Freedom of Worship vs Freedom of RELIGION

Just the other day we received Open Doors USA’s[1] World Watch List 2019, their annual publication regarding the persecution of Christians around the world.  Their statistical summary is reproduced here.  Suffice it to say, for now, that things are not getting better.  A great deal of very specific prayer is urgently needed!

A few years ago, Ambassador Thomas Farr was the featured guest on our Centered radio program and he made a very important point regarding religious freedom: freedom of religious worship is relatively simple to accommodate while freedom of religious belief and practice is a whole ‘nother ball game!

I’ve spent a great deal of time in countries where Christian worship was relatively freely (albeit grudgingly) provided—and carefully contained—while the freedom to actually live openly as a Christian was severely restricted, if not proscribed.  Sometimes politicians of a particular stripe speak as if freedom of worship were equivalent to freedom of religion.  But, every mature Christian knows that a strict compartmentalization of our faith is stultifying.  That is to say, if all we can do is spend an hour in church on Sunday while not being otherwise permitted to speak of our faith, read our Bibles, or bow in prayer in public places we are effectively unable to fulfill the Great Commission[2] and many other of our Lord’s commands.

Of course, we must be careful in this connection: if we expect to be allowed to live out our faith, so also must others—insofar, that is, as existing laws are respected.  But then again, we might ask, how about civil disobedience in the face of laws that are morally reprehensible?

Your thoughts are most welcome…


[2] Matthew 16:15

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