A Decision for and a Protest Against, part 2

I grew up in the 1950s listening to the founder of Radio Bible Class, M.R. DeHahn, on our local AM radio station in Ottumwa, Iowa. DeHahn would teach the Word of God on Sunday morning broadcasts as we ate a bite of breakfast and scurried around, getting ready for church. The late medical doctor/Bible teacher had a gravelly voice and an exceptional ability to expound God’s Word in a way that any sincere heart could hear and believe.  His son once wrote of Dr. DeHahn, “Oh, he wasn’t a perfect man. He had his faults. He was human. Some people even thought of him as stubborn. But he was a man of the Book, the Word of God. And he was a man of courage. My father went home to be with the Lord on December 13, 1965. Yet I can recall his words to me on one occasion as if he said them only yesterday. Accenting his statement by pounding his fist on his desk, he said, ‘Richard, I don’t care if the whole world differs with me. I must do what’s right. I must act according to my convictions.’”

Convictions. That’s what we are speaking to in this second installment of “A Decision for and a Protest Against.”  In the previous post, I enumerated five convictions that all believers could be reasonably expected to adhere to.  Here are a few more fundamental tenets of the faithful:

(6)  It is important to conduct my life so as not to be a stumbling block to another believer, or a reproach to Christ in the eyes of the lost. “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (I Cor.8:13) Paul, in Titus 2:5, says that we ought to so live “that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” Again, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (I Cor.10:23)

(7) Concerning marriage, a believer should hold to the conviction that marriage is a lifetime covenant, severed only by death. Those words traditionally have been repeated by couples at a wedding altar, and a breach of those holy vows is a serious matter before the God in whose name they have been uttered. Marriage is to be severed by death, and the Bible says that “God hates divorce.” Though it is common in our world today, it has never been a viable option for believers who are seeking to maintain Biblical convictions consistent with God’s revealed Word and will. “For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.” (Romans 7:1) “Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away.” (Malachi 2:15,16)

(8) It is my conviction that I am a steward before God of my time, my talents, and my tithes, and that I will one day give an account to Him of my stewardship of these things. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor.5:10)

(9) It is my daily duty to make sure that my mind and mouth are always in conformity to the Word of God: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor.10:4); “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Col. 3:17); “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2)

(10) It is my conviction that my citizenship is in heaven and that I am only passing through this life/world as a pilgrim; and that, therefore, my affections should be set on “things above and not on things of this earth.” (Col.3:1) “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (I Pt. 2:11) “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.” (Hebs. 11:13) “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” (Eph. 2:19)

Convictions. They are part of the testimony of every believer.  We do not look for opportunities to be controversial and “swim upstream,” against the current of culture. But inevitably, our stand for truth and upon God’s Word will pit us against the philosophies of the age at times. Back in the 1990s, Reggie White, a Pro Bowl defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, was a “shoo-in” as a future NFL Hall of Famer. But on a popular television program, while calling for ethnic and racial harmony, White put his neck in a noose, politically, when he said that homosexuality was a sin. He was excoriated by the public and denounced by fans. But he stood his ground, saying that “I am going to speak the truth. If people think that’s a contradiction and that’s hate, they need to take it up with God, not with Reggie White.“ White, an ordained Christian evangelical minister, lost a lucrative contract as a sports commentator with a major network, as well as multiple opportunities to endorse popular products that would have yielded handsome financial dividends. But he stood on his convictions.*

George Norris, a U.S. Senator from Nebraska in the early 20th century, having taken a stand that was very unpopular with his constituents, said, “I would rather lie in the silent grave, remembered by both friends and enemies as one who remained true to his faith and who never faltered in what he believed to be his duty, than to still live, old and aged, lacking the confidence of both factions.” (Quoted in Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy)

*Reggie White was inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, two years after his death at the age of 43.

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