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Church Leaders Who Cancel Christmas Services Are Clinging To Government Lies, Not Christ


Church Leaders Who Cancel Christmas Services Are Clinging To Government Lies, Not Christ

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Wednesday against discriminatory targeting of religious groups with COVID-19 restrictions marked a significant victory in the ongoing battle to preserve religious liberty. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, hostile stakeholders in public office have assaulted the first freedom through superciliously labeling religious services “nonessential.” Christians in much of the country now find themselves in the demeaning and intolerable position of being allowed to worship only in the manner and on terms dictated by politically motivated governors.

Respecting authorities’ claims about an unknown disease made sense early in the outbreak, but now after better scientific information shows many initial fears are false. Yet politicians refuse to come clean while ignoring their own rules forbidding us from fulfilling our Christian duties. So it is time for us once again to assert that church is the most essential activity, period. Instead of valiantly fighting in the vanguard, however, many religious leaders have quickly retreated.

It is one thing for a church leader to prayerfully consider the individual needs of his church, striving to maintain unity among members in disagreements, protecting the health of the vulnerable, and offering stability amid uncertainty. It is quite another for shepherds to forsake the assembling of their flocks and enable the propaganda that congregating freely to worship God is selfish and “could kill grandma.” This unbiblical stance also overlooks the hypocrites in public office and the media who don’t even play by their own silly rules and ignore the data, for much lesser purposes than the health of our souls.

Many such religious leaders are neglecting the soul-saving mission of the church. The notion that being a good Christian requires indefinite cessation of communal worship — and for Catholics, the suspension of the sacraments — to prevent the spread of illness is a falsehood that has confused the faithful and undermined religious freedom.

Supreme Court Upholds Religious Liberty

In the case brought by the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Supreme Court held that “the restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.” In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch posed a pertinent rhetorical question: “Who knew that public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”

Gorsuch held that “the only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as ‘essential’ as what happens in secular spaces.” He warned that “in too many places, for far too long, our first freedom has fallen on deaf ears.”

For several months now, elected officials and many church leaders around the country have flagrantly ignored religious liberty. States such as California, Oregon, and Washington have witnessed a new wave of post-election crackdowns on religious services. In San Diego County, churches are currently prohibited from holding indoor services. Meanwhile, a San Diego court just issued a temporary order exempting coronavirus restrictions from applying to a strip club, ruling that such entertainment constitutes “constitutionally protected speech.”

In Oregon, new restrictions limit faith-based gatherings to a maximum of 25 people regardless of church size but allow businesses to continue operating at a reduced percentage of their total capacity. Archbishop of Portland Alexander Sample rightly argued that allowing a measly 25 worshipers in a cathedral that can seat 1,000 isn’t data-driven and doesn’t make sense.

The Church Is Essential

expressed concern back in May about politicians labeling religious services “nonessential” and allowing the state to determine on what terms churches can hold services. At that time, Washington bishops effectively thumbed their noses at President Trump for declaring that state governments should allow houses of worship to reopen.

The bishops instead hitched their wagon to Gov. Jay Inslee’s rogue horse. Hence six months down the road, Inslee again targeted Washington churches as part of his latest round of arbitrary fiats. Church capacity is reduced to 25 percent, and congregational and choral singing is prohibited.

Meanwhile, the very authorities who tut-tut and wag fingers clearly don’t adhere to or believe in the merits of their own nonsense rules. Sanctimonious public officeholders have lectured us about keeping business closed, taking unemployment on the chin, staying home, and wearing masks while they visit salons, attend private dinners, and jet off out of state for holidays with family. The duplicity of notorious mask shamers such as CNN’s Chris Cuomo and White House correspondents Kaitlan Collins and Jonathan Karl has similarly been on display.

The hypocrisy is not limited to the secular sphere. Pope Francis condemned peaceful lockdown protests despite the World Health Organization’s warning against using lockdowns as the primary means of controlling the virus. Francis believes that closing churches, businesses, and schools, and forcing people out of work are all “necessary for people’s protection.” He has even canceled public celebration of Christmas liturgies at the Vatican.

Yet Francis didn’t appear particularly worried about Wuhan virus transmission when, free from any semblance of social distancing and masks, he enjoyed a cozy chat about poverty and social justice with a group of handsomely paid NBA players and fellow pals of the Chinese Communist Party. Evidently, on protecting the freedom to assemble, to provide for one’s family, and even to freely worship, government-imposed restrictions are non-negotiable, but when it’s about racial and economic politics, the holy grail of neo-Marxists, lockdowns are a suggestion only.

Against this backdrop, Christians should be prepared for the usual suspects in public office and the press, facilitated by an array of religious leaders, to crack down on Christmas celebrations. We will no doubt hear more of the “we do this not out of fear but out of love” mantra. Given, however, that the survival rate is 94.6 percent for those 70 years and older and between 99.5-99.997 percent for those 69 and younger, rapid breakthroughs in therapeutics have been announced, three reportedly effective vaccines are on the way, and government authorities are flouting their own restrictions, the “love thy neighbor” lecture is becoming as tedious as it is false.

Christians Need Church to Obey God’s Commands

The Gospels tell us the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We cannot fulfill the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves if that love is not solidly founded in an encounter with God. This means gathering with the faithful in sung praise and thanksgiving, as we read in Psalms and was the custom from the earliest church, as well as explicitly commanded in scripture.

The Greek word for church, “ekklesia,” comes from the Old Testament and originally referred to the assembly of the people of Israel. When St. Paul first used the term, he intended it as the new community of believers in Christ. This “ekklesia” is not a human association borne of common interests and beliefs but a summoning by God himself.

For Catholics, the encounter with God is achieved even more profoundly through the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus is literally and wholly present — body and blood, soul and divinity — under the appearances of consecrated bread and wine. Whatever way you look at it, religious services are essential, and church leaders should say so.

Religious leaders must get their priorities straight. No doubt, pastors are genuinely concerned for the health of the most vulnerable in their communities and trying to accommodate the confusion and fears of their congregants. Some must feel their hands are tied by unsupportive leadership. Still others, I suspect, find themselves effectively cornered by congregants whose political indoctrination runs deeper than their catechesis.

Nevertheless, the role of preachers is to win souls for Christ, not to protect us or themselves from physical infirmity. St. Paul urges a return to God through Christ and cautions against domination by earthly pleasures and preoccupations. In other words, if, as St. Ambrose of Milan taught, we have a wound to heal, Christ is the doctor; if we are parched by fever, he is the spring; if we fear death, he is life; and if we are in darkness, he is light.

After a dismal year, and in sober anticipation of Joe Biden’s threatened “dark winter,” it is more important than ever for Christians to unite in praise of the Light that shines in the darkness and which the darkness has never put out. We should demand that our religious leaders mark the Nativity with fitting pomp and ceremony and refuse to support churches whose pastors spread or cower behind the lie that the celebration of Christmas is nonessential.

ABOUT TYHE AUTHOR:
Carina Benton is a native Australian living in Washington state. She is a practicing Catholic and has taught for many years in Catholic and Christian schools. She is a mother of two young children.
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Church Vandalized In An Attempt To Silence Their Complaints


Posted by | September 10, 2019

URL of the original posting site: https://thepatriotchronicles.com/news-for-you/church-vandalized-in-an-attempt-to-silence-their-complaints/

A California church found out the hard way that the LGBTQ community does not take kindly to an opposing view. South Bay Pentecostal Church was vandalized after a pastor complained that “Drag Queen Storytime” with children is inappropriate.

A Los Angeles area church was vandalized over the weekend after opposing city-run events where men dressed in drag read books to children at public libraries.
A pastor of the South Bay Pentecostal Church said he believes “there is no doubt” the crime was committed against the house of worship for their opposition to “Drag Queen Storytime,” according to ABC 10 News San Diego.
The incident is being investigated by police as a possible hate crime.
“Sure enough, at every corner, there were phrases, hateful words, and graffiti on the walls of our church,” said pastor Amado Huizar. The messages were reportedly “associated with Satan,” according to the ABC affiliate.
“Huizar said the church’s surveillance system captured two men parking their sedan in the church parking lot at around 3:00 a.m. Sunday and walking toward the building,” the report detailed. “Fifteen minutes later, they are seen jumping back into the car with what looked to be spray cans in their hands.”

Huizer has been vocal in his opposition to taxpayer-funded drag queen events for children, deeming them age-inappropriate.”

“If the people want to make that happen, do it at a private setting, at a book store or at a home, but not at the Chula Vista Public Library,” Huizar said.
“I’m all about diversity. I am all about inclusiveness,” Huizar said. “When you do something like a ‘drag queen story hour,’ you are excluding a segment of the populous who are not in favor of this because of what we experienced today or scared to speak out.”

Despite what happened, Huizar said he will not back down.

“I’m very sad,” Huizar said. “I’m heartbroken, but I am going to continue to speak.”

The LGBTQ and Liberals are supposedly all about the rights of people but when someone makes one complaint or speaks a concern, they are targetted. This is just another example of the left and their divisive nature, where it is their way or the highway. But this is only natural for a true blue state like California.

Apostasy Cannot Unseat Truth


Commentary by Dr. Michael Brown Guest Blogger, Distinguished Author, Speaker and Christian Apologist | Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 1:51 PM

Apostasy Cannot Unseat Truth

There’s a bizarre argument I’m hearing these days which basically goes like this. “Look at how many churches are embracing homosexual practice. This proves we’re getting closer to the truth.” To the contrary, all it proves is that more and more churches are apostasizing. The logic behind this argument is as wrongheaded as it is unbiblical.

First, to argue that greater acceptance of homosexuality by churches is proof of spiritual growth is like arguing that greater acceptance of obesity by doctors is a proof of medical progress. The reverse is actually true.

Second, the Bible often warns us against compromise and apostasy, both moral and creedal. And in every generation, there have been heretics who have departed from the faith. Should we therefore celebrate every heretical doctrine and practice as proof of our spiritual maturity?

Jesus warned His disciples, saying “See that no one leads you astray” (Matt. 24:4). He also said, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:11-13).

What is to be celebrated, then, is not apostasy but faithfulness, not deception but steadfastness, not moral laxity but moral firmness. And while the words of Jesus may have more specific application to certain times in history, there is certainly a general application to our day, in which “lawlessness” has greatly increased. Today, just about anything goes, and that is not something to celebrate.

Last month, the gay activist organization Faith in America announced its plans to call on the Southern Baptist Convention to remove homosexual practice “from the sin list.”

“Ultimately,” they said, “we at FIA believe LGBT people should be removed from the sin list. We know interpretations and new revelations come to light. We believe the Church will one day stop diminishing the lives of those who are LGBT and we strive to help this come to pass. We are optimistic people and see the glass 75% full!”

So, they are encouraged by what they have seen in recent years, as more and more churches in America and Europe are dropping homosexual practice “from the sin list.” Soon enough, they believe, the whole Church will follow suit. To paraphrase (but in my words, not theirs!), “We’re encouraged by the increasing apostasy we see in the Church, and we’re expectant that one day, the whole Church will be completely apostate.”

The facts are as follows.

First, as I’ve stated repeatedly, “no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological, or philological discoveries have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently. Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Instead, people’s interaction with the LGBT community has caused them to understand the biblical text differently.”

The truth, then, hasn’t changed. Instead, some professing Christians have departed from God’s unchanging truth because of personal relationships and cultural decline.

Second, most church groups that have removed homosexual practice from the sin list are in numerical and spiritual decline. In contrast, most church groups that are holding to biblical truth and practice, especially overseas, are growing numerically and spiritually.

Third, the embrace of homosexual practice cannot be separated from the larger cultural embrace of the sexual revolution. This includes an increase in sex out of wedlock, babies born out of wedlock, pornography, and divorce, along with the embrace of all kinds of sexual perversions. That’s why the same society that celebrates same-sex “marriage” is increasingly celebrating polyamory, polygamy, and consensual adult incest. (I’ve documented this in many articles and several books. See, conveniently, the relevant chapters here.)

This points to spiritual and moral regress, not progress.

Fourth, the idea that the whole Church will one day embrace homosexual practice is as certain not to happen as the idea that the whole Church will one day deny Jesus. Forget about not holding your breath. Don’t even think about holding your breath.

It’s certainly possible that, in some locations, increasing parts of the Church will fall away, and this will be marked by numerous moral and spiritual compromises. But the notion that the whole Church will fall away is completely self-contradictory, since if there is a true Church, it has been established by Jesus Himself. And it was He who said that He would build His church and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

But it is not only theologically ignorant to imagine that the Church worldwide will one day embrace homosexual practice. It is also missiologically ignorant, since wherever the Church is growing worldwide, it is growing with a conservative message and morality.

I truly believe that the leaders of groups like Faith in Action mean well and believe they are doing God’s work. That makes their self-deception all the more tragic.

How Does Growing Apostasy Prove That Christians Are Getting Closer to the Truth?

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