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The culture will assault us. Still, we must stand firm

Martin Luther statue in Dresden, Germany.
Martin Luther statue in Dresden, Germany. | iStock/robertmandel

It was on the 31st day of October, in the year 1517 when a German monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a Catholic church in Wittenberg Germany. By doing so he was branded as a heretic and would be condemned as an outlaw by the entire Holy Roman Empire. However, through his actions, Luther became the dynamite that changed the face of Christianity and brought about the Protestant Reformation.

Throughout history, there have been brave men and women, who with no thought for their personal welfare, have impacted civilization simply by taking a stand. That stand in turn has ushered in new horizons of morality, honor, and revival of true faith. If there has ever been a time that cries out for such heroes in our nation, it is the present. In an age of polarization and disrespect like that in which we live, it is the extraordinary actions of ordinary people that will make the difference between life and death for a nation or a people. How America needs those strong individuals to withstand the torrents of a culture that has lost its “ever-loving” mind and who will take their place with champions of old and speak with clarity and conviction into the malaise.

My generation was privileged to be raised under the direct tutelage of World War II veterans. All of us boys who grew up in my little farming community learned from those who had lived the reality of war what it meant to love God, to love our nation, to love our families and to love our neighbors. It was never enough just to look after ourselves, we had to be concerned with our community at the same time. We were told that it was the right thing to do and that it was a way of life. Now all that has changed.

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America is now beset with all sorts of immorality and confusion about sex to the point that we do not know the difference between a woman and a man and don’t really seem to care. Where my generation learned to love our neighbors based on the content of their hearts, the present generation is being taught to hate their neighbors based on the color of their skin or their ethnic background. Not only that but we have been told that our borders should not exist and that to be a proud American is the cardinal sin. Finally, true faith is under attack not only from culture but from within the American church as well. Freedom of Religion, the very first right mentioned in our essential Bill of Rights in our United States Constitution is now the very first right that even our own government is seeking to eradicate.

So, with that in mind, perhaps the best place for true followers of Christ to start is on our knees. We are told in Scripture to pray for our leaders, and so we should. From the President, his cabinet, and Congress all the way to state and local governments, the people who make up the leadership in these areas should be prayed for on a daily basis. Whether they are of our party or not, we should pray for their health, clarity of mind, wisdom, and discernment and for the courage to do what is right in the right way.

I know firsthand that these leaders have many problems and challenges that must be dealt with on a daily basis that the common person would not understand. Perhaps in the business of their schedule, they have not been made aware of some of the policies that are being pursued. In regard to the present administration in Washington, this last point is certainly easy to understand. Nonetheless, particularly as it applies to higher education, there have been many troubling attacks that are now occurring against Christians and other faith-based groups emanating from our leadership from every level, particularly that of the federal government.

The latest salvo is a blatant attempt to intrude onto the basic religious freedoms of student groups, who only desire to practice their faith, by forcing them to allow non-believers who refuse to adhere to biblical sexual ethics to become leaders of their student clubs. Then there is a not-so-subtle effort to force Christian organizations to hire people whose belief system is diametrically opposed to the mission of our faith. While we have not faced these particular hurdles yet at Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES), even we are now being told that veterans benefits, which individuals have earned based on their service to our country, cannot be used at places of higher learning unless we also neuter our doctrinal statement to include students, faculty, and employees who hold beliefs that are in direct contravention of our own traditional biblical sexual values by adhering to the guidelines set out by the powers that be in Title IV. Not only that, but we at SES have been informed that our accreditation may well be subject to review solely on the basis of our long-held belief that certain kinds of sexual behavior are sinful and are not compatible with the Christian principles that we hold dear and that we attempt to impart to all those who come in contact with our seminary and college.

Even in the face of all of these attacks, and more, let me be clear.  Even if our government can somehow clear the hurdles of the protections found in the very First Amendment of our great Constitution, which we will endeavor to protect at every turn, the entire force of all the governments found in these United States combined will not be able to silence the truth of the message we attempt to impart at Southern Evangelical Seminary. This is so because it is the message of a God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the sins of each and every person and that that same Jesus rose from the dead on the third day in the defeat of even death itself.

While we believe in the forgiveness of our sins, we also know that the love of Christ compels us to become better people and to leave behind the sins that would attempt to devour us, including those sexual sins that our culture seems to be so proud of these days. Now the very tenets of our faith are being marginalized with the rhetoric of “hate speech.” Misguided men and women, despots and tyrannical leaders of all stripes have tried throughout history to eradicate the truth of Christianity in various ways, and they have failed.

The present administration will also face the same fate if it continues in this direction. Rest assured, that neither I nor Southern Evangelical Seminary will be cowered by any attempts to dilute or confuse the message of Christ, nor will we be bullied into submission by any governmental edicts. It may at some point cost us our lives and our fortunes just like those same precious things offered by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

History tells us that Martin Luther was brought before a tribunal that demanded that he recant or face a possible death sentence. It was at this point that Luther rose to the occasion and announced to his inquisitors, “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other.” Like Martin Luther and so many of our brothers and sisters throughout history, we will stand in the face of these tyrannies with the strong consolation that we belong to the God who made us and that we are not ultimately subject to the whims of a government that no longer values our Christian faith.

It is just time that someone stood up for the truth that matters so that is precisely what Southern Evangelical Seminary intends to do. That is where you will find me as well. I welcome you to join us to stand steadfast in the truth of our heritage and our future. Perhaps, when we stand together the tide of the whole nation will be changed.

After a distinguished career as both a lawyer and a judge, Judge Phil Ginn retired as the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for the 24th Judicial District in North Carolina. Over the course of his 22-year judicial career, he was privileged to hold court in almost 50% of the county seats in North Carolina. Currently, Judge Ginn serves as the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.

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