A landmark decision was just handed down by North Carolina’s U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCircuit), banning the use of prayer that identifies a particular deity by name in Forsyth County. In other words, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners is no longer allowed to open meetings with prayer in the name of Jesus or any other specific gods.
The news story was reported by Charlotte’s Channel 9 (WSOCTV) last night, but the news has quickly circulated throughout the internet as well.
An article appearing on Charisma Magazine’s website stated that on Friday, the Court of Appeals “upheld a district court’s ban on prayers by clergy that may mention a particular deity prior to public meetings in Forsyth County, N.C.
The Alliance Defence Fund, a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith, is representing the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.
ADF attorneys point out that the decision of the lawsuit Joyner v. Forsyth County is in conflict with other federal court decisions and out of step with the history of invocations in America.
Judge Paul V. Niemeyer strongly dissented from the ruling, writing that “the majority has dared to step in and regulate the language of prayer—the sacred dialogue between humankind and God. Such a decision treats prayer agnostically; reduces it to civil nicety; hardly accommodates the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in Marsh v. Chambers …
Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the Forsyth County Commission on behalf of three individuals in March 2007 because it “does not have a policy which discourages or prohibits those whom [the board] has invited to deliver prayers from including references to Jesus Christ, or any other sectarian deity, as part of their prayers.
[ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey] argues: “In other words, the ACLU and AU are advocating censorship.” (http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/31689-public-meeting-prayer-ban-upheld-by-north-carolina-court )
The ruling was upheld in a 2-1 decision, with Judge Niemeyer casting the dissenting vote against limiting freedom of speech.
So what does this case have to do with “making God in our society’s image”?
As our society moves forward with this era of “political correctness”, we run the risk of losing our right to free speech. If we lose this right, as Christians we will be grossly restricted in our ability to openly serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thus thrusting us backwards to an era similar to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire before the days of Constantine, who legalized Christianity.
The point is that our society’s goal is to not offend anyone and to accomplish this, we must give religion a “universal” theme or a broadened appeal. To do this, society must make God as ambiguous as we ourselves are.
This ambiguity means the removal of any and all noteworthy characteristics regarding The LORD’s personality.
Here’s a synopsis of how our society is making God simply vague. In actuality, we are saying that God must be:
- Addressed not by merely one Name, but rather, by any and all names.
- Regarded as holy enough to remain some sort of deity, but not so holy that He would view sin as “being wrong or bad” – sin is just a fault, an error in judgment, or a shortcoming.
- Void of any type of judgment or condemnation for sin or evil, yet He still rewards “good deeds”.
- Faceless, shapeless, people-less, and the author of any and all scriptures including the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, and many others. Hence, the Bible loses not only its validity, but it loses its earnest sacredness amidst all of the other afore-mentioned “scriptures”.
- Ambiguous to all people – that is to say that He cannot have or claim a distinct group of followers – He must encompass everyone, including pagans, atheists, and even Satanists.
The real objective here is to make sure that God is just that – simply “a god”, without a personality, without a people, without a single book of revelation, without a set of known characteristics, and ultimately, without a Son.
Where, then, are we all headed?
Why, back to Rome, of course! Only this time, it will not be an empire of dictatorship (at least not at first), but a seemingly glorious age of a supposed “world peace” where everything and everyone is accepted – except those of us who view God as a distinct and defined Being with a distinct Word and a distinct plan of redemption for mankind only through His Only Begotten Son.
Those of us who dare to truly believe the Bible fundamentally, will be ostracized, heckled, rejected, and humiliated – just as Christians were nearly two thousand years ago in ancient Rome.
In “From Republic To Empire: Rome’s Persecution Of The Christians”, noted author and Roman historian C.J. Lyes wrote:
“Christians were subject to very unsystematic treatment until the middle of the third century, for much of the early empire there is little real evidence for their persecution, except for Nero’s accusations of arson. The martyrdoms of the second century largely occurred because of the refusal by Christians to acknowledge the state religions, leading to charge of atheism.
To understand the reasons behind the Roman persecution of the Christians, we must first examine the nature of the Roman state religions, how they were observed and what religion meant to Romans. Although some scholars have suggested a move towards monotheism during the late Republic & early Empire, modern views of religion cannot be superimposed on the Roman world. Roman religion was a cluster of beliefs aimed at bringing about the co-operation of the gods, who were themselves intimately, bound-up in the day-to-day workings of Roman life. There was not a personal relationship with the gods, as there is in Christianity and worship was a very public, rather than a secret, phenomena. Religion was not seen as fulfilling one’s own spiritual needs, but rather those of the state.” (http://www.anistor.gr/english/enback/CJLyes_Roman_Persecution_Xians.pdf )
“Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness”
Gen 1:26 And God said,“Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth.”
Is the Church reshaping God in its own image?
In part one of this series, we examined how legislation and support by Protestant churches for gay marriage and other agendas are being used by society’s leaders to influence our view of God.
Now, let’s briefly take a look at what effect these various agendas will ultimately have on true Bible believing Christians:
Let’s examine a couple of points made by C.J. Lyes –
- Early believers were persecuted “because of the refusal by Christians to acknowledge the state religions, leading to [the] charge of atheism.” In other words, if Christians did not follow the religious customs of the state or government, they were labeled as “atheists” and were subject to persecution. It would stand to reason that the new “Universalistic” view of God by many Protestant church leaders will direct us to belief in an “all inclusive god” that will simply accept everyone in his kingdom with no reservations. This new church view of God will (and already has) lead to the “demonizing” of anyone that believes in holiness, justice, sin, hell, damnation, and so forth. We must either accept this newer view of The Almighty or be labeled as “unreligious” or even atheists. Church leaders will dictate what we must worship, how we will worship, and whom we will worship with (despite what the Bible says). If we don’t go along with this, we will be seen as “anti-Christian” – atheists. Imagine being called an atheist because you refuse to worship with an atheist!
- There was not a personal relationship with the gods, as there is in Christianity and worship
was a very public, rather than a secret, phenomena. Religion was not seen as fulfilling one’s ownspiritual needs, but rather those of the state.” Firstly, the new view of God does not allow for a personal relationship either – that is, you can have a personal relationship with God as long as you don’t take it personally. In other words, you can serve your God your way as long as you don’t expect anyone else to serve the same God or to serve Him the same way – every god must be acceptable to you. Secondly, like Rome, our society’s religion now expects that all inclusive worship will be good for all of humanity. Good deeds and political correctness will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not you are regarded as “religious”. By eliminating Christ from our “religious” views, we conclusively eliminate the need for salvation and the need for a Savior. This new Church system will rely on its good name and community outreach to justify its existence and its sovereign right to shape the view of its Supreme Being . Lyes was right – religion will not [be] seen as fulfilling one’s own spiritual needs, but rather those of the state.”
Remember the haunting words of Justice Paul V. Niemeyer – “Such a decision treats prayer agnostically; reduces it to civil nicety”. That will ultimately be the motto of the new Church to come – “agnosticism with civil nicety”.
The Episcopal, Presbyterian (in the USA), the United Church of Christ, and some Evangelical Lutheran churches are slowly abandoning any true sense of Christian values and morals, which in turn, will shape how we see God. They are succeeding in the repealing of who can marry, but it does not stop there –now comes the repealing of Christ as the Only Savior.
And the repealing of The Bible as the Only inspired Word of God. It will not end until our society has stripped God of any traits that even remotely resembles the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Again, I urge you not to follow after “their god”.
The true Church was meant to resemble Christ. As the Apostle John wrote:
1 Jn 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1 Jn 3:3 And everyone who has this hope on Him purifies himself, even as that One is pure.
1 Jn 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.
1 Jn 3:5 And you know that He was revealed that He might take away our sins, and in Him is no sin.
1 Jn 3:6 Everyone who abides in Him does not sin. Everyone who sins has not seen Him nor known Him.
1 Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as that One is righteous.
1 Jn 3:8 He who practices sin is of the Devil, for the Devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, that He might undo the works of the Devil.
This new Church desires a Christ-less Christianity and a God-less deity will be at its helm.
And that deity’s name…will be Satan. You’ll see no pitchfork, no red skinned devil, no bearded baron, no smell of hellfire and brimstone.
There’ll only be a kindhearted, all inclusive, all accepting deity who seems to be as sweet as an angel.
An angel of light…