Bernie Diaz, January 10, 2019
When many Christians think of a remnant, we think of Israel (Gen. 45:7), and what has become of that nation, in terms of that ‘small part’ or ‘quantity’ of people who have been and remain truly faithful to God by faith over the centuries and were once a light to other nations.
God has promised to preserve a remnant of that chosen nation as part of his redemptive and restorative purposes for the world and evangelical Christians should be thankful for that.
However, we ordinarily wouldn’t think of the universal Christian church which numbers in the millions today and over history as a “remnant”, but nonetheless, there are countries and communities in which mere remnants of the Christian faith exist and are fighting to stay alive and fight for truth even in those places where they once flourished.
As an example, it has been reported that more than 250 pastors and church leaders in the Netherlands have signed a Dutch translation of the Nashville Statement, drawing widespread criticism in response.
According to news reports, the signers of the translation, which come from the relatively few conservative Protestant churches left in the Netherlands, comes almost a year and a half after the Nashville Statement was originally released in August 2017, when a coalition of evangelical pastors, scholars, and other leaders in America sought to articulate a biblical view of human sexuality in the wake of the current sexual revolution and the evolution of LGTBQ and transgender identity rights.
(the Nashville Statement can be viewed online at: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/)
To little or no surprise, the translation has received significant pushback in the Netherlands, as churches in Amsterdam and other cities have flown pro-LGBT rainbow flags in protest. The response has not been limited to churches. The Hague, an international law enforcement agency there and the country’s public prosecution service is “examining the statement to see if there [is] any basis for a criminal investigation,” according to Dutch news.
The report cites Article 1 of the Dutch constitution as possible grounds for possible church persecution, stating that “discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.” Sound familiar?
What should be news and noteworthy to Christian Americans in this story is that the political rejection of the Nashville Statement, which happens to be a simple affirmation of what Christians have for centuries believed and taught about sexuality according to scripture, comes from a nation (the Netherlands) that had been dominated by Protestantism since the beginning of the Reformation in the 16th century, led by Martin Luther and John Calvin’s teaching.
The biblically conservative Dutch Reformed church was birthed to this movement and had influenced their society to the extent that the notable theologian Abraham Kuyper, was elected as Prime Minister of the Netherlands in the early 20th century.
Are we the Future Remnant?
If the Netherlands and its five-century plus history of Protestant Christianity has fallen to the political correctness and libertinism of the sexual revolution to the point of threatening the remnant of biblical churches that remain there, what does that portend for the biblical church that remains in this country and your community?
Albert Mohler Jr., author and president of a Southern Baptist Southern Seminary and an original signer of the Nashville Statement, in support of the Dutch pastors said:
These truths would have been affirmed without question by all Christian churches and denominations until some of those churches have more recently decided to abandon the Scriptures and join the sexual revolution. These pastors in the Netherlands have affirmed traditional Christianity. The pushback to these pastors reveals opposition to historic Christianity. Sadly, I fear that this is a sign of things to come.
I believe it is safe to say that Mohler is implying such persecution of the church on matters of sexuality, may be washing ‘across the pond’ here to our shores in the near future.
Lest we sound like a premature alarm, American disciples of Christ may remember only a few years ago that a lesbian mayor of Houston, Texas attempted to confiscate the sermon manuscripts and/or audio recordings of pastors there who may have preached biblical messages on sexuality, which her office would have deemed to have violated that city’s anti-sexual discrimination laws, thus rendering those pastors liable for prosecution of committing “hate-crimes.”
Worse, this moral revolution may be infecting churches from the inside out here, as a new proposal is under way among some Christian leaders to strike a compromise with some LGBT activists to balance “LGBT rights” with religious liberty.
The proposal would elevate “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) to protected classes in federal law in exchange for certain exemptions for religious colleges and institutions. They call this approach “Fairness for All.”
In reality, such proposed “exemptions” would not result in actual fairness for all, but instead would penalize many Americans who believe that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other and for marriage.
Additionally, such proposals would violate the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, and the free speech and religious liberty rights of countless professionals who find themselves outside the select group of institutions who are exempted.
Long story short, Christians in America who stand for biblical fidelity on matters of human sexuality should be increasingly prepared for and to do at least the following three things with respect to this issue:
1. Be prepared to defend the biblical view of sexuality. Be familiar with the passages of scripture that deal clearly with marriage and sexuality – both explicitly and implicitly, and God’s intention for them (i.e. Gen. 2; Lev. 18:22; Matt. 19:4-6; Ro. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 6:9,11, 18; 7:2; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; Jude 1:7-8).
2.Speak the biblical truth in love (Eph.4) on matters of sexuality to those that oppose the biblical view. Exude Christ-like meekness and kindness to those image-bearers opposing the scripture’s teaching on the issue without compromise. We must avoid needless, harsh debate with the opposition but rather follow the apostle Paul’s command that our ‘speech would always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that we would know how we ought to answer each person (Col. 4:6).’
The main idea often overlooked in evangelizing family and friends who are homosexual, is the need for them to acknowledge a sin greater than their sexual perversion, that being their disobedience to Jesus Christ and his gospel in rebellion and unbelief, as evidenced by their unwillingness to repent from sin and submit to the Lordship of Christ.
3. Be prepared to accept ridicule and even persecution at your school or work site among others in your family as you discuss this issue in the marketplace of ideas.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented sexual revolution in our nation in which historical and traditional norms of human sexuality, largely founded upon Judeo-Christian values are regarded as antiquated, unpopular and unloving.
In other words, be prepared to be treated like a biblically minded Dutch Pastor in the Netherlands when you speak the truth- even in love on sexuality today.
No matter, as the prophets prophesied and the apostles preached, the faithful remnant of God’s people will be ultimately upheld, rewarded and restored…
“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old” (Acts 15:16-18).