THE WORLD’S HATRED OF CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS

Once again, we see the hatred and intolerance of the world toward the body of Christ. In New Jersey, a Christian woman who worked as a barista at Starbucks Coffee Shop said she was fired from her job when she refused to wear the company-sponsored “Pride” T-shirt, glorifying homosexuality. She said Jesus condemned the practice as being “unnatural.” The company’s official response was that the shirt reflected Starbucks’ commitment to “inclusion and diversity” and proclaimed the company “does not discriminate on the basis of religion.” Really?

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV): “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV): “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Rom. 12:2 (CSB): “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

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“WE’RE ‘INCLUSIVE,’ SO YOU’RE FIRED!”

A RECENT ARTICLE in the New York Post reported that a Christian woman in New Jersey was fired from her job in August 2019 for refusing to wear a company-sponsored homosexual “Pride” T-shirt.

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Starbucks Pride T-Shirt 2019

The woman, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit  in November 2020, said she told her employers she wanted to follow the Bible’s teaching, which condemns homosexuality, but her employer said her position violated the company’s “core values.”

LoveAndGrace blogged last week about the world’s discrimination against Christians in the name of “inclusion.”

The woman, Betsy Freese, was employed by Starbucks Coffee Co. as a barista from December 2015 until her termination in August 2019. 

Freese charged that being forced to wear the T-shirt as a condition of employment was “tantamount to forced speech” because the Bible defines marriage as the permanent and monogamous union of one male and one female, a message counter to that proclaimed on the T-shirt.

She said store managers were aware of her religious beliefs because she regularly asked for time off on Sundays and certain evenings to attend church.

‘THEY KNEW MY BELIEFS’ 

WHILE FRESSE SAID the store’s managers knew of her religious beliefs, she was fired for refusing to wear the “Pride” shirt. 

The newspaper said the company told NBC News that the lawsuit was “without merit” and stated in the woman’s termination notice that the company’s corporate policy endorses the core values of “inclusion and diversity, and [that we] welcome and learn from people with different backgrounds and perspectives.”

(NBC further reported that in September, two workers at Kroger supermarket in Arkansas filed a similar lawsuit, claiming they were fired for refusing to wear a store apron with a rainbow heart emblem on it.image-20

(The plaintiffs, Brenda Lawson and Trudy Rickerd, maintained the logo was an endorsement of the LGBTQ community, which violated their belief “that homosexuality is a sin,” according to their complaint. After being disciplined for violating the store’s dress code, both Lawson and Rickerd were ultimately terminated.)

Starbucks further stated that it “does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.” The federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says it is unlawful for a place of employment to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

The newspaper article picked up by ChurchLeaders.com said that on Aug. 22, 2019, Fresse was told by a company district manager that she was being fired for “violating Starbucks’ ‘core values.’”

Fresse said in her lawsuit that “every Christian is called to love and treat everyone with respect and compassion” regardless of their religious or other beliefs. 

DEATH OF ‘ABSOLUTE TRUTHS’

WHAT IS HAPPENING is the “death of ‘absolute truth’” in a culture that elevates human reason and experience above God’s laws and His design for our lives.

This is the hallmark of the “postmodernist” thought process, where all values and goals are relative, without any being absolute or perfect. So, the thinking goes, what is true for you might not be true for me, and what is true for me might not be true for you.COFFEE.SHOP

It’s the theory behind several popular refrains: “Follow your bliss,” “Whatever floats your boat,” “Whatever works for you,” “Do what’s inside of you,” “You’re okay; I’m okay,” and “You do you, Bro; I’ll do me.”

In his article “Postmodernism,” in the creationist website, AnswersInGenesis.org., Dr. Carl J. Broggi concluded that in the postmodernist view of the world, “no one is really wrong except for those who hold to absolute truth.” Broggi is senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Beaufort, SC. 

“Because truth cannot absolutely be known in their religion, the highest virtue for the postmodern man is tolerance, but not as the word has traditionally been defined. In the past, when Americans used the term tolerance, it was understood to mean that everyone has a right to have their viewpoint respected,” Broggi writes.

He concludes: “‘Tolerance’ for the postmodernist is to be extended only to those who embrace a relativistic worldview. In practice, since postmodernism cannot possibly coexist with a worldview that embraces absolute truth, they are intolerant of those who do not agree, particularly Christians.”

Broggi says that what the world believes, according to its postmodernist viewpoint, is that “because Bible-believers insist their point of view concerning moral absolutes and salvation in Jesus Christ is correct and other views are aberrant, they [the Christians] should be defined as intolerant.”

POSTSCRIPT

THIS, IN FACT, is what we see. It is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. 

Look again at the text source for this article, particularly the verse from Isaiah 5:20, warning us against labeling as “good” or “benign”  those things that God calls “evil.”

J33.Suffering for the GospelOr consider 2 Timothy 4:3, where God says that men will “turn away” from the truth and follow falsehoods of their own design.

As they do so, the will run afoul of Romans 2:2, where God tells us not to be conformed to the world and its beliefs but that we should hold fast to that which is the “good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

That is what Betsy Fresse tried to so, at least according to the public record as explained in her lawsuit. It is a story of “inclusion” — which should mean embracing everyone — but always excludes the Bible-believing Christian because the Christian believer, unlike non-believers, embraces the truth that God has revealed — not man’s truth, but the Creator’s truth.

As Jesus termed it in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His crucifixion (John 17:17 NIV): 

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

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PRAYER

Our Heavenly Father, God of all Creation, Maker of Heaven  and Earth, You created man in Your image to reflect Your glory and to worship You. We OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAconfess, O Lord, that too many of us have been arrogant, prideful, and willful, ignoring You and Your design for our lives. Those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus repent of our sin, and we pray for those among us who are lost in spirit and destined for eternal separation from You. O Lord, burden our hearts to reach out to them and share with them the Truth of Your Word, the saving grace of Your love for us. In Jesus’ almighty and magnificent name we pray. AMEN

BEWARE OF THOSE WHO PREACH ‘INCLUSION’ BUT EXCLUDE JESUS

Regardless of whether you call it Orwellian, Alice-in-Wonderland, or the Last Days, the modern era is overrun by double-speak, where one term means its opposite, and if you don’t understand that or accept it, then you’re part of the problem and need to shut up. You’re not wanted. This is particularly challenging for believing Christians, who are under mandate from our Savior to speak boldly for the truth.

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV): “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV): “For the time is coming when people will not  endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Rom. 12:2 (CSB): “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

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EXCLUDING CHRISTIANS TO BE “INCLUSIVE”

THE HEADLINE SCREAMED the righteous indignation of actress Melissa McCarthy, who loudly proclaimed she was withdrawing financial “support” from an anti-trafficking group, Exodus Cry, that is a faith-based Christian organization.

The reason?SEXUAL_TRAFFICKING

The organization, which rescues girls and women from sexual exploitation, is founded by, and operates on, principles gleaned from God’s Holy Word. 

Specifically in relation to sexual practice, the group not only opposes the exploitation and forced prostitution of females, but it also, in keeping with God’s Word, opposes abortion and LGBTQ “rights.”

The actress is staring in a new movie, “Superintelligence,” to be released Thanksgiving Day. As part of the pre-release promotion, McCarthy launched “20 Days of Kindness” to support 20 charities, among them Exodus Cry and Planned Parenthood.

A Nov. 16, 2020, article in ChurchLeaders.com, said the actress pulled the funding once she found out from social media that the organization is “hostile” to gay rights and abortion procedures.

FAVORING WORLDLY VALUES

IN A PUBLIC STATEMENT explaining her action, McCarthy said the Christian organization “stands for everything that we do not.”
Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy

She further said she wanted to “thank everyone” on social  media who asked, “‘What are you doing? Are you sure you want to back this?’ Because the answer is, ‘No, we do not.’”

Her final comment was, “Thanks for helping us correct a big mistake.”

A big mistake? Really?

What is going on here? Isn’t this a case of calling what’s “up” “down” and what’s “good” “bad”?

Yes, that’s what it is.

It’s the very thing the prophet Isaiah warned us of 2,700 years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20)

OPPOSING GODLY VALUES

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS has become a commonplace story. 

The apostle Paul issued this warning 2,000 years ago: “Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2)

The Dec. 18, 2018, Washington Examiner ran an article from Syracuse, N.Y., saying New York state officials told an adoption agency, New Hope Family Services, to close its doors unless it violated its religious beliefs to place children only in homes with a married mother and father.

In fact, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services congratulated New Hope for “a number of strengths in providing adoption services within the community.”OIP.mQPtvzMH5-XFwQJ_1w4hJAHaE8

The organization has placed more than 1,000 adoptions throughout the state between 1965, when it opened, to 2018, when the article ran. Since then, according to its website, it has expanded its adoption services to include a full-range of pregnancy counseling, excluding performing or referring for abortions.

TRANSFORMING BUSINESSES

THE GRAPHIC DESIGN Circles Conference in Texas announced in 2019 that it was cancelling a church leader from its list of speakers after a member group complained he might make others feel unsafe.

David Roark, the communications and resources director for The Village Church, a megachurch based in Flower Mound, Texas, was uninvited from the September conference after the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) refused to participate because of his inclusion. 67.Conference_Lecture

AIGA claimed that The Village Church “does not meet our standards of inclusion because of openly discriminatory policies and practices towards women and the LGBTQ+ community.” The Circles Conference agreed with the group and scrubbed Mr. Roark’s profile from their website.

In a statement announcing the change, Conference founder Ismael Burciaga said, “When you walk through the doors of Circles Conference, we want you to feel welcome.” 

The statement concluded by noting the conference’s continued commitment to “assemble a diverse, inclusive, and innovative lineup of speakers.”

Paul referenced this very thing in an apostolic letter to his disciple, Timothy: “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching … and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

POSTSCRIPT

IN ALL OF THESE examples, and the many more that could be assembled, one maxim stands out: 

In the name of “diversity and inclusion,” the buzzwords of the modern secular era, conservative thinkers — especially those who are Christian faith-based — need not apply.

There’s a very significant reason why. 

The Christian believer holds God’s Truth to be an absolute, which makes His Word both eternal and universal. His Word was good yesterday and today, and it will be good tomorrow. 

Plus, it is good and right for everyone, not just one person. The Christian faith is not about “You do you, bro.”

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The “modern” thinker, who is drawn by the wisdom of his own observation and reasoning, will not allow for absolutes, because, for the non-believer, they don’t exist.

While various modern groups can differ in their beliefs, they can align around the shared value that all truths are relative and personal. 

The strongest exception comes from the Christian believer, who holds onto a set of values that does not allow for compromise or dissent.

As the Lord proclaimed in John 17:17 (NASB2020):

YOUR WORD IS TRUTH.

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PRAYER

O LORD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, sometimes, we just feel so overwhelmed with the task of carrying the Gospel to a broken, unbelieving, cynical world; yet, when we place our trust in You, we labor not with our strength and wisdom but with Yours. We pray for grace and mercy as Your Spirit prepares us for the good work to be done on behalf of the Kingdom, not for our glory, O Lord, but for Yours. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. AMEN