I was sent an email today by my brother about the recent Pentagon decision to court-martial soldiers and specifically military chaplains who are seen proselytizing or sharing the Christian faith. You can read the article here: Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith
This is just one more example of the spiritual battle going on in this country. My initial reaction was this: “So you’re going to throw a chaplain/soldier in to jail for bringing hope and salvation to another soldier who may be on the verge of death for defending freedom?!” However, rather than be disgusted, angry, and begin to speak with hostility towards the Government and Pentagon for even entertaining such nonsense, I will try to contain myself and respond with the words of our Most High, Jesus Christ:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:10-16
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45
This is absolutely scary stuff. However, none of us should be surprised in the least about this coming down. If anyone is shocked at the increasing persecution of the church, then they’ve been living in a hole. I believe and will continue to believe it’s only going to get worse. So what do we do? We pray! Just as today is the National Day of Prayer, we continue to fall on our knees on behalf of the lost sheep in our Government who are allowing these types of meetings and policies to shape our nation, military, society, educational system, and on, and on. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 declares, “pray without ceasing.” This is our call as a church body. This is something we’ve got to do on a daily basis. And then continue to vote, vote, and vote again our biblical beliefs. We can not lose heart. We can not grow weary in the constant barrage of attack and spiritual warfare that is taking place over our hearts and minds. Are your spiritual knuckles turning white?! Mine are. Our biblical muscles need to tense. We need to grit our teeth and keep sharing the love of God with all we can!
My appeal is even greater for those of us in Christian Education. The battle is immense and we have to prepare our young Christian men and women with the truth, and more importantly, how to speak the truth. College Prep, UC standards, standardized testing is pointless in the eternal perspective, compared to what we have been given the opportunity and freedom to do. We better, as Christian educators…no, no….as CHRISTIANS, use what God has given us and not squander. You know the battle is coming to us soon. Our freedoms even within Christian school will soon be threatened. How are we preparing our students for the coming storm?
Just my heart speaking. Let’s continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in arms around the world. Let’s add to that list, our military chaplains who will be facing this challenge. They’re the ones that will stand at the crossroads and ask the following: Do I submit to human authority and policy? Or do I stare down the barrage of persecution, potential imprisonment, and/or dishonorable discharge and speak His most Holy Name? The answer to us civilians is simple. But we’re not facing that kind of potential persecution…yet.
And on a side note, for the historical perspective. Being an old history teacher, I occasionally look through quotes from our founding fathers and others throughout our history who took a stand for what they believed in. Amazingly enough, at one time, this was our Government’s perspective:
Congress, House Judiciary Committee (1854)
“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle…In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity…That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”
“The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to love and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.” (1776)
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” (1778)
“I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection…that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.” (1783)
And, as always, when I pray for my country, I pray the following:
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
I would love to hear from you if you’re in, or have been in the military. What is the soldier’s perspective? I can only imagine the conflict of service and loyalty to this country versus your faith in God. Please comment. And when you do, you will be sure to receive my utmost respect, thanks and appreciation for your service to this country!
Rak Chazak!! God bless you!!