By Ryan Tucker
In Matthew chapter 16, Jesus tells us that He will build His Church and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
But that didn’t mean the forces opposed to the Church wouldn’t try to up-end it. They have throughout history and are still trying to do so today.
One area where we see that is in the realm of religious freedom. You may have noticed that churches are facing increased attacks on their religious freedom that create challenges to their mission and ministry. Your church may have experienced this firsthand.
Many of these threats are from government officials who limit churches’ rights to freely minister and operate according to biblical beliefs. In some instances, churches are being compelled to provide coverage for abortion and “sex-reassignment” procedures in employee health insurance plans. And federal bills like the deceptively titled “Equality Act” potentially endanger churches’ ability to hire only employees who adhere to biblical principles.
Closer to home, churches in Virginia are even being threatened with fines up to $100,000 for simply expressing their biblical beliefs about marriage on their own websites. This is because of the so-called Virginia Values Act. Enacted in July 2020, this state law would compel churches, religious schools, and Christian ministries to hire employees who do not share their stated beliefs on marriage, sexuality, and gender identity. If churches and other ministries don’t abandon their core convictions in employment and other policies, they could face fines up to $100,000 for each violation. ADF is actively engaged on these fronts, standing up for churches so that their Gospel mission can be carried out.
The threat is real, and these examples only scratch the surface of what churches are encountering. With this in mind, it’s important to be as prepared as possible when it comes to your church’s religious liberties. That’s why ADF’s Church Alliance exists.
Do you have trusted counsel to call when your religious freedom is challenged? How legally sound is your church’s fundamental documents? Are your church’s bylaws, policies, and other governing documents providing the strongest possible religious liberty legal protection for your church?
ADF Church Alliance wants to come alongside your church to help in these important and complex matters. Through membership, ADF provides religious freedom legal help so you can freely preach the Gospel and operate your church in accordance with biblical principles. Members get direct access to attorneys, resources, and more—it’s virtually all-inclusive for religious freedom issues.
The gates of hell and the forces behind them may be hurling challenges toward the Church but, by God’s grace, we know they won’t conquer the body of Christ. We are proud to play a role in reinforcing the Church, and we hope you’ll consider joining the effort as we seek to keep the doors open for the Gospel. ■
Ryan Tucker serves as senior counsel and director of the Center for Christian Ministries with Alliance Defending Freedom.