"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple...So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26, 27, 33, ESV)
The city of Gilbert, Ariz., has ordered a group of seven adults to stop gathering for Bible studies in a private home because such meetings are forbidden by the city's zoning codes.
The issue was brought to a head when city officials wrote a letter to a pastor and his wife informing them they had 10 days to quit having the meetings in their private home.
"The interpretation and enforcement of the town's code is clearly unconstitutional, " said Daniel Blomberg, a member of the litigation team for ADF. "It bans 200,000 Gilbert residents from meeting in their private homes for organized religious purposes – an activity encouraged in the Bible, practiced for thousands of years, and protected by the First Amendment."
"This ban is defended based upon traffic, parking, and building safety concerns. However, nothing in its zoning code prevents weekly Cub Scouts meetings, Monday Night Football parties with numerous attendees or large business parties from being held on a regular basis in private homes," the ADF said.
Is this where we are headed? With an increasingly growing secular society who hates God, His Word, and loves darkness, how long will it be before the study of God's Word is effectively outlawed?
Zoning regulations, hate speech concerns, proselytizing prohibitions, assembly and safety concerns, church/state concerns, religious and iconic displays, and blatant attacks have been used in attempts to shut down witnessing efforts, preaching of the gospel, and private bible studies in various locations across our land.