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Profiles in Christian Courage

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When looking for a modern day example of “profiles in courage,” consider the recent story of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist from the state of Washington.

Ms. Stutzman is surrounded by a “hostile and intimidating environment”—a perverse worldview imposed by a secular society. Although she sees nothing with her natural eyes which would indicate the fall of America’s anti-god ideology—“Secularism”—Ms. Stutzman chooses to stand “for the unseen against the seen.”

What homosexuals do in their home is none of my business. What does concern me is the reign of terror, now becoming old hat, that they impose on anyone who will not celebrate their sexual lifestyle. They evidently intend their worldview to be forced upon all others. When the coming storm arrives, Christian pastors will have to make a choice. Either capitulate on the Gospel by giving approval to the homosexual lifestyle, or—go to jail.

Through His Word, God fully declared His mind regarding sexual sin—whether it is fornication, heterosexual adultery, homosexuality, or any other form proscribed in the Bible. God defines sin, not the U.S. Supreme Court, “vice stalking in virtue’s garb”.

And God, being altogether holy, sets Himself in battle array against those who rebel against His Word. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” But the Gospel—the good news—is that He gives grace of unconditional love and forgiveness to all who believe in Jesus and the work of the cross.

Christian, please take a minute now and thank God for Barronelle Stutzman’s courage. It is just like God to “send forth bright starts of consoling hope” in the darkest of night. He does this for our good, to provide fresh encouragement in the midst of discouragement.

The second chapter of Joshua instructs us in our journey. “Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. ‘Go, look over the land,’ he said, ‘especially Jericho’. So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.”

“At nightfall, the two astonished spies are doubtless thunderstruck as Rahab shares not her body but her faith with them. It is possible that her affirmation, ‘the LORD your God is God in heaven and on the earth below’ (v.11) still betrays a failure to have reached a full monotheistic faith. In the circumstances her inability to dot her i’s and cross her t’s is understandable. The spies, however, were less interested to check whether her theology matched precisely with theirs! More staggering was her, ‘I know that the LORD has given this land to you’ (v.9). Rahab uses the past tense: as far as she is concerned the occupation has already taken place. And she knows it ‘deep down in her gut’. The verb used here implies a deep and strong conviction.

“What follows demonstrates the humor of the writer. For forty years the Israelites have been wandering around the wilderness in a faithless state. In the meanwhile the significance of events forty years earlier (‘we have heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea …’, v.10) and more recent news (‘what you did to Sihon and Og’) has not been lost on the Canaanites. In fact while Israel had been frightened of the Canaanites, the latter’s ‘hearts sank and everyone’s courage failed’ (v.11). Jericho, at the height of its powers, was demoralised and ripe for taking. Thus a pagan prostitute proved the mouthpiece of God and reassured the spies that ‘their God was big enough for the job’.

“We should not fail to admire Rahab. [Francis] Schaeffer says, she was surrounded by a ‘hostile and awesome environment… she was still surrounded by a monolithic mentality, and entire world-view. She was pressured by a powerful city and an ancient culture…. At the moment she could see nothing with her eyes which indicated it would fall… [Nevertheless] Rahab knew! And what she knew was totally against her culture. She believed in a new God, a God totally and diametrically opposed to the gods of Jericho… she stood for the unseen against the seen, standing in acute danger until Jericho fell.’”*

The commodity which we Christians in America stand in need of is mercy and pardon. We have allowed spiritual calamity to come to a nation founded by Christians—men and women who were giants of the faith. People who erected a cross at Jamestown in 1607, then knelt on their knees, took communion, and made a covenant together. “We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves,” they said. “To reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains, and may this Land, along with England, be Evangelist to the World.”

We need a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot to stand with Barronelle Stutzman.



 

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