FNM risks upsetting the church

EDITOR, The Tribune. THE Free National Movement (FNM) has stirred up a hornet's nest by holding its forum on a Sunday in Grand Bahama at the Grand Lucayan Resort. The event, dubbed "Take 5" was held on January 15. At this political event the FNM officially introduced its five candidates for Grand Bahama. The governing party had also held its National Candidates Launch for Nassau on Sunday, January 29. I have heard several critics and even supporters of the Ingraham administration voicing their disapproval of the FNM holding a political event on a Sunday, of all days. I too have been critical of the FNM for holding political rallies on Sundays. I don't believe the governing party should be holding any political events on Sundays. I believe that the FNM is in danger of alienating its Christian base by holding rallies on the Lord's Day. The FNM must appreciate the fact that there are tens of thousands of regular Sunday churchgoers in this country. At a time when many political clairvoyants are saying that the political pendulum is swinging in the direction of the PLP, the FNM can ill afford to anger its evangelical supporters. But who are we to judge the Ingraham administration? The church in this country has lost its moral authority and witness. That is why party leaders from both sides of the political divide don't respect us anymore. In his groundbreaking book entitled The Church Before the Watching World, the late Dr Francis A Schaeffer said: "When those who claim to be God's people turn aside from the Word of God and from the Christ of history, this is far more heinous in the sight of God than the worst case of infidelity in marriage, for it destroys the reality, the great central Bridegroom-bride relationship." It is interesting that The Bahamas Christian Council has yet to issue an official statement condemning the FNM for holding the Take Five forum on the Lord's Day. They should have said something. Perhaps the members of the Council are thinking that the church in this country is in no moral position to be telling a secular organisation that it should not be holding its rallies on Sundays. Also, the members of the Council probably thought that if they were to condemn the FNM for holding political events on a Sunday, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) would have used that to gain political mileage. For years, the church, especially the Baptist church, has been used by the Opposition party in order to stay in power. But I think there might be another reason why the Council has remained mum on this issue. The church in this country has been rocked to its foundation by several sex scandals in the past several years. I personally know of one Christian brother who confided in me that he was propositioned by a prominent pastor in Grand Bahama. The pastor, by the way, is a man. The recent high profile cases involving two men of the cloth in New Providence and Grand Bahama are only an infinitesimal tip of a colossal iceberg. I have been in the church for many years and I can tell you that we are very good at sweeping our dirt under the rug. That is why I don't believe that the church, collectively speaking, is in the moral position to chide the FNM about holding rallies on Sunday. I am not saying that I agree with the FNM in this regard. I don't. A holy day, according to the Old Testament Prophets Isaiah and Hosea, means absolutely nothing to God when people are living immoral, unholy lives. And that includes the people of The Bahamas. The Bible says in Hosea 6:6 that God desires mercy and not sacrifice. In fact, Hosea also said in the second chapter that God will cause the Sabbath days to cease. Also, the Prophet Samuel said in First Samuel 15:22 that to obey God is better than sacrifice. Even the Apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:16 to "let no man judge you in meat, drink, holy day, new moon or the Sabbath day". We commemorate the Lord's resurrection, the Advent of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the New Testament church on the Lord's Day, Sunday. To be sure, Sunday is not the Sabbath day, Saturday is. At least it was in Old Testament times. To work on the Sabbath in Old Testament times was a capital offence. However, the Sabbath day laws are no longer binding. The Sabbath finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The church finds its rest in Him alone, not in a day (read Hebrews 4 and Matthew 11:28-29). Sunday is a symbol of a new beginning. Yet that day in and of itself is not important. What is fundamentally important is obedience to Jesus Christ. God is a holy God; and He is looking for holiness and obedience to His Moral Laws among His people. Holiness does not characterise this nation, however. That is why we are not in the position to be casting stones at the FNM, or any political organisation for that matter for holding political events on a Sunday. When the church gets its act together, then will it be in the moral position to bring reproof to the powers-that-be when they step out of line. As it stands right now, we as the church are not in the moral position to be chiding the FNM for the January 15th or January 29th event. Having said that, I still believe that the FNM should have used discretion when deciding on which day to hold its political events. To hold a forum or a rally on a Sunday is not a wise political calculation. Sunday is the day Christians assemble together to worship and take communion. I think the FNM should have held its events on either Friday or Saturday. To hold them on a Sunday, in my view, is not right. KEVIN EVANS Freeport, Grand Bahama. January 29, 2012.


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