Featured Post

Fallen Pastor: Kindle Edition Now Available

ReadabilityFallen Pastor: Kindle Edition Now AvailableSince I’m a tech geek, I’m pretty excited. The ebook ver­sion of my book is now avail­able. You can get it at Ama​zon​.com for the Kin­dle for $9.99. Thanks to my pub­lisher for get­ting it out there so fast. So, to those of you who...

Read More

A Monument For Satan? We Already Have One

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in compassion, current events, gospel, jesus, sin | Posted on 11-12-2013

2

Readability

A Monument For Satan? We Already Have One

So, appar­ently, this is happening :commands

“In their zeal to tout their faith in the pub­lic square, con­ser­v­a­tives in Okla­homa may have unwit­tingly opened the door to a wide range of reli­gious groups, includ­ing Satanists who are seek­ing to put their own statue next to a Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment out­side the Statehouse.

“The Republican-​controlled Leg­is­la­ture in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt autho­rized the pri­vately funded Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment in 2009, and it was placed on the Capi­tol grounds last year despite crit­i­cism from legal experts who ques­tioned its con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity.” (Source)

This is not a post about my feel­ings on church and state. I’ve talked about that before in an arti­cle I posted a while back at Pro­voke­tive Mag­a­zine. Every Chris­t­ian should be aware of these issues. I will quickly add that the Okla­homans did it because they prob­a­bly thought they had legal prece­dent on their side. In Van Orden v. Perry, the Supreme Court allowed a dis­play of the Ten Com­mand­ments to stand, but for very spe­cific rea­sons. You know, as a Chris­t­ian, we really should be involved with read­ing and inform­ing our­selves about why the Supreme Court does what it does instead of just watch­ing tele­vi­sion to get them to explain it to us.

With all that legal mumbo jumbo aside, I do want to dis­cuss what I feel are some seri­ous prob­lems that cling to this issue like socks to a polo shirt when you take it out of the dryer.

1. Exam­in­ing our ratio­nale behind plac­ing the Ten Commandments

Don’t start boo­ing me yet. Why are we so intent on engrav­ing the Ten Com­mand­ments on a six ton block of gran­ite and plac­ing it in front of courthouses?

schoolprayerNo, I know why. I’ve heard the rea­sons. Here’s one — “It’s our her­itage. When they took prayer and the Ten Com­mand­ments out of schools, things started get­ting worse.” Alright then. There is an issue at stake and it needs to be addressed when that ques­tion is asked. What if Chris­tian­ity isn’t the major­ity reli­gion one day?

I live in a state where prayers are still said before ball­games. But what if one day Chris­tians aren’t the major­ity and another world reli­gion decides that they have the right to say the prayers instead of the Chris­tians because they have more people?

See the prob­lem? We can’t allow the gov­ern­ment to estab­lish one reli­gion, but we should encour­age reli­gious rights for all people.

Another thing that comes up: “We need to have it there so our kids and grand­kids can see it and know this is a Chris­t­ian nation.” Alrighty. If you can get them dis­tracted away from their iPad long enough to see the six ton rock, that’s great. The idea that a rock can be a tool for wit­ness­ing strikes me a lit­tle strange.

Jesus didn’t say, “Go ye there­fore unto all the world, plac­ing the Ten Com­mand­ments onto large gran­ite blocks so all can see them, read the law and be led to me.” Nope. We’re sup­posed to be indi­vid­u­ally shar­ing the love of Christ, his com­pas­sion, and show­ing them the need for a Sav­ior. Sure, the Ten Com­mand­ments are a great start­ing point. But they work much bet­ter when you carry them around with you instead of putting them on a sta­tion­ary stump of granite.

2. Putting up solid gran­ite mon­u­ments with any reli­gious iconog­ra­phy seems desperate

No joke — churches are in decline. Pas­tors are leav­ing the min­istry at an alarm­ing rate. Divorce among Chris­tians is prettyozymandias much the same as it is among non-​Christians.

Are we putting up icons so that we can ensure a legacy of Chris­tian­ity will be remem­bered? It’s almost as if we’re say­ing, “Well, we sure didn’t go out and wit­ness to peo­ple in our neigh­bor­hood or in other coun­tries, but we put up this gran­ite slab that had the Ten Com­mand­ments on it. That thing sure isn’t going anywhere.”

It’s a sick sort of des­per­a­tion. We feel like the brand of Amer­i­can Chris­tian­ity is slip­ping away. And I might note that the Amer­i­can brand of Chris­tian­ity is not nec­es­sar­ily always the same as what the Founder cre­ated. But here we are in our churches with peo­ple leav­ing at a high rate, peo­ple on the out­side hurt­ing and skep­ti­cal and we are chis­el­ing rocks.

Reminds me of Percy Shelley’s poem, Ozy­man­dias (which is cooler when Bryan Cranston reads it):

http://​youtu​.be/​T​3​d​p​g​h​fRBHE

Is that what will be left of our brand of Chris­tian­ity? “Noth­ing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colos­sal wreck, bound­less and bare.”

It might be if as a church we don’t start look­ing out­side to the same peo­ple Jesus was look­ing at. Too often our churches look like a coun­try club clique. Heaven for­bid an alco­holic, sol­dier with PTSD, adul­terer, des­ti­tute fam­ily, or fallen pas­tor walk through our doors. There is a huge dif­fer­ence in the way Jesus did things and the way most of us do things. He went out and found peo­ple. A lot of us sit and wait for peo­ple to come to us. And if we don’t like how they look, smell, act or per­form, we run them off.

3. The Satanic Church doesn’t really need a monument

In case you missed it, the Ten Com­mand­ment gran­ite block is in Okla­homa. The par­tic­u­lar church of Satan that wants to build a mon­u­ment of its own to Lucifer is located in New York. The church of Satan does have the right to wor­ship freely with­out per­se­cu­tion by the gov­ern­ment. Let’s be clear about that.

graniteBut I’m not sure they should even be look­ing at con­struct­ing a mon­u­ment. There are plenty of mon­u­ments ded­i­cated to evil in this coun­try. As Chris­tians, each of us has vio­lated the Ten Com­mand­ments on a reg­u­lar basis. We have allowed our­selves to become desen­si­tized to sin and we break the very rules we want to chisel on that granite.

Case in point — I set up this site to help pas­tors who have com­mit­ted adul­tery and the peo­ple and churches who have been effected by their fall. Other sins? We lie, we steal, we cheat, we do not honor God with our lives, we covet, we hate our neigh­bor and by doing so, we’ve already built mon­u­ments to evil that have done more harm than any church of Satan could ever do.

And by allow­ing our­selves to become so filled with sin, we have neglected the Gospel and per­sonal holiness.

So what do we do? In Rev­e­la­tion 2:12 – 17, John wrote to the city of Perga­mum where he said the “throne of Satan” resided. The throne he was refer­ring to was prob­a­bly Perg­a­mon Altar built for the wor­ship of Zeus. It was huge and was very vis­i­ble. What did Paul say to do about it? Repent and live a godly life.

We don’t need the Ten Com­mand­ments on a huge block in the mid­dle of our town. Par­ents, grand­par­ents, we need to be shar­ing Christ with our teach­ers. Pas­tors, youth direc­tors, choir lead­ers — teach the peo­ple in the pews solid the­ol­ogy and how to adore Christ. Through the Word, through prayer, through bib­li­cal worship.

Can it be done? It has to be done. When peo­ple come face to face with Jesus Christ, they won’t leave. When they hear the Gospel pro­claimed, it will not return void. “For how will they hear with­out a six ton gran­ite block?” No. They won’t hear with­out Chris­tians pro­claim­ing the message.

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

Ray Car­roll is the author of “Fallen Pas­tor: Find­ing Restora­tion in a Bro­ken World.” If you are a fallen pas­tor, a pas­tor in trou­ble, a church whose pas­tor has fallen, or need some­one to talk to your group about pre­vent­ing min­istry fail­ure, please feel free to con­tact Ray here. All mes­sages will be kept confidential.

So, apparently, this is happening :commands

“In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including Satanists who are seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument outside the Statehouse.

“The Republican-controlled Legislature in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its constitutionality.” (Source)

This is not a post about my feelings on church and state. I’ve talked about that before in an article I posted a while back at Provoketive Magazine. Every Christian should be aware of these issues. I will quickly add that the Oklahomans did it because they probably thought they had legal precedent on their side. In Van Orden v. Perry, the Supreme Court allowed a display of the Ten Commandments to stand, but for very specific reasons. You know, as a Christian, we really should be involved with reading and informing ourselves about why the Supreme Court does what it does instead of just watching television to get them to explain it to us.

With all that legal mumbo jumbo aside, I do want to discuss what I feel are some serious problems that cling to this issue like socks to a polo shirt when you take it out of the dryer.

1. Examining our rationale behind placing the Ten Commandments

Don’t start booing me yet. Why are we so intent on engraving the Ten Commandments on a six ton block of granite and placing it in front of courthouses?

schoolprayerNo, I know why. I’ve heard the reasons. Here’s one – “It’s our heritage. When they took prayer and the Ten Commandments out of schools, things started getting worse.” Alright then. There is an issue at stake and it needs to be addressed when that question is asked. What if Christianity isn’t the majority religion one day?

I live in a state where prayers are still said before ballgames. But what if one day Christians aren’t the majority and another world religion decides that they have the right to say the prayers instead of the Christians because they have more people?

See the problem? We can’t allow the government to establish one religion, but we should encourage religious rights for all people.

Another thing that comes up: “We need to have it there so our kids and grandkids can see it and know this is a Christian nation.” Alrighty. If you can get them distracted away from their iPad long enough to see the six ton rock, that’s great. The idea that a rock can be a tool for witnessing strikes me a little strange.

Jesus didn’t say, “Go ye therefore unto all the world, placing the Ten Commandments onto large granite blocks so all can see them, read the law and be led to me.” Nope. We’re supposed to be individually sharing the love of Christ, his compassion, and showing them the need for a Savior. Sure, the Ten Commandments are a great starting point. But they work much better when you carry them around with you instead of putting them on a stationary stump of granite.

2. Putting up solid granite monuments with any religious iconography seems desperate

No joke – churches are in decline. Pastors are leaving the ministry at an alarming rate. Divorce among Christians is prettyozymandias much the same as it is among non-Christians.

Are we putting up icons so that we can ensure a legacy of Christianity will be remembered? It’s almost as if we’re saying, “Well, we sure didn’t go out and witness to people in our neighborhood or in other countries, but we put up this granite slab that had the Ten Commandments on it. That thing sure isn’t going anywhere.”

It’s a sick sort of desperation. We feel like the brand of American Christianity is slipping away. And I might note that the American brand of Christianity is not necessarily always the same as what the Founder created. But here we are in our churches with people leaving at a high rate, people on the outside hurting and skeptical and we are chiseling rocks.

Reminds me of Percy Shelley’s poem, Ozymandias (which is cooler when Bryan Cranston reads it):

Is that what will be left of our brand of Christianity? “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare.”

It might be if as a church we don’t start looking outside to the same people Jesus was looking at. Too often our churches look like a country club clique. Heaven forbid an alcoholic, soldier with PTSD, adulterer, destitute family, or fallen pastor walk through our doors. There is a huge difference in the way Jesus did things and the way most of us do things. He went out and found people. A lot of us sit and wait for people to come to us. And if we don’t like how they look, smell, act or perform, we run them off.

3. The Satanic Church doesn’t really need a monument

In case you missed it, the Ten Commandment granite block is in Oklahoma. The particular church of Satan that wants to build a monument of its own to Lucifer is located in New York. The church of Satan does have the right to worship freely without persecution by the government. Let’s be clear about that.

graniteBut I’m not sure they should even be looking at constructing a monument. There are plenty of monuments dedicated to evil in this country. As Christians, each of us has violated the Ten Commandments on a regular basis. We have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to sin and we break the very rules we want to chisel on that granite.

Case in point – I set up this site to help pastors who have committed adultery and the people and churches who have been effected by their fall. Other sins? We lie, we steal, we cheat, we do not honor God with our lives, we covet, we hate our neighbor and by doing so, we’ve already built monuments to evil that have done more harm than any church of Satan could ever do.

And by allowing ourselves to become so filled with sin, we have neglected the Gospel and personal holiness.

So what do we do? In Revelation 2:12-17, John wrote to the city of Pergamum where he said the “throne of Satan” resided. The throne he was referring to was probably Pergamon Altar built for the worship of Zeus. It was huge and was very visible. What did Paul say to do about it? Repent and live a godly life.

We don’t need the Ten Commandments on a huge block in the middle of our town. Parents, grandparents, we need to be sharing Christ with our teachers. Pastors, youth directors, choir leaders – teach the people in the pews solid theology and how to adore Christ. Through the Word, through prayer, through biblical worship.

Can it be done? It has to be done. When people come face to face with Jesus Christ, they won’t leave. When they hear the Gospel proclaimed, it will not return void. “For how will they hear without a six ton granite block?” No. They won’t hear without Christians proclaiming the message.

____________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World.” If you are a fallen pastor, a pastor in trouble, a church whose pastor has fallen, or need someone to talk to your group about preventing ministry failure, please feel free to contact Ray here. All messages will be kept confidential.

Comments (2)

Contrary to popular belief, this nation was not founded in Christian values. President Jefferson was an atheist for example. Forcing Native Americans out of their lands because of the new setters’ ambitions and greed does not reflect a Christian life, nor does owning slaves back then. America is truly a self serving nation based on glorifying prosperity and individualism, which both values are contrary to Christian faith.

Hey Noel!

Yeah, you’re right on a lot of that. I just finished a class on the Founding Fathers. What was interesting was how religious they were but they did want to make sure that the state did not establish a religion. Each of them wanted to be able to worship and allow others to worship. Many of them did have a moral center found in Christianity – even Franklin had a moral center. But all of them were careful to not establish any one religion.

You’re also right about the sins of our nation. But it’s also good to reflect upon the visionaries in our history like Martin Luther King, Jr. who did whatever it took to fight injustice. We often tend to erase the parts of our history we are uncomfortable with and shine it up to make our past look pretty. But it is not. That’s why our actions, no matter how small, can make a huge difference for tomorrow.

Write a comment