The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who transformed society by not just talking the talk, but walking the walk of Jesus Christ. Dr. King influenced generations with his words and deeds. “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” He was calling out those that stand by when their brothers and sisters in Christ were treated unjustly, simply because of the color of their skin, and turning their heads away as if they could not see. Jesus said in Matthew 25:46, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Far too often we turn a blind eye to man’s injustice to his fellow man. Even more frequently, we fail to do those things that could truly make a difference in the lives of our neighbor.
Today, we live in an age that celebrates when a professional athlete admits to deliberately breaking God’s heart. Society applauds his “coming out” by dubbing him a hero, as if it is truly right and salutary, that in all times and in all places we give thanks to those that push God aside and place themselves upon the altar to worship. This is how far humanity has fallen away from God. We are all sinful and unclean and we sin incessantly by thought, word and deed, by commission and omission. Christians today speak volumes by what we fail to say than those times when we choose to actually proclaim our faith in the Risen Christ. As a former member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, I know from where I speak. Far too often, when delegates were needed to attend synod assemblies, I kept my hand down and tried not to make eye contact with my pastor, lest he shame me into accepting an invitation. When I finally relented and attended my first Greater Milwaukee synod assembly in 2008, what I found was a church that I no longer recognized.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Instead of being fed the bread of life and worshipping, the assembly concentrated on social issues, such as anti-racism, which was described mostly as “white privilege”, immigration reform, the Iraq war, human sexuality, universal health care and environmentalism. Resolutions were brought forward that advocated for the synod to actively violate law, engage in civil disobedience and to openly overturn Scripture. I felt as if I had stumbled into a Democrat convention or the Occupation Movement, not a gathering of God’s people. Standing at the red microphone to challenge the resolution advocating for universal healthcare for all living within the borders of the US, which included those in this country illegally, the GMS bishop Paul Stumme-Diers told me I needed to go to the green mike to speak in favor of the resolution. When I told him that I was at the correct mike, his eyes widened.
Romans 13:1-5, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” As a person who protected the public and upheld those laws for 30 years, urging God’s people to engage in unlawful conduct was not only improper, it violated the words of Scripture. I was almost shouted down after reading from the Bible. This just reinforced that this church was not just walking away from God, they were running away.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We have remained silent for too long. It is time to lift up our voices for the Lord. Progressive churches like the ELCA are leading the faithful away from our Lord and Savior, using the false gospels of affirmation, bound conscience and lifting up the love of the neighbor over the love of God. Jesus said in Mark 9:26, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Is our silence evidence of our shame? Those that profess their faith in the Risen Christ in other parts of the world are subject to physical violence, even the loss of their life. In the US we worry about being looked upon as a “weak minded” Christian Bible thumper that clings to the Bible and our guns. We are called to proclaim His glory to the ends of the earth. Far too many of God’s churches are preaching a gospel other that the Gospel that our Savior taught and lived. The responsibility now falls to us. Continue to meet and study His word and build up your spiritual armor so that you will be properly equipped to save the lost. Our Lord and Savior said in Mark 4:21-23, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” Now is the time to take action. Stand up and be counted among the faithful! Share the joy of your salvation, given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.