Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Can Christians Emigrate?

There are some Christians who take the position that one should never leave the country they were born in. Their argument takes the position that if you were born in a particular nation, the Lord intends for you to stay in that nation. For example, if God caused us to be born in Malaysia, it must be because this is where God has called us to serve Him and we should not move out.

Another argument against emigration states that the Scriptures specifically discourages ‘emigration’, through Jeremiah 29:5–7. It was at a time after the Babylonians had deported a large number of Israelites as punishment for rebellion. Many of the Israelite exiles in Babylon were unhappy in a foreign land where they had little citizenship rights, and would have emigrated back to Judah given the first chance. But God asked them to “build houses…plant gardens…marry and have sons and daughters…seek the welfare of the city to which I carried you…pray to the Lord for it…”

A utilitarian argument claims that emigrations results in a brain drain of some of the best and brightest and the consequential damage to the economy and society. The damage also affects the church because the people who left could have been playing key roles in the Church in Malaysia. This argument further extends that emigrating only solves the problems for oneself and his/her family, but does not solve the problem for the nation, the Malaysian Church, and in particular, for those who are too poor and unqualified to have the means to leave. By leaving, we leave the country and the Malaysian church in a state of even greater need than before because often, it is precisely those who leave who have the training, resources and ability to alleviate the needs of the country and the Church.

However, I would like to propose a counter argument to the question, "Can Christians emigrate?" My view, based on missiological and biblical perspectives, God's sovereignty in history and God's leading to safety, is that Christians can emigrate out of their nations.

Missiological and Biblical Perspective
From a Missiological and Biblical point of view, God's perspective is global. In the Old Testament, God is the God of all creation and of all nations. From Genesis 1 when God created man and woman, He gave them the social mandate of replenishing the earth and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it...." v.28 All people of the earth, from every nation, tribe, language comes from Adam and Eve. After the great global flood, Noah's sons comprising Shem, Ham and Japheth who themselves had sons after the flood (Gen. 10:1) were commanded by God to migrate and populate the earth. The Table of Nations (Gen. 10) recorded their names and the regions they were to occupy and the Bible recorded that "From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood." (Gen. 10:32)

Incidentally when they had one language and decided to settle in the plain of Shinar and build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, God came down and confused their language and scattered them from there over all the earth (Gen.11:4,9).

As Christians we are God's family and community on earth and our perspective have to be global. Galatians says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28) Similarly, in the New Testament, God's evangelistic and social mandate is global. The Great Commission is Global and Jesus says "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." (Mk. 16:15) In the Early Church, Jesus commanded his disciples to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and "you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judia and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

In Acts 8:1 it took persecution to scatter the believers from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria. Even Peter had to have a dream and a divine visitation to break out from his Jewish world to the gentile world by ministering to Cornelius. (Acts 10) It was not until Acts 11 that Early Church believers break their Jewish world into the Gentile world through the Hellenists (Greek speaking Jewish believers) who preached the gospel to the Greeks at Antioch. (Acts 11:19-21)

More than a million Filipinos are working overseas and because of this diaspora, Brother Eddie Villanueva, a brother who is close to me has planted churches in 43 countries of the world besides those in Philippines and in countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, where they are the biggest church there. Currently the Jesus Is Lord Church comprises of more than 3 million members worldwide. Can it be that God is using Malaysians, the Filipinos and other Asian nationals as a new wave of modern missions? Like the Greek speaking Jews (Hellennists) to the Roman world, God is using them as a bridge to other cultures and nations.

It must be noted that the Great Commission was not given to a select few (apostles and those in full time ministries) but to all disciples.

God's Sovereignty in History
Abraham was asked by God to leave the Ur of Chaldeans "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the Land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Gen. 12:1-3.

Those who are against emigrating would use this verse and argue that for Abraham to migrate out of Ur to an unknown place is acceptable because he was moving from security to insecurity, in other words, he was moving to a worse place in obedience to God. However, I beg to differ because Abraham have the hope that he will be blessed and become a great family compared to where he was. Similarly, the intention of those who emigrate is to move to a better place, a place of great promise by God.

Another biblical reference that is quoted by those who are against emigration is Jeremiah 29:5-7 where God asked those who were in exiled after the Babylonian captivity to "build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage; so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of that city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

My response is that this verse refers to God's people in a foreign land. This is a point in time after they have emigrated and are living in a land they were not born in. If God was against emigration, then He might as well tell them to pack up for He would raise another Moses that will tell the Babylonian King "to let my people go". But here, God in His divine will believed that His people could be the agency for nation transformation in that foreign land because He is the God of all nations. In other words, if you emigrated, this verse could apply to you to mean that you should settle down, marry and have children in that foreign land.

You could be like a Joseph in that foreign land. Joseph did not ask to be taken to a foreign land of Egypt and to be sold as a slave by his own brothers. Yet, while becoming the next in command to pharaoh in Egypt he not only blessed the nation with a God given economic anointing, that enabled them to survive the famine which swept throughout the entire region, but he was also able to bless his family and save them from famine. (Gen. 37-47)

God's Leading to Safety
In Matthew 2:13-18, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to take baby Jesus and Mary and escape to Egypt because Herod was going to search for the child to kill him. Thus, they (Joseph, Mary and Jesus) emigrated to Egypt for a number of years until the death of Herod before they could returned.

Demos Shakarian related in his book "The Happiest People on Earth" how the Lord led them by a vision of a map of America from Armenia to the United States. Those who followed the Lord's leading survived and many who remained behind were killed during a period of ethnic cleansing. Later he prospered in business and founded the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship.

God may lead some people to leave their nation for a period of time for their safety. When God warns his people this way, who are we to question His leading to those people? Are we willing to be responsible for their children's and their children's children future when such calamity strikes them at the worst or when many of their rights as citizens are taken away because we persuaded them to stay?

In 2 Kings 8:1 the prophet Elisha even commanded the Shunammite woman whose son he restored to life to "Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years." Why not stay put? Why did God encourage that woman to go away for a seven year period? At least Brother Diwa Guinigundo, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines was wise to encourage his fellow citizens to go abroad to study and work, to gain experience and expertise and one day come home to develop the nation of Philippines. He realized that the country could not absorb them for the time being, but in the near future perhaps things would have changed both in economic and political terms to absorb such talents.

In conclusion, the position of the Latter Rain Church (LRC) with reference to those who are in Malaysia is that there are three segments of people, all are called by God and have different roles to play in the days ahead.

A. Called to stay
There will be many people that God may call to stay in Malaysia to do His work here. There will be those who are called by God to bring righteousness and justice to Malaysia and they should stay and be involved in nation building. In Sarawak, we, the LRC plan to plant and build church buildings for 100 churches over the next 10 years. Those who are called to stay need to be true to their calling to do His work in Malaysia.

B. Called to emigrate for a season
There will be those who are called to emigrate for a season and the duration of this season can be as short as a few years or as long as a few decades. This can be for any combination of reasons including religious freedom, career opportunity, better quality of life, education for their children, health care, or calling to transform that nation. Just as the Lord is a good shepherd leading Abraham to a land of promise, in a similar way, He can divinely lead others to a land of promise for their lives and their family. When the time is right, the Lord may call them back to Malaysia.

C. Called to emigrate permanently
Like the Celts of Ireland from the 5th to the 12th century A.D. and the Moravians of Europe during the time of young John Wesley, where whole families and communities were involved in missions, spreading the word of God, it is my desire to see LRC members be missionaries to other nations of the world. Today even more so I see the urgency to go to other nations to plant churches and also to be God's vehicle for nation transformation. Countries that God has used in the past as missionary nations like Britain, U.S.A. and Australia are becoming more and more secular, godless nations. We have a debt to pay by bringing the fire, passion, and power of God back into their nations to turn it around for God's kingdom.

The Latter Rain Church will support all three of these segments of people with different callings of God on their lives. We will pray, support and work alongside them in ministry, whether they are called to stay in Malaysia or emigrate to other nations. God's destiny for your life could be different from others and we will be supportive of it.

This paper was published HERE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What is God saying to His church with regards to the recent global financial crisis

Beginning with the subprime crisis faced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that had to be rescued by U.S. Government. As the price for houses kept on going up over the last 10 years banks in the U.S. such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were willing to give loans to house buyers without much hesitation because homeowners could always refinance their housing loans. These types of home mortgages were called subprime because they were given to people without proper consideration as to whether they could afford to pay. However, their interest rates are higher and when they defaulted in payments that would be worse. Because of their higher rates investment banks could then package these subprime mortgages which were unregulated and exported these toxic debts to European banks besides those in U.S. However, when the price of their valued homes began to drop 20-30% and their interest rates climbed, their monthly payment to service the mortgages also went up. More than 2 million homeowners lost their homes in U.S. when they could not afford to pay up. Titans like Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers and Merill Lynch went bankrupt while AIG and Citibank were rescued by the Government. Even Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclay were not spared and had to be rescued. Central Banks from Europe had to work with the Federal Reserve to pump hundreds of billions into banks and cut interest rates. If they didn't the International Monetary Fund warned that we would face a financial meltdown. Stock markets around the world began to plunge with trillions of market capitalization lost within two weeks. Unlike the 1930 Depression in the U.S. where the U.S. Government refused to intervene in the financial crisis, the 2008 crisis has forced the U.S. and European governments to get involved. If they don't banks would stop giving loans for houses, cars, and businesses resulting in a major global economic downturn. The Iceland Government was on the verge of bankrupcy but was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.

There are 2 questions we might ask as it relates to the Church or God's People especially those who are actively engaged in banking and other financial instruments.
1. Do we have a Christian model for lending or financing?
2. Can God's people experience the transfer of wealth when such a crisis take place?

1. The Singapore Business Times, Tuesday August 19, 2008 carried an article entitled "Islamic finance gives comfort to investors looking for security". The AFP article written from Hong Kong states that "The global credit crisis presents the US$1 trillion Islamic finance industry with an opportunity to expand its appeal beyond devout Muslim investors as a haven from speculative excess." With the collapse of the US mortgage market banks were left holding hundreds of billions of dollars of nearly worthless credit instruments tied to home loans by a web of complex structures. Isn't it an irony that while conventional banks are nursing losses of more than US$400 billion from the credit crisis, Islamic banks are virtually unscathed. "Its very much a return to old fashioned conservative lending." said David Testa, chief executive of Gatehouse Bank which began operations in April as Britain fifth Islamic bank. David said that Islamic finance is based on the syariah or Islamic law. It requires that gains be derived from ethical and socially responsible investments and frowns on interest-based banking and sectors such as pork, gaming and pornography. It was reported that the Asian Development Bank estimates that Islamic assets globally aggregate around US$1 trillion with annual growth of 10 to 15% a year. Presently, Malaysia plays a leading role in promoting Islamic banking. Islamic bonds or sukuk is another financial instrument that replace coupons with payouts backed by tangible assets as Islamic law prohibits the payment of interest and requires transactions to be linked to assets, thus deterring the kind of complexity prevalent in conventional financing. Remember that the borrower is the servant of the lender and at the rate U.S. government and other institutions borrow from Islamic finance they may inevitably comply with and promote Islamic banking and shariah laws.

Paul Mills from Jubilee Centre, a Christian Think-Tank based in Cambridge wrote a paper on "Finance" in Chapter 11 of Jubilee Manifesto (published by IVP, 2005, edited by Michael Schluter and John Ashcroft). In examining the Theological foundations of the biblical financial model based on the Old Testament it follows that Christians (after the pattern of Israelites ) are forbidden to extract interest on loans between 'brother' but are permitted to have interest from 'foreigners'. According to Paul, it seems that the Old Testament financial system has four elements.

Firstly, borrowing was permitted and even encouraged as an integral part of the welfare system to help members of the community over times of temporary difficulty with its repayment taken very seriously to such an extent that collateral could be taken and enforced servitude might be required to discharge unpaid debts. Secondly, the absence of interest and the preset cancellation of debts (every 7 years - Jubilee year) meant that someone could not be indebted forever, nor could their children be enslaved permanently. Debt and compounding interest could not be used to oppress one's 'brother' and the jubilee legislation also meant that moneylenders could not use debt foreclosure on farmers to accumulate large tracts of land so preserving the initial tribal allocation of land. Thirdly, the absence of interest (and periodic debt cancellation) meant that lending was done either for charitable purposes or for mutual favours between family, neighbors or business partners. Therefore, there is not incentive to develop an anonymous debt market. Fourthly, investment finance would have been channeled into alternative, risk-sharing and rental contracts rather than commercial loans.

We must appreciate Paul Mills for identifying the Old Testament financial system but the question is "How can Christian banks apply such a system?" It seems that such a system will only work in the context of Christian community and the only kind of bank that can operate such a charitable system would be in a non profit foundation that offers micro credit without seeking interest. Yet, can we have a team of like-minded Christian bankers and financiers to look into the application and implementation of such theoretical framework? Looks like someone like Paul Mills is just talking about it without the corresponding applications in real banking operations whereas the Islamic financial system is already functioning successfully and growing globally with the backing of Islamic nation's Governments and central bankers. At the most Christian businessmen would attempt to buy over banks and called it Christian banks while adopting the present banking practices and products of the day. However, there is a great need to bring forth Kingdom and Biblical principles in banking and financial institutions. Will God's people in the Marketplace especially in the area of finance and banking come forth and take their rightful and needful place?

2. Since there was so much talk of 'transference of wealth' from sinners to the righteous (Prov.13:22) for the last few years "Who are the Christian people and businessmen who actually become recipients of such transference of wealth?" We learn from Haggai 2 that God was shaking the heavens and the earth including financial and economic shaking and when financial crises emerged were God's people ready to seize the opportunity? Were God's people able to take over banks when their values dropped so drastically? We know that Barclays was able to raise 20 billion US dollars from the Middle East but where were God's investors to partake in the transference of wealth?

When God causes transference of wealth to take place for his business people it is for two purposes: for the eradication of poverty and for nation transformation. When Bill Gates, the richest man in the world left Microsoft to head his global charity, he demonstrates a good example by putting in his own money worth 260 billion to help eradicate global diseases such as malaria, it signal the transference of wealth had started. Joan Kroc, the wife of the founder of McDonald died she left 1.5 billion to the salvation army, the biggest amount ever given to Christian organization for charity work. That is what transference of wealth is for. Perhaps many who have lost great wealth and money due to the plunging stock market and collapse of Lehman Brothers should take heed to the Word of God that says "when you have eaten and are full, and have build beautiful houses and dwell in them....... and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God (by not using your wealth for His purposes including eradication of poverty and for nation transformation).... for it is He who gives you power to get wealth...." Deut. 8: 12-18, should check their heart and ask God for forgiveness and repent.

When the Lord said, "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory," says the Lord of hosts. "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:6-8)

Let God's business people hear His voice and seize their God given opportunities and experience their transference of wealth.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What God Is Saying To The Church Today In Relations To bad and corrupt Government

Yesterday, I was in Manila In Zoe TV studio taping for PJM (Philippines For Jesus) Forum with Bro. Eddie Villanueva(Bishop and Direction of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide) and Bishop Dan Balais(National Director of Intercessors For Philippines and PJM Director) on the topic "What is God saying to the church today?". I understand that this program will be shown over several TV networks and also in U.S. and Canada over pinoy channel on Sunday morning. Just before my program they were taping an interview (by Bro. Eddie Villanueva) with the new Governor of Pampanga, Father Eduardo Panlilio (catholic priest). I was introduced to Governor Ed prior to the taping. This man is loved nationwide because he ran for the election for Governor last year in the province of Papanga when the other two running candidates were well known as corrupt personalities. All the churches, evangelicals and all others supported Father Ed and he won. He announced that on this coming Saturday, 5th July, there is going to celebrate his one year Governorship in Pampanga. Because he is clean, bold and godly, he was able to generate a revenue of 230 million pesos in one year as compared with 25 million pesos of the previous government, nearly a 10 fold increase. He is the one who disclosed to the press that after the governors meeting in the palace, each was given a paper bag with a large sum of cash inside, amounting to 500,000 pesos. He lives a simple life, put on a T-shirt, sports jacket and sandals even for the interview. He is approachable, warm and friendly. I believe Pampanga will be a model city soon for the nation in terms of good and clean government. He gives us an example how the church should engage with Government.

"The pervasiveness of government corruption in this country is nothing less than mysterious. Most of the high officials are Christians. But many of them who hold the highest offices lie at every turn. They steal. They make a mockery of the Catholic Christianity (may I add that the evangelicals were no different either) they love to identify themselves within photo ops. Their actions tear to shreds their oaths of office, the Constitution and the ordinances of the land." Rene Q. Bas, 2nd July, 2008, The Manila Times. Rene blamed Satan in his article and I do not disagree with him, though I believe we should include other factors which I will mention later. What Rene said is also true of Christian high officials in various Governments including Malaysia (though there are some good ones), Rwanda, Fiji, to name a few.

The questions are "What is God saying to the Church today in relations to corrupt government?" What are the issues involved? What can the church do to meet the challenge?

Firstly, when we use the term "church" it should not just be referring to those who meet and worship once a week for worship but also to those out there in the marketplace or workplace. Using the concept of "nuclear" and "extended" family of Harvard sociologist Laura Nash, Dr. C. Peter Wagner borrowed her concept to describe the "nuclear church" and the "extended" church. It was the church out there in the marketplace, with the likes of Daniel, Esther, Joseph and Nehemiah that caused God's purposes to be fulfilled in those nations. Unrighteous laws were replaced with good ones (Daniel, Esther), God's people were delivered from ethnic cleansing (Esther), nations were saved from famine (Joseph), and God's city and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt.

Secondly, the church should have a change in its mindset with regards to its God's appointed mandate of discipling the nations. When God first created man in the garden of Eden he gave them a two-fold mandate: 1. evangelistic (be fruitful and multiply)mandate, and 2. social or cultural(subdue the earth...rule over it).

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28

This is consistent with the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20 where we are commanded "to make disciples of all nations" and not merely making disciples of individuals of all nations. Jesus even teach us to pray "Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". The rulership of God must be extended and manifested on the earthly realm in nations as it is doing so in the heavenly realm. When Jesus was on earth, He declared that "The Kingdom of God is at hand" meaning the rulership of God can take place. God's kingdom will deal with and deliver those who are in poverty (the poor), the blind, the sick (the needy) and the oppressed (by demons or injustice). These are the issues or agenda of the kingdom of God. In the nation where God reigns there shall be good governance instead of bad and corrupt ones, justice for all instead of unjust laws and policies, prosperity (freedom from poverty), peace and security (freedom from crimes, drugs) and economic growth (instead of unemployment) and healthy and strong families (instead of divorces, broken families). This is what is saying to the Church today, that the church should be the agency for nation transformation and be actively engaged with Government till we see the good goverment that would align their agenda to kingdom's agenda be in place and accomplishing all the good that God has for the nation.

What can the church do in relations to corrupt government?

1. Pray for those in the Government. God can do many things, including "He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them, He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Daniel 2:21
2. Play the prophetic role. Mature and anointed church leaders and pastors should play the prophetic role by speaking into the lives of those political leaders within their churches. Counsel them to stand against corruption, pray for them, even fast for them, even speak the words of God to them. Prophets of the Old Testament spoke the words of the Lord to the kings; Samuel and Nathan to David, Elijah to Ahab are such examples. We should not be intimidated to remain quiet when we know their lives and practices go against the word of God. Give them counsel and prophesy over them as the Lord release the word to us concerning them.
3. Help those in the Government (regardless whether they are in the legislature, executive, judiciary, government agencies, national, regional or local). Instead of seeking them for favors (most politicians and Government leaders think when the church or its leaders approach them it is for some favors, or money), we should go to them and offer the church hand of help. We can help to clean up a certain section of community, adopt a barangay (village) and take care of their needs where we can.
4. Motivate and inspire our own young people to be equipped with the best knowledge, go to the best schools and institutions when possible, and commit and dedicate themselves to be positioned in places of influence in the branches of government for the sake of God and the nation. Others may be challenged to respond to the call of God to Education, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Business, as long as they are willing to fulfill God's purpose and see the nation transformed. Challenge these young ones to be the "Daniels", "Josephs", "Esthers" and "Nehemiahs" with Godly values in them so that when they are placed into those areas of influence they would not be bribed nor be corrupted.
5. We need to develop models: models of a righteous and good governor like Father Ed, congressmen and congresswoman whom I know of a few, senators, judges like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Puno whom I met during JIL Anniversary last year. He led in prayer for Justice be restored to the nation Judiciary while I prayed for the Church of the Philippines in the presence of 1.3 million worshippers at Luneta Park. We need models for cities and provinces and even barangays (villages) that have been and are being transformed. We need to see more Government agencies to be transformed like the Central Bank of the Philippines where Makati business community voted it as the best performing government agency for the last 8 years.

May His Kingdom come and His Will be done on earth as it is in the heaven.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What God is saying to His people Today

In the middle of May this year, the Supreme Court of California passed the ruling for gay marriage. About a month later we witnessed hundreds of gay marriages. At the same time we saw the devastation of an unprecedented flooding in Iowa, Illinois, and the Mississippi delta, where farmlands were inundated and thousands of homes were damage. In Southern San Francisco we hear of raging bush fires that spread readily with lightning unleashing 8,000 hits in a day causing more bush fire. We can blame it on climate changes from to the depletion of the ozone layer caused by pollution. However, if we match it against the Word of God, God says it is because of spiritual pollution.

"For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants." Lev. 18:25

If the land is defiled by sin, how can its inhabitants live in security and prosperity?

"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. " Romans 1:24-27.

Gay practices are definitely going against the Word of the Creator who forbids such acts. To legislate such practice is to incur the wrath of God upon the land.

Even Nineveh was not spared when the anger of God was stirred against it. His anger comes in the form of whirlwind, storm, drought, earthquake, fire and landslide.

"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.
The Lord has His way
In the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of His feet.

He rebukes the sea and makes it dry,
And dries up all the rivers.
Bashan and Carmel wither,
And the flower of Lebanon wilts.

The mountains quake before Him,
The hills melt,
And the earth heaves at His presence,
Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.

Who can stand before His indignation?
And who can endure the fierceness of His anger?
His fury is poured out like fire,
And the rocks are thrown down by Him." Nahum 1:3-6

Yet, are we to blame the judges of the Supreme Court of California? (It was a 5-4 decision)
I believe we should blame ourselves, Christians and the Church, especially the pastors, preachers, ministries and leaders. Why? We were deceived for a very long time that there is a separation of church and state and that the church should just concentrate on the spiritual things, like getting souls saved and how to live spiritual lives. Even though all these are good and should be encouraged, we have failed to educate and inculcate the believers to engage with the Government, albeit a crucial aspect of the Marketplace or Workplace. Evangelicals and all other Bible believing leaders fail to engage in both mandates that God has given to men in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden - the Evangelistic Mandate (be fruitful and multiply) and the Social Mandate (have dominion over the earth) Gen. 1:26,28. To the credit of Dr. John Stott who spoke at the World Congress of Evangelism in Lausanne (1966) that brought back the church's social responsibility together with Evangelism, we are seeing the church worldwide including Malaysia is taking the role more seriously. To be engaged with the Government - Legislature, Executive or Judiciary, is important. We should encourage and challenge our children, young people and certain sections of our church to seriously consider to be involved in the different branches of Government. Inspire them when they are young, send them to the best institution of learning that we can afford, lay strong godly values in them so that they will not be corrupted, mentor them in developing their spiritual relationship with God to achieve intimacy augmented by strong prayer life and study of the Word of God. Allow them to be positioned in places of influence in Government like Joseph (with strong economic, prophetic and administrative anointing ), Daniel (with strong prophetic and governmental anointing) so that even bad laws (legislations) can be overturned into good ones, in line with good principles from the Word of God.

We need to be clear that "separation of church and state" was not in the first amendment of the United States Constitution. The first amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It was President Thomas Jefferson who wrote to the Baptist pastor Roger Williams that "a wall of separation between the church and the state" exist to protect the church from government interference. It was Thomas Jefferson who supported legislation for military chaplains and US Senate Chaplain, and use of the Bible and non-denominational religious instruction in public schools and exempting churches from taxation.

Because of the church withdrawal from engagement with the Government, Business, media, Arts and Entertainment, Education that we are now reaping the ungodly fruit from those who are walking in the Corridors of Power and those in the Halls of Justice. We can complain, protest and even demonstrate our disgust and disapproval but the bottom line is we are to blame by not putting in the best and brightest of our own people in those Corridors of Power and Halls of Justice, men and women with integrity and morals. We should consider being placed at such spheres of influence as God's calling, ministry and equally spiritual and significant as those serving in churches and church related ministries. They are also part of the church, albeit, the church in the marketplace. We could at least commission them publicly during worship services and release them to their varied spheres of ministries. By so doing, we give them recognition, encouragement and support for their calling and ministries.

Dr. Dexter Low