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6721 Jonestown Rd
Harrisburg, PA, 17112
United States

717-657-0614

We are a Southern Baptist Church, by affiliation.  We cooperate with, and are part of a larger denomination. East Shore Baptist Church (ESBC) is an independent church, which truly believes in God’s Word, the Bible, as the sole source of faith and practice.

Weekday Musings with Pastor Brian

Whoa... Two posts in one week.  What's going on?  Actually, I want to share an excellent article I received from Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, prior pastor, and seminary professor, on: Nine Concerns about Church Members Who Withhold Their Financial Gifts.  If you're a pastor, you've experienced it.

Boycotts and Christians

Jean Harrison

A couple of Sunday’s ago I mentioned a well-written and challenging blog post on the Target Restroom policy from a Pastor’s wife named Jaci Lambert.  Her article can be found in www.ministryinthemommyhood.com. Shortly after that I had heard from several in our church that you wished I had said more on the subject. OK… I’ve been giving it some prayer.

Unless you’ve been hanging out on Pluto for the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard that Target, essentially in a commitment to not discriminate against transgendered folks, has come out and said that they are going to allow anyone to use whatever bathroom they “gender identify” with.  Soon after that announcement the American Family Association (AFA) called for a boycott of Target Stores, to which the last I have heard, over a million people have signed on.

Let me say upfront, that for the past several decades our nation and predominant culture has been Hell-bent towards turning its back on anything to do with God and morality, or as some have put it, Judaic-Christians values.  And tragically it shows.  From a biblical perspective, as Isaiah prophetically warned apostate Israel in Chapter 5, our society by and large now calls evil good, and good evil.    As a nation we have systematically dismantled centuries of understanding on things like the sanctity of human life, marriage, and more.  To say we are headed for trouble, would be something of an understatement in my humble opinion.  What we are witnessing now, is the continuing (and rapidly accelerating) slide down the slippery slope of rejection of the God of the Bible.

I would also like to say, that for the most part I have highly respected the work of Donald and Tim Wildmon and AFA.  They have stood in the breach for Christ and His people on many occasions.

So… what about the Boycott?  To sign or not to sign… that is the question.  I am disturbed by Target’s action, but what they are doing is in keeping with who they have represented themselves to be for some time now. They are, and have been a liberal business, at least for the past decade or so.  But before you and I get all hot and bothered over Target, we need to ask ourselves a serious question… How far are we willing to go to express our outrage and dismay over the direction of our culture?  While that question has a number of nuances… let me ask this: If a liberal, marriage-redefining commitment/policy disturbs you to the point where you would consider boycotting a place like Target, what’s next?  Because there really should be a next.  Here are a just a few other self-professed organizations that would stand in opposition to our cherished biblical beliefs: NFL, MasterCard, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, Nestle Purina, PayPal, Yelp, Facebook, Adidas, Google, eBay, Starbucks …. and I could go on and on and on… Should you boycott these as well?  I mean, if we’re sincerely outraged, shouldn’t we?

Yeah… It really is a bit more complicated than it appears.  And pledging to boycott someone like Target is at least for me as a Christian not the best way to represent my Christ.  As a follower of Christ, I am acutely aware of something persistently hammered home by our God, in His Word.  Each and every one of us is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), we are called to be God’s witnesses here (Isa. 43:10), making His Gospel message known.  I have what at least should be an intrinsic, constitutional right as an American to voice my opinion; and that opinion can include a boycott of Target or whatever.  But is that best for me as a follower of Christ?  How is my boycotting a store… or several stores going to further God’s kingdom?  How is what I commit to in writing, or via social media, or whatever going to help someone come to know Christ?  If what I testify to causes someone to stumble, or hinders someone from knowing Christ, is that OK as long as I make my point?

Did you know… Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross to die for sinful, rebellious mankind that He also died for the sexually confused and immoral? God called us to love our neighbors, and even our enemies.  He didn’t say love everyone but ___________.  Some time ago I looked up and shared what the Bible calls “abomination” (from the NKJV).  Surprise, surprise, there is not a single one of us that would not fall somewhere on that list; after all it included liars and pride and gossip… and so much more.  Pretty down right convicting.  

The “main thing” for us as Christ followers is not found in showing displeasure over a store’s policy.  Stores come and go.  The main thing for us is making Christ known.  Everything else is secondary.  Though there is a natural bent to us that rebels, we need to remember what Paul said, Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  I may have a right as an American to express my opinions, but as Christ’s child, I don’t.  Not really.

With this in mind, you need to pray about what God would have you to do.  Would pledging a boycott help or hinder making Jesus known?  Would posting your displeasure on social media or whatever help… or just paint a picture of someone who is angry.  (I am… but I am also told to be angry but not give way to sin - Ephesians 4:26… There’s that pesky Bible stuff again…)

Personally, I am not going to pledge to boycott Target.  That said, I haven’t shopped there in several weeks now.  Hmmm… Now that is something to noodle over.  But I am also asking myself, if boycotting is not the best way to go, then what can I do to be Christ in this culture?  What can I do to share Christ’s love and hope in a world that is increasingly hostile to my Christ?  These are the challenges we face.  And it is going to take a lot of prayer… and maybe even some creativity.

So… Let me wrap this up with a thought.  As tragic and sad as I see this whole state of our nation, and the insanity of Target’s (and numerous government entities) new policy… we need to understand that all too often - and yes, even among us professing Christians - principles often end up taking a back-seat to legal and financial realities.  Allowing whomever to use whatever bathroom they desire is going to cause some very, very serious problems for whoever declares such a policy.  The most professing liberal parent can become the fiercest conservative momma bear when their children are threatened.  We have yet to see the lawsuits that will arise from this.  I think we’re about to see the proverbial and biblical “sowing to the wind, and reaping the whirlwind” with not only Target, but every other institution and business, including governments, that have chosen liberal principles over common sense, let alone simple morality.  Just saying.  Sadly though, this means there will be victims.  <sigh>  

In the meantime… It behooves us to pray mightily for our nation.  What a boycott might not change, our God can.  He is after all sovereign.  He is not up in Heaven wringing His divine hands.  He is up to something… and that something is in full keeping with His person and divine character.  I am so very thankful I am His child.  And so very concerned for those who aren’t.  Aren’t you?  

By the way, if interested, World Magazine also published an excellent article on this issue.  Here is a link: http://worldmag.com/2016/04/target_on_target

Another day closer...