"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Host a Bible Study Group….GO TO JAIL!
I just stumbled across this story today. I have to say I am just sitting here shaking my head. Here is the simple breakdown:
– Family hosts small group at home on a regular basis of about 15 to 20 people.
– City deems this to be a church numerous fire hazards due to meeting at home.
– Family builds 2000 sqft building for meetings.
– City raids the building and home, arrests the father.
– Father will go to jail for about 60 days.
Here is a link to the story: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/man-facing-jail-for-hosting-home-bible-study.html
So I read this story and see two things.
- I am mildly upset at the perception of silly business on behalf of the pastor that was arrested. This appears to be a big gotcha and perhaps a thumbing of the nose to the city of Phoenix by the associate pastor. The city does have city ordinances that must be followed on the construction of the new buildings, and he clearly did not follow them. That being said…
- The city has no reason/defense against what they have done. My family and I host small groups fairly regularly. We have on any given small group night as many as 18 men, women and children in my tiny abode. We could be affected by this. In order for the City of Phoenix to demonstrate that the application of the law is not specific to small groups (Christians in other words) they would have to target groups of guys who get together to watch Monday Night Football on every Monday night at someone house. How about any regular get together with families?
I fully believe that the officials involved with this from the city of Phoenix are targeting this man and his family because he is a “religious zealot” (this is what atheist’s and liberals like to call committed Christians). The one that really gets me is having the police called on them, BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, while eating a meal in the back yard with their friends. This is a clear indication of some sort of persecution. However, this pastor should have gone out of his way to either continue to have the meeting in his home, backyard or following the city code with the construction of the new building.