Meeting in a cabin by the creek

A brother in Christ said it during a church business meeting about the legal challenges facing the church. We were talking about whether the church could continue to preach on the subject of biblical marriage. For transparency’s sake, allow me to disclose that the topic was whether preachers could still declare that gay marriage was not biblical marriage, whether the church would come under legal pressure to not say so.

Christians are, as it turns out, already responding to this challenge.

Some suggest Christians vote for certain candidates, express our views in the political arena. Friends, the last time I checked, Christians also have first amendment rights. As long as this is so, this is an avenue we can legitimately pursue.

Sadly, others Christians have already caved in. They have adopted the world’s perspective on these vital issues. They argue that in the name of love and grace the church should cease to be “judgmental” over these issues. From comments I have heard in person and read on social media, these Christians need not fear legal or government censure. No ungodly jurist, no representative of the ACLU will ever bother these congregations. Why would they? What they believe is what the world believes. They have dissolved their convictions into the effluent of worldly thinking.

Of course we can consult godly, Christian lawyers for advice and assistance. At this point that, too, is still a right in our nation.

But my brother in Christ said something that has struck me as deeply, profoundly true.

“Brother Stan,” he began, “when ‘they’ sue us and take away our church building, and you begin preaching in a cabin by the creek, we will be there with you.”

Make no mistake, beloved, for its first two thousand years there have been more church meetings in cabins than in ostentatious church buildings, more worship in the elements than in air conditioning. Christians have huddled in basements and in forests, hillsides and shacks to worship God according to the word of God. They may not have worshiped in comfort, but they have maintained their integrity.

“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).

I hope this country never comes to the point where Christians lose their meeting houses over points of conviction. But if they “come after” us, the church must still be the church, and God’s people must still be God’s people.

Next Sunday, if necessary, will you join me in worship in a rugged cabin by the creek?

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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