The Nations Rage, Syncretism, and the Faithful Remnant

If we have our eyes open then we cannot help but notice what is going on around us. Fervent, religious passion. Secularism has shown that it can be quite puritanical. Zealots. I thought they said all that religious war stuff was bad for society?

We are discovering that religion is inescapable. Everyone has a god. And everyone has a law. And everyone has a way of determining who is just and who is unjust. Makes sense. You either bow to King Jesus or rage against Him.

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The king’s of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2).

The question is a good one. Why do they rage? Well… because King Jesus kicks over their gods leaving them headless and prostrate in the dirt. Why do they rage? Because God Almighty does not take them seriously–“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).

When Christ is truly preached there is always a collision of kingdoms. So it was in Thessalonica as they ran Paul out of town. So it was in Ephesus where they rioted in reply to the gospel. So it was in Jerusalem when Paul simply would not sooth the Jewish mob and council with a little bit of compromise. These hostilities occurred because there were other gods in Thessalonica, Ephesus, and Jerusalem. There were laws contrary to the law of Christ. There was forgiveness of sin that came not through the blood of Christ. “How dare the apostles preach contrary to our beliefs, customs, laws, traditions, man-made religion? Who do they think they are?”

And so it is with us today. Nothing has changed and we are having the wool pulled over our eyes if we think things have. Where do we see these gods currently? Consider the raging of the nations:

Male wins gold in women’s cycling. And not only does he win, but the biological females who won silver and bronze must wave, happily so, showing no sign of confusion. Display no bewilderment, if you do, you will be taken off to sensitivity training never to show your face in public again. Pretend this is normal… totally normal. All those who do not bow the knee to sexual perversion will be thrown in the fiery furnace, heated extra hot.

In wake of school policy to permit boys to bathroom with girls and girls with boys, 5 year old girl assaulted in bathroom by boy. Should the school admit fault? Negligence? Responsibility? Absolutely not. How could they? To do so would be heresy. Let them rather send DCF to the mother’s house. Can the school make any guarantees of protection in the future to the parent of this abused girl? None. How could they? Such a guarantee would transgress no mere policy, but the divine law of the current false gods.

May Bono pressured into resigning for striking out Nike shoes. Bono transgressed a law. She sinned against a god. And sin has consequences. Secularisms rigidity will not permit such declarations when they run roughshod over its divine commandments.

So the nations rage. Religion is at a fever-pitch in 21st century America. We’ve got false gods. False commandments. And false ways of getting right with the false gods, the most certain avenue of atonement being the bloody sacrifice of a child down at Planned Parenthood.

Yet, the great problem is that many evangelicals don’t see the zeal of God’s enemies. They have neglected Psalm 2, Psalm 110 and many other passages. They think, “What’s the big deal. That’s just the way things are. Everyone knows the bathroom policy is not going to change. Take it easy, things aren’t as sexually sordid as they were in Corinth big guy. And come on, everyone knows you cannot black out Nike shoes in this climate.”

We have been made soft. We read Paul’s reply to the high priest who struck him, “God’s going to strike you, you whitewashed wall” (Acts 23:3)! Then we think, “He really should have turned the other cheek.”

Rather than speaking the truth to our nation and suffering like the apostles, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12), we find ways to mix our religion with theirs under the guise of niceness.

Evidence? Ligonier’s recent State of Theology study found that 51% of evangelicals agree that “God accepts the worship of all religions.”

It is no surprise then that we see the mixing of Christianity with the false religions of our time. Like Beth More recently calling a man Christlike who was on his knees asking women for forgiveness… for wrongs done to them by other men. While Christians forgive because of Christ on the cross, these ladies are trained to forgive because a man is on his knees. A man mind you who has not wronged them personally yet asks for their forgiveness. That’s a #MeToo atonement.

But I repeat, many believers are not seeing the lay of the land and equate resistance to the false worship of our day with no drinking or dancing American fundamentalism. A fundamentalism that does not care for the oppressed.

Oh if our only problem were some Christians who did not care about the oppressed. What a glorious day that would be! We rather have a steady luke-warming of the church. We have a pruning of the church. We may even be seeing an attempt to syncretize the faith. But there is a remnant who “have not bowed the knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18).

 

 

 

“You’re a Bigot”: The Cost of Gospel Fidelity and Living Justly

The faithful have had a rough go of it in this world from the beginning. Abel was killed. Moses accused of domineering leadership. Jeremiah cast in prison. Elijah called a troubler of the brethren. James murdered. Stephen stoned. Paul beaten. Then there is our Lord Himself, the Man of Sorrows, who was hung on a tree to die. He taught us, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher…. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25).

Many today admire the idea of bearing such disdain for Christ, but practically appreciate it much more when it is in the rearview mirror. Charles Spurgeon once said:

We admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago . . . but such a man today is a nuisance, and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one. Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and their compeers had said, ‘The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.’ Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on.

Some find The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel unhelpful and behind the times. “It is not sensitive to the present moment” they say. “It is not strategic” is the word on the street. But our Lord did not tell us to go into all the world and “be strategic.” He told us to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey all his commands. A rebellious world has always found that commission distasteful.

Can Christians be unnecessarily combative? Of course. But the fact that some have leveled that claim against the careful and measured statement on social justice and the gospel warrants what theologians in days gone by have called the hearty horse laugh.

The irony is that you don’t get justice in the world without the theology signaled in this statement. You don’t get the second commandment without the truth. It is far easier to look like you’re living justly than to really do it. The day has come for faithful believers to love God and love people. The time has come “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). The affirmations and denials found here are a great first step to that end for they seek to uphold the gospel which, if undermined, will result in manifest injustice among men.

Let us suffer whatever ridicule may come out of love for God’s gospel and people made in his image. I conclude by returning to Spurgeon again:

It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it. . . Look you, sirs, there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today. We have come to a turning-point in the road. If we turn to the right, mayhap our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word.