Friday, May 29, 2009

Bible Study without a Permit

The phenomena of churches promoting home Bible studies has continued to increase all across the country. There are many practical benefits. For example, it promotes building relationships in a less formal setting. It gives opportunities for laymen to use their spiritual gifts. In addition, home Bible studies provide another avenue for outreach within the community. The days of informal fellowships may be numbered.   


The pendulum of attitudes in America is slowly swaying towards secularism. I did not think I would live to see the day in which rule makers would create, interpret, and enforce an action against hosting a home Bible study. But it happened. Fox News reports that “Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, California home for a Bible study—unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.


It is impossible to tell if the motivation for this action is for the purpose of collecting money or for creating an unfavorable environment for faith to flourish. In any case events like this are likely to continue and be repeated across the country, especially if San Diego County is successful. I do not want to sound like an alarmist, but ten years ago, who would have thought the proponents of homosexual marriage would have so much success today.


What can we do?


1.      Pray.


" Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV)


Pray that God would grant us a country in which we can freely communicate the Gospel free from political harassment. Pray that we take every opportunity now to continue to share the Gospel.


2.      Vote.


In many cases we are not left with much of a choice. Through the years for me voting has been a choice of lesser evils. But how do you make a choice when there are pro’s and con’s for each candidate. For the Christian the priority should be Biblical morality.


3.      Trust.


It is easy to allow events like these to cause us to think that God is not ultimately in control of all things. He is.


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" (Philippians 4:6, NKJV)


4.      Obey.


There may come a point in time in which our obedience to Christ cause us to be at odds with our community.


"So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”" (Acts 5:25-32, NKJV) 

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