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November - December 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel

Editoral . . .

Religious Freedom

Royce Mitchell, Jr.

As this issue goes to press, many of our readership are getting ready to celebrate the autumn High Sabbaths spoken of in the Scriptures. We wish them a joyous Festival season! May we all be blessed with God's peace and freedom through the Sabbath days of our lives!

The Bible Sabbath Association (BSA) extends a brotherly greeting and warm welcome to the many new subscribers who have started receiving this magazine over the past few months. We hope that you have been finding the articles stimulating and interesting. Our mission at the BSA is to promote Jesus Christ and His Sabbath-as well as to facilitate cooperation and understanding among those who believe that we ought to keep God's laws-including His Sabbath.

TSS has quite a variety of articles this month. One of particular interest is about the house churches of China. When I read what Chinese Sabbatarians have to endure to keep God's Laws, I am astounded.... Many of us take for granted the freedom, which we have in our Western countries, to worship as we see fit. Yet, in the Far East communist country of China, meeting on the Sabbath is something that is done as secretly as possible. Imagine having to get up in the middle of the night in order to silently slip to some secret stream simply to be baptized!

Some should take special note regarding the article on house churches in China, that (as its writer Paul Wong has stated in the previous TSS issue) the True Jesus Church (TJC) is connected with the Pentecostal Movement. For those who find the "extraordinary" statements of such inclined things questionable or objectionable-be warned, in advance, that you will read of some amazing manifestations asserted to be happening with the TJC in China. With this caveat to our diverse readership, the BSA has chosen to publish the history and current circumstances of the Sabbatarians of China.

All of us stand before God in the faith that we have-and, as we believe that He has instructed us. We felt that the hardships and struggles of Chinese Sabbatarians were valuable to read about, and have (for the most part) chosen to leave the article[s] unedited. You will find that Paul Wong is a capable writer and quite easy to read nevertheless.

As I reflect on the hardships under the persecution of communism, which Chinese Sabbatarians survive and endure to practice their faith, I am very thankful for the ideas laid out and protected in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. The founding fathers of America stated, in Article I of the Bill of Rights, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." Over the years, our God-given unalienable right-to decide for ourselves how we ought to worship God-has been trashed by those who think that they know better than we do. Even more, the guarantee under the Bill of Rights has been perverted to mean that our children can not hear about our God, nor pray to Him on public school property. Why? The murders of school children by other school children are continuing examples of the amoral behavior that results when, into a godless system of education, we turn our children loose and neglect teaching them about God and His Way ourselves.

By this "parental education," I don't simply mean that we need to instruct our children about the existence of God-although we certainly should be able to facilitate their understanding of that fact. What I mean, more specifically, is that we should be instructing our children about all that God gives to us and expects from us. We should be enlightening them about the value that God places on each of us, and how very precious we are in His sight.

If we could drive home the reason why God said, "You shall not murder," children would not see a reason to take a gun to school to shoot a teacher or classmate. Some people want to blame guns, violent games or movies for the problems with the violent children: However, the guilty culprit is often the one staring back at us from the reflection in our mirrors.

Children are like blank slates at birth; they are ready and eager to grow in knowledge. We as parents have the awesome privilege of impressing our Godly values upon those "blank slates"; such true education is beyond the State's purview. If we don't accept our parental responsibility, we can be certain of one thing: the "prince of the power of the air" will not be so negligent. He wants to teach our children that life is pointless and futile, that there are no conscionable boundaries-and that others were made to be used for deviant, amoral "indulgences"; such would even include murder.

It's true; if we don't drive home the beauty and glory of God's Law, we can be certain that our enemy will make his way glitter and shine in all the ways that appeal to young, inexperienced eyes. So, rather than let the influence of the evil one take over their minds, we should strive to imprint upon them the true Way of God. If we do so, we won't be reading about how one of our sweet little ones shot up a classroom full of children. We won't be blaming Hollywood for their evil movies. Instead, we will be blessed with wonderful children, and eventually, wonderful grandchildren.

Children are a blessing from God: so He says. With that blessing comes the powerful responsibility of parenting. The blessings only begin with our children. Someday, if we endure, we will see those blessings reflected in our children's children; and they will hopefully be able to grow in God's grace and knowledge in peace and freedom.


November - December 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel