Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty Sabbath 2016

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Lincoln Steed


Series Code: RLIB

Program Code: RLIB000002A

00:18 Hello and welcome to our very special
00:21 Religious Liberty Emphasis Weekend.
00:23 My name is CA Murray
00:25 and it's my pleasure to welcome you
00:26 to the Thompsonville Seventh-day Adventist Church.
00:29 Religious liberty is one of those things that
00:31 you don't really know you need until you need it
00:35 and then when you need it, you really need it.
00:38 It's a kind of thing that you may not have respect
00:41 for until you do not have it, and when you do not have it,
00:44 you understand what a trial it is to be without it.
00:49 I know of a young lady even now who has a master's degree,
00:53 who is working as a maid in a hotel
00:57 simply because she refuses to work on Sabbath.
01:01 And those who would employ her in her chosen field
01:05 are desiring her to work on Sabbath
01:06 and she has refused to do that.
01:08 And she is working as a maid.
01:10 And she doesn't feel that too much to do
01:14 for her Lord Savior Jesus Christ.
01:15 Our religious liberty is one of those kinds of things
01:17 that helps you with that, I can recall several years ago,
01:20 as a religious liberty leader for New York City,
01:24 when a good member of the church was fired
01:26 from his job for not coming in on the Sabbath,
01:30 and when he went before the arbiter,
01:32 and the arbiter understood that he was a Seventh-day Adventist,
01:35 and the arbiter said, "You know I live next door
01:37 to a Seventh-day Adventist, you are good people,
01:40 we will see to it that you get your job back."
01:43 Now we praise the Lord that
01:44 Seventh-day Adventists make good neighbors.
01:46 But we also praise the Lord that the church will stand
01:49 behind its members
01:50 when it comes to religious liberty,
01:52 and getting the rights that we deserve,
01:54 and that we should have as citizens of this country,
01:58 and as those who would serve
01:59 our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
02:01 So this is a very special time and a very special day.
02:04 Our speaker is Lincoln Steed,
02:07 who is the editor of Liberty magazine,
02:10 has edited that very fine journal
02:12 for many, many years.
02:14 And it is sought or thought
02:17 to be one of the finest journals of its kind
02:21 and one that is circulated among those of influence,
02:25 legislatures, congressmen, lawyers, district attorneys
02:30 are the target audience along with good old members
02:32 who just want to know and see what God is doing
02:35 in the area of religious liberty.
02:38 As far as 3ABN is concerned,
02:39 he is the host of Liberty Insider,
02:43 very fine and informative program
02:45 that has run for many years here at 3ABN.
02:48 Lincoln brings any number of guests
02:49 from around the world to come and sit
02:51 and talk about matters of religious liberty
02:53 not only here in the United States,
02:55 but around the world as this has impact
02:58 on Christians in every country
03:00 where we seek to lift up the name of Jesus,
03:02 and were forced to seek to oppose
03:05 that lifting up of Christ,
03:06 and the freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States
03:09 and around the world.
03:11 And so we're looking forward to a very fine message
03:13 and a very informative one as Lincoln comes
03:16 always with a wealth of information
03:19 that is good for us to know and good for us to hear.
03:22 So if you will join me now in prayer,
03:23 the next voice that you will hear
03:25 after I shall have prayed
03:27 will be the voice of Elder Lincoln Steed,
03:29 editor of Liberty magazine,
03:31 and host of Liberty Insider here at 3ABN.
03:34 Shall we pray?
03:36 Gracious Father, we do praise You
03:37 and thank You so very much
03:40 for the privilege of serving You.
03:44 We are thankful that You have said
03:46 in both Old and New Testament
03:48 that You would never leave us nor forsake us
03:52 and that in times of stress, in times of trial,
03:56 in times when our faith is tested,
03:58 You will stand right beside us.
04:01 We know and understand, Lord, that in these last days
04:04 our love for You will be tested,
04:07 governments will test it,
04:08 friends will test it, family members will test it,
04:10 those who employers will test it,
04:12 and many of us will have to suffer a bit for You.
04:15 But we know that we do not suffer alone
04:18 and that You are mindful of everything that touches us
04:21 because it also touches You.
04:24 So bless us, Lord, keep the doors of employment
04:26 open for those of us who would seek to have funds
04:29 to serve Your kingdom,
04:30 but more than that give us faith and strength
04:34 to stand every trial that may come our way.
04:37 Bless now this message, this time
04:39 that we spend together with Elder Lincoln Steed.
04:43 Fill us, feed us, inform us, and prepare us to take
04:47 one more step along that road that leads to glory.
04:51 We love You, we praise You, and we thank You, Father,
04:55 for Your promise to hear and answer the prayer of faith
04:58 in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
05:10 Religious liberty, it's always good to talk about it
05:12 and this is that time of the year
05:14 where Liberty magazine takes a particular emphasis
05:18 and a reminder on religious liberty.
05:21 And talking about religious liberty,
05:22 it's impossible I think to truly cover the topic
05:27 without talking about Jesus Christ.
05:31 You know, on freedom issues, people as diverse
05:35 as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King,
05:38 and other figures have...
05:43 Thomas Jefferson even comes to mind have quoted
05:46 from the words of Jesus Christ.
05:48 He's been an inspiration to people
05:50 struggling for freedom through the years.
05:54 Jesus is very much on my mind of late
05:58 because only a few weeks ago,
06:00 I went with the 3ABN Holy Land tour,
06:04 and we spent some time retracing
06:06 some of those wonderful events
06:09 and places in the life of Jesus Christ.
06:11 And one thing that stuck in my mind
06:14 was early on in the tour,
06:16 we're in the bus driving around near the Sea of Galilee,
06:21 we were up a little bit on the road,
06:22 and we could look down the hillside
06:24 and see the lake, it's not very big.
06:27 I don't know why it's called the sea,
06:29 but in the Bible there are some pretty big storms on it.
06:32 But we could look down
06:33 and near Capernaum the guide told us
06:35 that this sort of an incline
06:39 with the gully in it was probably
06:42 where Jesus spoke
06:44 and gave the Sermon on the Mount.
06:47 I don't think we can know for sure,
06:49 but it was very evocative of Jesus speech.
06:52 And many times over the years, I've spoken
06:56 and preached about the Sermon on the Mount
06:58 because the best way to understand that
07:00 Sermon on the Mount
07:01 is Jesus giving a manifesto of His kingdom.
07:06 And His Kingdom had everything to do with freedom,
07:08 with liberty.
07:10 His very first recorded public address
07:14 was in the Book of Acts I think it is.
07:17 Sorry, the Book of Luke Chapter 4,
07:20 where he got up there in the synagogue
07:23 and read from Misere
07:25 and said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him,
07:28 and had anointed Him to proclaim liberty,
07:31 freedom to set out liberty those who are oppressed.
07:34 And when Jesus stood there on that mount,
07:37 and we don't know how tall it was,
07:39 whether it was on the top or on the side,
07:41 but it was elevated enough
07:43 so that he could speak to thousands of people.
07:45 And He proclaimed there the principles of freedom
07:49 and living for His kingdom.
07:52 And I want to just remind you of the opening of that.
07:54 Very significant to me
07:56 when I think about religious liberty
07:58 and old living for Christ entails.
08:02 In Matthew Chapter 5 in my Red Letter Edition,
08:07 it begins with the words of Jesus there.
08:10 Verse 3, where He starts with the beatitudes they call,
08:13 bless it.
08:15 And He says, blessed are the poor in spirit,
08:17 blessed are that they mourn, blessed are the meek,
08:19 blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness,
08:23 blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart,
08:26 blessed are the peacemakers.
08:28 These are the people that make up God's kingdoms.
08:31 These are the free citizens of heaven
08:34 already established on this earth.
08:38 And then in verse 10, he says, blessed...
08:41 And this is toward the end
08:42 of this opening salvo of his manifesto,
08:46 "Blessed are they which are persecuted
08:50 for righteousness' sake,
08:51 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
08:55 Next verse, "Blessed are ye."
08:57 So in case they misunderstood, it wasn't someone else,
09:00 it was them, his hearers,
09:02 you and I, those that follow Him.
09:04 He says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you,
09:08 and persecute you,
09:10 and shall say old manner of evil
09:12 against you falsely for my sake.
09:16 Rejoice and be exceeding glad
09:17 for great is your reward in heaven
09:19 for so persecuted they the prophets
09:22 which were before you."
09:24 That's an incredible reminder, an incredible promise
09:28 if you like of a blessing of sorts
09:31 that comes with following the kingdom of God.
09:34 You are at enmity with the kingdom of man,
09:37 the kingdom of the prince of this world.
09:40 And it's worth remembering
09:41 that it's a necessary part of living the godly life.
09:46 Also on our tour
09:49 as part of the tour of Jerusalem itself,
09:52 we walked down toward the central part of Jerusalem,
09:57 and stopped at the Mount of Olives,
09:59 not a big mount.
10:02 I know that in particular
10:03 that's sort of a little hillock,
10:05 but very significant for reading about
10:08 the life of Jesus.
10:10 And you know in Matthew 24, and I've often mentioned
10:15 this on sermons on religious liberty,
10:16 much later in Jesus' ministry.
10:19 In fact right on the threshold of His final passion,
10:24 and the persecution, and crucifixion,
10:27 death, and resurrection.
10:29 Jesus after His triumphal entry posed on the Mount of Olives.
10:34 And it says in this chapter, in Chapter 24,
10:38 "And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives," verse 3,
10:42 "the disciples came to him privately."
10:46 I like that.
10:47 They were little bit worried by what they had seen,
10:50 and what He had told them other times.
10:52 They were worried, they came to Him privately,
10:54 and they said,
10:55 "Tell us when shall these things be
10:58 and what should be the signs of Your coming,
11:01 and of the end of the world."
11:04 Now this I believe is a parallel
11:06 to the Sermon on the Mount.
11:08 Here in a truncated form, He's going to tell them
11:13 what is involved in bringing about
11:15 that final heavenly kingdom, the end of all things here.
11:20 And He says, "Don't let anyone deceive you."
11:23 Verse 5,
11:24 "For many shall come in My name saying,
11:26 'I am Christ.'"
11:28 And you and I know that, that's the case today.
11:30 There are many people who...
11:31 Even some of them say they're Christ.
11:34 There was an evangelist down Miami
11:36 that called himself Jesus Christ.
11:38 But others act like Christ, take the name of Christ,
11:40 take the prerogatives of God upon them,
11:43 think that they can speak as God to other people,
11:46 think that they can mandate
11:48 how other people should worship.
11:50 That's what He was talking about,
11:51 "Don't be deceived," He said.
11:53 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.
11:57 I've got to tell you when we were in Jerusalem
12:01 around Thanksgiving time,
12:02 we were hearing plenty of rumors of wars,
12:05 just plain violence was very much in evidence
12:08 of stabbing and violence against
12:09 Israeli citizens and tourists.
12:11 An American tourist was stabbed in Bethlehem,
12:14 I think the day before we went there.
12:16 And then on the way back, my family and I stopped
12:18 in Istanbul for four nights.
12:21 While we were there,
12:23 the Turks shut down a Russian jet.
12:26 And I can't say that the Turks looked very sad about it
12:30 either, they were ready for war.
12:32 As it says, "The nations are stirred for war
12:33 according to the Bible."
12:36 "Nation shall rise against nation," says Jesus.
12:40 "And kingdom against kingdom.
12:42 And there shall be famines, and pestilences,
12:44 and earthquakes in diverse places.
12:46 And all these are about the beginning
12:50 of the birth pangs, He said,
12:52 "The beginning of sorrows
12:53 and then they shall deliver you out be afflicted,
12:58 and shall kill you,
12:59 and you shall be hated of all nations
13:01 for My name's sake.
13:03 And then many shall be offended,
13:05 and shall betray one another, and shall deceive many."
13:11 This is interesting.
13:14 When I think back on what I've learned
13:17 of the history of the Middle East
13:20 and, of course, remember our tour
13:21 of what it is like today.
13:23 But, you know, try as they might
13:25 these places that we go to sort of to recover
13:28 some of the reality of Jesus' presence
13:30 and the Bible characters.
13:33 The best I can imagine with some of it
13:35 sort of recreated in how the Crusaders,
13:38 maybe in the 11th or 12th century imagined
13:40 it was in the time of Jesus more than a century
13:43 or even earlier than that.
13:46 It's very difficult.
13:48 But one thing we know,
13:50 one thing that is abundantly obvious.
13:52 And Jesus went on to speak of it.
13:55 In His day
13:57 there were wars and rumors of war.
14:01 In His day there was religious antagonism.
14:06 Many Christians,
14:07 particular reading the New Testament,
14:09 I think gloss over,
14:11 sort of ignore, or don't understand
14:13 the very literal religious war that was raging
14:15 within the Jewish community
14:17 between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
14:19 It was every bit as bitter as we see in the Muslim world
14:23 between the Shiites and the Sunni.
14:27 And Jesus took them both on.
14:29 And then both of those factions just like warring
14:31 family members often when the police come,
14:33 they can be, you know,
14:35 hitting and slapping each other,
14:37 and the police come, and they both turn on them.
14:41 And both of those factions and other factions
14:43 within the Jewish community just immediately
14:45 after Jesus' death and resurrection,
14:48 then turned on the Romans.
14:50 But even in Jesus' lifetime, during His ministry
14:54 there was a subtext of revolution and rebellion.
14:59 One of His disciples was a zealot.
15:01 The thieves circled on the cross,
15:04 they were not thieves.
15:05 Thievery was not a capital offense
15:07 with the Romans, not a crucifying offense,
15:09 it was rebellion.
15:14 We know that there was an agitation
15:17 all during Jesus' life that came to a head
15:19 only a few decades after His ministry,
15:22 in an open rebellion against Rome.
15:26 And a year or so ago, when I was last in Rome,
15:28 I remember seeing there in that,
15:30 in the ancient part of the old city
15:33 of Rome there,
15:35 the Arch of Titus engraved with pictures
15:39 of the Roman soldiers taking the booty back to Rome
15:41 from pillaging and destroying Jerusalem.
15:43 And they are the instruments of the temple are very obvious,
15:46 the Ark of the Tabernacle I think is even shown
15:50 which is interesting
15:52 because it's not known where it is.
15:56 Rebellion, threat, violence, it was all in the context
16:02 of religion in Jesus' day.
16:05 All in the context of religion.
16:09 There's a book that I know I've mentioned
16:11 before in sermons on 3ABN
16:13 and certainly many as I travel around.
16:15 And it's a book that shows how this did not finish
16:19 even in that time.
16:21 The Foxe's Book of Martyrs was first pulled together
16:26 by Protestants a few decades after Martin Luther.
16:32 Martin Luther King was named after the great reformer,
16:34 but Martin Luther in Germany rose up,
16:39 tried to reform the then mainline church
16:41 which was the Roman Catholic Church,
16:43 and it failed, and he was forced out,
16:45 and founded one of the Protestant factions
16:49 in Germany, Lutheranism.
16:51 But Foxe's Book of Martyrs puts in a great sweep,
16:56 a record of the persecution through the ages,
17:00 starting with the persecutions by pagan Rome,
17:05 but an awful lot of it is recounting the time
17:08 during the Protestant Reformation,
17:10 and then even a little bit later
17:13 when Protestantism was fighting for its very existence.
17:16 I want to share a little bit of what was in this
17:20 because I don't think people are reading it today,
17:21 I don't think they understand
17:23 the continuing wars and rumors of wars,
17:26 and the stakes that are at play in religious infighting.
17:33 These are quotes directly from a book printed in 1563,
17:37 updated through the years.
17:38 But it says, "Thus far our history of persecution
17:42 has been confined principally to the pagan world.
17:45 We come now to a period when persecution
17:47 under the guise of Christianity,
17:50 committed more enormities than ever disgraced
17:53 the annals of paganism.
17:55 Disregarding the maxims and the spirit of the gospel,
17:58 the medieval church, arming herself
18:01 with the power of the sword, vexed the Church of God,
18:04 and wasted it for several centuries,
18:06 a period most appropriately termed in history,
18:09 the dark ages."
18:13 And then elsewhere picking up a few pages later,
18:15 it says, "Of the multitudes who perished by the Inquisition
18:19 throughout the world, no authentic record
18:21 is now discoverable."
18:23 That was said in a document from Rome
18:25 which very happily apologized for the Inquisition
18:29 a few years ago.
18:31 But, you know, it's not so easily dismissed,
18:32 it needs to be recognized.
18:34 And in the apology document it said the same thing,
18:37 we can't know.
18:39 But what does Foxe's Book of Martyrs say,
18:42 "In Spain the calculation is attainable.
18:46 Each of the 17 tribunals during a long period
18:49 burned annually on an average, 10 miserable beings..."
18:52 But there were many tribunals.
18:54 "We are to recollect that this number was in a country
18:56 where persecution had for ages
18:59 abolished all religious differences,
19:02 and where the difficulty was not to find the stake,
19:05 but the offering."
19:07 As it used to say about Ferdinand and Isabella,
19:09 they're good Christian majesties,
19:11 this was a Christian country.
19:12 Who were the heretics they were burning?
19:15 Yet, even in Spain, thus cleaned of all heresy,
19:19 the Inquisition could still swell
19:22 its list of murders to 32,000.
19:26 "The numbers burned in effigy, or condemned to penance,
19:29 punishments generally equivalent to exile,
19:32 confiscation, or taint of blood, to all ruin
19:34 but the mere loss of worthless life,
19:36 amounted to 309,000.
19:40 But the crowds who perished in dungeons of torture,
19:43 of confinement, and of broken hearts,
19:45 the millions of dependent lives made utterly helpless,
19:48 or hurried to the grave by the death of the victims,
19:50 are beyond all register, or recorded only before Him,
19:55 who has sworn that."
19:57 And the Bible quote,
19:58 "He that leadeth into captivity,
20:00 shall go into captivity:
20:02 he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword."
20:08 And then it gives some individual examples.
20:10 And these ones are from England,
20:12 but they are very interesting, very interesting.
20:14 And I doubt most people have read these.
20:16 That's why I'd like to share them.
20:18 It says in 1532, Thomas Harding,
20:21 who with his wife had been accused of heresy.
20:25 I thought about this sort of action recently
20:29 when Saudi Arabia, a medieval kingdom,
20:32 as one of the professors on television
20:35 the other day defending their recent actions said,
20:38 "You know, ruled by Sharia law. We follow the law."
20:41 I thought of it very similar.
20:43 Accused of heresy,
20:46 was brought before the Bishop of Lincoln
20:48 and condemned for denying
20:50 the real presence in the sacrament,
20:53 that's transubstantiation.
20:55 In another words, when it's elevated,
20:57 when it's sanctified that little piece of bread
21:00 is no longer a piece of bread, it's flesh.
21:03 And what did the pagan Romans persecute the Christians for?
21:09 Cannibalistic sacrifices.
21:11 That must have been where's the idea came from,
21:13 a perversion of what Jesus so wonderfully laid down
21:16 and celebrating the Passover service.
21:20 So he denied this.
21:21 And it says,
21:22 "Thomas Harding was then chained to a stake,
21:25 erected for the purpose,
21:27 at Chesham in the Pell, near Botely..."
21:29 Don't know where that it is in England.
21:31 "And when they had set fire to the faggots,
21:33 one of the spectators
21:34 dashed out his brains with a bullet.
21:37 The priests told these people
21:39 that whoever brought faggots to burn heretics
21:41 would have an indulgence to commit sin for 40 days.
21:45 During the latter part of this year,
21:48 the writer goes,
21:49 Worham, archbishop of Canterbury,
21:50 apprehended one Hitten, a priest at Maidstone,
21:54 and after he had been long tortured in prison,
21:56 and several times examined by the archbishop,
21:59 he was condemned as a heretic, and burnt alive
22:02 before the door of his own parish church."
22:05 So it wasn't just against parishioners,
22:07 even the clerics in essence lived in fear of their lives
22:11 from overly enthusiastic priests
22:17 who were determined to create their own orthodoxy.
22:21 As Jesus said, "These are the things
22:24 that will define the time of trouble.
22:27 Not the wars, not the famines, not the pestilences,
22:29 these are the beginning of the birth pangs.
22:31 It's the persecution, the spirit of the antichrist,
22:35 the spirit of the wicked one that defines
22:41 where we're heading, not these other signs."
22:43 And then one more, it says...
22:48 I'm skipping over one of the stories,
22:49 but one I want to share is the next person
22:54 that suffered was John Tewkesbury.
22:56 He was a plain simple man
22:59 who had been guilty of no other offense
23:02 against what was called the Holy Mother Church
23:05 than that of reading Tyndale's translation
23:08 of the New Testament.
23:10 At first, he was weak enough to abjure.
23:12 In other words to apologize, but afterward repented
23:16 and acknowledged the truth.
23:17 For this he was brought before the Bishop of London,
23:20 who condemned him as an obstinate heretic.
23:23 He suffered greatly
23:26 during the time of his imprisonment.
23:28 So that when they brought him out to execution,
23:30 he was almost dead.
23:31 He was conducted to the stake in Smithville
23:34 where he was burned declaring his utter abhorrence
23:38 of the system of the church at that time,
23:40 and professing a firm belief
23:42 that his cause was just in the sight of God.
23:45 You know, in Hebrews it says that these people,
23:48 the world is not worthy of them,
23:50 and that these are the heroes, the heroes of faith.
23:56 It's a wonderful record that we have and a reminder.
24:00 But as I say, Jesus at the beginning of His ministry,
24:04 Sermon on the Mount,
24:06 at the end of His ministry on the Mount of Olives,
24:09 told us this must be and it shouldn't perplex us
24:15 to see not just pagans, antagonistic to the faith.
24:20 But in reality pagans have never really been
24:24 quite as antagonistic as those of the faith
24:28 who imagine that they have all the faith
24:29 and are willing to persecute others
24:31 for being a little different.
24:33 And I believe at the moment
24:34 and really the West should understand this more,
24:37 what we're seeing in Islam between Shiites and Sunni
24:40 is a replay in their faith system
24:43 of what existed in the Middle Ages in Christianity,
24:46 and will again rear its head within Christendom
24:51 to use an old term and a term that
24:53 I as a Seventh-day Adventist
24:54 recognize often in reading the writings of Ellen White
24:58 who wrote so many helpful things
25:00 to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
25:06 There is a parallel that I want to make in a document
25:12 that came out fairly recently, but it troubled me greatly.
25:16 I read documents from many different churches,
25:19 from many different sources.
25:21 None of them are straight from the throne of grace
25:26 to use that term.
25:28 None of them are absolute evil,
25:30 but some of them have within them
25:32 the kernel of mischief, the kernel of fulfilling
25:35 what Jesus predicted for our time.
25:38 And there was a document that came out
25:40 a few years ago called Caritas in veritate,
25:46 charity in truth, it was by a previous pope.
25:50 And I'm sure it was written by many good churchmen
25:54 in the Roman Catholic faith,
25:56 perhaps even with good intention.
25:59 You know, who am I to say
26:01 what's in the person's mind when they do something?
26:03 But I can say, and you should say,
26:05 and we should recognize as Jesus told us to
26:09 when something is the wrong dynamic,
26:13 it's not from above.
26:15 And the key and I'll repeat it perhaps later again,
26:19 the key on religious liberty, it doesn't matter
26:22 whether you're talking about Adventism, Catholicism,
26:26 Methodism, the Baptist church or whatever.
26:29 There are real doctrinal differences,
26:31 but you will know something is wrong
26:34 from a religious liberty perspective,
26:36 when coercion is involved.
26:40 That is the key, without coercion.
26:43 You know, God looks at the heart
26:45 and we're all called to follow our conscience.
26:48 And you and I should fight for the right of all peoples
26:51 to seek God where He may be found as the Bible said.
26:54 And hope that He will lead them into all truth.
26:57 But when someone, churchmen or a politician
27:03 tries to use force or the law
27:05 which amounts to the same thing to compel someone
27:08 to believe as they believe, it's wrong.
27:11 And this document which covered the many ills
27:17 that are present in the world today.
27:19 This document looking at things like
27:24 sovereignty of nations, worker relations,
27:29 financial instruments in countries,
27:32 even wars and so on.
27:33 This document said that...
27:36 At the end of it, it said that
27:37 there is a need for a global authority
27:40 to handle all of this.
27:42 A global authority with the power
27:45 to act and to enforce.
27:50 It seems to me I've read something like that
27:52 in the Bible in Revelation 13, I'm sure.
27:58 Revelation 13:11.
28:01 And these beasts presented here and they're clearly identified
28:04 with the powers that exist in our day.
28:07 And it says, "And I behold another beast,"
28:08 in verse 11, "coming out of the earth,
28:09 and he had two horns like a lamb,
28:11 and he spoke as a dragon."
28:13 The dragon is the Tanach.
28:14 "And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him,
28:18 and caused the earth,
28:19 and then the dwell therein to worship the first beast,
28:21 whose deadly wound was healed.
28:23 And he doeth greet wonders, and he deceived them."
28:26 In verse 13, "And he had power to give life unto it."
28:30 And in verse 16," And it caused all,
28:32 both small and great, rich and poor,
28:34 free and bond to receive a mark."
28:37 And in verse 17, "That no man
28:39 that might buy or sell saved
28:40 if he had had the mark or the name of the beast."
28:43 It's enforcement.
28:46 You know, perhaps as things take place,
28:48 we'll see it more closely what is predicted.
28:50 But the outlines are very plain.
28:53 It's not necessarily globalism
28:56 which many people are afraid of,
28:57 but it's the type of thing that globalism aspires to,
29:00 controlling the masses.
29:03 It's the type of thing that great churches,
29:05 great church confederacies with political power
29:08 have aspired through the ages using the power of the state
29:12 to enforce their dictates.
29:15 And it will happen, it's coming.
29:19 Back in September, I had the privilege
29:23 to stand at the front, I think it is of the Capitol.
29:28 I live in Washington,
29:29 and I often drive past the Capitol,
29:30 and go down there sometimes for meetings.
29:32 And I always think of the front
29:35 around where the steps are on near the Supreme Court,
29:38 where most people enter.
29:39 But I think technically the front is the lawn
29:42 on the lower side.
29:44 In September 24, with 55,000 other people
29:49 according to one of the officials
29:51 that I asked at the time,
29:53 50 some 1000 people gathered there
29:55 expectantly to hear a church leader
29:59 speak for the first time
30:02 such a thing that ever happened,
30:03 speak to the legislators
30:05 of the Congress of the United States,
30:08 the senators and the congressmen,
30:10 a joint session of Congress.
30:12 It had never happened before.
30:16 And in fact it's rare
30:17 that even the head of states speaks to them.
30:21 Many of our viewers will probably remember
30:23 Benjamin Netanyahu coming and speaking,
30:26 and all the few that came from that
30:28 when he indulged his own aggressive agenda,
30:32 not just for his country,
30:33 but intruded into political affairs
30:35 of the United States.
30:37 It was not good.
30:39 But how more tenuous, how more inappropriate is it
30:44 for the head of a church
30:46 who happens to have a very small state
30:49 which is sort of the ultimate threat
30:51 to a republic like the United States
30:54 that's premised on the separation of church and state,
30:57 for him to be speaking as a power.
31:00 And it was captivating to me to actually be there
31:03 on that occasion to know that history was being made.
31:09 And the white cassock of Pope Francis
31:13 was most impressive,
31:14 we watching on the Videotron while he was speaking inside,
31:18 but then he came out on the balcony.
31:20 And, you know, the whole, if not the whole world
31:23 and the whole in this United States were wondering.
31:28 It's almost like behold the man.
31:32 You know, you can put it down to good PR,
31:34 good promotion of the agenda of this organization.
31:40 But I look at history, I look at the spiritual reality
31:44 of what's being played out and it's not right.
31:49 Jesus meek and mild, and lowly,
31:51 what would He say of any leader?
31:55 You know, if the president of my church,
31:57 the Seventh-day Adventist church took on such is,
32:01 I would take issue with that.
32:04 If the head of the Mormon Church
32:08 imagine to speak for America or to America
32:11 and tell them what to do,
32:12 I would wonder where we're coming from.
32:15 And so I think I should be excused as a Protestant
32:18 in a once majority Protestant society to think
32:21 something's not right here.
32:27 And as I analyze the speech,
32:28 as I analyze the dynamic of what was going on,
32:31 I don't think we are far removed
32:35 from what Jesus predicted for our day,
32:38 that there will be some sort of
32:40 interfaith violence unfortunately.
32:43 Previous pope very cleverly, Pope Benedict put out a...
32:49 Well, actually in a sermon he put out once
32:51 that the greatest threat to the nonviolence
32:53 of Christians was the work of the reformers.
32:57 And I thought that was sort of rude.
33:00 Because he said their insistence
33:02 on Sola scriptura
33:03 exposed Christianity to violence.
33:05 That's not true.
33:08 Foxe's Book of Martyrs shows that's not so.
33:12 Those that believed in the Bible
33:15 and the Bible only went so passively to the slaughter.
33:19 It was not violence, it was violence against them.
33:24 But as I heard Francis speak,
33:28 what struck me is how political it was.
33:32 What struck me as while he himself
33:34 looked like a Christ figure?
33:36 I don't remember him mentioning Christ,
33:38 but I'll tell you who he mentioned
33:40 at the beginning of the speech which was called Laudato Si',
33:44 Praise be to You my Lord.
33:46 He said in the words of this beautiful canticle.
33:48 I'm reading from the speech,
33:50 "Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us
33:53 of this our common home that it's like a sister
33:56 with whom we share our life, and a beautiful mother
33:59 who opens her arms to embrace us.
34:01 The sister now cries out to us
34:03 because of the harm we have inflicted on her
34:05 by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods
34:08 with which God had endowed her."
34:10 These are reasonable sentiments,
34:11 but the imagery is troubling.
34:14 It says, "We have come to see ourselves
34:15 as her lords and masters."
34:17 And it goes on and on about a queen like figure.
34:22 And I thought of Jeremiah, you know,
34:23 in the Old Testament twice in Jeremiah
34:25 it talks about people praying to the queen of heaven,
34:30 not a godly figure.
34:33 Someone that's indentified with Ishtar, Astarte, or Ashtoreth.
34:40 But that's been incorporated into religious thinking.
34:42 And here we are encouraged
34:44 to think sort of pagan rationality.
34:49 And Jesus is forgotten, but so be it.
34:54 You know, you could allow that,
34:55 but think a little bit more of what was said.
34:58 The pope very kindly mentioned Abraham Lincoln.
35:06 He actually mentioned four people.
35:08 Well actually five people,
35:10 but his speech was premised on four people.
35:12 It was Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King,
35:15 and then two Roman Catholics, Dorothy Day, a socialist nun,
35:19 and Thomas Merton, a mystic priest,
35:22 who was very interested in eastern religions
35:24 and bringing them together with Christianity.
35:27 But I was taken with his mention of Abraham Lincoln,
35:29 it was the 150th anniversary
35:32 of Abraham Lincoln's assassination,
35:37 as it was also clustered around the 24th of March,
35:42 it was a time of two blood moons,
35:45 it was the time of the Day of Atonement,
35:47 that was a very high holy day for the Muslims.
35:51 There was the Jubilee, a special Jubilee.
35:55 You couldn't have got a better day
35:56 if you went and looked in the entrails of a goat.
35:59 It was most auspicious.
36:02 And then he mentioned Abraham Lincoln,
36:04 and I love history.
36:06 And I thought, "What's going on here?"
36:08 This is a Protestant society, not a Protestant government.
36:12 Unfortunately,
36:13 too many Protestant activists in the United States
36:16 think that it's a Christian republic,
36:18 it never was, it's a secular state.
36:20 But the society used to be
36:23 and still is theoretically biased
36:26 toward Protestant sensibilities
36:28 because much of the Constitution
36:31 even its origin to an attempt to keep it bay
36:34 some of the ills of the old world.
36:37 It was Protestant thinking.
36:40 And Abraham Lincoln's assassination got me.
36:42 I felt why is he so solicitous about Abraham Lincoln.
36:46 And I've remembered my history,
36:48 you know, it was a time when Abraham Lincoln was shot,
36:51 it was a civil war.
36:52 We know what the civil war is like in Syria.
36:55 Chaos, murder, and mayhem on all fronts.
36:58 Although, Washington
36:59 seems to have been a little bit calmer
37:00 than you would have expected
37:02 because even during the civil war
37:03 Abraham Lincoln complained bitterly
37:06 actually that he could be at lunch with his family
37:08 and people just wander in to talk with him
37:10 and some harangue with him.
37:12 So, you know, it wasn't the security state
37:14 we imagine now.
37:16 But the story of his assassination
37:19 was quite as sharply drawn in his time
37:23 because it wasn't just John Wilkes Booth,
37:26 an aspiring...
37:28 Well, he was a, you know, an actor,
37:30 but an aspiring great actor
37:31 who thundered out that Latin term,
37:34 you know, "thus die all tyrants"
37:36 as he shot Abraham Lincoln.
37:37 It was a conspiracy.
37:39 There were at least 11 people involved.
37:43 Several of them were hanged, several got life sentences,
37:47 and most of the community believed
37:49 that it was a Roman Catholic Jesuit plot.
37:52 May not have been.
37:53 I have no burden that it was.
37:55 But at the time that's what it was thought to be
37:57 because all but one of the conspirators
38:00 were Roman Catholics which at a time
38:02 when there was deep antagonism to Roman Catholics
38:05 in this country something that,
38:07 you know, we should be ashamed of,
38:08 it was not good.
38:10 But that prejudice was writ large
38:13 with the assassination because they noticed
38:15 all of them were of that persuasion.
38:20 When the trap was sprung and they made all the arrests,
38:24 the brother of one of the ringleaders,
38:26 the boarding house keeper Mary Surratt
38:30 made a run for Canada and escaped,
38:32 then he ended up in Rome,
38:33 and became one of the pope's bodyguards
38:35 before he was extradited later.
38:38 And he was sheltered by the priests in Canada.
38:41 Like I say, you don't have to say
38:43 definitively what it was,
38:45 at the time it was thought to be that way.
38:47 Why would you wave that
38:49 in front of the once Protestant country?
38:51 All I can believe
38:53 is that this was the act of triumph
38:56 and as a public legislator said a few years ago,
39:01 Roman Catholic legislator, a very fine gentleman.
39:04 I know him personally.
39:05 And he said, "Protestantism is absent in America.
39:12 Protestantism is absent."
39:16 Let me read you.
39:18 And this is a network that reaches out to all faith,
39:23 all people because we believe in religious liberty.
39:25 It doesn't matter if you're Roman Catholic or whatever.
39:29 We can differ deeply on your doctrine.
39:31 But you have a right to believe and to practice your faith.
39:34 Absolutely.
39:35 And I should, if called upon,
39:38 give my life to defend your right.
39:39 This is not what's at stake.
39:41 What's at stake is people crossing the lines
39:45 and forcing their faith on other people.
39:52 But I want to read something
39:54 that is very interesting for Seventh-day Adventist.
39:58 He says this responsibility, this is paragraph 68.
40:02 I think it is,
40:03 "This responsibility for God's earth
40:05 means that human beings, endowed with intelligence,
40:09 must respect the laws of nature
40:12 and the delicate equilibria
40:13 resisting between the creatures of this world,
40:16 for "he commanded and they were created,
40:20 he established them forever and ever,
40:21 he fixed their bounds
40:23 and he set a law which cannot pass away."
40:25 The laws found in the Bible dwell on relationships,
40:28 not only among individuals
40:30 but also with other living beings.
40:32 "You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox
40:35 fallen down by the way and withhold your help...
40:37 If you chance to come upon a bird's nest
40:39 or any tree on the ground,
40:41 with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting
40:43 upon the young or upon the eggs,
40:44 you shall not take the mother with the young."
40:46 He's introducing the idea
40:48 that you follow the Old Testament.
40:50 "Along the same lines," it says.
40:53 This is in the Laudato Si' rather document.
40:58 "Rest on the seventh day
41:00 is meant not only for human beings,
41:02 but also so "that your ox and your donkey may have rest."
41:07 Clearly, the Bible
41:08 has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism
41:11 unconcerned for other creatures.
41:13 So the Sabbath is for everyone, everything.
41:16 The Sabbath is an environmental concern.
41:18 And then it continues,
41:20 "Although the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
41:22 and the Lord was sorry that he had made
41:23 man on the earth.
41:24 Nevertheless, through Noah, who remained innocent and just,
41:27 God decided to open a path of salvation.
41:29 In this way He gave humanity the chance of a new beginning.
41:33 All it takes is one good person to restore hope!
41:35 The biblical tradition clearly shows
41:38 that this renewal entails recovering
41:40 and respecting the rhythms inscribed in nature
41:43 by the hand of the Creator.
41:45 We see this, for example, in the law of the Sabbath.
41:49 On the seventh day, God rested from all His work.
41:53 He commanded Israel to set aside each seventh day
41:55 as a day of rest."
41:56 Great stuff.
42:00 And then under the heading Sacramental Signs
42:02 and Celebrations of Rest.
42:04 "Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath is meant to be a day
42:07 which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves,
42:11 and with others, and with the world.
42:13 Sunday is the day of the resurrection,
42:15 the first day of the new creation,
42:17 whose first fruits are the Lord's risen humanity,
42:20 the pledge of the final transfiguration
42:22 of all created reality.
42:25 It also proclaims man's eternal rest in God.
42:29 In this way, Christian spirituality
42:32 incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity.
42:35 The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day
42:39 "so that your ox and your donkey may have rest,
42:43 and the son of your maidservant,
42:44 and the stranger, may be refreshed.
42:47 And so the day of rest, centered on the Eucharist,
42:50 sheds it light on the whole week,
42:52 and motivates us to greater concern
42:54 for nature and the poor."
42:57 I'm going to pull it all together
42:58 in one single moment.
43:00 What you've heard is the Seventh-day Adventist
43:03 is wonderful stuff except inappropriate
43:06 where they have introduced Sunday
43:07 which, you know, you can study your history.
43:09 It's pretty obvious that Constantine the emperor of Rome
43:14 easily appropriated the worship of the sun
43:17 and it was very convenient
43:19 to bring pagans and Christians together on the same day.
43:23 But at the moment in Europe,
43:25 but now creeping into here is a proposal,
43:29 its origins are not clear.
43:31 But its present reality is most clear.
43:34 It's being promoted by the Catholic Church
43:36 and other church coalitions too
43:39 that we have a international rest day,
43:42 a family rest day, Sunday.
43:44 And under pain of law you will cease everything,
43:48 and you will be encouraged to go, and worship,
43:51 and rejuvenate yourself spiritually.
43:54 The concept is fantastic,
43:56 but the execution is diabolical and it's medieval
44:00 because it involves law.
44:02 It involves the force of law.
44:05 And law is not just something written on paper.
44:09 It involves the policeman coming
44:11 and forcibly detaining you
44:13 or requiring you to do something,
44:14 it involves incarceration if you don't go along.
44:17 It might even involve, if we revert to Saudi Arabia
44:21 or something like that capital punishment
44:24 which is not alien to the United States.
44:26 Even in the early days of the Republic,
44:30 President Adams was so worried about rebellion
44:34 that it was theoretically a capital offense
44:36 to criticize the president.
44:41 We need to speak out about this thing
44:43 before it's full blown.
44:46 It's prophesied, Jesus predicted
44:50 that we will be hated by people
44:53 for our persistence in following Him
44:56 because why not,
44:57 it would seem perverse to oppose a respectful day
45:02 of environmental celebration,
45:07 and rest, and family rejuvenation.
45:09 And, of course,
45:11 cutting energy expense by not traveling and so on.
45:15 But we must do what God asked us to do.
45:17 That's the point of religious liberty.
45:19 That's the whole point of religious liberty.
45:24 In that speech before Congress,
45:27 I noticed that the pope
45:29 did mention another figure, Moses early on.
45:34 He looked up, and I think
45:35 there was a little carving, a relief.
45:36 But above relief of Moses that he saw in the chamber.
45:40 And he referred to Moses a law giver.
45:42 But I don't think he fully developed that
45:45 because in reality
45:47 Moses acting as the agent from God
45:51 had passed on those Ten Commandments
45:52 to God's people.
45:54 And the Fourth Commandment is just as fixed as the others.
45:58 No one suggesting
46:00 that anyone has the authority or even the logic,
46:03 even if you don't believe
46:05 that God gave them within the belief system,
46:07 these are inviolable rules.
46:10 I heard a very good calling program the other day.
46:13 Seventh-day Adventist scholar was explaining very well
46:15 the biblical arguments why even today
46:18 we should be keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.
46:20 And the host said, but that's fine for the Jews,
46:24 but you know, did they know about it
46:25 before the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai.
46:30 And the gentleman didn't really have an answer.
46:33 But I think the answer is implicit
46:34 in the language of the Ten Commandments.
46:37 It says they remember,
46:38 just to say, "I give you a new day,
46:40 keep this day, this will be our new pact."
46:43 No, it's remember the Sabbath,
46:45 the day that the Jew have not always remembered,
46:48 but it's been around for a long time.
46:52 And it's not a very good thing to suggest
46:54 that there's some other day that we could throw in.
47:02 Back today
47:03 or back to what it's like today in the Middle East.
47:07 We had a wonderful moment there
47:10 at the Wailing Wall Friday night in Israel.
47:14 I don't have very many photographs of it,
47:15 but they don't let you take pictures.
47:17 But the mental pictures
47:19 I have are overwhelming with my 18-year-old son,
47:23 we went right down to the Wall.
47:25 And there was swirling circles of young Israeli men
47:32 who as the moment of the sunset approach
47:34 were becoming more and more frenzied,
47:36 holding up copies of the Torah.
47:38 Some others were putting
47:40 little praise in the chinks in the Wall.
47:42 The excitement was just infectious.
47:45 I'll never forget that.
47:47 And I know the dynamic
47:49 that was going through that crowd.
47:50 It is not just the simple dynamic
47:52 that the political world is worried about,
47:55 you know, how come a people left over
47:56 from a genocidal movement in Nazi, Germany.
47:59 You know, why should they be there,
48:01 you know, what's so fixed about their above there.
48:04 You and I know that their aspirations
48:06 don't talk about the political rights,
48:08 but their aspirations are ancient.
48:11 But when I saw them, I thought of way
48:13 how I started thinking
48:15 about the absolute destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
48:18 You can go back to another destruction
48:20 under Nebuchadnezzar or the Babylonians.
48:24 You know, when you read the Bible account,
48:26 these were things that came upon them
48:28 because of their lacked spiritual state,
48:30 but in reality
48:31 there were ravenous attacks by entities
48:35 that did not believe in that religious viewpoint.
48:38 Persecution, murder,
48:41 and what a people to be there still,
48:44 you know, clinging to their faith.
48:47 Only a day before or after...
48:50 Now I don't remember the sequence,
48:52 but only on that same trip we've gone to Masada.
48:55 And they were on the mountain fortress,
48:57 heard the story told reverently by the Israeli guide
49:01 of how after the destruction of Jerusalem,
49:04 for another few months nearly a 1,000 rebellious Jews
49:09 held out on this mountain fortress
49:10 until the Romans threw up an earthen rampart
49:13 were about ready to attack,
49:15 and then the defendants all killed themselves
49:17 rather than be captured.
49:19 You know, it's a sad sort of,
49:21 you know, a bloody end to something
49:25 that is inspiring, but it's no victory.
49:28 But it shows the desperation
49:30 they were under at the time of attack.
49:36 And when I thought about those years,
49:38 several years when Jerusalem and Israel was extirpated
49:42 and people sent to the four winds.
49:44 You know, it's worth remembering that
49:46 yes, our Savior was on a cross.
49:48 But it's worth remembering,
49:50 crosses were a common thing in those later years.
49:53 Thousands of people if you believe Josephites
49:56 were aligning the roads on their crosses.
49:59 It's worth remembering too today.
50:00 In the Middle East it's not uncommon
50:03 to see Christians literally nailed up on crosses,
50:06 it happened in Mosul several times.
50:08 You know 100 years ago,
50:10 when a million Armenian Christians were killed.
50:13 I've seen photographs,
50:15 number of photographs of them nailed to crosses.
50:18 The butchery is amazing in the name of religion.
50:21 And Jesus said,
50:23 it's inevitable when you hold a faith view,
50:29 there will be those that come against you
50:31 incited by an evil power.
50:34 There's a hymn that I love to hear sung
50:39 because I can still hear my father singing it.
50:41 "Lead on, O King Eternal."
50:44 It's got wall like imagery.
50:47 But I like it better than Battle Hymn of the Republic
50:49 which is a little bit too militaristic for my liking.
50:53 And actually Battle Hymn of the Republic was song,
50:55 sung by the Union armies that Lead on, O King Eternal
51:00 has this couple of lines it says,
51:04 "Not with swords' loud clashing,
51:07 nor roll of stirring drums,
51:10 I like that because many people,
51:13 and particularly in religion are stirred on by demagoguery
51:18 that stirred on by incitements
51:20 to go against someone who thinks differently
51:23 or to project their faith with the law,
51:27 with all of the social forces they can bring
51:30 and perhaps if that's frustrated
51:31 even by force of arms.
51:35 But it says, not with swords' loud clashing,
51:37 nor roll of stirring drums with deeds of love and mercy
51:43 the heavenly kingdom comes.
51:46 It's worth remembering that Jesus
51:49 went uncomplaining to His death.
51:52 And before Pilate, what did he say,
51:54 when Pilate was quizzing him, he says,
51:56 "If my kingdom was of this world,"
51:58 he says, "My fellows would fight for me.
52:02 They would fight for me."
52:03 Unfortunately,
52:05 they did less than fight, they ran.
52:06 But Jesus had explained to them.
52:09 And as lately before that event as they were in the garden
52:14 when they came to seize him, when the guards came,
52:17 and Peter whips out that sword,
52:20 I have to believe was more like the dagger.
52:22 But when he whipped that out
52:23 probably like the Yemeni daggers,
52:25 they still have these long things
52:26 about a foot long curving,
52:28 whipped it out and cut off the earring.
52:29 And Jesus says, "Put up the sword
52:31 all who live by the sword will die by it."
52:36 And in Revelation,
52:39 it does explain very plainly at the very end of time,
52:43 that a strange amalgamation of political and economic power
52:48 that tries to enforce obedience to a certain viewpoint.
52:52 And it's a great persecution equal to the Middle Ages.
52:56 But it says, "He will come to his aid
52:58 with no one to help him.
52:59 The system will collapse."
53:01 It's sure to be frustrated
53:03 because it goes against
53:05 the grain of the principle of God's kingdom,
53:08 it goes against the grain of people of conviction.
53:12 We all want to follow our own conscience.
53:16 People do it differently, but that's a high aim.
53:19 I mean all of these revolutions
53:21 that are breaking out around the world,
53:23 not just in the Middle East,
53:25 that's what people want,
53:26 they're convicted of something and under a great conviction
53:29 people will throw away their life.
53:32 But as C. S. Lewis says,
53:34 you know, imagine the dismay at the end of time
53:38 in the final judgment for a revolutionary
53:41 to find out that his great sacrifice of blood,
53:44 his and others was for nothing
53:46 because his cause was vain.
53:48 But equally imagine those
53:51 who stood faithfully against all odds,
53:53 against even violence to hear,
53:56 "Well done good and faithful servant."
53:58 That's what it's worthwhile.
54:00 And that's what we're called to do.
54:02 And I'm giving this sermon not to say that,
54:06 you know, we head into the meat grinder purposely.
54:10 But in a sense we do
54:12 by accepting the name Christian.
54:16 There's something that goes with that.
54:18 And how as Jesus said
54:20 can the servant be less than his Lord.
54:23 It's not that we want it,
54:24 but we know that we're up against a serious challenge.
54:28 And my encouragement to people today
54:32 is recognize that in our world
54:35 we're drifting toward illiberalism,
54:37 we're drifting toward godlessness,
54:40 and a form of godliness that lacks the power thereof,
54:44 and nations, and clerics alike
54:46 are going to be seeking solutions
54:48 to these apparently insoluble problems.
54:51 There will be globalism put up.
54:53 There will be syncretistic religion.
54:55 There will be religious alliances.
54:57 There will be things like this family rest day.
55:00 And at this stage, we don't absolutely know
55:03 which combination or which structure will be,
55:06 but it will be along those lines.
55:09 And already there's a readiness
55:11 in the term that's bandied around and you hear it.
55:13 And you'll read it in the paper,
55:15 if you open almost any paper on these issues.
55:17 The common good for the survival of society,
55:22 we will sometimes have to put aside
55:24 the individual right to self-determination.
55:27 We will put aside
55:28 the individual's right for free speech.
55:30 We will put aside the individual's right
55:32 to hold a belief to defense of the people.
55:34 We will put aside
55:36 a religious belief that requires you
55:39 to not work on the day
55:40 that the WEPA or whatever it's called now
55:43 might require.
55:46 History tends to repeat itself.
55:49 And the lay of the land is crystal clear,
55:52 made clear by an earnest woke up
55:55 and standing there on a hillside
55:58 near a little lake
55:59 with a wrapped crowd of thousands.
56:02 And then at the very end of His ministry,
56:03 when He'd been repeating, and repeating,
56:05 and repeating
56:07 and then, but asking His disciples,
56:09 "How come it is you don't get this.
56:10 I tell you over and over again."
56:13 And He could say again
56:15 all of these things are distractions,
56:17 the real issue is witnessing for me,
56:22 no matter the cost.
56:24 That's the challenge before us.
56:27 And on this Religious Liberty Day,
56:29 I can speak directly to Seventh-day Adventist,
56:31 you have a history,
56:32 we have a history of our own church,
56:35 of expulsion from the nominal churches
56:38 of prophetic outline
56:41 that warns us more I think than most groups
56:44 of what is to come.
56:45 We need to be faithful
56:47 and supportive of religious liberty.
56:49 And for our larger faith community,
56:53 "Keep your faith, study your faith."
56:56 If you're convicted of it,
56:57 don't let anyone change you on it.
57:00 And defend to the last breath,
57:03 your right to practice your faith.
57:05 Don't accept in the name of security or in the name of,
57:09 you know, some sort of pan religious brotherhood
57:12 that you will put anything away.
57:14 That is not the way of religious liberty,
57:17 that is the way of compromise, that is the way of persecution,
57:21 that is the way of a dissolution
57:23 of all that's important, and true
57:26 and fine about religion and religious liberty
57:29 which must always be defended.


Revised 2018-12-17