When it comes to our charge as believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to spread His Gospel throughout the earth, we rightfully object to censorship of that message. It is a rhetoric of love, not hate speech as some might claim.
However, those freedoms are in jeopardy because of the behaviors of some to incite violence on those same platforms that allow us the opportunity to share a message of peace.
Christians are being tarred and feathered because of the actions of a few extremists, and reactionary social media platforms have responded with outright censorship of entire platforms, rather than seek out the true culprits.
If we are to fight back in protection of our rights to free speech, it must be in a way that doesn’t use “fighting words.” Yes, we are upset, and yes, we deem wrongdoing. But the Gospel calls us to be above reproach. Our words are to be “gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 ESV)”
And we can always count on our brother James to tell it like it is, often hitting us where it hurts: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26 ESV)”
I know you join me and our ministry partners here at The Hope Center in representing a faith that is worth something, and we must do everything within our power to protect our rights to free speech in order that we can continue our efforts to spread the Gospel to those who have yet to hear. Everything within our power means calling on our legislators to represent us when voting on bills and laws that protect free speech, and being informed about what is being proposed. And it means getting involved in local government as we feel called so that we have a pipeline of politicians of strong faith to lead our country into the future. We must play the long game, as our Lord and Savior Himself has done in laying down His life to pay the penalty for our sins. We know the ultimate victory will be ours, so we can respond in wisdom and patience in order not to lose the right to respond, and the moral high ground.
For that is what God has called us to do, as we are reminded in 1 Peter 3: 15-16, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (ESV)”
Many of our ministry partners work in nations where they can’t reveal the reason for their hope, due to state censorship against Christianity. They can tell us we know nothing about the hardships those believers face in order to remain faithful to the Gospel in such hostile nations. Many of us fear it will one day come to that in the United States. But for now, we still have the freedom to share the name of Jesus with those around us. So let us not take that for granted, let us be about our Father’s business, and let us be strategic in protecting those rights.
Meanwhile, we can be encouraged by the hope we have, as promised in Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) “’No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.”
Lt. Col. (ret.) Allen West is president and CEO of The Hope Center, a 501(c)(3) incubator of Christian ministries making a global impact for God’s Kingdom. It serves as a center point for Christian activity and ministry here in North Texas, providing professional resources, ideas, mentoring and training to empower ministries to magnify their reach. Lt. Col. West is a combat veteran, former Member of the U.S. Congress, an author and speaker, and chair of the Texas GOP.