Obey Rulers or God?

Daniel in the Lions Den - Briton Riviere - 1872

Daniel in the Lions Den – Briton Riviere – 1872

Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

Daniel 6:13

Earthly princes deprive themselves of all authority when they rise up against God, yea, they are unworthy to be counted among the company of men. We ought rather to spit in their faces than to obey them when they… spoil God of his right.

John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Daniel

Advertisements

What many Christians feel, and are concerned about, in light of same sex marriage issues

As a pastor, my first obligation is to care for the people that are under my care in the local church.  Everyone knows that the winds have changed and that societal views have changed in regards to marriage, sexuality, gender, and so on.  There can be a lot of commentary about this but what most average Christians feel, from my observations, is something like this:

They really love their friends, co-workers, family members and neighbours.  Whether they’re gay or straight, atheist or Muslim, living together before marriage or trying to adhere (like them) to a Christian sexual ethic.

They’re not especially put off by different life-styles, beliefs, or sexual orientations.  They want to respect differences and have good relationships with the people they live and work with.

They may be confused about how their Christian faith relates to the shift in our culture’s understanding about sex and marriage.  But they do still want to be faithful to God and what their Faith teaches them about such things.

They don’t want to judge anyone but they are concerned and are feeling pressure from the world around.  Messages coming to them from the culture and the media are labelling them ‘bigot’ or ‘intolerant’.  Many are concerned about what traditional/Biblical beliefs about marriage will mean for their careers and some of their relationships.

They don’t hate anyone.

But they don’t believe that same-sex marriage or homosexual activity is what God’s has in mind for his human creation.

They really love their gay friends and neighbours.

But they don’t know what is in store for the future.

They’d really prefer this wasn’t the issue that is pressing today.

 

This video is made by Roman Catholics but I think the sentiments would be the same for almost every Christian I personally know.

 

 

Human Flourishing and Religious Freedom

Andy Crouch makes a compelling case for the role of religious freedom to enable human flourishing.  Religious freedom, in fact, is essential for human flourishing.  This is especially so in regards to the authenticating mark by which human flourishing should be measured:  how society’s most vulnerable are treated.

And religious freedom is not, not, not reducible to freedom to worship privately or believe personally.

It is the freedom to engage publicly with the implications of those beliefs.

Christians should seek religious freedom for all our neighbours.  We do this for a very good reason.  We should seek such not because it’s easy – it is not – but because it is hard.

 

* from Q Ideas conference, April 2015.