- - Thursday, July 9, 2015

I had the chance to Skype with Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church (SBC) in Farmersville, Texas.

In light of some local opposition to the proposed building of an Islamic mosque in Farmersville, Mr. Barber posted a blog this week to state clearly that: “None of us who are Christians should oppose the construction of mosques in Farmersville.”

Because this is an issue that has been springing up in all 50 states, I thought it would be helpful to hear from a pastor who is dealing with this in his own town, and who has a strong opinion on the subject.

An excerpt of his blog follows the video.



Here is an excerpt of Barber’s blog:

“At this moment a controversy is brewing over the proposed construction of a Moslem cemetery, mosque, and training center in my town, Farmersville, TX. Many local residents have expressed opposition to the project and have called upon our city government to block the construction of the facility. …some of those who have voiced their opposition have been Christians. And perhaps there are many more Christians who aren’t sure what position to take.

“I send this message out primarily to the members of First Baptist Church. The Planning & Zoning Commission of the City of Farmersville will have to consider the various implications of…of whatever Planning & Zoning Commissions consider. The City Council will then consider their recommendation and will consider how the request lines up with various city ordinances. I have no expertise concerning those things. I have no opinion about them, either. I do, however, have something to say to the members of my church regarding how Jesus expects us to respond to the religious nature of this controversy.

“I am your pastor. It is my job—a job given to me both by Christ and by you as a congregation—to advise and shepherd you on spiritual matters. It’s is not my job always to say just what you want to hear. Stay far away from the pastor who would never offer a word of correction to you—such a pastor loves himself more than he loves you, and he won’t risk rocking his own boat to try to help you grow spiritually. I don’t ever want to be that pastor.

“And so, I write to explain to you why I think it is important that none of us who are Christians should oppose the construction of mosques in Farmersville.

“It all fits under this main idea: When Christians say that the City of Farmersville should block the construction of an Islamic facility in our town, we’re saying a lot more than we think we are saying:

1. We are saying that we have very little confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

…Those who want the power of the government to block the construction of Islamic facilities in Farmersville are doing things the Moslem way, not the Christian way. They’re doing things the Iranian way, not the American way. Moslems co-opt the apparatus of the state and use it to stack the governmental deck in favor of their faith and against competing faiths with which they disagree and which they perceive as dangerous to their Moslem way of life.

2. We are saying that we do care about the spiritual lostness of people, just so long as they aren’t too visibly active in our neighborhood.

Out of sight, out of mind, is not actually a proverb from the Bible. It is certainly no way for Christians to feel about the presence of false religions in the world. …Winning these Moslems to Christ is our mission, right? How does it advance that mission for us to make sure that they are farther away from us…that we have to travel farther to get to them?

3. We are telling the government that we think they ought to choose between religions they like and religions they don’t like, and then use city government to make life impossible for the religions they don’t like.

Whatever the city government does against an Islamic training center today, they’ll be doing it against Bible-believing, Bible-preaching churches in twenty years. Mark my words. And if you tell the City of Farmersville today that you want them to have and to exercise this sort of power, then your objections on that day are going to ring pretty hollow. As for me, I think the First Amendment is a pretty good thing. I’m in favor of Religious Liberty for all Americans. That means anywhere I can build a church, the Moslems can build a mosque.

4. We are telling the world that we do not trust God to take care of us.

Does our fear say something about our faith? Is the something that it says about our faith truly the message we want our community to receive? …We have a promise from Jesus, and we do not need to be afraid (Matthew 28:19-20).

Read the entire piece here.

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