This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)
Is there a war on Christian values in the United States?
Some Christians say no. They maintain that since America is steeped in liberty and that God has granted everyone latitude of choice, believers are not experiencing a war on Christian values, but rather witnessing firsthand freedom of expression on its grandest scale. They assert that instead of being so thin-skinned, we should be more loving, and as we love, somehow, someway, someone will inquire about our faith.
Okay, there is some Biblical truth in there that we cannot deny. After all Jesus did say:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)
But I want to go back to the Ephesians text, particularly God’s directive about no longer walking as the world walks (and so there is no confusion) examine the Lord’s precise reasoning. We are told that the secular world is alienated from the life of God, they’re ignorant and blind to understanding, and have devoted themselves to all things iniquitous. Looking at the world today one might even think that the narrow path that Christians walk is not that way by design, but rather because it’s being squeezed in from all sides ungodly, much like Israel today — We take notice that it is but a narrow strip of land surrounded by those who seek her demise. Similarly this is the thin path we trod.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
I submit to you that the war on Christian values is made evident when someone crosses the line, that is to say that they are no longer content to merely wallow in their sin, but feel compelled to interrupt our walk. And yet some say this doesn’t exist; the world doesn’t care what we believe and nor do they desire to become intrusive to the point of interference. To that I say, “You must be blind.” How many of these headlines do we have to read before we realize Jesus and His doctrines are under attack:
I could go on and on. If this is not a war on Christian values, then I have been completely deceived by the enemy. And again, just so we’re clear, I’m not shocked that this is occurring; this war began in the Garden and will continue until Christ returns. What alarms me is that some Christians deny it’s existence when God, in His Word, told us it would happen. Do they not see that the world bears witness to His prophetic word?
So what do we do?
Everything a Christian does must begin with prayer. God has given us a specific protocol to follow, but yet every situation is unique. In other words, how a Christian responded to yesterday’s assault may not be how the Lord desires we respond today. The Father commands we check in with Him continually by means of prayer, reading the Bible, being in Christian fellowship, and being consistent in the other components of our faith, lest we respond in our flesh and do more harm than good. My sense is that those Christians who falsely maintain that ‘extreme tolerance’ and love is the sole answer to the problem, are most likely opposed to those who operate outside of the will of God waving their ill-conceived banners of hate (a la the Westboro Baptist clan et el). Sadly these renegades do exist, but heaven forbid that they become the catalyst towards lethargy or apathy within the church.
Is there ever a time to be silent? Absolutely. And those who abide in the Vine will discern the time.
Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide. (Psalm 37:27-31)
We must also remember that our primary goal is not to defeat the enemy, but to win him or her to Christ. The war in which we’re engaged is unique in that we desire to rescue our foes in the name of Jesus, rather than annihilate them. To this end we have been given the Gospel message and the Law. Why the Law? Because it is the road sign that points us to Jesus. To neglect the Law at this juncture is to wink at sin.
“Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:22-24)
Here is the truth that very few people want to hear: individuals need to know that their illicit behavior is sinful and separates them from God. When the opportunity presents itself, and when guided by the Holy Spirit, God wants us to inform sinners that these habitual practices will lead them to hell. How they react is their business and how we anticipate their reactions should not dissuade us. And yes, I would be remiss if I neglected to say all this is driven by the love of Jesus, lest we become sounding brass or a clanging cymbals.
God’s directive should also be compelling…
“Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” (Ezekiel 33:2-7)
When do we stop?
God will tell us when to start, what to say or do, and when it’s time to stop. When we don’t listen to Him is when we risk becoming hurtful to God. It will serve us well to remember that God giveth the soapbox and God taketh away. As we stand boldly for Christ there will most assuredly come a time to either shake off the dust from our feet or to welcome another sinner home. In the meantime we should be mindful to walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but delight in the law of the Lord, and in His law meditate both day and night.
These articles may or may not be related:
- Straight is the Way, Narrow is the Gate (daileytalks.wordpress.com)
- Tofu Religion (momsfirstscreenn.wordpress.com)
- Franklin Graham: Is There Hope for Revival?. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Christian D.I.D. (oldsongnewdance.wordpress.com)
- Op-Ed | Fund Tufts Christian Fellowship (tuftsdaily.com)
- True Fellowship (lacykitkat.wordpress.com)