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Religious Intolerance in our Time


Sermon shared by Mark Aarssen

April 2007
Summary: We live in a restless, violent, ever changing world that moves in unknown directions every day. We were witness to this sad reality this past week when those victims at Virginia Tech lost their lives.
Denomination: Presbyterian/Reformed
Audience: General adults
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a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA because I dont believe that they are responsible for my daughters death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachels murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
Youve stripped away our heritage,
Youve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question Why?
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational
systems for most of our nations history.

Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbines tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA.

They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA. I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

Friends I ask you today where is God in your life? Is he the authority of your life? Is he the central figure in your home, your marriage your relationship with your children, your friends? Do you find that not a day goes by that you do not talk about Jesus? If you answer Yes than we can have hope for the future for our young people, for our society.

We need to return to the zeal, the enthusiasm, the joy the conviction and assurance and immovable faith of the early church. The religious leaders of Jesus time beat the apostles. It wasnt enough that they could not defeat God they had to beat the messenger too!

Be not surprised at how hard it is for you to live the Christian life today. The world and I mean the ungodly world and the religious world and I mean the self-righteous pius look
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