See if you notice a pattern here:
- When a courageous Christian school board member questioned the profane, sexually explicit, and violent content of books on her district’s required reading lists, a handful of her supporters contacted about sixty churches in the district asking for their support — but not one pastor or minister “felt called” to show up at the school board meeting and publicly oppose such morally corrupt material.
- When a Christian mother noticed that her son’s reading list included a blatantly anti-Christian and factually false assignment, she spoke with other Christian parents, but they just “didn’t feel called” to speak to the teacher or principal. Likewise, her church’s coordinator for high school Bible study “didn’t feel called” to alert other parents in the congregation or to counter the propaganda in group discussions with students.
- When I speak with mature fellow Christians about evangelizing in homosexual neighborhoods, somehow they, too, “don’t feel called” to that particular ministry.
After hearing this pious response over and over, I began to wonder if I’d missed something, so I consulted my favorite online concordance in a quest for Bible authority, hoping to learn that I, too, could wait to “feel called” to cook a dish for the next potluck. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered...um...nothing.
You see, the Bible doesn’t say a thing about “feeling” called. It says that Christians are called, period.
• We are called to be saints, set apart, to belong to Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:6, I Corinthians 1:2)
• We are called to be sanctified by the Spirit and by belief in Truth, to be conformed to the image of Jesus, to serve His purposes. (Romans 8:26-30, II Thessalonians 2:13-15)
• We are called to live in manner worthy of the calling — to walk in holiness. (Galatians 5:24, Ephesians 4:1, I Thessalonians 4:7, II Timothy 1:9)
• We are called into fellowship with and service to other believers. (I Corinthians 1:2,9, Galatians 5:13-14)
• We are called to preach the gospel, to proclaim His excellencies. (Acts 16:10, I Peter 2:9)
• We are called to suffer for doing good. (I Peter 2:21)
• We are called to stand firm. (II Thessalonians 2:15)
• We are called to eternal life. (I Timothy 6:12, I Peter 5:10)
Sometimes I don’t “feel” like abstaining from temptation or selflessly serving others — and I never “feel” like suffering, especially not unjustly. But nonetheless I am called — and so are you.
Let me remind you: Moses didn’t “feel” sufficiently articulate to speak before Pharaoh, but God called him to do it. Jonah didn’t “feel” like preaching to those ungodly residents of Ninevah, but he was called just the same. Jeremiah, merely a youth, didn’t “feel” qualified, but God called him anyway. I bet that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah didn’t “feel” any special passion to be tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace, but God called them to stand firm.
I submit to you that you are called by God to follow in their steps and to engage in the culture war of the 21st Century, whether you “feel” like it or not. Let me explain why...
#1 — You are called as a parent to raise your own children “in the discipline and instruction of the LORD”(Ephesians 6:25).
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. — Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Despite this Divine charge, most Christian parents in the US still send their children to public schools, where they are indoctrinated in secular humanism for at least six hours each day. Science curricula insist there is no Creator. Reading assignments expose kids to profane language, sexual immorality, and gratuitous violence. English and social studies teachers promote “tolerance” and “diversity” and “social justice”; they normalize (even celebrate) homosexuality, bisexuality, and trans-sexuality. After twelve years in public school, most children of Christian parents are not Christians themselves, and many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ remain morally confused.
Are you called to know what’s on your child’s reading list? In his sex ed curricula? What films his teachers show in class? Yes, you are — and where your public school contradicts Biblical teaching, you are called to oppose them, whether you “feel like it” or not.
#2 — You are called to exercise your privileges and responsibilities as a citizen.
The Apostle Paul serves as a great model of citizenship for us. When he was unjustly beaten and jailed, he refused to be released without an apology from the rulers (Acts 16). When Paul was assaulted and arrested in the temple (Acts 22), he asked the tribune for permission to speak publicly to the people. and boldly shared his testimony. He was bound and taken to the soldiers’ barracks for examination by flogging, but he again invoked his rights as a citizen: “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?" Paul testified before the chief priests and council, Felix (the governor), Festus (the governor elect), King Agrippa, the Jewish leaders and crowds in Rome, and, after more than four years of incarceration, to Caesar. In the words of King Agrippa, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar." Paul used his Roman citizenship strategically, not to secure his own comfort, but to defend Christ before the Roman rulers.
Friends, we must draw a direct correlation to our own citizenship. We are instructed to pray for and submit to our rulers, to pay our taxes, but their authority ends where their decrees contradict Christ:
• When the military orders chaplains not to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, is a Christian chaplain called to refuse? Yes, he is.
• When judges order justices of the peace to issue marriage licenses to homosexual pairs, is a Christian justice called to disobey? Yes, he is.
• When legislators order teachers to present evolution as truth and perversion as normative, are Christian teachers called to stand firm, even at the expense of their jobs? Yes, they are.
Are you prepared to courageously appeal to Caesar, to stand before powerful men, not in a fine wool suit, but in chains, like Paul?
Pastors, are you equipping your flock to stand? If a pharmacist in your congregation loses his job because refuses to dispense abortifacients, or if a social worker gets fired because she can’t approve a homosexual adoption, will your congregation offer spiritual and financial support? (Or will most say “Why didn’t you just keep quiet?”)
#3 — You are called to hate and to be hated.
O you who love the LORD, hate evil! — Psalm 97:10
You probably won’t hear it from the pulpit at Willow Creek or Saddleback, but you can read it in your trusty Bible: “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil” (Proverbs 8:13). The Bible teaches that righteous men abhor evil (Romans 12), a vile person (Psalm 15), evildoers (Psalm 26), wickedness (Psalm 45), deceit (Psalm 5), idol worshippers (Psalm 31), those who fall away (Psalm 101), and every false way (Psalm 119).
“Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” — Psalm 139:21-22
Hostility to evil is still mandated under the covenant of grace: Paul reprimanded the church in Corinth for tolerating sexual immorality (I Corinthians 5). Conversely, Jesus Himself commended the church at Ephesus for hating the works of the Nicolaitans, which Christ also hated (Revelation 2:1-7).
How would you react to the Planned Parenthood abortion center in your neighborhood or the homosexual bathhouse in your city if you actually hated what goes on there? Do you have a deep spiritual aversion to the unrepentant abortionist or the proud homosexual activist? If not, why not? Because according to scripture, you are called to hate.
And you are called to be hated, too. Jesus told his disciples “you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). However, in order to be hated for Christ’s name’s sake, you must give offense in His name. Jim Elliot wrote in his diary: “The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!”
Will his prayer be answered in your counter-culture life? Or are you “too much like its own”? Which master do you serve (Matthew 6:24)?
#4 — You are called to love your neighbors, and even your enemies.
Christian leaders remind us often to love our neighbors, teaching kindness and compassion. But Biblical “agape” love is far more — it is a willful decision to seek God’s best for the other person. It is sacrificial love, grounded in justice as well as mercy, a love that cannot rejoice at wrongdoing (I Corinthians 13:6) — a tough, heart-broken love willing to deliver an unrepentant brother to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, but his conscience might be provoked to sorrow and his spirit saved.
Jesus commanded to love not only our neighbor, but to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...” (Matthew 5:44). Is it possible to hate evil, yet simultaneously love evil men? Yes, because the hatred to which Christians are called is not a destructive, vicious, violent emotion, but rather it is a spiritual aversion to wickedness, a righteous indignation. We are to arm ourselves and fight secular humanism and abortion mills and homosexual activism — not with guns or pipe bombs, but with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and with prayer. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ...” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).
In fact, opposition to evil is motivated by love for our neighbor, and our neighbor’s child: we speak urgently, for they must not be deceived — there is a Creator who abhors the shedding of innocent blood and who views sexual immorality as abomination. We are called to boldly evangelize even the enemies of God, for once we, too were alienated; there is a day of judgment approaching and the God we worship does not wish anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance (I Peter 3:8-10). “How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?” (Romans 10).
At the beginning I told you about the school board meeting where no pastors “felt called” to oppose books replete with the n-word and the f-word, graphic depictions of masturbation, oral sex, forced sodomy, and even sex with dogs and cows. They just weren’t motivated. Here’s what I didn’t tell you:
• A Muslim man waited until about 1 am for his turn to speak against this filth; he served Allah faithfully.
• An atheist activist waited until almost 2 am to say that government does not have a right to impose smut and obscenity on citizens; he served his master (himself).
• Two “pastors” (one Lutheran, one Unitarian) “felt called” to speak in favor of these books; they were mighty effective in the service of their lord, the Father of Lies.
About one thousand citizens “felt called” to gather that night and I’m sorry to say that they learned a lot about modern X-ianity. They saw that most “churches” don’t stand for much of anything; most don’t actually love Christ — or their neighbor; they don’t hate evil and apparently they don’t have any enemies.
If they did, it would matter that each time a young woman enters Planned Parenthood “clinic” for an abortion, a helpless infant is brutally murdered...and the mother’s life is wrought with painful consequences, too. Love would compel a genuine Christian to do something — pray outside the clinic, fight Planned Parenthood in court, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, or at least write some fat checks to effective pro-life organizations.
If X-ians loved their neighbors, they would weep for the confused boy who becomes a repository for other men’s lust — and they would feel outrage toward those who encourage him to trade his God-ordained masculine identity for a feminine persona. Love would compel a Christian to act, somehow.
If X-ians hated evil and loved their enemies, they would not have to travel to Africa to “fight AIDS” with condoms; they would find more than enough to do fighting AIDS in the US by preaching against homosexual bathhouses and “gay pride” parades and government funding of the Center on Halsted or BAGLY and police complicity in public indecency at the Folsom Street Fair.
If X-ian parents loved their own children, they wouldn’t offer them up to Molech (Leviticus 18:21, Ezekial 23:38-39). A Christian father would react with moral outrage toward any teacher who denies the Creator or who exposes his child to provocative material or who celebrates homosexuality. He would insist that his child be schooled only in what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise...and he wouldn’t leave that work entirely to his wife.
For those who are called as saints, the obligations of marriage, parenting, and citizenship are sometimes heavy, but the burden might be lighter if all those who wear the name of Christ would stop waiting to “feel” an urge. Take up your own cross and make your faith known in your child’s school and at work. Oppose pornography magazines and videos in your local shops — and turn off the profanity on your own television. Evangelize in front of the abortion centers and bathhouses in your community. Adopt a child. Deliver meals to AIDS patients and speak to them about repentance and baptism. File suit against teachers and counselors who encourage teenagers to experiment with homosexuality. Run for public office. If the mega-church near you won’t teach the full counsel of God and support your efforts, find a congregation that does, or start a house church and follow the Biblical pattern. Give offense in the name of Christ and do not be surprised when the world hates you, but rejoice in Truth and in the saving of souls of neighbors and enemies who will hear.
Sonja Dalton resides in Illinois where she writes, teaches Bible classes for children and ladies, and volunteers for several pro-life/pro-family organizations.