Religious Freedom Is More Than Worshiping God in Private

Certain secularists probably wouldn’t mind seeing all forms of religious worship relegated to the privacy of churches and homes. Though Western civilization wouldn’t be what it is without the faith called Christianity, some unbelievers would be ecstatic if they never again heard the name “Christ.”

But we Christians are commissioned not only to tell the world about Him, but to make disciples. That means we must reach unbelievers who’re not in our churches or homes.

Christians in America are extremely fortunate. For now, we can freely worship, carry around our Bibles without fear of prison, and speak openly about our faith without facing a deny-Christ-or-die decision. Despite this freedom, we have to deal with secularists and a government increasingly hostile to our faith. John Stonestreet, who worked with the late Chuck Colson, makes the point.

In 2009, Colson warned of this encroachment, and Stonestreet said that “at the time, it seemed out of place. After all, Christians in America have long enjoyed the freedom to worship without fear and pass our convictions on to our children.” How about now, as the homosexual lobby sues Christian business owners who don’t want to celebrate a lifestyle that violates their religious beliefs?

Now fast-forward five years and it’s jaw-dropping how right Chuck was. Judicial and legislative encroachments on religious freedom have come seemingly out of nowhere. When Chuck said on air several years ago that “gay rights” would occasion the greatest threat to religious liberty in his lifetime, a lot of people thought he was overstating his case.

But he wasn’t. Since then, cases like Elaine PhotographyHobby LobbyMasterpiece Cake Shop and the latest in which a New York family farm was fined for declining to host a same-sex wedding on their property, have illustrated the conflict between religious freedom and the now-absolute “sexual freedom.”

The chilling logic behind restricting religious freedom was expressed by New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson, who wrote in the Elaine Photography case that setting aside religious beliefs in the public square is “the price of citizenship.”

Of course, it will get worse. No Christian should be content keeping his or her faith private. While we don’t impose our beliefs on others, we are compelled to help build the kingdom. One of the ways God chose to do this is through witnessing. How we live is also part of our testimony. We should openly oppose evil and deviancy, and warn the world of the consequences. We should never stop, even if we one day face prison or death.

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