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The Bash Back Mount Hope Thing
On Sunday November 9, a group calling themselves Bash Back disrupted services at Mount Hope Church in Lansing. Catholic Online reported what happened on their online edition.
Reports filed with the Eaton County Sheriff’s office indicate that other demonstrators had staged a further action intended to disrupt the Sunday Worship at Mount Hope. Dressed in clothing which would not have indicated their intention, they entered into the sanctuary and were seated with the community. Then, in an orchestrated manner, they left their seats, pulled fire alarms, distributed anti-Christian literature and stormed the Pastor’s pulpit waving a rainbow colored flag and shouting “It’s Okay To Be Gay! Bash Back”.
In response to the anarchist group, leaders of the church issued the following statement:
"The leadership of Mount Hope Church does not attempt to identify the church as antihomosexual, anti-choice, or right wing. The church does take the Bible at face value and believes what the Bible says to be the truth. According to the Bible, Mount Hope Church believes homosexuality to be a sin, just as fornication, stealing, drunkenness, and lying are sins. No sin greater than the next. Mount Hope Church strives to follow Jesus’ example of loving the sinner but not the sin while helping people change their lives for God’s glory and their improved quality of life. Mount Hope Church also recognizes that to each person God grants freewill."
It should be noted that homosexuality isn’t the issue. Bash Back is an anarchist group not a homosexual rights advocacy group. According to their web-site, they advocate “a radical trans/queer/anarcha-feminist group” committed to “fight for liberation while rejecting all forms of state power.” In essence, they seek to end all government ,societal and religious influence over people. Homosexual rights advocates use the legal processes such as ballot proposals and lawsuits to advance their cause. Bash Back by virtue of promoting anarchy is in fact an enemy of the homosexual rights cause. At issue is how the church must respond to those who persecute it they hate its influence on people.
Jesus taught Christians to love those who persecute them. The parishioners of Mount Hope Church reportedly responded with grace toward the protesters. They deserve our respect for that. The statement released by their leadership did well to point out that they are not opposed to anyone, but in favor of obeying the teachings of the Bible. My only concern is that they chose to address the issue of homosexuality as a sin rather than address the actual issue at stake, the influence of the church on society.
The loyalty of the church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. That loyalty goes beyond an allegiance to any human government. However, the church also remains loyal to governments because their authority to organize and protect people comes from God. Although the church must never attempt to take authority over or to control governments, the church cannot deny that people who follow Jesus Christ will influence their governments. Therefore, our message to anarchists must be, “we pledge our allegiance to Jesus Christ and to those to whom He has given authority over people". Our prayer is that all people will be loyal to Jesus Christ and be obedient to the governing authorities. Our message to all who oppose our Lord is “Repent and be saved, reject Christ and be damned.” Rebellion should bring no other response from God’s people.
Mount Hope, by virtue of their effectiveness as a ministry, will continue to have an influence over Lansing. Many churches will have a similar effect in their communities. Churches need to anticipate persecution and prepare to rise up in the face of it. The message to those who are lost must always be “Jesus loves you, he died for you, and he saves you.” But when people rise up with the intent to harm the church because of its godly influence, the message must be, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”