June 26, 2015 – A Momentous and Monstrous Day in Charleston, South Carolina
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church July 5 2015
A week ago Friday, on June 26, Lynn and I were in Charleston SC, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. That day was momentous for two reasons, one very good and one very bad.
President Obama was in Charleston to deliver the eulogy for the pastor/ state senator who, along with eight other African-Americans, had been gunned down in their church at a mid-week Bible study, by a hate-filled young white man.
What impressed us that day was not the president’s politicized speech, even though he talked of God’s amazing grace (but leaving out the name of Christ and the centrality of the cross). No. What impressed me was the grace of Jesus Christ displayed in the words and the lives of the members of the black Christian community who granted forgiveness to the man who had killed their loved ones.
That very morning Lynn and I visited the Slave Market Museum in that city; a place where people came to sell and buy slaves, from 1856-1863. (This was one of 40 such places in the city back then.) “Slave Mart.” It sounds like Wal-Mart, except instead of buying merchandise you would buy men and women. That’s the awful background of many of the blacks in Charleston, and yet God’s grace was working in them, restraining their anger and motivating their forgiveness. That was the very good thing that happened that day, and it had nothing to do with our president or our government; it had to do with the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
However, later that morning, just hours before the president spoke, we received word of the Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage the law of the land. This is the same judicial body which, in the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, held that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be American citizens. The results were a terrible civil war and another hundred years of racial hatred and discrimination. This is the same judicial body which in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case gave America abortion on demand, (without ever defining when life begins,) resulting in the holocaust of 58 million unborn babies. I believe that Roe. vs. Wade cheapened human life, and one of its trajectories is the dramatic rise in mass killings, (that is, if you can kill life in the womb, why not do the same outside the womb?), including the Charleston killings.
Now this court has opened the flood gates for marriage to be whatever anyone wants it to be (without ever defining marriage.) I predict that this is not only the tip of the iceberg (polygamy, marriage to your pets, marriage to yourself, etc., will be next), but that this ruling will also be used to strip churches and Christian non-profits of their tax-exempt status, and will tempt many churches and church leaders into compromising their biblical stance.
That same evening, upon returning to the Washington DC, our president, having just preached that afternoon on “God’s Amazing Grace,” had the White House bathed in the rainbow colors of the LGBT community. He declared, “Today we have created a more perfect unity.”
Therefore June 26, 2015 should be remembered as a tragic day, marking another step downward in our country’s rebellion against God’s good and loving design for us.
Let us rejoice that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ broke through in Charleston SC, in His churches, and may God help us to show such love and grace, through the cross.
And let us mourn, pray, and persevere, being wise as serpents and innocent as doves, as we press on with the gospel in a country that has again deliberately rebelled against God.
Let us expect persecution and hatred, even as we reach out in truth and love. Let us graciously but boldly proclaim to all people the glories of Jesus Christ; let us tell others that He is our only hope, our only Savior from sin, and our great and precious Treasure.