The need to prevent the legal discrimination evangelists

 

            Sure, many of us find them irritating and wish that someone would tell them to shut up.  Even the most Christian among us finds himself wishing that the Gospel message were kept within the walls of the Church—or at least some of the proponents of the message.  After all, the Gospel message should not be offensive.  Is it not true that Jesus is all about love and love is always a good feeling?

             These arguments, and a variety of others, are the types of arguments we hear all the time for why the street preachers of our world should not be there.  Even if we can find validity in these arguments, this is not reason enough to tolerate the killing of free speech.

             The more the culture war rages the more we should be willing to protect the right of the speaker—even when we personally disagree with the subject of the speech.  One of the guarantees in the free speech market is that a free society means that we will often hear things in public with which we disagree.

             The measure of a truly free society is how much they respect dissent.  Dissent is the heart of western culture.  While we might argue that we should accept the discrimination because it is good for the church and the church only thrives in troubled times, but we have to realize that this cannot be God’s way.

             Why would God create a system that only works everyone turns against it.  The problem is not that God’s system does not work.  The problem is that human nature is such that man has a hard time giving in to God’s will.

             Sure, historically the church thrives under persecution.  It is one thing to understand the truth of the historic evidence; it is a completely different thing to understand that we do not have to accept the historic model as the only way the Church can thrive.  We have to learn to thrive in peace and prosperity.

             The voice of the evangelist on the street is important to more than the church.  It is important to the growing number of people in our culture who have no interaction with Christian—any where.  It is also important because those voices crying in the wilderness are not always gentle.  Thus, they remind us that there is more to life than the safety of our Christian hiding places.  We have to interact with the world if we are going to be salt and light to them.

             We have to work to keep society free, including keeping society free to preach the Gospel message in its simple most direct form.  This is a form that is often not compatible to the politically correct world we are living.

             At the same time, we have to realize that this means there will be plenty of speech we disagree with from the Gospel preachers and the secular preachers.

             A second measure of the rightness of society is how we treat the weak amongst us.  This means tolerating the things the majority do not want to tolerate.  It is undoubtedly a better world when we have the influence of the Gospel being experienced on the streets and sidewalks of any community and any country.

             Ask those who live in a closed society if they want the right to speak in public and they will assure you that freedom is a good thing.  Freedom in the face of persecution leads to events like the fall of the Iron Current and the martyrs who have given, and continue to give, life the Church.

             We cannot, however, look to that lack of freedom and declare it to be the better way.  If we truly believe that we will all move to lands with no freedom to live in the better way.

             One final reason to prevent the discrimination is that the freedom we enjoy in the west is not a bloodless freedom.  Throughout Europe and in America men and women have fought and sacrificed their lives and their limbs that we might have the right to say anything we believe in public.  For us to walk away from that right is to profane the sacrifice of God’s greatest creation—mankind.

             And that means that we do a disservice to every man and woman who has sacrificed for freedom.  That is perhaps the greatest profanity a human can utter on this earth.  I for one want to find the better way.  The way where freedom does not mean the Church ceases to be relevant.

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Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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