Please read St. Mark 8:31-38
As we approach the Second Sunday of Lent let's consider the words of our Lord as He talks about the suffering he was about to experience at the hands of the leadership from both the religious and political communities of that day.
Much has been reported in the media in recent days about the current Presidential administrations policy on the health care reform. We have heard the reports how the Catholic Church and, any one else who believes in life, have come under fire for their belief in the sanctity of life regarding abortion and contraception.
We Christians say that we are the body of Christ. If so, then it would appear Christ is, once again, being crucified for standing up for righteousness. I find this ironic as we are in the season of Lent and much is being studied and preached about the Lord's suffering, crucifixion and Resurrection.
It has been said that the Church is trying to force it's beliefs upon everyone, but the truth is the history of the teaching against birth control go way back to the early church fathers when in 195A.D. Clement of Alexandria wrote about the "Propagation of life." Others such as Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 about such issues of concern and around 307 Lactantius explained that some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children".
The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christ's divinity, declared in 325, its position on the matter of birth control. Protestant churches were also in accord with this belief until 1930 when the Anglicans decided to change their belief and their minds on such matters.
Even the reformers (Luther, Calvin and Wesley) made statements regarding the issue of birth control and the need to allow the nature God placed within us to not be defiled.
So, for those who believe in the sanctity of life, we now find condemnation from our government as they infringe upon our religious liberties to practice what is believed to be both Biblical and historical. No one in the church (Body of Christ) is forcing this belief upon those who are unbelievers. The bottom line is this, if you are going to belong to a church that practices Biblical principles, then you must obey the Biblical principles.
Jesus predicted what would happen to him in our passage from St. Mark. He also says, "Don't be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people!"
Stand up for your faith. Don't be ashamed or backward about it. Make quality decisions for your life according to the Bible and after much prayer. No one has ever said the road would be an easy one for the Christian.
Whatever your opinion is on the matter of birth control or sanctity of life issues, if you are a Christian, it is important for you to stand together with other Christians for our religious rights and freedoms.
My hope and prayer is that we may look beyond the sign on the doors of our churches and become unified as people of principle instead of cowering to situations that would undermine our communion with Jesus Christ.
Michael Layne, PhD, ThD is the Writer of A Positive Minute, Bishop of the Diocese of East Indiana Lutheran Orthodox Church, author and Pastoral Counselor and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org