Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078

Got Conviction?

Today is Thursday, the 14th of July 2005, and it is the 9th day that Judith Miller has spent in jail. Judith Miller is a reporter for the New York Times and she is in jail because she won’t divulge the name of a source for a story she wrote. No, this is not going to be about her or the New York Times. I don’t trust either of them and therefore do not wish to spend time discussing them. Except, that is, to ponder her going to jail rather than divulge her source. Apparently something (ostensibly her career) is very important to her.

This week in church a woman was telling how she was going to Mexico on a mission and she was worried because she had heard of people getting thrown in prison in Mexico. I told her that I couldn’t think of a better reason for going to jail than for the Gospel of Christ. Still I wonder, how many people in my church would go to jail for the Gospel of Jesus? Would you? Would I?

To be sure there are places in this world where you will at least be thrown into prison, if not outright killed, for preaching the Word of God. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and China are just a few of the places that come to mind. There are a host of Muslim nations in Africa (including Sudan), the Middle East and the Pacific Rim where you can be killed just for being a Christian. But, of course, most of us aren’t called to go to these places to preach the Gospel. Whew! We sure dodged a bullet there, didn’t we?

Several months ago there was a group of four men who were arrested for preaching the Gospel of Christ. And they weren’t arrested in China or Iran. They were arrested, for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Philadelphia, PA. That’s right. Right here in the good old U.S.A..

You see, these men went on a mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a group of homosexual men who were having a celebration. They contacted the authorities and got their required permits, but Satan was set against them. The organizers of the event sent followers to harass and threaten them. And, guided by advice from some off-duty homosexual lawyers from the federal Department of Justice (event attendees), the local authorities ended up arresting the Christian men on charges of hate crimes. Left to their own discretion, the homosexual lawyers declared the Gospel of Christ to be hate speech. "Woe unto them who call evil, good, and good, evil;" (Isaiah 5: 20a).

In time the charges were dropped. But these four men still spent many days (or weeks) in jail, each at risk of up to 30 or 40 years of sentence. The Apostle Paul, and his companion Silas, went to jail for the Gospel of Christ. John the Baptist went to jail, and ended up murdered, because he spoke the truth without apology. This certainly gives me pause to think.

You see, I’ve thought for some time now about holding one of these very missions, a Gay Day Crusade, if you will. I’ve though about finding out what it would take to rent a venue near one of these homosexual events (Disney World in FL, Six Flags in TX, etc.), getting a group together, printing up some T-shirts, and going to the event to hand out invitations. I've thought to make it an old-fashioned evangelical revival.

But alas, I find myself doubtful that there are many Christians who care enough about homosexuals to go to them with the Gospel. Has it ever struck you as just a bit ironic that all the members of your church will pray fervently if one of their elderly members goes to the hospital? Yes, I do mean ironic. Think about it. They will pray without ceasing to keep one of their own out of heaven, but how many have prayed a single phrase, so much as a single breath, to keep Usama Bin Laden out of Hell? By the Great Commission we are all called to preach the Gospel; and, as Christ said, He didn’t come to call the righteous but the lost to repentance (Matthew 9: 13).

Well if it wasn’t doubtful enough that anyone would be interested in bringing the Gospel to the homosexual community, how much more so is it now that the venture carries with it a real chance of being thrown in prison for hate crimes? Let me know what you think, especially if this is something that you might be led (dare I say convicted) to participate in. Certainly this is more important than a journalism career, than protecting the confidentiality of an informant. Isn't it? As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Isaiah 5: 20    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Matthew 9: 13    But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.