Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty Sabbath 2017

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Lincoln Steed


Series Code: RLIB

Program Code: RLIB000003A

00:16 Again, it's Liberty Sabbath.
00:19 Hard to believe that a year has gone
00:21 by since I preached a sermon that went out
00:25 on the 3ABN airwaves, but it's come.
00:30 January 2017, I never thought
00:35 that I would be even alive at this time.
00:37 I can remember when I was a young boy,
00:40 my father would sing a song, he says, "It's the year 2001."
00:44 And then he would go on about how everything's happened
00:47 where we're basically in,
00:49 you know, the twilight hour of mankind, but it is 2017.
00:54 I heard a song the other day
00:57 for the probably the several hundredth times,
01:01 but it was a song that I remember very well
01:02 from the 1990s
01:04 at a Christian Booksellers Association convention,
01:09 beautifully played,
01:11 the tune I won't attempt to recreate,
01:12 but the words went this way, it says,
01:14 "We are standing on holy ground,
01:18 and there are angels all around."
01:21 We don't often think that way, but indeed there are.
01:26 And as we come into the year 2017,
01:30 not just that this is a year
01:31 I never thought I would be alive,
01:33 I mean, that's my personal story,
01:35 but when we look at history, church history,
01:38 religious liberty history,
01:39 who could believe that it's actually 500 years
01:44 since the Reformation.
01:48 This year, we'll celebrate it,
01:50 the actual technical moment is around the end of the year,
01:55 but 500 years since the Reformation.
01:59 And when I think of Martin Luther,
02:00 John Wycliffe, and other heroes like that.
02:05 To me, they're almost the angels.
02:08 If you know Martin Luther,
02:09 he wasn't a perfect human being.
02:11 In fact, the other day,
02:13 I was reading some of his writings
02:15 on the Jews, and it's not worth repeating.
02:18 He was a flawed human being,
02:20 but he led the way in an incredible revival
02:24 of religious freedom because that's really
02:27 what it was in promoting the Reformation
02:31 that was religious freedom.
02:33 In Hebrews 12:1,
02:37 Paul says...
02:40 After having spoken about
02:41 some of the heroes of his people
02:44 of the Jewish nation,
02:45 back to the Old Testament times,
02:48 he says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded
02:51 by so great a cloud of witnesses."
02:56 Angles all around.
02:57 He says, "Let us lay aside every weight and sin
03:01 which cling so closely,
03:02 and let us run with perseverance the race
03:05 that is set before us."
03:06 We've got a challenge before us.
03:08 That's what I read in his words.
03:11 Huge challenge in Paul's day.
03:13 You know, he ended up in Rome in chains.
03:16 When I was in Rome not too long ago,
03:18 I saw the chains.
03:19 You never quite know if those are the real chains,
03:22 they say they are.
03:23 But he had a challenge before him,
03:25 but the challenge was answered powerfully,
03:28 and Christianity,
03:29 religious freedom went to the furthest reaches
03:32 of the then known world, the Roman Empire.
03:36 Freedom is important.
03:40 And going again to the Bible, again to Paul,
03:42 in Galatians 5:1, he said this,
03:46 most people don't really think of it this way
03:47 when they read these texts, but he said,
03:49 "For freedom, Christ has set us free."
03:54 In other words, we've been set free
03:56 for the whole end and purpose of being free.
03:59 It's an end in itself.
04:01 And in Galatians 5:13, he says,
04:04 "For you were called for freedom, brothers."
04:09 Almost sounds a little bit like,
04:11 you know, comrades.
04:14 We're in a great endeavor.
04:16 And then in John 8:36, Jesus said,
04:19 "For if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."
04:24 I'm sure, from this pulpit, and on this occasion,
04:27 another Liberty Sabbath, I've used Acts 4,
04:31 but it's such a powerful, central,
04:34 biblical setting for religious liberty
04:37 that I have to repeat it again, link it to these texts.
04:41 When Jesus began His ministry,
04:44 He got up there in the synagogue in Nazareth,
04:49 He was invited up by the rabbi,
04:51 which was not unusual but probably a little unusual
04:54 with a single man that was an itinerant preacher
04:58 with just a few followers would be asked to read.
05:01 And so He was brought forward,
05:02 He was given the Old Testament book of Isaiah 61.
05:08 Sorry, of Isaiah, He chose chapter 61.
05:12 And in the New Testament transliteration of it...
05:15 It's interesting, it's changed a little bit.
05:17 It says that, He said and read,
05:19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me
05:22 because He has anointed Me to preach good news
05:26 to the poor."
05:27 And the other day when I was going over this,
05:29 I reminded the audience,
05:30 so we always need to keep in mind
05:32 that this sequence here is really the same thing
05:36 expressed five times, what did He say,
05:40 "He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor."
05:45 Synonym, "He has sent Me to proclaim release
05:47 to the captives
05:50 and recovering of sight to the blind,
05:55 to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
06:00 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
06:02 They are all the same thing.
06:04 They're all to do with release, freedom, and liberty.
06:08 Religious liberty, as I've said,
06:11 so many times and it impresses upon me every time
06:13 I read these
06:14 and other similar statements from Christ,
06:17 religious liberty is the gospel.
06:21 And in this 500th anniversary of the Reformation,
06:25 surely we should be impelled to present to again
06:28 the gospel not in a namby-pamby sort of a generic way
06:34 but in the same way as Paul presented it,
06:36 the same way that Luther and his peers presented it,
06:39 as a revolutionary shift
06:41 against the thinking of the present age.
06:44 And how could it be any other than that?
06:48 I know that this broadcast is going out a little wider
06:50 than just the United States,
06:51 but right now the United States is in the aftermath
06:54 of an earthshaking presidential election
06:58 and many people are still in the aftershock,
07:00 not really sure how to relate to it.
07:03 What's ahead?
07:05 And in reality, what's happened political
07:08 as well as social is a stark reminder
07:11 that people have lost their moorings.
07:14 They don't know who they are
07:16 and where there are in society at large.
07:18 They don't know...
07:20 You know, they say glibly, "Christian nation."
07:22 But are they Christians?
07:23 Is the United States a Christian nation?
07:26 No, a name only.
07:28 And unfortunately,
07:30 you know, our mortal enemies at the moment,
07:31 the Jihadis, they are prone to say
07:34 that we're the great Satan.
07:36 Well, you know, you can allow for hyperbole,
07:38 but there's a little truth in there
07:40 that we are Christians lapsed into forgetfulness,
07:45 and certainly we are Protestants.
07:47 You know, I could say generically United States
07:49 is made up of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims,
07:52 and so on.
07:53 But as a society,
07:55 it's the inheritor of a Christian,
07:57 Protestant sensibility, but where is it?
08:03 Just before the election,
08:06 as soon to be as I recall this,
08:10 our soon to be president, and we wish him very well.
08:13 But he stood alongside a Catholic prelate
08:17 and then swore basically fealty to a Catholic identity.
08:21 Well, you know, more power to him,
08:23 he's the president of all people.
08:25 But the symbolism was troubling to me
08:29 as we celebrate the 500th anniversary,
08:32 Rome has every right to exist,
08:34 Roman Catholics have every right
08:36 to hold their views,
08:37 and Martin Luther had every right to separate.
08:40 But when he tried to, he was threatened with burning,
08:44 he was threatened with physical harm.
08:50 The Reformation proved something
08:53 that is being woven again around us
08:56 or proved against something
08:57 that is being woven against around us.
09:00 And I really believe
09:01 that we need to be on our guard.
09:04 This matter of freedom is central,
09:07 but how do you perceive freedom.
09:10 It's something I thought about a lot.
09:12 And I want to give an example from the Old Testament.
09:16 Again, picking up on this theme
09:17 of there are angels all around and holy ground.
09:22 Think about Moses.
09:24 You can go to Exodus
09:27 and pick up the story there in Exodus 3,
09:31 this part of the story of Moses in middle age.
09:35 And I wish all of us could have a long
09:38 and a stronger life as he did.
09:39 You know, when he died at 120. It says his eye was not dimmed.
09:43 Well, I'm forced to wear glasses.
09:46 But Moses, right till the time he died,
09:48 his vision was not dimmed, he was relatively strong.
09:51 But I want to pick out the story,
09:52 he was 80 years of age,
09:56 40 years ago, in his wild youth,
09:59 he had been a princeling in Egypt,
10:02 and that's quite a story.
10:03 If you don't know it, go to your Bible and read it.
10:06 It was a providential development
10:08 where this Hebrew slave boy,
10:11 destined to be killed by the Pharaoh soldiers
10:14 or drowned in the river was instead plucked up,
10:17 adopted by one of Pharaoh's daughters
10:19 and trained in the palace to be one of the ruling class.
10:23 And then when he discovered
10:25 who he was and presumed his destiny,
10:27 he took matters into his own hands
10:30 in a violent act
10:31 and was ejected from Egypt under pain of death,
10:34 never to return, he thought.
10:36 Went out into the desert, and, you know, I've seen
10:40 that desert down the Sinai, it's pretty much a desert.
10:45 I lived in Idaho for a while,
10:46 and that's a desert too in spots.
10:48 I wouldn't want to live in either one of those places,
10:50 but yet when Moses was,
10:53 people led out a pretty sure living,
10:55 he married the priest of Midian's daughter.
11:01 I'm trying to think of his wife,
11:02 but he married one of the daughters,
11:04 settled in there as,
11:06 I imagine, the favorite son of that family
11:09 probably to inherit the position of authority
11:12 in the nomadic people roundabout.
11:15 But he was happy enough for 40 years
11:17 to be wandering out in the desert
11:19 with his sheep thinking that he was free.
11:24 Nobody was bothering him there, he was free,
11:27 but he was in a desert.
11:29 And this is the parallel I want to bring today
11:32 that very few people would think of.
11:34 In the United States, in Australia, in England,
11:37 most Western countries
11:39 that have this Protestant tradition of freedom
11:42 that was hard won
11:45 and hard lived in its early days.
11:48 You know, the Puritans and other Protestants took
11:51 their religion seriously.
11:54 And we say glibly, "We are free."
11:57 But I believe figuratively
11:59 and perhaps even very literally,
12:00 we're in a desert, we think that we are free.
12:06 But freedom is often only in our mind
12:11 because if we acted differently,
12:13 we would be restricted.
12:15 And what Moses was able to do was to be satisfied
12:18 with a desert experience, he was satisfied to follow,
12:22 you know, the tinkling bell of a goat,
12:25 he was comfortable to forget,
12:27 on a distant shore, if you like,
12:29 there in Egypt where he once lived,
12:31 where his family still were,
12:33 he was comfortable to forget that
12:35 they were in literal slavery.
12:38 You know, in Liberty Magazine, in the last few years,
12:40 we've had cover story after cover story.
12:43 And I have one with me
12:45 that perhaps I could even put in front of the cameras,
12:47 the latest issue.
12:48 The Cries of The Persecuted.
12:51 I think that young woman's in Nigeria, Sudan,
12:55 and other places.
12:56 People are being killed for their religious identity.
12:59 People put their lives on the line for their faith.
13:03 And yet we are in our little desert
13:06 where the wind storms swirl warmly around us,
13:10 and we're not willing to recognize
13:13 what's happening there.
13:14 With Moses, it took a curious sight,
13:18 as the Bible says there in Exodus 3, it says,
13:21 "He was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,
13:24 the priest of Midian,
13:25 and he led his flock to the west side
13:27 of the wilderness."
13:28 It sounds easy,
13:30 but there was probably several days walking,
13:33 sort of picking his way from little watering hole
13:35 or a sheltered grotto under a few bushes.
13:38 There's not much water in that area,
13:40 not much to sustain you.
13:42 And it says, "He came to Horeb, the Mountain of God,
13:44 and the angel of the Lord appeared to him
13:47 in a flame of fire out of the midst of a Bush."
13:51 What would you do
13:53 if something like that happened?
13:55 If in some blinding moment of light, you were told,
13:59 religious liberty is more than just being comfortable
14:02 that you are not harassed or persecuted or imprisoned.
14:06 But it says of him, he thought I will go inside
14:08 and see this wonder,
14:10 he was not much stirred even at burning bush anymore
14:16 than in our Western comfort, we're not much stirred
14:21 about what's happening in Syria, for example.
14:24 A lot of talk in the media are about a refugee crisis
14:27 and people coming down into Europe
14:29 and destabilizing the population,
14:31 nobody asks the question
14:33 that I've read where are all the Christians.
14:37 There are 500,000 Christians in one refugee camp in Jordan,
14:42 but the Christians are not easily escaping.
14:46 This is a great and horrible persecution
14:50 in the Middle East
14:51 particularly where that's been equated
14:53 with the great persecution
14:54 in the times of the early Christian church
14:58 with the Roman emperors persecuting them.
15:00 It's just as great.
15:02 This is being characterized as the final expulsion
15:05 of the Christians from the Middle East.
15:09 And we don't hear,
15:11 and I hope though these angels all around
15:14 will at least cause us to think,
15:16 "Maybe we should step out of our comfort zone
15:18 and look at this interesting development."
15:22 It says, "The Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire.
15:25 And Moses said, 'I will turn aside
15:27 and see this sight why the bush is not burned.'
15:32 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see,
15:35 God called out of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!'
15:38 And he said, 'Here I am.'"
15:39 In other words, he just responded.
15:41 "Then he said, 'Don't come near,
15:44 put off your shoes from your feet for the place
15:46 on which you're standing is holy ground.'"
15:50 That song resonates with me again.
15:54 I don't think it was holy ground,
15:55 it was a desert, but it was holy
15:57 because he was in the presence of God,
16:00 he had to show respect,
16:01 he had note what was really happening.
16:04 God had grabbed his attention.
16:06 "And He said, 'I'm the God of your father,
16:09 the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
16:10 and the God of Jacob.'
16:11 And hid his face,
16:13 for he was afraid to look at God."
16:14 I don't know what Jethro's faith was,
16:17 I hardly think
16:18 he was the purest worshipper of Yahweh.
16:22 That was back with the descendants
16:24 of Joseph in Egypt.
16:27 I don't think Moses quite knew
16:30 who the God of his father was at that point.
16:32 He had lost his full sense of identity.
16:35 And if you read carefully,
16:36 and I remember a great sermon
16:38 in my youth written by H. M. S. Richards,
16:40 it was entitled The Man God Tried to Kill,
16:43 and God tried to kill Moses a little later says,
16:47 He met him on the way in the motel,
16:49 it almost says that in his lodgings
16:52 and attempted to kill him,
16:53 and he rose up and circumcised his son.
16:55 He didn't quite know what God wanted.
16:59 But God got his attention,
17:00 and this is what I want to share
17:02 as far as liberation and reformation
17:05 and a galvanizing response to the situation.
17:08 In verse 7, the Lord said,
17:11 "I have seen the affliction of my people."
17:13 I'll rephrase of it,
17:15 "I have seen the affliction of my people
17:17 who are in Egypt and have heard their cry
17:19 because of their taskmasters.
17:20 I know their suffering,
17:22 and I've come down to deliver them
17:24 out of the hand of the Egyptians
17:25 and to bring them up
17:27 out of that land to a good and broad land."
17:29 And He says,
17:30 "And now, behold the cry of the people of Israel
17:32 has come to Me, and I have seen the oppression
17:36 with which the Egyptians oppress them.
17:39 I will send you to Pharaoh."
17:42 That's the fulfillment of the holy ground,
17:45 the angels all around.
17:47 It's not just a nice song, that's a wonderful song,
17:50 I love that song, it gives me all warm fuzzies.
17:53 But, you know, when there's angels around,
17:55 as Paul said in Hebrews there, you know, "We're surrounded
18:00 by this great crowd of witnesses,
18:03 we are called upon to act in the situation.
18:06 We're called upon to put our religious liberty,
18:10 our freedom in Christ."
18:11 You know, I've set you free, for freedom I've set you free."
18:16 We're not to stay in the desert,
18:17 go back and do something for religious liberty.
18:22 You know, this is the burden
18:24 that I've had with Liberty Magazine
18:26 from the beginning.
18:27 A magazine not in its 500th year,
18:29 but it's the 111th year, and I wander through the lot.
18:34 And I know a lot of these conspiracists
18:36 who may partly be right note
18:38 that all sorts of strange goings on and deaths,
18:42 there's a 33 mixed in with it,
18:44 33 level masonry or illuminati or whatever.
18:48 Who knows?
18:50 But I think it's very significant
18:51 that Liberty Magazine is 111 years
18:54 that's 3, the trinity.
18:59 It's a very important year like 9/11 even, 1, 1, 1.
19:04 We've been around a 111 years, but we're back to one,
19:08 back to square one, we're ready to move now.
19:11 And from the beginning,
19:12 I've seen this as a magazine
19:14 that's an incredible trust given to all people
19:17 but through the Seventh-day Adventist church
19:19 because of its history,
19:20 its understanding of the liberating nature
19:22 of the times that we live in.
19:24 God has called us before the great
19:26 and final day of the Lord to do as Moses did,
19:30 "Go back into the city, go back among your peers.
19:36 Don't stay in the desert of silent,
19:39 incommunicado existence as you know
19:42 what becomes alternately a secretive cult,
19:44 you got to move out, make a difference,
19:46 proclaim liberty throughout the land."
19:49 And I've seen from the beginning
19:51 that Liberty Magazine while it's well respected way
19:54 predates anything I had to do with it,
19:56 and I hope it maintains its stance beyond,
19:58 but it makes no sense unless the magazine
20:03 is a catalyst for action.
20:06 If we're just sending comforting words,
20:09 not much good.
20:11 We do want to inform people,
20:13 we do want to motivate them though,
20:15 and we do want to activate people to action
20:18 to make a difference to prepare the way,
20:22 again, for the Lord
20:24 because the Lord's message is liberation, freedom.
20:30 There's another example of the angels all around
20:34 that I think is also relevant for us today.
20:37 And I discovered something
20:39 this one I read it again that I'd never noticed.
20:42 In 2 Kings 6,
20:48 there's a story tell that resonated with me
20:52 because I don't know about you or our viewers,
20:56 the media varies from country to country,
20:57 but I do think, in most countries,
21:00 news of the for want of a better word,
21:03 the civil war in Syria breaks through pretty regularly.
21:08 And here in 2 Kings 6,
21:10 it tells about a war with Syria.
21:14 Nothing new under the sun.
21:17 And after the great prophet Elijah
21:19 had been taken away to heaven,
21:21 his acolyte Elisha was doing just as great a deeds
21:25 and one of his deeds in the war with Syria,
21:28 he was using the Word of the Lord to his people
21:31 to explain the threat from Syria.
21:34 And, you know, I'm drawing the parallel,
21:36 but Syria was a stand in for the Godless people,
21:39 those that didn't respect the Lord
21:41 and were coming in to destroy them
21:44 and to break down their commitment to God.
21:47 And Elisha was able to tell them
21:49 what was to happen next,
21:51 that they were going to attack on this and that day,
21:55 they were going to go here, and they were avoiding it,
21:58 they were beating them.
22:00 And, you know, when I think about religious liberty,
22:03 I have a secret weapon on putting Liberty Magazine
22:05 together, I read Bible prophecy
22:08 and the writings of the early Adventist church,
22:10 and in particular, a visionary Ellen White
22:13 where she was really extrapolating Bible prophecies.
22:16 And the outline is very plain.
22:19 And as things develop in our time,
22:20 you can look ahead,
22:22 and you'll say, "Well, this will happen,
22:23 I know that this will happen."
22:25 We know that at some time,
22:27 perhaps sooner rather than later,
22:29 even in the United States
22:30 where the great constitutional separation of church and state,
22:34 even here because largely a lack of faith
22:37 and a lack of knowledge of constitutional principles,
22:41 oppressive religious laws will come to pass.
22:47 We've been told ahead of time.
22:48 And surely, we should be acting,
22:50 we should be as privileged as the people of Israel
22:54 under the Prophet Elijah
22:55 were 'cause they had advance word.
22:58 And it finally got up
22:59 to the King Ben-hadad of the Syrians.
23:01 He said, "How come?
23:03 There must be a spy in my midst,
23:05 somebody spilling the beans."
23:07 And so he cast about looking for the whistleblower
23:11 or the WikiLeaks guy.
23:14 "Who is it?"
23:16 And finally, I think probably out of desperation
23:19 'cause I don't think at first they wanted to tell the king,
23:21 they said, "Well, there's a prophet there,
23:23 Elisha, you know, he knows
23:24 what happens in your bed chamber pretty much."
23:27 So the king determined to go after this prophet.
23:31 And that's where the story gets very interesting.
23:34 It says he sent quite an army that surrounded Elisha
23:37 and his servant and probably
23:39 a few other followers surrounded them
23:42 when they were staying at little town of Dothan.
23:46 And in the morning, when they woke up,
23:49 it says in verse 15,
23:51 "When the servant of the man of God
23:55 rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army
23:59 with horses and chariots all around about the city."
24:04 They were boxed. And he said, this is Elisha.
24:08 Sorry.
24:09 "And the servant said, 'Alas, my master!
24:11 What shall we do?'
24:12 And then Elisha said,
24:14 'Fear not, for those who are with us
24:16 are more than those who are with them.'"
24:19 What evidence did Elisha have for that?
24:22 No evidence that the servant could see.
24:24 No evidence.
24:25 It seemed like a hopeless situation.
24:27 You know, and today,
24:28 I've got to say as a bit of a passing joke.
24:31 You know the Democrats have lost an election,
24:33 they think that
24:34 they'll never come to power again.
24:36 But anyone that's more than 20, 30 years old knows
24:40 that there's a seesaw of the power.
24:44 You don't need to give up.
24:47 "But he says, 'what shall we do?'
24:49 But he said, 'Fear not, those who are with us
24:50 are more than those who are with them.'"
24:52 He saw the real dynamic.
24:55 "And then Elisha prayed."
24:57 And some of the these type of prayers
24:59 in the Bible are incredible
25:01 because they're prayers based on spiritual insight,
25:04 not on hopefulness that,
25:06 you know, "God, please, please do this
25:08 if it's Your will," or whatever.
25:10 Well, yes, you pray that way.
25:11 But the true prayer of faith assumes
25:15 God will honor His promises.
25:17 "And he says, 'O Lord, I pray thee,
25:19 open his eyes that he may see.'
25:23 And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw,
25:26 and behold, the mountain was full of horses
25:29 and of chariots of fire round about Elisha."
25:35 Back to the Reformation.
25:37 If we would keep in mind what happened in the past,
25:41 if we would truly study the Reformation
25:43 and know its effect
25:45 not just on the body of believers
25:47 but its effect on the world at large,
25:50 we would know
25:51 that we're inheritors of a powerful dynamic
25:54 that God has shown His hand through it.
25:57 People seem to have forgotten
25:58 what it was like in Luther's day.
26:00 First of all, they've forgotten,
26:02 Roman Catholic churches remember
26:03 that it's their prerogatives
26:05 that he was a Roman Catholic priest.
26:07 There's really nothing wrong with the present phenomenon
26:10 that we're going to see
26:11 this year of Catholics themselves
26:14 celebrating the reformers.
26:17 You know, they would accept what they stood for.
26:20 But as a continuum, yes, Martin Luther
26:23 was a Roman Catholic priest much troubled in conscience,
26:26 and as events unfolded,
26:27 he saw more and more the error of the ways
26:30 that he was part of.
26:31 There's no question of that.
26:34 But when we look at what happened in that day,
26:37 Martin Luther in breaking free from Rome broke Germany free
26:41 from the Holy Roman Empire, and Germany breaking free,
26:45 England broke free,
26:47 most of the European countries broke free,
26:50 bad things followed short term.
26:52 There was a Thirty Years' War that most people have forgotten
26:56 followed very quickly...
26:59 Well, it follow quickly after Luther,
27:01 it followed quickly after the present dynamic
27:04 when Luther reacted to Rome
27:06 because when he understood clearly
27:10 that righteous by faith was the only way to go,
27:13 the Sola Scriptura, God's Word was a safer guide
27:17 than tradition or the momentary peak
27:20 or perversity of church leaders.
27:23 He was onto something.
27:24 And he sparked a revival and rebellion,
27:29 but it was damped down because of that time.
27:33 And when I get into this, I'm always reminded,
27:36 the history is rather circular.
27:38 At that time, Europe, the Holy Roman Empire
27:41 was under mortal threat
27:43 from Islamic attack for over 100 years.
27:48 The Ottoman Turks every few months
27:51 made large scale invasions into Europe,
27:53 they besieged Vienna earlier in the piece,
27:56 the Frankish Kingdom was defended
28:00 by Charles Martel...
28:02 Heavy fighting,
28:03 they fought them back from there.
28:05 Vienna was besieged as I said, Spain fell.
28:09 And I saw a program once that the diagram there,
28:12 it wasn't even like World Wars I and II
28:16 where there were battles every now and again,
28:18 but it was just come at you all the time.
28:20 You'd fight them back,
28:22 they'd regroup and they'd come again.
28:23 It was never sure that Europe would survive.
28:27 So while that dynamic was in place,
28:29 the religious Reformation percolated
28:32 and gathered strength,
28:33 but it couldn't be dealt with as violently
28:36 as it was once the Islamic threat was passed.
28:39 But once it was passed within only about 10
28:41 or so years after
28:43 the final defeat of the Islamic threat.
28:46 Then the Thirty Years' War began,
28:48 a war of religion between new Protestant countries
28:52 and old Catholic sovereignty, Roman Catholic sovereignty.
28:55 But an easy way to see
28:56 it is the old monolithic church,
28:59 and the new vibrant Bible-based Christianity.
29:04 And 30 years of war decimated Europe
29:07 in a way that World Wars I and II didn't,
29:09 8 million people died in this religious war.
29:13 And they were nowhere near...
29:15 It was nowhere near the population in Europe
29:17 that there was in World Wars I and II.
29:19 It was so bad that the entire infrastructure
29:21 of Europe collapsed.
29:23 Famine was endemic throughout Europe.
29:27 And at the end of it all,
29:29 nations were so innovative
29:31 that they sat down and hundred
29:35 and some delegations were there...
29:37 Hundred and sixteen, I think.
29:39 But anyhow nearly 120 of the new political entities,
29:44 and they sat down
29:45 and at the Treaty of Westphalia,
29:47 they established the modern world order
29:49 that we live under now
29:51 because before that sovereign countries
29:53 were unknown in the classic sense.
29:58 It was unknown
29:59 that you would have self-determination.
30:01 It was unknown that you could be different
30:03 from the monolithic religious power
30:06 in a whole empire.
30:08 And Protestantism was politically established,
30:11 the modern world order was put in place.
30:15 And my point as we come to the 500th anniversary
30:18 of the Reformation, and the principle of freedom,
30:21 and release from the constraints
30:24 of religion and politics,
30:26 as we come to the 500th anniversary,
30:29 history is circling around again,
30:32 we're under attack from what amounts
30:34 to foreign religious forces.
30:38 We're politically innovated.
30:42 We're losing a sense of sovereignty
30:44 even as things as simple as drone attacks
30:47 and special forces in the night,
30:49 and all the rest, all of those things
30:50 as necessary as politicians may make them mean
30:53 that it's the end of the old order.
30:58 And we are facing, I believe,
31:00 a repeat of the necessity of looking to yourself
31:03 for your religious commitment
31:05 and standing on your principles.
31:08 You cannot accept any religious power that says,
31:12 "I own you," which is what is the case
31:14 in some of the Middle East countries,
31:16 for example, or even in some of the old world
31:20 religious entities
31:21 No, you stand as a sovereign entity
31:23 as the US Declaration of Independence said,
31:26 "You have unalienable rights
31:29 and obligations to honor your God."
31:34 And I hope and pray that as we sail
31:37 through this 500th anniversary,
31:39 as we sail through a new political order,
31:41 even in the United States, as we sail
31:44 through a growing ignorance of people
31:46 that might know how to circle the Internet
31:48 but don't understand the difference between truth
31:50 and error, between news and non-news, fake news,
31:53 and whatever as we arrived at a point
31:57 where people don't quite know whether,
32:00 you know, Moses was an Old
32:01 or New Testament figure, they don't know their Bible,
32:04 they don't know their theology, they, perhaps in the aggregate,
32:07 this wonderful exceptions,
32:09 don't know what it is to know God,
32:11 they don't have any sense like Moses had come
32:15 to before the bush
32:16 of the holiness of the situation
32:18 that God's principles are being worked out.
32:21 That I hope and pray that religious freedom
32:25 will have a new day and a second wind
32:29 and a refreshing in this era.
32:33 I've thought recently that,
32:35 with the election discussion going on,
32:37 there wasn't too much open talk of religious liberty,
32:42 but actually things, even in the United States,
32:44 they are moving.
32:46 Not too long before the election in Indiana,
32:50 there was a huge scandal as a piece of legislation
32:56 that even the Seventh-day Adventist Church
32:57 should be actively involved
32:58 with over the years called the Religious Freedom
33:01 Restoration Act and following an inability
33:05 to get a full federal law,
33:07 it only applied at the federal level
33:08 to federal employees.
33:10 So then in the years after the 1994, '96,
33:15 I forget the exact year, passage of the bill,
33:18 it had been decided
33:20 that we could get the same effect
33:21 by passing it state by state,
33:23 a way to show up the very rudimentary guarantee
33:28 in the constitution.
33:30 The principle was strong, but it wasn't specific enough,
33:34 20 states or actually 19 had signed up for it
33:38 until it came to Indiana in 2015.
33:44 And if you remember your news, it was a huge scandal.
33:49 The governor of that state then
33:51 who is now the vice president of the United States,
33:54 but the governor signed the bill into law,
33:57 and then all hell broke loose because it came out
34:01 that a certain faction of Christians
34:05 in the United States
34:06 or in Indiana were wanting to use that law
34:08 to empower them to be prejudicial
34:11 against some of the non-believing
34:13 or fellow citizens
34:16 who held a different moral viewpoint.
34:19 It also came out for those of us
34:21 that believe in true religious liberty
34:23 that this law was designed consciously
34:27 to be exclusive and narrow.
34:31 You know, the principle of religious liberty
34:33 that needs to be restated, it's an absolute right that you
34:36 and I need to fight for and die for if necessary.
34:40 For anybody to believe
34:42 or disbelieve anything they want,
34:44 to be absolutely unrestricted
34:46 in their practice of that faith,
34:48 no matter how puerile
34:50 and foolish I might think their faith is.
34:53 They doubtless think the same about mine.
34:55 You know, I have to be convinced,
34:57 as the Bible says.
34:58 I have to be convinced of my own mind
35:00 about God and His truth.
35:01 And, of course, in that state, I do believe I have the truth.
35:04 But when you're looking around at your fellows,
35:07 it's a dangerous assumption.
35:08 You lead directly
35:10 to the inquisition if you think,
35:11 "I have the truth,
35:13 you're an unbeliever, you're a reprobate,
35:15 you're a danger to the society, so we'll deal with you."
35:18 And the RFRA bill that came before the Indiana governor
35:25 was a step in the wrong direction.
35:27 In my view,
35:29 coming to the United States as I did
35:30 when I was 16 back in the civil rights era,
35:33 it was straight back to the era where you would see signs out
35:37 front of certain restaurants naming an ethnic group
35:43 and a religious group, "Not allowed here.
35:45 We do not serve you."
35:48 And I can remember that there were taxes given
35:50 to back up that view.
35:53 So we were rolling back now nearly two years ago
35:57 to that sort of dynamic
35:59 under the guise of religious liberty.
36:01 And as I've watched it since, not much discussion,
36:05 but in reality, the logic of religious liberty
36:09 in the US and in the West generally is shifting
36:12 from a general religious liberty,
36:15 the Protestant viewpoint
36:16 that inadvertently Martin Luther
36:19 and others broke their own rule on occasions,
36:21 but the Protestant viewpoint that we're all sovereign beings
36:23 and can believe whatever we move
36:26 to by the Spirit of God.
36:28 We're moving away from that to a narrow entitlement,
36:35 which comes easy to a nation under threat,
36:38 to a society that fears another religious group,
36:42 it came easy in Luther's time.
36:46 The Council of Trent
36:49 still is binding
36:54 to the Roman Catholic community.
36:58 And the Council of Trent, if you go back and read,
37:00 it was a council that made determinations
37:03 based on the sense of imminent threat,
37:07 it was feeling weak, so it lashed out.
37:10 And I believe the great danger is that our weakened spiritual
37:14 state in the West, our forgetful state
37:18 where we don't remember the Reformation very well
37:21 and yet our true dangerous situation
37:24 from threats within and without will lead us
37:27 to more and more of this narrow,
37:30 narrow religious entitlement, which is not religious liberty
37:34 and has no holy presence surrounding it.
37:39 It's a desert experience.
37:41 It will not lead to the flourishing of religion
37:45 as the Reformation certainly did.
37:53 Thinking again of songs, years ago,
37:59 when I lived in Idaho,
38:01 I was flying back to Salt Lake City once.
38:05 I won't tell the whole story because I think I shared it
38:06 in another sermon once,
38:08 but I had a very powerful experience
38:10 coming down to that city in the sunlight
38:12 and a whole bunch of young people
38:14 that were excited to see their spiritual city,
38:18 they got so excited, they started singing,
38:21 they were a choir, and they sang,
38:22 and the stewardesses and all of us on the plane
38:27 were just quivering with excitement
38:29 to see the enthusiasm of young people.
38:32 And I went later to try to find that song on the Internet,
38:35 instead I found another song
38:37 that I think applies to all of us,
38:39 and as a Seventh-day Adventist, I find it resonates
38:42 because Seventh-day Adventism
38:44 was founded on many of the principles
38:47 of the Reformation,
38:48 not least of which was a sense of the imminence
38:51 or the return of Jesus Christ.
38:53 There was an apocalyptic element
38:56 to the Reformation.
38:57 And this song, put it this way,
39:00 it says, "When you see the storm is coming,
39:05 and the storm is coming."
39:07 I probably spend way too much time on the Internet
39:09 for my own good,
39:14 but yesterday, as I was driving,
39:17 now that I think of it, on my trip, I went scanning,
39:20 and I saw the planet Nibiru was coming close
39:23 and the poles are going to realign,
39:26 whether it's true or not, who knows.
39:28 Tens of thousands of people, you know, drink this stuff up,
39:31 the Antarctic is splitting in two,
39:35 the world is in a phase of global warming.
39:38 Some people think it's not true,
39:41 that could eventually fulfill what the Bible says,
39:45 "The Sun will get seven times hotter."
39:47 The economy is collapsing.
39:52 Efforts are underway to replace
39:53 the dollar with another currency.
39:55 You know, all of these things
39:57 that are the signs of the storm,
40:01 and the Bible says,
40:02 Men's hearts failing them for fear,
40:04 for what is coming on the earth."
40:08 But the song said,
40:10 "When you see the storm is coming,
40:11 see the lightning path, the stars,
40:15 what you do then is remember.
40:18 Hold on, child.
40:20 Hold on to what you know is true.
40:23 Hold on till you get through. Hold on. Hold on.
40:27 The night will soon be past, it will soon be by.
40:31 Child, hold on, there's angels on the way."
40:37 We have to have that element.
40:39 You know, in arguing for religious liberty,
40:41 it's bigger than Holy Writ.
40:44 I mean, it derives from Holy Writ,
40:45 it derives from a holy person, He's Jesus in Nazareth.
40:48 But the principle exists on its own
40:51 in a secular environment,
40:52 it's logical as human beings that have self-respect
40:57 that have a history of breaking free
40:59 of all sorts of darkness of the Dark Ages, and of the...
41:05 You know, in a period where serfs
41:07 and others had no rights.
41:09 Any human being would aspire
41:12 to what religious liberty grants you.
41:14 The right to think and act as your conscience dictates.
41:18 But as we come into this era,
41:20 I think those that have a religious sensibility,
41:23 those that base it,
41:24 as the reformers did, on the Bible,
41:27 we need to stir ourselves, not just remember history.
41:32 That's a pretty good reminder,
41:33 but remember the dynamic of history,
41:36 remember what impels history forward,
41:38 it's God, it's the angels, it's the holy presence.
41:43 Without that, we're just people going through the motions.
41:47 I remember reading in C.S. Lewis once,
41:50 and I don't appreciate everything he wrote,
41:52 but he was one of the great thinkers of Christianity
41:56 over 100 years or so ago.
41:59 And C.S. Lewis said that...
42:02 "Imagine the disappointment," he said,
42:03 "of a revolutionary who moved heaven and earth
42:06 and killed people and disrupted a country
42:08 because of his goal
42:09 to establish communism or some-ism,
42:13 and yet then when the Lord comes,
42:15 He discovers that it was all for nothing."
42:19 You know, that's got to be very off putting for people
42:22 like Fidel Castro who died recently.
42:27 It was obvious that in his old age
42:29 where he brought the pope in and others
42:31 and was toying with religion
42:33 that he was having second thoughts
42:35 about his secular revolutionary endeavor.
42:39 And many people, you know, without God,
42:42 they have principles of a sort, they have goals of a sort,
42:45 but they don't usually stand the test of time.
42:50 But when we look back on the Reformation
42:52 and this powerful call for freedom
42:55 that shook the world,
42:57 reshaped the world and still lingers with us
42:59 in the history and in the principles,
43:02 even some of them have found their way
43:04 into the principles of governance
43:06 even of the Western world.
43:08 They can't be shucked aside because God is there
43:12 and the holy angels are gathered about,
43:15 the heroes of past ages surround us.
43:18 How could we neglect this?
43:21 It's like Joseph when he went to Egypt, he says,
43:25 "You know, how can I do this great sin
43:28 against God to deny religious liberty
43:32 to allow our fellows to..."
43:36 We're in Iraq recently and probably some still,
43:38 "to be crucified, to be beheaded,
43:42 and not be greatly stirred?"
43:48 You know, at one level, we can't do a lot,
43:50 but we can do something.
43:52 You know, I'd miss the chance if I didn't say,
43:55 you can send Liberty Magazine...
43:57 That's the smaller start.
43:59 And this is why,
44:01 you know, this sermon is right now.
44:03 We have an emphasis, get started,
44:05 do a little thing first but do something.
44:10 If you do nothing,
44:12 the principle applies to many things,
44:14 but on this, with the vengeance,
44:16 you do nothing, your heart has hardened,
44:20 and you will, after a while, not see as Moses did,
44:23 you won't see or figuratively hear
44:28 the cries that are coming from Egypt.
44:33 I said I learned something
44:35 when I was reading there in 2 Kings.
44:39 After the servant saw the chariots in the hills...
44:45 I'm sure they were the same chariots
44:46 that took Elijah to heaven,
44:47 and who knows, perhaps Elijah was there
44:50 with them to witness a powerful moment.
44:54 "But the Syrians," it says, "came down against him,
44:58 and Elisha prayed to the Lord and he said,
44:59 'Strike this people, I pray, Thee, with blindness.'"
45:05 He didn't think of the alternates,
45:07 he had prayed first that his servant
45:09 would be given spiritual sight, but now he prays
45:14 that the avenging wicked army will be struck with blindness,
45:17 which they were and stumbled into the city.
45:20 And the servant wasn't quite converted,
45:23 and he says, "Kill them."
45:24 And Elisha spared them all and sent them back
45:26 with the word to their king that they'd been spared.
45:31 Figuratively,
45:32 as well as literally, it is true.
45:34 If we focus on the real principle
45:37 of religious liberty,
45:38 if we focus on the real power of God,
45:40 we will have a blinding vision of clarity
45:44 that will empower us to do something.
45:46 But if we deny it, if we think there's no problem
45:51 and spiritually shut our eyes, I believe,
45:54 we'll literally be shut off
45:56 from an awareness of what's really happening.
45:59 What does the Bible say at the very end of times?
46:02 Jesus said, like the days of Noah,
46:05 people marrying and giving in marriage right up
46:07 till the moment the flood came.
46:08 And people will say all things continue
46:13 as they have from the beginning.
46:15 How could you do that?
46:17 It's obvious, from Revelation in particular,
46:21 that every power, political powers
46:24 and economic powers
46:26 and the powers of nature, they're to be shaken,
46:28 everything is in a tumult,
46:30 but some people still will think
46:33 it's just business as usual.
46:35 And I don't know if it's the best illustration
46:38 but, you know, at least in our day,
46:40 no global warming, you know, it's just...
46:42 It's drier than it's been before,
46:44 it's hotter than it's ever been before,
46:45 but it's coincidence.
46:48 No, we need to see what's happening.
46:51 And if we're in tune with God's principles,
46:54 if we remember how God worked through that cloud of witnesses
46:57 in the past,
46:59 we will see the challenge that's before us is imminent,
47:02 it demands our attention.
47:05 And yes, we live in the United States,
47:08 in particular, and where I came from in Australia
47:11 and some other countries,
47:12 we live in privileged situations,
47:15 we can't dismiss it totally, but in some ways,
47:18 that's the more dangerous position
47:21 because your attention
47:23 is not galvanized to this eternal principle.
47:26 And I've said something
47:27 before even in Seventh-day Adventist churches,
47:30 but I'd say at any church because Jesus said this.
47:34 If even in a free country like the United States,
47:37 even in a nominally enlightened
47:43 Protestant church,
47:45 if you live a truly godly life,
47:48 if you live before God
47:50 as though everything is about to be held to account,
47:52 if you are so committed that things of the Lord
47:54 are more important, then...
47:57 As Jesus said,
47:58 "If you love father, mother, son, or daughter
48:00 more than Me, you're not worthy of Me."
48:02 Doesn't mean you love them less,
48:04 but you love the Lord more.
48:05 I believe, even in those situations,
48:09 even in good countries, even in good churches,
48:11 you will be harassed and ostracized.
48:15 Religious liberty is not just something for,
48:19 you know, the savages over there
48:22 where it's so patently absurd to try to act different.
48:27 There's a statistic
48:28 that I know I've mentioned before,
48:30 but it needs to be repeated that 70% to 73%
48:34 of the world's population live
48:36 under a severe restriction of religious liberty.
48:40 Hard to believe.
48:41 But I'm quite certain,
48:43 if you go to many of those countries
48:44 that are under the 70%, 73% and you tell them,
48:48 they would be quite shocked to know
48:50 that they're restricted
48:52 because it's never crossed their mind to question
48:55 the status quo.
48:58 I know I gave this example before,
48:59 but it's so powerful, it just resonates with me.
49:02 I was listening to BBC once, and they were interviewing
49:06 the foreign minister from the Maldives,
49:08 a little country that we should pray for
49:10 because they're about to be washed away
49:12 with rising ocean.
49:13 There are only low-lying islands
49:15 that have already pretty much got Dutch-type barriers to keep
49:18 the water out of the streets.
49:20 And the foreign minister, as he was paid to do,
49:23 was painting a very good picture of the country
49:25 and said they had religious freedom.
49:28 A 100% Muslim country, and the interviewer said,
49:33 "But I'm a Christian, if I went to your country,
49:36 would I be allowed to practice my faith?"
49:38 And the foreign minister was quite insulted,
49:41 he says, "Certainly not."
49:43 He says, "We might as well invite Al-Qaeda
49:46 into our country as to allow that."
49:49 Not religious liberty there, but he said they have it,
49:52 and I'm sure if you were in that country,
49:53 they'd probably celebrate it.
49:55 And I've thought this many, many times,
49:58 the echo chamber is not a good way
50:02 to know truth
50:03 or certainly a poor way to know the will of God.
50:07 You know, we can be in a country
50:08 that is always announcing itself
50:11 as a Christian nation
50:13 while our history would lead you
50:14 to think that way,
50:16 but it never was structurally a Christian nation,
50:18 and belatedly or unhappily,
50:20 it's not a Christian society in the aggregate anymore.
50:25 But you can easily be in assemblies
50:29 where everyone will say, "We are Christians,
50:32 you know, this is a Christian nation,
50:33 or we are the free."
50:35 Just because others
50:37 yell it around you doesn't make it so.
50:42 We have to look at God's leading.
50:45 We have to critically look at even human history
50:49 in the light of these presences that are around us.
50:52 And to know that we're in the presence
50:54 of a Holy God
50:55 who has dealt with this in the past,
50:57 who has given principles of freedom that transcend
51:00 the present tumults and scandals.
51:06 I try to be consistent, and I love Spurgeon,
51:10 the best Baptist preacher of a century ago.
51:15 He had powerful sermons, and I'm risking.
51:18 In fact, I'm not risking,
51:20 I'm doing what all preachers do,
51:21 mix my metaphors.
51:23 But I want to read a couple of sentences
51:25 that he wrote about stand fast, but he uses a sailing imagery,
51:30 I've used a desert imagery
51:31 before and holy ground, and so on.
51:33 But here, exhorting God's people
51:36 or anybody that wants to be true to conscience
51:39 and stay the course uses this imagery.
51:42 And this is what he says,
51:43 "I will put the exhortation thus
51:45 'Stand fast doctrinally.'
51:49 In this age all the ships in the waters
51:51 are pulling up their anchors,
51:53 they are drifting with the tide,
51:54 they are driven about with every wind."
51:58 He couldn't have thought so when he said that,
51:59 but I think of all the ideologies are changing,
52:02 communism is either or gone or in a perverse caricature
52:07 of what it used to be
52:09 when you look at China and other places.
52:12 Democracy is not what people think it is.
52:16 Even during the election, people say,
52:17 "How come someone won with not a majority?"
52:20 This is not a democratic country.
52:22 It's a representative government.
52:24 But people are drifting away from all sorts of anchors
52:29 or sureties that they had,
52:30 not least of which religious faith
52:32 and religious identity.
52:35 And he says, "It is your wisdom to put down more anchors."
52:40 And he says, "I will not budge an inch
52:41 from the old doctrine for any man.
52:44 Now that the cyclone is triumphant
52:46 over many a bowing wall and tottering fence,
52:51 those who are built
52:52 upon the one foundation must prove
52:54 its value by standing fast.
52:56 We will hearken to no teaching but that of the Lord Jesus."
52:59 Sounds like Martin Luther,
53:01 and I will read his summation there in a moment.
53:04 He says, "If you see a truth to be in God's Word,
53:07 grasp it by your faith, and if it be unpopular,
53:12 grapple it to you as with hooks of steel.
53:16 If you are despised as a fool for holding it,
53:19 hold to it the more.
53:20 Like an oak, take deeper root,
53:22 because the winds would tear you
53:23 from your place.
53:24 Defy reproach and ridicule,
53:26 and if you have already vanquished it.
53:29 It stand fast, like the British squares
53:33 in the olden times."
53:34 I noticed the other day that our new President Trump
53:37 talking about his mother,
53:39 he said she just loved the Queen
53:41 and all the British royalty,
53:42 she was enamored of all of that.
53:45 Lot of the older generation were that way,
53:46 here the British squares
53:49 predated the American imperial adventures,
53:55 but the British squares just like the Roman Legions,
53:58 were pretty well led and stood.
54:01 He said, "Stand fast like the British squares
54:02 in the olden times.
54:04 When fierce assaults were made
54:05 upon them every man seemed transformed to rock.
54:08 We might have wandered from the ranks
54:10 a little in more peaceful times
54:12 to look after the fascinating flowers
54:14 which grow on every side of our march,
54:16 but now we know that the enemy surrounds us,
54:19 we keep strictly on the line of march
54:21 and tolerate no roaming.
54:23 The watchword of the host of God
54:25 just now is 'Stand fast!'
54:28 Hold you to the faith once delivered to the saints.
54:31 Hold fast the form of sound words,
54:34 and deviate not one jot or tittle there from."
54:39 Don't hear that sort of stuff anymore.
54:41 Instead you hear so-called representatives
54:44 of Protestant factions getting together
54:47 and deciding their political course,
54:49 deciding how they can all sort of squash down
54:53 their differences
54:54 and pass themselves off as one single entity.
54:58 I had a discussion with the...
55:02 I'm trying to think what his title was,
55:04 but he was the second in command
55:07 of a large faction of the Episcopal church,
55:11 and he repeated some words
55:13 that have been said publicly from Rome
55:15 before that doctrine's not important.
55:18 And he said, "We need to unite on doctrine,
55:20 we're not saved on doctrine."
55:24 And I said, "It's true."
55:26 But I said, "Doctrine is sort of the skeleton of your faith."
55:29 "No, it doesn't matter?"
55:32 And so I said, "Well, maybe
55:33 we should do away with the doctrine
55:35 of transubstantiation."
55:37 And he got quite excited that, he says,
55:39 "Oh, no, they've done a DNA test
55:41 of the wafer elevated,
55:43 and it tested positive for the DNA
55:45 of a 30-year-old Middle Eastern man."
55:48 You know, you believe that you'll drink Kool-Aid.
55:52 But we do need to stand for something.
55:56 Religious progress is not made by syncretism,
56:00 never has been and never will be.
56:03 Martin Luther, as I said before,
56:07 put himself on the line, and because of that,
56:11 I could forgive him a lot of bias
56:13 on how he related to the peasants
56:15 and even the Jews that brought before the Emperor,
56:19 the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
56:22 and all the representatives of Rome come there
56:24 to send him to the stake.
56:27 He concluded by saying, "Since your serene majesty
56:30 and your lordships seek a simple answer,
56:33 I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed.
56:37 Unless I am convinced
56:39 by the testimony of the Scriptures
56:41 or by clear reason for I do not trust either in the pope
56:45 or in councils alone,
56:47 since it is well known that they have often erred
56:48 and contradicted themselves, I am bound by the Scriptures.
56:53 I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.
56:57 I cannot
56:58 and I will not retract anything,
57:00 since it is neither safe nor right to go
57:03 against conscience.
57:04 May God help me."
57:06 And that's about as good a summation
57:08 as you can get for religious liberty
57:09 and how we should stand true
57:11 to conscience, true to the Lord.
57:14 We're standing on holy ground.
57:17 This is a holy day as people think within my church,
57:22 the Seventh-day Adventist church
57:24 particularly about religious liberty,
57:26 this is the moment...
57:27 I think it was Joshua who said, "Choose you this day."
57:30 Are you going to support the Lord?
57:31 Are you going to support religious liberty?
57:33 If not, maybe it never comes again,
57:36 maybe the question is never given to you again.
57:38 This is the moment.
57:40 And if the things that are happening
57:42 in the world don't stir you now.
57:44 Maybe they never will.
57:49 Isn't that pretty much what Martin Luther...
57:51 He says, "Here I stand, so help me God."
57:54 God will help us.
57:55 God will speak from the burning bush
57:58 or the quiet moment, God will speak
58:00 because religious liberty is vital.


Revised 2018-11-19