You’d think a volunteer Christian prison chaplain running a voluntary Bible study could use the Bible to teach prisoners! But a chaplain in the UK recently lost an unfair dismissal case when he was reportedly forced to resign from his job as a gardener and barred from volunteering as the prison chaplain after using God’s Word to teach prisoners about God’s forgiveness.
During one of his chapel services, Reverend Barry Trayhorn, a Pentecostal minister, used 1 Corinthians 6 to teach about God’s love and forgiveness. Part of the passage reads,
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)
Reportedly, Reverend Trayhorn was given a final warning about breaching equality laws when he used this passage, which mentions homosexuality as a sin. He claims he was subsequently forced to resign. The tribunal looking at his case found “he spoke in an ‘insensitive’ way which failed to have regard for the special nature of the congregation in the prison.”
This is an alarming example of how quickly Christians are losing religious freedom across the West. In this case, it wasn’t even acceptable for this chaplain to use God’s Word during a chapel service—a completely voluntary service where those attending would expect to hear from God’s Word. It won’t be long before we see this happening in other countries, including America. And really, the authorities are saying the Bible itself is not suitable for people! How long before it will be outlawed?
Court victories for religious freedom are becoming the exception, not the norm. Christians are increasingly being punished for the free exercise of their faith and for standing on God’s Word and holding to biblical convictions about sin. This is especially apparent with the gay lobby. They claim they want acceptance and tolerance, yet anyone who dares express disagreement with their agenda or lifestyle is boycotted or dragged off to court and punished. This will only continue as our culture drifts farther from God’s Word and becomes more secular.
So what can Christians do?
Well, we can continue to pray for God’s will for this nation. And we can continue to stand boldly—yet lovingly—on the truth of God’s Word. Marriage is for one man and one woman because that’s how God designed it. Anything other than God’s design is sin. But there is forgiveness and grace through the blood of the Cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20). That’s the message we need to share because it’s the gospel that changes hearts for eternity. We must always remember that
We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.