History is full of tyrants, bullies and dictators who draw a proverbial “line in the sand” and demand God’s people to cross over it. In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold for everyone to worship, and then drew a line in the sand, and decreed, “Those who refuse to worship the image will be cast into the fiery furnace.” Everyone conformed and crossed the line.
Only four young men refused. You know the rest of the story, right? (Daniel 3)
The Apostle James refused the dictates of Herod and was cut in two. In 156 AD Polycarp, the 86-year-old Bishop of Smyrna was told to embrace the gods of Rome. When he refused, he was burned alive. On April 7, 1933, Hitler’s, “Aryan Paragraph” persuaded German Christians to deny fundamental human rights to all Jews for the sake of national unity: “One Reich, One People, One Church.” Only one pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer refused to cross that line and eventually was hung by the neck. On February 15, 2015, the world watched ISIS warriors hold knives at the throats of twenty-one Coptic Christians. They were told to deny Christ or else be beheaded.
All 21 refused to cross that line and suffered a violent death.
In 2018, do American Christians face “a line in the sand”? I believe so. This line is different, though. It’s not drawn by a savage tyrant, rogue nation or radicalized religious group. It’s much bigger than that. It’s drawn by the whole of Western Civilization. It insists on Christians embracing homosexuality as a legitimate behavior and same-sex marriage as a beautiful response of two people in love.
I’m a Christian, and I refuse to cross that line!
The LGBT community around the world dictates one direction and the Scripture another. Today, Christians are not being burned at a stake or beheaded. At worst, we are called names; ridiculed or ostracized, but what concerns me is even minor mistreatments are enough for many to “cross the line”.
Christians are being told to accept homosexual behavior as legitimate. We are not being asked to reject an essential doctrine of the faith, only to make a slight theological concession. I’ve heard all the justifications: “Aren’t we suppose to be loving and accepting to everyone? Wouldn’t the church be more attractive? Don’t you want to celebrate diversity? If you don’t agree with us, then you are a bigot, homophobic, ignorant, backward and judgmental.
It’s 2018, and this is our “line in the sand”. For those who compromise, embrace diversity and follow the crowd, they will soon face another line: “All roads lead to heaven; all religions have equal merit, and Jesus is one Way, not the only way.”
Do we have the grace and courage to say, “No, I will not cross that line. I will not hold that opinion, teach that curriculum or obey that law”? We are Christians.