A Christian Response to Religious Freedom

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… 1st Amendment

The 1st Amendment makes two guarantees:
The Government will not establish a state church.
Citizens are guaranteed the free observance of their religion.

The New Testament explains in Romans 13:3-4 that the role of government is to punish evil deeds, reward good deeds, and render justice. There is no conflict between these biblical principles and the principle of religious freedom found in the 1st Amendment. Jesus explained in Matthew 22:20-22 that as citizens, Christians are to live under the authority of their government as long as the authority of their government does not require them to disobey God.

This excerpt from the Religious Liberties section of the 2009 Manhattan Declaration provides a good summary of Christian citizenship:

“As Christians, we take seriously the Biblical admonition to respect and obey those in authority. We believe in law and in the rule of law. We recognize the duty to comply with laws whether we happen to like them or not, unless the laws are gravely unjust or require those subject to them to do something unjust or otherwise immoral. The Biblical purpose of law is to preserve order and serve justice and the common good; yet laws that are unjust—and especially laws that purport to compel citizens to do what is unjust—undermine the common good, rather than serve it.”
Manhattan Declaration, 2009.

The religious liberty freedom of some Christians has recently been contested. Decisions made by Christians related to expression of beliefs on marriage, gender, education, and other issues affecting home and the workplace have been challenged and taken to the courts with Christians losing some of the cases.

Live and Proclaim Ministries seeks to apply biblical perspective and principles to questions that arise related to the freedom to observe Christian faith in daily life and work.  A good rule of thumb when one’s practice of faith is challenged is to respond with kindness and civility.  The gauge of strength and courage is not how loud we speak nor our level of sarcasm. The gauge of strength and courage is our ability to define our position in relation to the hope we have in Christ and to do so with loving intelligence and wisdom (1 Peter 3:15).

Christians are ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). To address conflict with anger, scorn, and  malice negates our credibility as bearers of the love of Christ.  Love, through Christ,  is the greatest attribute we offer. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

About Tommye Lambert

Tommye Lambert is the founder and President of Live and Proclaim Ministries Tommye is a teacher, speaker, writer, and minister. Tommye has written and edited devotional journals, articles, small group Bible studies, church-wide curricula, and is a regular blogger. She speaks at retreats, workshops, worship services, and teaches in a variety of settings. Tommye serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) as the national patient voice representative for pulmonary medicine. Tommye is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at Beeson Divinity School. After a seventeen-year career in healthcare, Tommye resigned her laboratory medicine management position in 1996 when her husband was diagnosed with leukemia. She entered Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in 1998, earned an MDIV from Beeson in 2002, and served on the ministerial staff at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Alabama, from 1998 until 2011. In late 2011, Tommye left ministry service at Hunter Street to become full time caregiver to her daughter, Amy. who went to heaven in November 2013. Tommye is married to Kerry and is the mother of four adult daughters. Tommye and Kerry are active members of Hunter Street Baptist Church where she teaches in Wednesday Night Life.

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