Pastor Robert Dekker delivered a message of freedom this Independence Day in Rehoboth, Del. About 1,500 people attended a rally that included music, prayers and the honoring of veterans. The message, “Drawing a Line in the Sand,” was particularly fitting.
Dekker, senior pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lewes, had hoped to preach eight messages this summer at the beach. Unfortunately, a city official denied that request saying it would violate the separation of church and state.
“I contacted them back by phone and told them I’d like to meet the city manager to be able to discuss this face-to-face,” Dekker told CitizenLink. “The response came back that he was not going to change his mind, so the meeting wasn’t necessary.”
Dekker was able to finally sit down with the city manager, but the decision to deny the permit stood.
Meanwhile, another man was planning a freedom rally at Rehoboth Beach for Independence Day. He heard about Dekker’s plight. Christian Hudson contacted Dekker and invited him to give the sermon at the event.
Dekker accepted. He preached about the woman caught in adultery from John, Chapter 8.
“For a normal service, we’d have 25 or 30 people,” Hudson said. “It’s just great to see people come out and support your civil rights. What is more personal than your right to worship and believe according to your own rights of conscience?”
Dekker’s father was born in the Netherlands, went through Nazi occupation and when he finally became a U.S. citizen, he raised his hand and took an oath to support this country. Dekker says he has always valued that.
“He was a patriot and he was a pastor,” he told CitizenLink. “I was by his side most mornings doing technical work with him, so I caught some of that flavor and fever for righteousness.”
“Jesus literally did draw lines in the sand,” he continued. “The beauty of that message is that here you have a woman caught in some sin. She’s condemned because she’s guilty — and the next thing you know she goes away free.
“I was preaching about a freedom that you can only get from God — a freedom that has no more condemnation.”
Dekker’s father died last Christmas. At that time he preached a message about asking God for a double portion of the anointing that was on his father. When the national news began to report on the city denying his permit to preach, he got his biggest compliment from his sister.
“She said, ‘You’re following in dad’s footsteps,’” he said. “It’s quite the honor to have an older sibling look at the little brother and give a compliment like that.”