A church is Oklahoma is fighting back after city officials removed signs from the church lawn that used the name of Jesus.
Grove City, Oklahoma has an ordinance prohibiting the display of religious signs on private property, but a number of churches in city say that they were not aware that the law existed until recently.
Grove First Assembly of God states that it has placed signs on the church lawn in years past to advertise “Back to Church Sunday,” an outreach designed to call those that have walked away from God back to church. The signs were essentially generic in nature, using words such as “church” and “prayer,” and for that reason, they were left undisturbed.
However, this year, when the church planted signs in the ground that used the name of Jesus, officials suddenly began enforcing the ordinance.
“We discovered that we had an issue because we found city trucks following along pulling our signs up, and even our city manager had gotten out to start pulling out the signs that said ‘Rediscover Jesus,'” Pastor Tony Wisdom told local television station KOAM.
The city states that the wording on the signs is a problem.
“From a governmental perspective, those general terms were okay, they were non-threatening, but when you start putting out a particular name and a particular religion, in this case Christianity, that’s when the issue arose,” explained City Council member Marty Dyer.
Dyer is also the pastor of Newsong Church in Grove.
“My heart breaks for our leaders who are so afraid or too ashamed to let the name of Jesus even be posted in this city,” Wisdom lamented. “We claim to be a Christian nation and a Christian city, but the moment you declare the name of Jesus everything changes.”
“There is no other name – Jesus – under heaven given to men by which we can be saved,” he continued. “So don’t take my signs down, because I will put up a thousand more. And more than that, I will boldly speak the name of Jesus with love until my last breath.”
Now, Grove First Assembly of God and a coalition of approximately 20 other churches are making attempts to iron out the matter with the City. In a recent City Council meeting, nearly 50 people came out to show support for the right of churches to display signs using the name of Jesus. Pastor Wisdom is also selling “Rediscover Jesus” t-shirts so that other Christians in Grove may stand boldly for their faith in the public square.
“I encourage the city to meet with the clergy and come up with a sign ordinance,” stated attorney Robert Plunk, who is assisting the churches.
Meetings will continue to be held in hopes of coming to a resolution about the matter.
City officials were not available for further comment at press time.