Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gideons International


The Lord has blessed me and the church where I serve with courageous men and women who are members of the Gideons International. If you aren't aware the Gideons are a para-church ministry group that is committed to spreading God's Word worldwide. I'm on board with any group committed to that! Next time you stay at a hotel check the drawer and you'll probably find a Bible place by this group.

They are not without opposition of course. Yesterday I read THIS article on FoxNews.com about an "incident" at a high school in my own state of Texas. The Gideons set up a table with New Testaments on display for the students to come by and pick up if they choose. This display was outside of the school buildings but on the property and after school hours. It is completely Constitutional and they did so with the permission of the school district. The one caveat is that the Gideons are not allowed to solicit or interact with the students. I've seen this before, the Gideons are polite, reserved and simply stand by their table. If students choose to pick up a New Testament they may do so and if they choose to pass on by they may do so without fear of solicitation or being proselyted.

A furor has erupted by parents and some of the quotes are ridiculous. First, let me applaud the Gideons for their courage and the school district for Constitutional consistency. The first amendment of the Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is the separation of church and state which the Constitution defines. There is no other "separation of church and state" law and that language never even appears in the Constitution.

One father of a student spoke against the Gideons saying, "School is a place to learn, not a place to worship." This really captures the heart of the argument against the Gideons. Sadly it is ignorant. First of all, no worship service was being endorsed or led. Second, from a secular standpoint the Bible is a learning tool of history, culture, and literature. Third, has anyone seen the worship that goes on in public schools today that distracts from learning? It is called sports... that's another tirade but my point is the Gideons were in no way a disruption of learning whereas no furor is raised over the countless other distractions that besot students.

Praise God for using the Gideons. I pray those New Testaments will be picked up (freely), read, and used by the Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds to the reality of Jesus Christ. Press on brothers and sisters even in the face of such opposition!

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