, Isaac, that’s a great question, because there are a lot of things that the church needs to wake up to, and whether we are talking about race relations, or generation relations, or whatever the case, interpersonal relationships, I mean, I think that in many ways, the church is failing, and maybe it’s because the pastor is failing. You know, I have said this down through the years, that sometimes the greatest problems within the local church are the problems caused by the pastor himself, the way that he speaks, and the way that he deals with people, and so forth.

Gary Dull:                     But this idea of relating to others is very, very important. You talk about bridging the gap; I think that we need to bridge the gap in every relationship, whether we are talking about race or generation or whatever the case. And the Bible does give us a lot of principles on that. You know, one thing I often say to people — and I teach this in my communication series — is that we must seek first to understand, and then we’ll be understood. And, you know, if I’m going to work with you, I need to try to understand you, and when I understand you, then you will probably be more apt to understand me. I kind of think that what’s happening today is that we don’t seek to understand where the other person is coming from, and probably should do that.

Gary Dull:                     But then you’ve got a number of other Biblical principles, and I don’t have time to get into all of them, but Romans 12:18 tells us that we are to seek to live peaceably with all men. Ephesians chapter 5, verses 1 and 2 tells us that we are to seek to practice Biblical love as Christ did. Colossians 4:6 and Ephesians 4:15 tell us that we are to guard our speech and speak the truth in love. 1 Timothy 2:1 says that we are to seek to pray for others. Ephesians 4:31 and 32 tells us that we are to seek to be kind in all of our dealings. And if we were to follow these principles, Isaac, I think that we would be able to see a more effective church in any relationship that we’re dealing with, and we need to wake up to these things.

Isaac Crockett:             Thank you, Gary. I like that; we need to seek first to understand, and then we will be understood. Sam, as Gary was talking about showing that love and seeking other people’s … What’s good for them first, praying for them, if we were to apply that to the political arena, we’ve had your friend and your former colleague Jeff Coleman on this program, he’s been on Stand in the Gap TV as well, and he has a book about returning civility to politics. What are some areas that our civil authorities should be willing to do to, I don’t know if you say reach out across the aisle, or at least to be more considerate of each other and work together?

Sam Rohrer:                 Isaac, there’s a couple things, I think, there. Number one, we, if we look at what’s happening right now, things are driven because of class or group, one group is better than another one, or political, Democratic versus Republican or liberal versus conservative, rather than saying, “Upon what are we united here?” Well, it ought to be our Constitution. It really used to be our common view of God, Judeo-Christian worldview, where we understand that all men are created equal before God.

Sam Rohrer:                 Now, if that’s the mentality, and we understand that the law reflects moral authority, and how God created man equal before Him, and our civil law [inaudible 00:15:55] … If we understand that, then these artificial divisions that we create, these things of superiority, where we think, “I’m better than you because I have more than you have,” or “I have more education than you have,” or “I’m richer than you are,” or “I’m whiter or blacker than you are,” whatever it may be, those things are only dissipated, Isaac, I believe, when we employ and understand and think about life as God thinks about life. You can’t solve it with a law, you can’t solve it with just a lecture. It’s a matter of the heart, and that heart has to be in alignment with what God says, and when that happens, these kinds of things that we see around us have a way of exiting out the back door.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, that’s very helpful. Joe, just asking you a little bit, and I know some of this is repeating what was on the TV program, but could you tell us a little bit about the reconciliation, the reaching out that you’re doing with, for example, the movement, 2019 Movement, here as we go into our break in about a minute?

Joe Green:                   I didn’t hear the whole question, but from what I was gathering, we were talking about the reconciliation piece. We have a couple of different components, and so we do a cultural intelligence and multicultural training that helps … And we’re talking about bridging the gap, so when we talk about culture, we talk about different cultures, whether it’s based on age, whether it’s based on sex, whether it’s based on ethnic differences, and that’s one of the ways that we have to come together to fulfill the Great Commission, which was that all the nations of the world will be blessed.

Joe Green:                   We also, we’re very much pro-life and pro-natural marriage, which is the foundation of our community. We also press a lot for criminal justice reform and human sex trafficking, and all those things deal with personhood, so when we’re talking about the civil rights, we’re talking about a person’s right to simply live a life based on the Constitution, that I can pursue life, liberty, and happiness based on my God-given rights that are inalienable. Once we start to embrace that, as Sam said, it’s very clearly that we have to love our neighbor as ourselves. We look into other cultures and other communities, and we begin to embrace them as Christ embraces us.

Isaac Crockett:             Amen. Now, we started our program talking about some of the Supreme Court decisions that are coming up, particularly the one that just came out in favor of Jack Phillips. But in the Bible, we know that Jesus tells us to love those who don’t love us, and to turn the other cheek, but we also find passages, like in Jude, where we are told to contend for the faith. Or, in Ephesians chapter 5, where Gary was referring to, the beginning of it talks about loving others as Jesus loves us, but then it goes on in the next few verses to talk about being children of light in the dark world, and to actually reprove the evil works of darkness, and to make good use of the time that we have in the evil age in which we live.

Isaac Crockett:             So, Joe, I want to come to you with this kind of difficult task here of balancing those two Biblical principles. In some of your books and articles that you have written, and even in some ways, the reconciliation work that you were describing from the 2019 Movement, that you’ve said some things and you’ve written some things that are very counter-cultural in our day and age. I was wondering if you could share with our listeners some of the cultural areas that you see that we as Christians, as a Christian community, need to maybe be confronting, more willing to stand up and speak out about some of the evils around us, and how we can do that in a loving way, a way that balances also loving our neighbor.

Joe Green:                   Well, yeah, and that’s a great question, and it’s always such a … So many different layers to that. But, you know, one of the things that, even as we’re talking about multicultural and multiethnic relationships, it’s important that we understand that there’s a difference in cultures, and there’s a difference in people, and we as the body of Christ should look to embrace each other in our differences. And when I say “differences,” I don’t mean the things that are against the Bible, but I mean just simply how we express ourselves, and even how we worship sometimes. And so that’s one of the things that we have to be more proactive in as Christians, that we have to reach across ethnic and cultural, and even … We talked about age differences, so the older to the younger and the younger to the older, so we have to reach across those things.

Joe Green:                   We have to be able to attack the culture in those places that go against God’s Word, because God’s Word is meant to give us prosperity, peace, and multi-generational blessing. And so, as I talked about, criminal justice reform and human sex trafficking, these are areas that we as the church have to really attack, because sometimes the only time we get concerned with issues is if it directly affects us, but as the love of Christ is inside of us, we love our neighbors as ourselves, which means even something that doesn’t directly affect me, if it affects my neighbor, I should be concerned with as well.

Isaac Crockett:             Very important there, and so, again, looking at those Biblical principles in a Godly way, that if we truly love our neighbors, if we truly love our community, if we love our country, we’ll stand up for the Word of God, because if we are trying to compromise on the truth, then we don’t have anything to help them with. If we’re covering the light, then we’re not shining the way, and so taking a stand for the truth really is part of loving our neighbor. And so, Sam, Biblically we see that, and even historically in our own country, we see that there are times where, yes, we seek common ground, and there are unfortunately times right now where there’s partisan politics getting in the way of that. But we also know that there are times when we need to be willing to fight for what is right. Can you give us some examples, or maybe some context of situations where we need to be willing to really get involved and contend for what is right?

Sam Rohrer:                 Well, absolutely, Isaac, and I’m going to go off of what Joe just said. We must align on those issues of agreement that are common to us, how? Common to us as citizens of the United States of America. That means those principles that undergird our Constitution, that actually make us a nation. We have to agree on those things, and when we do agree on those things, there is a proper, legitimate unity. When we agree with God’s interpretation of morality, on matters of life or property, those kinds of things, when we agree on those things, then there is unity.

Sam Rohrer:                 So, what do we do on the other side of it? Well, we have to understand that we live in a sinful world, and there are people who frankly don’t want things to do well. There are people, literally, who don’t want us to have freedom. We fought world wars over these issues. The Communists, the Nazis, Islam, who wants us dead now; there are ideologies, and we have to understand, there are ideologies that fundamentally disagree with God, God’s interpretation of morality, God as Creator. There are people and ideologies that fundamentally disagree with the principles of the Constitution because they’re connected to Biblical principles.

Sam Rohrer:                 And I think it’s in there that we have an obligation to speak out, Isaac, when we counter and encounter those who would seek to oppose God’s morality. Abortion, take an example, or all these changing sexual identity efforts. These are opposed to God’s view, not because we just don’t like them. God says certain things about them. And when we have those who say, “We want to undermine your Constitution,” which the Muslim Brotherhood has done, and the Soviet Union of old, the Communists, they have clearly said they want to take this nation down and undermine our Constitution.

Sam Rohrer:                 So when those termites, those enemies, those roaches are there within society, we have an obligation to warn and speak out against them, no less than we would tell our child who’s playing on the driveway not to walk out in that street, lest they get hit by that car. We must inform our people in the pew, citizens generally, of the enemy of our freedom, the enemy of God, and the enemy of our Constitution. Those are the times I think we are most obligated to speak out.

Isaac Crockett:             That’s very helpful, Sam, to remind us that these are actually ways in which, if we love others, if we want to see what’s best for them, then we will contend for the faith, and we will continue to uphold the truth. And, as you said, these fundamental ideas that are part of the Bible and part of our Constitution, a stand must be taken.

Isaac Crockett:             Now, Gary, as a pastor, you’re used to taking some of these difficult issues and simplifying them, making it easy for us to understand, so can you maybe give us some passages or some Biblical principles that can help me and the rest of our listeners know when we should be looking for common ground, and when we need to have our antennas up that something’s happened that we need to stand up for, or even something that we need to confront, some kind of evil that we need to confront? On our program yesterday, Dave was giving examples from Luther and Bonhoeffer and different ones, where they said we need to be standing up more. What might be some helpful hints for us to know when to do that and when not to?

Gary Dull:                     You know, I was just thinking as I was listening to you and Sam and Joe speaking, I think one of the things, particularly as Christians, we need to do is conduct a study of Ephesians chapters 4, 5, and 6. When you go through the book of Ephesians, you find it’s in two divisions. The first three chapters deals with our position in Christ, and the third three chapters speaks of our practice in Jesus Christ. And our practice in Jesus Christ really is very important in these areas that we are talking about on the program today.

Gary Dull:                     For instance, in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 1 and following, it says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” And then it says this: “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” You know, if we’re to start out with verse 3 first, it’s important that we do all that we can to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and one of the things that that means, Isaac, is that we should always look for common ground. Sam sort of alluded to that. Whenever we are in disagreeable situations, we ought to try to find common ground, common agreement, and build upon that.

Gary Dull:                     But just think about it. In interpersonal relationships, wherever it is, if we practice lowliness and meekness and longsuffering, and would forbear one another in love from the Biblical perspective, just think of what kind of an outcome that would bring. You go to chapter 5 of Ephesians, verse 10 says: “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” I’ve often said that means find out what pleases God, and then do it. Followed up by verse 11 that says, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Gary Dull:                     In all of our relationships, and in bridging the gaps, certainly we need to know what “thus saith the Lord” is, what the truth of God is all about, and then make certain that we don’t go along with that which is not according to truth, but reprove that which is not according to truth, so that people can understand what the truth of God’s Word is all about. You go on down through Ephesians chapter 5. It says, verse 15, “See that ye walk circumspectly.” Verse 16, “Redeem the time.” There’s a lot in that, Isaac, as to how we should work in interpersonal relationships and so forth.

Isaac Crockett:             Well, welcome back to the program, and on this program, as we go to sum things up, Sam and Gary and I have been talking with our good friend Joe Green about how Christians are to do this difficult … I don’t know if you’d call it a balancing act, but “walking circumspectly” was the verse that Gary referred to. Walking carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, and we do that by contending for the faith, by standing in the gap for truth, and standing up for the truth. But we do it also with a heart for God and a heart for other people, that we don’t see our enemies as some kind of horrible people that we want to beat them, but that we love them and see them as people.

Isaac Crockett:             It reminded me, Sam and Joe and Gary, when you guys were talking about this, and seeing the personhood of others, reminded me of the Nazi regime, of some of the things they used to do. My grandfather lived through that, and they used to dehumanize the Jews and anyone else who stood in their way, and they actually made objects out of people, lampshades out of skin and things like that, to dehumanize their enemies. And so, Sam, you have spent a lot of your life as a civil leader, and many times in politics, we demonize, so to speak, those who disagree with us or try to get in our way. What advice would you have for those in office, and those of us that deal with people in office, when it comes to this balance between seeking to compromise for the sake of getting along, but also taking a stand, contending for the faith, so that we can be light and salt in this dark world?

Sam Rohrer:                 Isaac, we could spend half a program on this, but if I could sum it up, basically I would say this: We want people in office who think like God thinks. Scripture says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. Freedom, God’s blessing, occurs when right decisions are made, but right decisions as defined by what God says is right. So, it comes from a perspective. If you put a person in office who has a Biblical worldview perspective, his view of what is right or wrong will be as God will want, and that’s where it starts, so if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with Biblical correction.

Sam Rohrer:                 So I say, for those who want to do right Biblically, these are the things you do on this. On matters of truth, never compromise. Now, what do I mean, “matters of truth”? Well, what God’s Word says regarding moral truth, and secondly, what the Constitution says relative to civil law. That’s the truth. On those matters of truth, agree, seek unity, advance a common view, and then defend them. And then, secondly, for a person who understands who God is, if they view their position as a minister of God, Romans 13, where they actually are to praise those who do well Biblically, and to think about those things which are evil Biblically, as Scripture says, and pursue them in that way, and they define them that way, and they view their acting in a role as God, that then is how I find a person in office can actually come down on the right side, on the right side of unity, and on the right side of contending for the truth at the same time, because they do walk hand in hand.

Isaac Crockett:             So it is possible, and it’s necessary, actually, for those things to happen. Joe, what would you say to a listener who … And I’m sure you get this quite a bit, but maybe we have listeners who, as they take a stand for what is right on some of the moral issues that you mentioned, abortion and marriage and these different subjects, and they have friends or family members that push back, and they say, “Hey, you’re a Christian, and Christians are supposed to love everybody, and you’re not supposed to judge them. Remember, ‘judge not, that ye be not judged,'” and they kind of get after us because all they see as Christians is that we’re supposed to just love, and they don’t see that contending for the faith is true love. What would you tell a listener who’s getting that kind of feedback, negative feedback from friends or family members?

Joe Green:                   Well, and you know, we get that all the time, and the first thing is people always take that scripture out of context, and for the sake of time, I’m not going to unravel that, but you know, we as believers … First of all, acceptance and love aren’t necessarily the same thing. I can love someone but not accept their characteristics, their behaviors, their lifestyle choices, and as a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled believer, my job is to share with them the truth of God’s Word and to believe that God’s Word is the best proposition for them, because Jesus didn’t die for us to sin, he died to save us from sin. And so, as we share with the people the real love of Christ, it means that we bring them out of darkness into the light of God’s Word, and to restore them, and to put them on the right path, and that’s the true definition of love, and it is not acceptance, but it means … I accept you as a person, but I don’t necessarily have to accept your choices or your lifestyle, and that’s what love dictates to us.

Isaac Crockett:             Wow, Joe, that is so well put. That really sums this whole thing up, that we are called to love people, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept. In fact, we should never accept what they’re doing wrong; we need to point them in the right direction, and that’s what we have been saved unto righteousness, so that we can sin no more. Well, thank you so much.

Isaac Crockett:             And as we go to wrap things up here, Pastor Gary, what would you say to our listeners here at the end of the program, as we’ve looked at this issue that is so hard to walk the right balance? I mean, I know all of us struggle with striking the right balance. If we’re not careful, we’re not contending for the faith, and we’re not standing up for the truth and confronting evil like Elijah did to King Ahab, or like John the Baptist did to Herod. But if we’re doing that, then sometimes we’re coming across as mean-spirited, and sometimes we are judging our enemies in a style that we shouldn’t. Maybe sometimes, we have something right to say, but the way we say it and things. What would you give advice-wise to our listeners, Gary, here so that they can encourage their pastors and church leaders to take a Biblical stand for God’s truth in this chaotic days, with so many questions? And then also, could you close our program in prayer?

Gary Dull:                     It’s an interesting question, Isaac. What advice would I give to listeners of this program so they can encourage their pastors and church leaders to take a Biblical stand? Don’t you think it should be the other way around? Don’t you think that pastors should live according to 2 Timothy chapter 4, verses 1 through 5, and lead their congregants and lead their community accordingly? And, you know, you go to verse 2 of chapter 4 where it says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine,” and you know, in reality, that sort of summarizes everything that we’ve been talking about throughout this particular program. And I think it’s up to pastors to teach their congregations and to lead their congregations according to that particular principle.

Gary Dull:                     You know, there are nine principles for the pastor to operate under. They’re in 2 Timothy chapter 4, and I think that if we as pastors would operate according to that, a lot of this material we’ve been talking about today in interpersonal relationships, and loving one another, and what acceptance is all about, would fall in line. That’s what we need to pray for.

Isaac Crockett:             Amen. Amen.

 

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