By Mike Wade
Published February 1, 1991
What Should Be the Motive for Activism?
In the November Forerunner, we cited examples of news media bias against the pro-life movement, and promised a sequel that would discuss how to use that information to improve the odds of better treatment. The practices should be obvious: letters to the editor, visits to the newsroom and circulation of examples of such bias among other pro-life activists. What is crucial to any action of this kind, however, is not the action itself, but the motive of the heart within the activist.
Now to such a statement it is easy to imagine a lot of “amens” in response. But what exactly should the motive be? Is it to see abortion ended? A Christian journalist at Time magazine, a few years ago, discussed in print the problems of anti-Christian media bias. The examples he cited were interesting and relevant, but even more so were the corresponding problems he pointed out within the household of God itself.
What the Time correspondent pointed out was the way Christians – ministers especially – treat journalists: they view them as means of furthering our own interests and ministries. When journalists don’t print what is expected, the Church is reduced into merely another special-interest group that demands to be heard, and treated “fairly.”
I doubt that this article is revolutionary in doctrine to anyone. The solution, identified below, is something we should not only be able to agree on, but predict in advance. But since I, for one, have never seen it in print, please indulge me with my soapbox. We seem to be able to love prostitutes and beggars, but have a hard time with those who intimidate us in a more threatening manner.
Jesus Christ was never treated “fairly.” Indeed, he even promised that those who obeyed him would be lied about and persecuted. To show us how to endure, He was our forerunner, and always managed to turn persecution in something that bore good fruit.
If nothing else, persecution will always bear fruits of the Holy Spirit within willing hearts of believers. But God also would like to turn media bias into something good: namely, the conversion of not only those who are throwing the stones today, but those who are holding the coats as well. No matter to what degree they oppose the Lordship of Christ, God is able to turn whatever unbelievers intend for evil into good. In fact, that’s the whole idea.
The feminist radicals of the 60s and 70s understood this well, or at least they managed to somehow turn violent opposition into support. If you’re over 30, you may remember fanatical drives to ban the bra, and beautiful women chopping their hair off in protest of what they perceived as sexism. You will also remember that they were the laughing stock of the nation – for a while. People, news writers and editors for instance, began to realize that these radicals were willing to suffer for what they sincerely believed in. This genuine faith turned the tide of public opinion.
Okay, I know. Much of the reason for this change was the fact that society was adrift from its biblical moorings, and the feminist victories such as Roe vs. Wade were simple matters of default. But remember, they moved in bitterness and selfishness. How much greater our weapons are if we move in love, with nothing to gain, but much to lose.
But one can only do this when one knows exactly what his or her mission is God isn’t expecting us to shoulder the responsibility for ending abortion any more than he held Jeremiah responsible for the refusal of his countrymen to turn from their wickedness. In Jeremiah’s situation God even told him, to paraphrase part of the first chapter, that his efforts would meet with no success.
Therefore, our faithfulness in doing what God puts on our hearts is determined by motive, not energy expended or activities pursued. And, since good intentions aren’t worth much, does God have any requirements that determine motive? Does God even look at them as requirements?
Yes, He does. And the fulfillment of those requirements is summed up for us in Galatians 5:14, “for the whole Law is fulfilled in on word, in the statement, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is very liberating to understand that, no matter how vulnerable we might make ourselves in picket lines or letters to the editor – or anything in which we do for the Lord – that we are free to love people through it the whole time. This isn’t to say we never offend them or directly, even harshly, confront them.
Love can take on a whole spectrum of emotions, but it always recognizes the dignity of everyone, whether it be an unborn child, a homosexual who spits on Christians and grotesquely mocks God, or even the reporter who portrays the hater of God as the basically good hero, and the Christian as the imposing, narrow-minded villain.
In Jesus’ time the Sanhedrin had dispatched scribes throughout parts of Israel to be on the lookout for Jesus and the watch for anything that might be construed as an offense to the law. Jesus explains how He dealt with it in what is known today as the greatest sermon ever given: the Sermon on the Mount.
Here the persecutors were not atheists, agnostics or neo-pagans, as they are today. But in both situations they are people who assume they are doing everyone a big favor by opposing what they hate. One can find a lot to dislike about someone like this, until one realizes that the only difference between the persecutor and the persecutee is the grace of God. And if the Christian does not respond in love, he or she makes the statement that there really is no difference. Both are just seeking their own will.
The Christian who faced pagan Rome however, did suffer persecution much the same that we face, only ours is on a much smaller scale. It was not their great evangelism, logical teachings or wonderful press coverage that brought them results. It was sincere faith, genuine agapé, and complete dependence on God that ushered in a revival that has yet to be equaled.
There is nothing limp-wristed about this love. Jesus often responded harshly to the Pharisees. It’s often said they are the only people he rebuked; but he also rebuked Peter. Jesus never came against the dignity that every man had, by virtue of being in the image of the Father, whether they were Mary, a prostitute; Levi, a tax-collector; Peter; as spiritual studmuffin; Nicodemus, a Pharisee; or Judas.
While the feminists were preparing to march in the streets, John Lennon told us to “Imagine” a world of peace, harmony and love. That is something everyone longs for and, of course, is only attainable by giving up a life of sin. Faith, however, hardly comes easily to the breast of Natural Man. Even Lennon’s song calls for a world without religion (re: belief in a God of moral absolutes).
History, however, teaches that when Christians, by the grace of God, love their neighbors as themselves, revival is the result. The degree to which they are persecuted is the degree to which the Spirit of God is able to rest on them – and shine forth from them too.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Running Time: 145 minutes
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What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
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Running Time: 40 minutes
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
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