Will the US One Day Force Same-sex "Marriage" on the Church?
THE SILENCE OF ENGLAND’S CHURCHES (Friday Church News Notes, June 13, 2014, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - As far as we have been able to discover, Pastor John Rose of Attleborough Baptist Church of Norfolk, England, has not made a public statement about its “hell sign,” and there is nothing about it on either of the church’s web sites when I checked on June 10. I wrote the church but didn’t get a reply. I found a report that Rose is 69 years old and was ordained as the church’s pastor in February of this year. The matter has been reported widely in the British press (including The Times, The Mirror, The Express, and The Daily Mail) and beyond, and since the pastor has the world’s attention, it seems like a hugely missed opportunity to preach the gospel. But then again, I couldn’t find the gospel anywhere on the church’s web site, and it appears that they are more into social work than gospel work. In fact, it appears that they are associated with the liberal Baptist Union of Great Britain. Even though Attleborough Baptist Church appears to be shaky in its position, this is still a major, major freedom of religion issue. Where are the Bible-believing churches of England? They could use the opportunity to preach the gospel as well as to push back against the growing persecution. Why not post similar signs all over the country, accompanied by the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took the sinner’s just punishment when He suffered so horribly and died on the cross, and the resurrected Christ offers eternal salvation to every individual who will receive it? The Creator with whom we have to do is most definitely a holy Judge, but what He loves most is to be a Saviour for those who repent. Of course, the sad reality is that there are so few true Bible-believing churches in England. Even the “evangelicals” have jelly for spiritual conviction and backbone. An example is Mark Fairweather Tall, pastor of Norwich Central Baptist Church. In an opinion piece published by Network Norfolk, Tall supported Attleborough Baptist Church’s freedom of speech, but he hurried on to state that he doesn’t believe that preaching on hell is relevant and seemed to indicate that Rob Bell’s position that God doesn’t send people to hell is viable. He wrote, “In recent years there has been renewed controversy (particularly through the book by Rob Bell, ‘Love Wins’) over the long-term debate about whether a loving God would actually send people to hell. Whatever side of the argument you might come down on, I believe we have to seriously question whether the message of hell is the message we should be sharing” (“What message do church notice boards send?” Network Norfolk, n.d.). By the way, there is a Christian baker in Colorado who is bolder and braver in the face of persecution than a whole host of modern pastors. (See the report “Christian Baker Refused to Be Bullied” in this issue of Friday Church News Notes.)
BRITISH POLICE PERSECUTE JESUS CHRIST (Friday Church News Notes, June 13, 2014, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - When the apostle Paul, also named Saul, persecuted the early churches as recorded in the book of Acts, Jesus Christ appeared to him and said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:4-5). Likewise, when the British police charged a Baptist church with “a hate incidence” for posting a simple (nearly innocuous) warning about hell, they were persecuting Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of the world, and the only Saviour. God made hell as a prison house for those who rebel against His eternal authority and holy laws and refuse to repent, and Jesus Christ taught us to warn men of hell so they might be saved. Today Jesus is offering eternal salvation to all nations, but when He returns to earth, He will judge the nations and punish rebels. Jesus prophesied of this in Matthew’s Gospel: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Mat. 25:41, 46). Note that hell is described as everlasting fire, and note that it was not created for men but for fallen angels. The Son of God didn’t die for angels; He died for men, and no one has to go to hell. Every individual who repents and believes on Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved.
FREEDOM FROM OFFENSE OR BANNING THE BIBLE? (Friday Church News Notes, June 13, 2014, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - As for the idea that we should be free from being offended, if the government enforces that principle, then freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of the press will cease to exist for everyone. One non-Christian who understands this is Terry Sanderson, president of England’s National Secular Society, who made the following comment about Attleborough Baptist Church’s “hell sign.” “[We fought] a long battle of freedom of speech together with Christian groups because we believe that freedom of speech is essential to a functioning society. If you don’t give it to everybody then it isn’t free speech and as long as they aren’t inciting violence or trying to get people to do things that are against the law then I think it is acceptable to say whatever you want to say.’ Mr Sanderson added that if he felt uncomfortable with the sign, he would put up one himself--and said that police activity over the message was equivalent to ‘banning the Bible’” (“Police investigate Attleborough church ‘hate incident,” Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury, June 9, 2014). It appears that the British government is determined to ban the Bible through its “hate crimes” legislation, and this is the result of the nation’s apostasy. Only fervent prayer-driven revival will change things. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).