Saturday, February 14, 2009
Persecution in America? (Pt 2)
I can see now that I am going to have to expand this subject beyond the original two-post idea I had originally. Rather than a complete focus on persecution with this post, I need to make some observations first. And my observations were sparked by a frequent commenter to The Seventh Sola.
In the meta of my earlier post on potential persecution of Christians in America, commenter Lee posted a very appropriate Scripture, plus an observation . . .
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:11-13).
What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?
Answer: "That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move."
Since at least the Carter years (remember, he suckered folks by being a "born-again"), evangelicals in the United States have been known mostly for the politics of their movers and shakers. We're a "block" to be appeased. How many, outside or inside, can tell with any accuracy what our Gospel is? We could be in for a sifting.
I agree with Lee's observation. Around that time period, Rev. Jerry Falwell founded "The Moral Majority." A bit later, Rev. Pat Robertson helped found "The Christian Coalition." While the motivations of these groups were noble in my view, I really do believe -- as one who was very involved in media at the time -- that Christians got way too focused on the ballot box as the chief means of altering our society. And the result? We focused on getting supposedly conservative politicians elected, but the Gospel took a back seat. In some cases, the Gospel was forgotten completely.
The consequence of Christians over-focusing on politics at the expense of the Gospel was that our society remained largely unregenerate. Gains at the ballot box don't last very long in this fickle culture. However, salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ lasts for eternity. The indwelling Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification after changing the heart, and that has ripple effects on society.
As an aside, we keep hearing how the "conservative philosophy was tried for years, and it failed. We need change." I would argue that genuine conservatism hasn't really been tried in toto. Even when Republicans had the White House and both houses of Congress, there were always just enough Democrats in concert with liberal Republicans in the Senate to block important reforms that would indeed be a conservative revolution. We got a few things, but the most important things typically got blocked.
Today, Democrats/liberals control all branches of government. Only this time, they have enough votes to ram through what they want. They can always count on Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. It reminds me of the days when Lowell Weicker, Jim Jeffords, and John Chafee were around. They could always be counted on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the party they were supposed to represent.
So the left has won for the time being, if not for years. Elections have consequences. If we thought things were bad before, just wait. Everyone is focused on the economic crisis at the moment, but there are other storm clouds on the horizon. If believers ought to know anything, it is this . . . all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). That is a guarantee, which we here in America haven't had to worry about too much. Here, we think someone calling us a nasty name is persecution. Christians in China, the former Soviet Union, Burma/Myanmar and other nations would laugh at that notion.
And with that, I'll stop for the day. In part three, I'll try to turn back to the subject of persecution itself, and examine what God's Word has to say about it.