But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20
Did I miss something?
It seems I remember how the media spent days reporting the sad antics of a Christian pastor that was going to burn the Koran.
And I also remember how they endlessly shared the story of a splinter Christian group who made an unacceptable scene at the burial of American soldiers killed overseas.
And I can recall how, when a Christian youth pastor burned phonograph records and CDs, which contained immoral lyrics, the story was carried from coast to coast.
Which is why I expected to see similar press given when the organization called Backyard Skeptics promised to tear apart copies of Bible verses they felt were immoral. According to the leader of the atheist group, the event which took place at Huntington Beach Pier in California was not designed to be offensive. They were only going to tear up copies of pages of the Bible.
That was the promise.
According to those who were there, the leader, playing to the cameras, went beyond tearing up copies of Scripture, he actually ripped a few pages out of a Bible as he made his closing statements to the crowd.
Yes, I expected to see that story being flashed over the TV and the Internet. I was sure the idea of someone tearing apart a book, especially the Bible, would be universally condemned. After all, if I took an immoral novel and tore it apart or condemned a pornographic website, I know many voices would be raised to criticize my narrow-mindedness.
So, why didn't I hear anything about this event? Two possibilities suggest themselves:
Possibility number one: I missed all the reports.
Possibility number two: The media loves to condemn and criticize Christians who take a stand more than it does atheists who do the same.
Centuries ago, Peter and John found that the religious institution and not the media wanted them to keep quiet and stop their proclamation of the crucified and risen Savior. When they were told to shut up and sit down, they replied, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."
In our age when the foibles and failings of Christians are reported with greater enthusiasm than our witness, the apostle's reply still seems valid. Denominations, congregations and individuals all ought to confess: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."
And what we have seen and heard is Jesus Christ -- crucified and risen.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the Savior came into this world to seek and save sinners. When He ascended, He asked me to tell His story with the lost. In spite of prejudice and persecution, help me -- like the apostles -- to speak of what we have heard and seen. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries