In several different places, most recently in the book THE DEEPER STATE, by Robert Maginnis, I have run across this idea that Freedom of Religion is being replaced by the concept of Freedom to Worship. You may fail to see the difference, I had a little trouble grasping the significance at first… “Aren’t they the same thing?” I asked aloud. No, the answer is that they are not the same at all.
Many would argue that by Freedom of Religion, the framers of the Constitution had in mind a concept that we might state as Freedom of Denomination and that they were thinking Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic, not Hindu, Buddhist, or New Age Mysticism. Be that as it may, we will consider it in the broadest sense, to include other religions.
Freedom of Religion, by definition, includes the right to believe a certain set of doctrines, live your life based on those beliefs, share those beliefs and formulate your politics around those beliefs, voting for politicians who support and defend your beliefs.
Freedom of Worship, on the other hand, gives you the right to worship the god of your choice in the church or temple of your choice but it demands that you keep those beliefs to yourself, prohibits you from sharing them or preaching them to others and demands that you keep those beliefs separate from your politics, your business and your life outside of the building in which you worship.
It is Freedom of Religion that is guaranteed by the Constitution, not simply Freedom to Worship. Your beliefs, as a Christian, should be the focal point of your life both public and private. You should share your beliefs at every opportunity and in every area. Your vote should be controlled by your beliefs and you should pressure politicians to legislate in conformity to those beliefs. Freedom of Worship, as defined by the Government today, denies you the right to do any of those things and political correctness demands your silence.
What is worse is that most churches seem to be cooperating fully, even within their buildings. We are constantly urged to accept everyone who comes through the door, “just as they are.” We are commanded to keep any doctrine or belief that might offend or convict another of sin to ourselves. The only sin seems to be that of saying something that might chase a member or visitor away, denying the church the opportunity to milk them for tithes and offerings.
Meanwhile, only “Happy Verses” are read and all sermons designed and written as motivational speeches. We are urged to love and worship God but taught nothing concerning who He is, what He has done or what He demands. No mention of sin or even basic listing of sins is ever given. Members and visitors are encouraged to worship Jesus but never informed as to what Jesus has done or why He did it. No one is directed or instructed in how to meet Jesus or be Born Again. Rank sinners, living in awful sin, are welcomed, week after week, and encouraged to worship a God they do not know and give offerings to a Savior who has not saved them. This is Freedom of Worship robbed of the Freedom of Religion… and it is rampant, even in the Church.
I would say that we are at the end of time and the day when we have no freedoms at all is fast approaching. While we have any freedom at all, we should insist and push for the Freedom to live and express our convictions in the public theater and certainly in the churches. We should insist that our politicians vote for legislation that agrees with Scripture. We should vote for the candidates that most closely align to the Christian Religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Most of all, we should insist on the freedom to express our convictions within the confines of our churches. We must insist that our Pastors read from and teach the whole Bible, not just the “Happy Verses.” We should insist that the Gospel is presented, that sin is identified by name and that the Pastor speaks against it and calls the people to repentance. We should never allow rank sinners to continue indefinitely and without repentance in their sin, while worshipping a God they do not know, week after week, in a church that refuses to call them to repentance or share even the basics of the Gospel.
I remember seeing a Pastor on TV. He had lost a megachurch, having watched his congregation shrink from ten thousand to less than a hundred. He explained how God had woken him up in a dream and asked him how many members he had. “Ten thousand!” he had answered with pride. “How many of those members are going to Heaven?” God had asked. “Lord,” he had answered, “I have no idea.” God gave him a number, very clearly… “32”. That was the end of the dream. The next Sunday he began to preach the Word, calling sin, sin and sinners to repentance. Within weeks, the congregation shrank to the size that they would fit in a Sunday School room. Ninety days later, the bank took back their building and they moved to a storefront in a strip mall… But all 32 members were saved and on their way to Heaven…
Preaching the Gospel will cost you dearly… Preach it anyway!