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SILENCE

January 17, 2021, 6:00 AM

Silence

 

We are experiencing unprecedented times. In recent weeks and months, we have seen many things change in our country we did not expect to see changed. We have seen public life limited and reliance on virtual communities increased. Limitations have been placed on us in many areas of life such as commerce, religion, and freedom of association. As people have been limited in these areas, we have expanded our use and dependence on social media and several major gatekeepers of our information and access to information.

The Bill of Rights was introduced to Congress in 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment assures the citizens of the United States of America the right to express themselves without government interference. While these social media companies are not governmental agencies, we are concerned about the underlying issue of censorship and the threat to our liberty, specifically religious liberty.

The current reason for this censorship is the inciting of violence and use of hate speech. As a fellowship which holds true to the Word of God, we teach and speak on topics which the modern world attempts to define as hate speech. We hold to the principle in God’s Word that homosexuality is sin, just as drunkenness, lying, stealing is defined by God’s Word as sin. Yet, many are trying to say this is hate speech (An example is the Southern Poverty Law Center labeling pro-life and pro-family groups as hate groups). SIDE NOTE: If we truly hated the homosexual, we would never warn them of their sin nor tell them of the hope in Jesus Christ, but rather be silent and allow them to head to the lake of fire. However, because of our deep love for humanity, understanding it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31), we continue to warn our society of the sexual depravity where they have fallen.

At what point will the government try to silence our pulpits? At what point will these social media companies eliminate the true Christian voice from their platforms? In 2014, we saw Houston, Texas asking local Pastors to turn over their sermon notes for approval. In, 2015 we saw Rowan County, Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This is a small sample of the attacks towards Christianity we have begun to see in the United States. What are we to do as Christians?

We are concerned with recent agreement of Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon to join forces and remove access to large swaths of speech they find unacceptable. Further, our current President (as of this writing) had his Twitter and Facebook account locked. These companies are stating he violated their policies by inciting violence and insurrection. They have determined to limit a sitting Presidents direct communication to the people. This has not been limited to the president, but several thought leaders who have also been labeled a threat.

Now, we are not being political, as we pray for all our elected officials, no matter if we agree with them or not, as this is how God’s Word instructs (I Timothy 2:1-4). However, with the actions of these companies, not just to our President, but to other social media agents such as Parlor, to limit the speech of conservatives, we feel a need to state our concern.

In Acts 4, we find Peter and John brought before the council of the Jews for teaching and preaching in the name Jesus. At the end of this council, we read in vs. 18: “…commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” Peter and John responded in vs. 19-20: “…Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Rest assured, true Christians of this day, just like the Apostles, will stand up for the righteousness of God’s Word and continue to preach and teach in the name of Jesus with or without the use of social media or the government’s approval.

For centuries there have been many who have tried to stop the spread of true Christianity. Remember, just as the early Church was able to turn “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) without the use of social media, insurrection, violence, and government approval, we too will watch God use us to turn our society upside down by the preaching of the Word of God.