Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Christian Faith is "Martyral"

While all the "experts" are telling us our churches need to look more like shopping malls and coffee shops (being "missional") they are missing the elephant in the parlor: the Christian faith has been, and is once more becoming, "martyrial."

The word "martyr" (μάρτυς) means witness, and far from being in the 21st century American context of "witnessing" (for example, going out in pairs knocking on doors Jehovah's Witness-style armed with cutesy talking points, Albaze!(tm) baubles and gimmicks, and a sales schtick), real "witnessing" comes in the form of the cross, of suffering, of persecution for the sake of our confession. Martin Luther went so far as to identify persecution as one of the "marks of the church."

While it has been some seventeen centuries since we have seen the mainstream of western civilization feeding Christians to lions, we are seeing rumblings of a repeat of history. "Hate crime" legislation, while sold as a form of compassion and a blow against violence, is in reality a form of "thought crime" and a means to undermine traditional civilization and natural law. And tribunals enacted to address such "crimes" are often extra-judicial, and designed to work around the traditional western protections of freedom of speech and conscience, such as charters of freedom and bills of rights.

Furthermore, such depredations are not happening merely in backward totalitarian regimes, but in "progressive" western nations that pride themselves on a self-image of democracy, of freedom, of the rule of law, and of individual rights - civilized nations such as Canada.

By way of example, you can read about a Roman Catholic priest in Canada, Fr. Alphonse de Valk, who is being subjected to investigation by one of these ominous tribunals, not for promoting violence, not for promoting real hatred, but rather for simply and obediently preaching the doctrine of the Christian Church regarding marriage and sexuality as articulated by the Roman Church (thanks to my parishioner Heather for tipping me off on this!).

Furthermore, this cancer is spreading across our continent to America, though perhaps in a less virulent strain for the time being. The end of this recap of the same Canadian case has some chilling examples of the erosion of free speech and religious freedom in the United States.

One can only imagine what Texas would become - especially for Roman Catholics - if the chains of the Constitution were to be loosened in the name of "tolerance" and the fighting of "hatred."

After all, today, the target of the Lone Star State's do-gooders is a Mormon cult - whose religious non-conformity became the pretense to discard the presumption of innocence. However, according to the popular Fundamentalist Texas preacher John Hagee (who was praised by presidential hopeful John McCain, at least until he became political baggage), Roman Catholics are also a cult. (Interestingly, Hagee's brand of glossolalia and doctrine of direct divine revelation is actually the reincarnation of the ancient cult of Montanism, which was condemned universally as heresy by the Christian Church).

It isn't too far-fetched to see a time in the future when Roman Catholics (and other historical traditional expressions of the Christian faith) will find their treatment in Texas to mirror the treatment of the FLDS adherents, or that of their fellow-Catholics in Canada.

Of course, "faith groups" (who often shun the word "church") that are more "open minded" about sexuality will escape persecution (and thus surrender the cross that is a mark of the Church). This fits in well with their non-committal form of theology and desire to make friends with the world, please everyone, and offend no-one.

But the true faith, the cruciform faith, the faith of our Lord and the blessed apostles, is by definition offensive, and will always find itself in the crosshairs of Satanic hatred, the hatred that seeks to separate creation from her Creator.

And against such hatred, there is no law. At least not in Canada.


Scott Diekmann said...

Another example of Canadian intolerance for the truth is the recent closure of Canada-based apologetics ministry MacGregor Ministries. They shut down and moved to the U.S. because Canadian hate laws prevented them from pointing out the false teachings of other religions, such as the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.


Thursday's Child said...

Amen! I find myself having less and less tolerance for such blather. And you express my views so much better than I do. ;)

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

My interesting note with Texas - I was mentioned in the official notes of the Texas State Legislature while they were discussing potentially legalizing Gay Marriage. One of my friends, who supports Gay Marriage, was speaking at a public forum, and the point he wanted to make was that while he wanted it legalized, he wanted to make sure friends like me would not be persecuted or legally forced to perform such marriages.

Also - while I'm sure you realize the idea of hate crimes scares the dickens out of me - we should acknowledge that there is a difference between preaching the Word of Truth in love and purity and becoming a demagogue whipping up people into a frenzy. While we are concerned with free speech, we should also be wary of any speaking of the "Law" that is meant to denigrate rather than drive to repentance.

Rob said...

Nice attempt to cloak your bigotry in Christianity.

A fellow Lutheran (ELCA)