Baptists join diverse faith groups to support mosque-building effort

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, May 31, 2016.

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  1. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Would they be taking this stand if it was openly a Satanist Church? With all the symbols and trappings that go with such churches? A Pentagram and those ugly horned creatures on the front walls?

    A mosque is a Satanist church, but disguised better. I wonder if this would be viewed as freedom of religion if it was blatantly satanic, not indirectly Satanic. Allah is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    This week, I'm preaching Micah 1:1-4. This news item just made it in my sermon as an illustration.

    It is a reproach upon any people to have high places.
  3. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    That's what the first amendment means: what goes for one religion must apply across the board. If we ban mosques, then we also have to ban churches. If we allow churches to rent schools, then we have to allow mosques to rent schools. That's the country we've been living in since the 1790s.

    And just to drive the point home: this means that any church that has a building is complicit in a legal, zoning, and tax system that allows the construction of mosques.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Some Southern Baptists who support the ERLC may reply that this is a biblical issue of justice for all peoples (even for Muslims).

    However, again, if private lawyers want to engage this issue....fine. But the ERLC is funded by church funds.

    Also, if this is truly an issue of justice for all...then reference the ERLC actions in the past urging local baptist citizens to get more active in their local communities and push for tighter zoning laws in their towns in order to shut down strip clubs. In that case, the ERLC strongly urges local action to shut down private establishments. But in this case of joining the Interfaith Coalition for Mosques, they appeal to the biblical principle of justice to prevent the shutting down of mosques by local communities not desiring to expand their current zoning laws.

    Justice would entail that if a local community doesn't want a mosque, then Islam shouldn't be foisted upon them by extra-ecclesiastical baptist parachurch groups that exist from the very tithes and offerings of those they are opposing. If local communities can say no to private establishments allowing topless dancers (as the ERLCA has urged local baptists to do in the past) than surely they can say no to one of the greatest dangers to civilization in the past 1500 years. Topless dancers, after all, don't advocate jihad.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I never thought it would be controversial to assert that baptists shouldn't be part of an Interfaith Coalition for Mosques.
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Defending the oppressed also means defending local communities who are happy with the current zoning laws and want them to continue, but are being bullied by multi-million dollar parachurch entities helping to file legal papers to force them to change their current local laws.
  7. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Private establishments that fall under a different segment of the US tax code than do churches. Under US law, there is no difference between a Mosque and a Church. Any discriimination against Mosques can be applied to churches.

    Thing is, this happens to churches (even Baptist churches) all the time. Churches want to build buildings, but the zoning board words the laws so as to exclude them. And the church plants decide not to sue because they don't have the energy or resources for it and because they know the courts won't listen. But they'll listen to Muslims all right!
  8. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Does this apply to Atheist communities that want to keep out Presbyterians? Again, US law does not and cannot make distinctions based on doctrines.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Then to be consistent, wouldn't you also need to not only oppose new buildings, but oppose the continued existence of all unorthodox religious centers as well?
  10. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    You really ought to move to Castle Hills, Texas (San Antonio suburb). You'd probably like it there. In the 1970s, they blocked expansion of Cornerstone Church, eventually running it out of town. In the 90s, they ran the Pentacostals out of town, taking over that building for city offices. And now the Southern Baptists have their facility on the market, and are leaving town. In litigation, the city fathers described the Baptists as "a church which seems to grow like a cancer, feeding on homes in much the same way as a cancerous tumor feeds on healthy cells." The property being sold includes a vacant 5 acre tract which the city bought in the last century which the city never allowed them to use for parking; after 5 years of litigation, the church was able to build out unused space in an existing building.
  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Church tithes should not be used in this venture. Over 3 million dollars from the coffers of Southern Baptist Churches go into the ERLC.

    You can have your pluralism and your multiculturalism. America is now paying the price of these policies.

  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    They'd probably say that operating a strip club isn't a fundamental right, at least not in the way that worship is. As has been noted above, they'd say that the power on the part of the government to oppose Muslims in this way is also the power to oppose conservative Christians, who are increasingly being marginalized.

    The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, ERLC's predecessor (which was defunded because conservatives couldn't gain control of it, unlike the seminaries) began in 1936. The ERLC replaced it. The SBC has been involved in this kind of thing for 80 years and it is highly unlikely that it will be abandoned altogether. The SBC at this point is run by neo-evangelicals, including Mohler. Carl F.H. Henry, who basically came to prominence by rejecting the narrow focus and disengagement of fundamentalism, is a huge hero to them. They'd chop off their right arm before they'd give up the ERLC.

    Many of them will look at you as a "fundamentalist." I know, I was called one when I had these kinds of conversations on other issues with some Southern Baptists during my brief period as one several years ago. Your arguments against the existence of things like the ERLC are basically the same ones that independent Baptists use. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but don't be surprised when Southern Baptists essentially say "Shut up, you aren't SBC anyway, and you don't understand."

    Perhaps some will pull out of the SBC because of this kind of thing. If I was a Southern Baptist, I would be uneasy with the CP funding mechanism, but that is also how the seminaries are funded. (It's no accident that academically the SBC seminaries are far and away superior to any other Baptist ones out there, especially at the doctoral level. If every little thing was nitpicked or if churches only sent money to seminaries that they totally agreed with, it wouldn't happen.) The SBC is so big that accountability is difficult. Some Anti-Calvinists have already redirected funds away from SBTS and SEBTS, regarding them as lost causes for the time being but not wanting to fund them.

    I'm sure it would be much easier for you in some respects if you were sent through the IMB and didn't have to raise support, but you wouldn't have the relationship with the churches that you have enjoyed either.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  13. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    How much SBC money went into this project?
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Counselor, I'm sure you've heard the old saying about arguing the law, arguing the facts or pounding the table.
  15. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

  16. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am frankly astonished there are people on this board who are sympathetic or blasé about this. Religious freedom or pluralism apart from the Lordship of Christ is an idol equally grotesque as Allah. A pinch of incense for Caesar won't hurt?
  17. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    "We the People . . ." Nothing about God or Jesus there. There is no Christian America and never has been. If your position is that it's wrong, fine (I have reservations about it too), but that's the system we've been in since 1789. If a church gets to build a building, so does a mosque. If a Christian school gets nonprofit status then so does a madrassa. If a Christian pastor gets a special tax bracket, then so does an imam.

    Paul argued for his rights as a Roman citizen, but I see nothing about suppressing the local temples in his letters. If we argue for priviliges for ourselves (tax exemptions, non-discriminatory zoning, having meetings in public spaces, etc) then we argue for them for Muslims and others. American law makes no distinction.
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Probably not a lot. But even a little is too much. It is the principle of the matter.

    But...this sort of thing can only happen due to the very existence of the multiple millions of dollars used to fund the ERLC. And legal fees, salaries of ERLC workers, time spent in meetings, gas money, all represent a costly distraction away from what the church ought to be doing. If this is a good cause, then have private lawyers engage this issue...not those directly funded by tithes. This is not the proper priority for the Church to have.
  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Yes, so let the Muslims argue for this... thy are the largest religious bloc in the world. And some of the richest oil-producers. They don't need assistance from baptists, especially when that assistance is purchased by baptist tithes.
  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I don't get it? Are you saying I am just pounding a table? Some things need to be pounded on...
  21. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    It's not about that so much as being on-record that the same principles apply to churches. They're getting a precedent set in a way that will benefit all churches.

    The deal is that churches get this treatment by municipalities all the time. Thing is, most churches don't sue over it because few churches building their first building have the resources and connections to devote to both a lawsuit and a building fund. So the building fund gets used for a church office or to hire a new staff member, and the municipality keeps discriminating.

    Now along comes this lawsuit which could finally set the precedent. Beckett and ERLC file an amicus for it because they know that once the precedent is set, a church will test it because they now know they can call Beckett to cover their legal fees.

    And for what it's worth, Baptists have a history of this going back to Jefferson's time. They were key players in the decision to disestablish the church in Virginia, for instance.
  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    This year I've talked to two brothers who left churches (or in the process of leaving) due to the grievous ciphoning off of mission funds and church tithes to two efforts:

    (1) the first, a soup kitchen that simply fed the homeless without any gospel witness to them,

    and (2) A World Relief project helping Syrian refugees (who probably shouldn't be coming here anyway) coming to the US with specific demands "No Proselytizing" in bold letters.

    Some may be offended by these brothers leaving their churches and may say that they do not care about the homeless or the refugees. They have cold hearts and don't want to feed the poor, or that they hate refugees.

    But, that was not the case at was just that much of the sum total of their mission funds were going to these projects helping nonbelievers and not to the support and education of ministers or towards missionary activities planting churches among the unreached.

    Private Christians can do many good works and this is a good thing. But it becomes a bad thing when it steals higher priorities.

    And many of the ERLC's actions are THEFTS away from the higher priorities given to the church.
  23. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Philip, if you can find an epistle where Paul argues to Caesar for the creation of pagan temples, you might have a point.

    Rather, the Apostle writes, "shall we do evil that good may result?"

    One does not promote the building of synagogues of Satan because one fears for the church.

    Let Christ defend His Bride, and let Satan defend his.
  24. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Rom for the win!
  25. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    If we're doing evil here, then we've been doing evil all along. That's my point. By going along and benefitting from a pluralistic society, we've already acquiesced to this. Why are we quibbling about this now? We've been enjoying tax-exempt charity status for years; we've been buying tax-free properties for years' we've been giving ministers housing stipends for years, knowing full well that the same principle would have to apply to any other religious institutions that happened to apply.

    If you're going to argue this, then go on and follow the argument where it goes: churches that have tax-exempt status and enjoy freedom from property tax etc are consenting to pluralism.
  26. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    You may not realize this, but I am a Reformed Presbyterian. The Church whose North American Synod published such gems as "TESTIMONY AGAINST THE MORAL EVILS IN THE CIVIL INSTITUTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES", etc. We (and others) have warned the Church of Jesus Christ that this is where supporting the United States Constitution inevitably leads you.

    If your critique is that American Evangelicals are inconsistent in their enjoyment of certain civil benefits, that is fine, you can critique the inconsistency of believers - but we should never forget that what is wrong is wrong in God's eyes, and inconsistency does not suddenly make it morally okay to push for the building of a mosque.

    In further defense of my brethren who do not share my convictions on the United States Government - there is a clear progression in the Scriptures from merely standing with sinners to sitting down with them (see Psalm 1). This is now linking arms with those who worship demons, to help build houses of grotesque wickedness that God hates. This should never be.

    It is also wrong to impute to the brethren that if they are going to benefit from the common civil benefits of a government, that they must then consent to every aspect of that program that they have benefited from. Paul took advantage of his Roman Citizenship without ever feeling that obligated him to worship Caesar as a god, or that he was therefore consenting to religious pluralism.

    I'm going to sum up my view this way: The Church of Jesus Christ does not need the approval of the United States Government to exist. He who sits in the heavens laughs (Psalm 2). I am not afraid that if the Muslims lose their right to build a mosque that Christ's Church is doomed. I also don't think it is wrong to benefit from the civil government's programs (even if they are in error) if you can. That is being a shrewd and wise steward as Christ taught. Christ taught much about benefiting from "unrighteous mammon", etc.
  27. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    I do realize this, but you need to make the full implications of your position clear: religious toleration is not Christian.

    On the other hand, religious toleration is the historic Baptist position and so it's difficult to fault Baptists for following it consistently.

    There is a moral difference between arguing a) that Muslims should build a mosque b) that Muslims have a right to build a mosque. In the words of G.K. Chesterton, "To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." Arguing that Muslims have a right to certain things is not the same as agreeing with their use of that right.

    Illustration: If P has the right to vote, then it is good to argue for P's right, regardless of how he votes. Even if I disagree with his use of his vote or think that he might be irresponsible with it, it isn't inconsistent to argue that he ought to have that right.
  28. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Ok, so is it wrong to protest the erosion of such benefits? Because that is all that is going on here.
  29. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Philip, the reason I am a Reformed Presbyterian is that I believe that the distinctives of the Church are Scriptural.

    By the way, I don't believe that the Muslim has any right to build a mosque. Nor do I believe that pornographers have the right to make p0rnography, that prostitutes have any rights to sell their bodies, or that unbelievers have the right to blaspheme the name of my Lord in the name of 'free speech'. I certainly will not be filing any legal briefs on their behalf either.
  30. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Under US law they do. You're equivocating on the use of the word "right" here. Daniel didn't have the right to pray, but he prayed nonetheless. Peter and John didn't have the right to preach in the temple, but they preached anyway. I'm speaking merely of rights under human law, not about what is right.
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