When one walks into the Vineyard Columbus Church in Westerville, Ohio, one cannot help but be impressed by the warm decor, coffee shop, book store, friendly folk, and the plush, comfortable auditorium seats. As the service begins, you are entertained by a great orchestra/choir and the acoustics are, in a word, heavenly. The warm atmosphere, friendly people, and good sounds, leave one with a warm fuzzy feeling anticipating a delightful and entertaining worship service. So, hey, “where’s the beef?” And why is Minutemen United standing at the front gates of this Christian wonderland reproving its church leaders and their flock?
As those Vineyard parishioners who have stopped to talk to us can attest, we Minutemen are there because we know that America is in trouble; very deep moral and spiritual trouble, which has manifested itself in the rise and embrace of rampant sexual immorality which threatens to destroy traditional marriage and the family. It is also noteworthy that over 55 million innocent American babies have been sacrificed at the altar of convenience over the last forty years as well.
And what is the main reason for this moral decline? It’s very simple – the Church of Jesus Christ has not been the salt and light in the world that Christ commanded it to be.
We at Minutemen United have noticed that the Church is AWOL. So, in taking a leave of absence from standing out in front of abortion clinics, the halls of Congress, and local pubs trying to get “bad people” to do good things, we are heeding God’s call to go directly to the cause – the Church, and, more specifically, the pulpits in America. It is there, where the problems all begin, that we feel the Lord wants us to be sounding the alarm today.
Pick any of the many moral problems that plague America today: gay marriage, abortion on demand, corrupt government, the complicit liberal media, crushing national debt, the failing economy, and you will see a deep and desperate problem that threatens the very life of our nation, not just morally, but also spiritually, socially, politically, economically, in every way.
Minutemen United stood vigil in front of the Vineyard Columbus Church on a recent Sunday morning with signs and passed out literature to parishioners as they passed by. The purpose of the visit was to call the Church to be The Church. Minutemen United believes that they are today’s watchmen on the wall calling the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ back to holiness and to speak out boldly and without fear on the moral issues of our day, issues that seriously threaten the future of our great nation. Pastor Rich Nathan and the Vineyard Columbus Church do preach truth from the pulpit and perform many good works in the community, but why does an abortion clinic still thrive less than two miles from the church? Minutemen United is not a single issue organization. We are deeply concerned about the overall moral climate of our nation, and we believe that the pastors in the churches across America have to speak out more boldly about these issues if our nation is to stem the tide of its moral and spiritual decline.
With this in mind, Minutemen United was surprised and shocked that the entirety of one of Pastor Nathan’s recent sermons (see sermon here) was about the Minutemen United. Pastor Nathan claimed in his sermon that the Minutemen United demonstrations in front of his church amounted to “slandering” him! It is quite clear that he missed the point of our witness. A king in the Bible had a different reaction when he was “attacked.” Shimei, a descendant of the house of King Saul, cursed King David and threw stones at him and his followers as he fled for his life from his son Absalom. One of the men with David offered to “dispatch” this vile person for David; but King David’s response was one of humility, not indignation and self-righteousness. David said to Abishai and all his servants “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” II Samuel 16:11-12
Minutemen United’s mission is not to throw stones at the Church or curse those who stand in the pulpits. It is to motivate and to mobilize the Church to call the nation back to God’s moral standards. Electing “better” men to political office will not do it. It must start with the Church. Minutemen United is on the same side as the Vineyard Church – we are fighting the same spiritual battle for the heart and soul of our nation.
Sadly, Pastor Nathan did not appear to get that. Instead of complaining about fellow followers of Christ who see the malignant issues destroying our nation and who have been instructed to shout them from the rooftops, Pastor Nathan of the Vineyard church (and other pastors in the USA) should be more concerned about current political, moral and spiritual forces that are rapidly spreading across America like the plague.
For example, the week of Pastor Nathan’s sermon, the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America were preparing to vote on whether to accept openly gay boys up to the age of seventeen into their ranks. Also, the Supreme Court is about to announce a decision on gay marriage that could forever undermine the sanctity of marriage.
Did Pastor Nathan use this occasion to speak to the issue of homosexually? No. Did he call for the closure of the abortion mill that is located just over a mile from his church? No. Instead he used the opportunity on this particular Sunday to “defend” himself from the “slander” of fellow Christians witnessing to God’s truth outside his church – and this was the entire sermon! This is sad, truly sad. To devote an entire sermon to maligning fellow Christians who are trying to warn him and his congregation of the grave danger facing our country and the Church.
If only Pastor Nathan had seen fit to go after the real workers of iniquity in his church’s community with the same vigor and righteous indignation that he employed against the watchmen on the wall who are knocking on his door. Unfortunately, for the time being, Pastor Nathan, and many pastors like him across the nation, chooses to be more annoyed by signs in his church’s front yard sounding the alarm of moral decline than by the moral decline itself, vividly represented by the abortion clinic just down the street from his church. He is apparently more concerned about the traffic jams that his members may have to suffer as they flock to hear his politically correct sermons than he is about the humanism and anti-Christianity in our government-run schools or the threat to the institution of marriage.
God has called Minutemen United to the Vineyard Church in Columbus, Ohio for a reason: to share that we and many concerned Christians in our country see the storm clouds rising over our great nation. We are sounding the alarm and calling Vineyard and the Church in America to be salt and light so that we can together stem the tide of immorality that is destroying our country.
Our adversary, Satan, does not want this initiative to succeed. In this church outreach, Minutemen members have been harassed by the Police Department, physically attacked, bullied, falsely accused, and even arrested. It is quite evident that Satan is doing his best to divide, conquer, and destroy this initiative. We count it all joy, and with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ we will prevail. It is our prayer that the church leadership at Vineyard, and at other churches in the city, state, and nation, will heed our warnings, join with us, seek guidance and boldness from the Holy Spirit to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word from their pulpits, and do what is right in the sight of God. Be the church that Jesus Christ called us to be. Be salt and light and again serve as the conscience of the nation – calling many to righteousness. There is still time. Now more than ever, “As goes the church…so goes the nation.”
May God help us all.