That’s what my sweet wife said to me yesterday morning: “So are you ready to go to jail?”
I haven’t done anything illegal, but the meaning of the word “illegal” seems to be shifting. The question was prompted by my sending her Dr. Mohler’s post on the preacher arrested in Britain for saying that homosexuality is a sin.
So I think it’s time for all of us who believe and teach the Bible to get ready for it–mentally prepare ourselves to go to jail for speaking the truth.
And here’s one suggestion to get yourself ready: have a listen to The History of the Christian Church by Eusebius of Cesaerea. The link takes you to a free audio recording of it. Listening recently, it became apparent to me that those early Christians expected to suffer. They expected to be arrested. They expected to have their love returned by hate. They expected to be executed, thrown to the lions or tortured or beheaded or whatever. Those who stand for the truth today have deep roots in those who have gone before.
And now an anecdote:
From Dr. Mohler’s account, it seems that when that preacher was arrested in Britain, he was remarkably calm, not pugnacious or argumentative. It doesn’t seem that his show of attitude is what led to his arrest. That reminded me of what I saw when I passed through London in the summer of 2005. The group I was with happened to be in London on the day of a gay pride parade. So much of what we saw that day should not even be spoken (Eph 5:3), but what I’m about to relate was typical of the attitudes and behaviors of those celebrating their own shame.
I’m walking along in public, minding my own business, making my way through the crowd. I notice to my right that there is a couple with children under 10. Obviously uncomfortable, not participating in the festivities, and looking for a way to extricate themselves and their children from the unpleasant environment. Suddenly, and it was sudden, adult males offensively arrayed for the festival, celebrating their debauchery, immorality, and ruination, rushed up behind the children and blew loud whistles in their ears. To say that the children were frightened is an obvious understatement. The parents were appalled, and those of us who looked on were disgusted. The whistle blowers, having thoroughly discomfited the innocent children, cackled with raucous laughter as though they had done something magnificent.
This kind of behavior was characteristic of those who were that day living out Romans 1:18-32.
So to avoid offending those who delight in their offensive behavior, those who calmly, decently, lovingly restate what the Bible says about homosexuality will be arrested?
Those of us who identify homosexuality as a sin do so for the same reason that we would say that heroine addiction is a sin–we believe that it is offensive to God and self-destructive for those who indulge their desires in such ways. But we do not say so to condemn but to hold out the hope of redemption. Telling a heroine addict that their drug abuse is healthy and normal does not help them, nor does it make the self-destructive behavior the physical equivalent of going for a jog. Making it illegal to call homosexuality a sin cause doesn’t purify the behavior. We say that drugs are dangerous and that homosexuality is self-destructive because we want to help people overcome the temptations that will lead them to ruin their lives and spend eternity in hell.
If you don’t believe in the God we say the behavior offends, why do you need to punish us for saying the behavior offends him? Are we not harmless to you?
We want people to turn from sin and trust in Christ. We want people to believe in the one living and true God.
Will we be tolerated or persecuted?