Friday, October 17, 2014

The Houston Persecution

Recently, Houston has been a news magnet in the Christian world. I'm linking to the snopes.com entry only because it includes the sources and dates if you want to inform yourself. In a thumbnail sketch, here is the issue:
  • The mayor of Houston signed an ordinance into law that was controversial. 
  • Opponents of the ordinance began a petition drive to repeal the law.
  • The petition was declared invalid by the city.
  • The opponents filed a lawsuit against the city.
  • The city attorneys responded and part of their action was to subpoena the sermons of 5 area pastors dealing with certain topics.
  • The news world erupted in a frenzy of tree- and atom-killing as they printed/published/posted/aired reports about this issue and the blogosphere launched its own rhetoric, saber-rattling campaign.
Got it? Okay.

Here is my question: why would a pastor be offended/angry/persecuted if someone wanted copies of their sermon?

I would be delighted if someone asked for a copy of all of my sermons on any topic. I would be overjoyed if someone cared enough to go back and read what I said on a subject - without regard to the topic.

If the city attorney's wanted to see any of my sermons regarding any subject matter, I would think that the greatest compliment to my preaching status. To think that my words (which I dedicate to God before every sermon) could affect the hearts and minds of the people I proclaim before says much of the opinion of those who desire those documents. They believe that preaching changes hearts and minds. They believe that the words of my mouth, as a preacher, bear weight in the lives of those who hear me.

It is my hope that someone would desire to hear or read or watch the sermons that I proclaim with this much interest. To go to a judge and make a formal request of those sermons is a testament of their desire to read and hear the word of God that I proclaim.

And think of the legacy. Those sermons become a part of public record. Those sermons form the basis of precedence in the law. Those words shape the course of future decisions and opinions.

The only reason I can reason out, for a pastor refusing to surrender their sermons, is that their sermons weren't the word of God, but were the words of their own hearts and mind. I have to ask, did they submit that sermon before God, whose word they claimed to build upon, in order to have it rightly judged by the one who has the right to judge? Did their sermons not reflect kingdom principles but mere human opinion? Were their sermons not good enough for all ears (and eyes) to hear (and see)?

If any attorney wants to read my sermons, you don't need a subpoena. Just send me a letter. But be ready for the reply. I will send you a copy of every letter, of every sermon outline I have ever preached.

And with every sermon I send you, there will be a little prayer that somewhere in those humble words, you may find Jesus Christ.
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