As An Army Ranger and Pastor, I Am Insulted

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John 15:18-19   “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

So late last week, the Department of Defense announced that Evangelicals and Catholics have been added to the Extremist list (here). They have since then issued an apology and retraction to this power point slide from the briefing.

I am a little shocked that so many Christians were so surprised by this move. This should not have been a surprise to anyone who reads his or her Bible. Jesus clearly prophesied that these days are coming. It is still something to be upset about.

I am outraged because I am a patriot. I love my country and I love God and I have been branded as an Extremist equal to those who would destroy our freedom such as Al Quaeda, according to this article. I served in the United States Army as an Infantryman.  While serving in the Army I earned my ranger tab, airborne and air assault wings. In 1996 I was honorably discharged from the Army so that I could pursue God’s calling on my life to full time ministry. After getting out of Bible college I returned to Fort Campbell where I continue to serve God and the US ARMY as a Combatives Instructor teaching hand-to-hand combat to America’s finest men and women- warriors who have sacrificed life, limb and time with family so that we can live in peace, security and freedom.

Yet in light of that outrage I find a deep peace in knowing that my God and my Savior told me there was coming a day when the world and even the US Government would hate me on behalf of Him.

I am reading a great book right now called “It Cant Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis.  It was written in the early part of the last century about Socialism and Communism.  There are some awesome parallels in it that can be drawn with our Christian faith.

There was a time in the history of our faith where Christians were hated and persecuted above all others; then came a time of peace.  Shortly after the peace came complacency and spiritual gluttony.  The people of God didn’t know what it was like to live a life of hardship on behalf of Christ.  We, just like the 3rd Century believers, have lived in the land of plenty with little or no strife, conflict, struggle or persecution.  We have become spiritual gluttons and, just like in the book, “It Cant Happen Here”, Christians all over our nation hold the same false belief according to what I hear.

I have a couple of observations.  First, we live in an age where people are rapidly abandoning any semblance or appearance of righteousness, which will lead to the persecution and hate of believers.  We are just beginning to see the first stages of it now in America.  But take comfort- because Jesus said it would be so. Secondly, Jesus was an extremist.  He rebelled against the rebellion of Satan and sin, which gave him that label among the religious and godless people of that time.  Now, some 2100 years later, even though I honorably serve my government, I am now labeled like Christ.  The question is- as this judgment has been falsely given to us, is there enough evidence in your life that you have the label too?

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