Pastor Dennis Terry recently has drawn a lot of criticism for remarks he made in introducing Rick Santorum to his congregation. In his introduction, Mr. Terry said, "This nation was founded as a Christian nation. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-there's only one God and His name is Jesus...I
got one thing to say. If you don't love America, if you don't like the way we do things, I got one thing to say-GET OUT!!". You can view the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2emBxDOY7g.
We have had the discussion here many times about whether this nation was founded as a Christian nation. I am sure non-Christians who were born and raised in the United States consider themselves every bit as much a part of this country as Pastor Terry. I believe that they would not necessarily equate love of country with the pastor's rant. I was there in the Sixties when opposition to the Viet Nam war led to cries of "love it or leave it". I have a problem with those who wrap their personal perspective in the flag.
I also have a problem with those who pervert the ministry of Yeshua. He never claimed to be God. The New Testament is filled with quotes from Him referring to our Father in Heaven. In the Lord's Prayer, who are we praying to? When brought
before Pilate, who did He attribute power to? Although Yeshua was filled with the Spirit of God, He was not God and never claimed to be.
And if the pastor is claiming that only Christians have a legitimate vision of God, he is mistaken. Muslims would agree with His statement that "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-there's only one God". In the Qur'an, we find in the second book, verse 136, "Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)". So much for the nonsense about a "monkey god".
Please understand that I have no tolerance for the political assassins who try to hide their crimes behind God's back. I consider the term "holy war" to be the ultimate oxymoron. But I do not see how we advance the message of Yeshua by defaming those who worship "Allah, the benevolent, the merciful" and telling them they should leave the country. I can imagine that the video of Pastor Terry has become a recruiting message for Al Qaida around the world.
Gee, I feel safer already.
Now some may feel that I am criticizing Pastor Terry for his beliefs. This is not true. My problem is not his beliefs. My problem is his preaching that his beliefs should be everybody's beliefs and everybody with different beliefs should leave the country. Granted that any good salesman should try to convince his customers that his product or service is the only one which will meet their needs. I just have a problem with him perverting the message of Yeshua to make his sales pitch.
I also have problems with him preaching a message which can be used by our enemies to convince their recruits that it's us against them. The people who are trying to frame their political terrorism as a religious conflict will be able to use his speech to convinve others of their argument. How does this benefit the country he claims to love?
And finally, I have a problem with those in his congregation who will take his message as a call to action that they should encourage those with other beliefs to cleanse this country of "impurities" by leaving it. If you have different religious beliefs, GET OUT! If you have different beliefs about marriage and family, GET OUT! If you have different beliefs about abortion, GET OUT! It's not hard to imagine those with a need to justify their hatred to see this as just such a justification and act on it.