Last year there was a report from Belfast, Ireland that Pastor James Connell from the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle was questioned by police for remarks he made about the evils of the Islam religion.
McConnell actually faced prosecution for preaching that another religion is a false religion. Technically, McConnell ran afoul of the law when his church streamed the sermon online.
Onan Coca, writing for a website called Eagle Rising, observed, “Over the last few years we’ve seen the slow and steady creep of fascism in an assault on free speech. Here in the USA the attacks have come mostly from our culture, as intolerant liberals angrily attempt to shout down any dissenting voices by using epithets and ad hominem attacks.”
We have seen evidence of this kind of condemnation first hand. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, recently spoke at the annual session of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Jeffress, who exposed the fallacies of the Islam religion in his Convention address, has been under a massive verbal assault for his open denunciation of Islam, calling it an evil and false religion.
Following the November terrorists’ attacks in Paris Jeffress blamed the Islamic religion, claiming it is inspired by Satan and directly responsible for the actions of terrorists.
The Dallas pastor explained, “It is impossible to separate what these eight suicide bombers did from their faith and their religion, which inspired them to do this. These terrorists were not acting in opposition to the teaching of Islam; they were acting according to the teaching of Islam.
“Islam is a false religion that will lead you to hell. It is based on a false book that is based on a fraud. It was founded by a false prophet who was leading people away instead of to the one true God.”
Jeffress’ strong convictions have provoked massive criticism and condemnation from a variety of sources through the years. In 2011 he introduced Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit by making a contrast between him and Mitt Romney, saying, “Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience or one who is a conservative out of deep conviction? Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?”
For those comments Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary, looked toward Jeffress and said, “Do not give voice to bigotry. You did Rick Perry no good, sir, in what you had to say.”
Joseph Conn, writing for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, condemns Jeffress for “his venomous take on religion and politics.”
Conn added, “Jeffress marshals all kinds of bogus arguments to support his naked religious bigotry…. He believes evangelical Christianity is the one true faith, so he’s going to do his (expletive) to get someone with his faith perspective into the White House.”
Because Jeffress has become known for his fiery rhetoric, the latest assaults on him have become more hostile and inimical. In fact, one of his critics has called him “bad for Dallas.” Bill Donohue calls Jeffress a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.
Dr. Robert Hunt at SMU’s Perkins School of Divinity referred to Jeffress as “The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas” and accused him of “systematically attacking tolerance and respect for religious minorities.”
Robert Jeffress represents the best of bold, forthright, Biblical preaching. Fifty years ago it is unlikely that hardly anyone would have objected to his right to preach on the exclusivity of redemption through Jesus Christ or denounce false religions, but in the 21st century tolerance has run amuck and religion is being whittled down to its lowest common denominator.
Just being a good neighbor, paying your taxes, giving to the United Way, and refusing to kick the cat will not merit anyone eternal life. We are saved only by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and to let anyone think otherwise is to be more criminal than tolerant.
Therefore, we must not cave under the pressure of verbal abuse or vicious attacks. In fact, we must fortify ourselves for the coming persecution.