So, in case you missed it, a few nights ago, the high priests of our culture met for one of their great covenant renewal services, known popularly as The Oscars. Among other things, these high priests awarded honors to one movie glorifying bestiality and another movie celebrating the seduction of a young man by an older man. After the fact, I saw one article from Slate explaining somewhat apologetically to their constituents that The Shape of Water (i.e. woman having sex with fish-man) was the “safe” choice this time around. And then just this morning, I saw a headline proclaiming that Richard Dawkins would like to eat human flesh in order to overcome the taboo of cannibalism.
And in other news: the Supreme Court, in a six to three decision, has handed down a ruling that requires all fifty states to grant all squares the right to be recognized and treated by their preferred shape-orientation: circles, triangles, hexagons, or whatever. In the majority opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, she explained that “since we all come from the water, and water has no fixed shape, and The Shape of Water just won an oscar for Best Picture, and Guillermo del Toro is so haut, therefore, hence, and henceforth, hic est hoc, muy bueno burrito es mi amor, Taco Bell.” And in a separate but related ruling, from now on gravity is illegal in all fifty states. Ok, these last two might be exaggerations, but not by much.
But what I actually wanted to point out is that given all of this (and lots more) Christians have every reason to be hopeful. This is for two basic reasons. First, because the lines of belief and unbelief are being drawn up and collision between these two utterly opposed worldviews is becoming more and more unavoidable. When Peter and John had been beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus, the apostles left, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name… Now in those days when the disciples were increasing in number… ” (Acts 5:41, 6:1). For far too long unbelief has masqueraded under the guise of moralism, like Mormons insisting that they are no different than Christianity. But now we have the lines of battle being drawn up more and more clearly every day. Will you support bestiality? Do you support the murder of the unborn? Do you celebrate older men preying on young men for the purpose of sodomizing them? Do you support the Federal government foisting it’s irrational, unjust, and wicked laws on our states?
This is wonderful. Rejoice. We are being given opportunities to be dishonored for the name of Jesus, and this is how Jesus grows His church. All the fussers and whiners about el culture war haven’t even seen a culture war yet. All this cultural insanity is wonderful because we might actually get a culture war if God is kind. And I don’t mean shooting in the streets — though there will likely be more of that sort of thing coming before its all over — I mean preachers of the gospel with backbones, proclaiming with authority: Thus says the Lord… who do not apologize for anything in the Bible, who will not mumble or dissemble or flatter, who will speak clearly into the microphone commanding the world to repent of their sins and believe and obey Jesus, men who will make no deals, who care nothing for the praise of man, for book deals, for conference invitations, for seminary positions, and have their eyes fixed on the glory of a crown laid up for them in heaven. I mean Christians denying the pleasures of this world for the glory of the Kingdom of God. I mean men repenting of abdicating their responsibilities, confessing their sins, and unapologetically embracing their God-given callings to be patriarchs – being faithful to one woman and hating all sexual deviance, taking responsibility for their households, raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching them to love the Lord with all their heart and obey His commands, and putting the good work of worship every Lord’s Day — singing the Psalms, hearing the Word proclaimed, feasting at His table — at the top of their list of duties before the Lord. This is all it takes for there to be a collision. No, we will not go along with your insanity. No, we will not lie about the truth. No, we will not participate in your dissipation. Why? Because of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus washed away our sins. The Just One suffered for our injustice, and He has set us free.
And the second reason we have to be hopeful is because Jesus rose from the dead and really has changed the course of history. He has made all things new in principle. Though we do not yet see all things put beneath His feet, that is precisely what has been accomplished by His death and resurrection. It is unalterable. It is fixed. There is nothing to be done to change this reality. There really is only Christ or nothing. The old paganism really has been crushed and gutted. All of this madness is as far as it goes. Jesus conquered the old gods, the demons have fled. Sure, there are remnants of the old paganism out there in the jungles, but Jesus ascended into heaven and cast Satan down. He sits at the Father’s right hand. All of this nonsense we see all around us, for all its barbarity and vulgarity and bloodlust, it all amounts to a massive cultural tantrum. The feminists, the homosexualists, the socialists, the power-grasping politicos — these are just middle schoolers taunting our Lord Jesus Christ who reigns at the Father’s right hand. And what is the Father’s response when the nations rage? How does the Father respond when the people lay on the floor screaming and kicking their legs in the toy aisle of the cosmic Walmart? The Father laughs. He has set His Son on His holy hill and given Him the nations as His inheritance.
When the kid screams and throws a fit, the first rule of parenting is don’t give in. When the kid screams and kicks his legs, the first rule of parenting is you must win this battle. But you say, that’s a whole lot easier when the toddler is two and his mom is still stronger than him. They have the Supreme Court, they have the media, they have the power, they have the money, and they have been beating us like a drum for so many decades now. Sure, all of that’s true, but we have Jesus Christ with us. If we have Christ with us, the numbers don’t matter. “One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you” (Josh. 23:10). Decades ago we had the vast majority in terms of numbers, and a tiny number of pagans chased us to this place where we seem to be pinned down in our cultural Dunkirk. And so, many Christians have begun lining up waiting for some evacuation plan. But if we just turned around for a minute and stopped running, we might realize that they are just throwing fits. They are just toddlers with red faces. These appalling movies and court rulings and political middle school games are nothing. They are literally built on nothing. There is no other truth, no other reality, no other power, no other authority. They have nothing — all power and authority has been given to our Jesus.
It’s Christ or nothing. Christ is king and there is no other. God has set Him on His throne, and He will reign until all of His enemies have been put beneath His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). These fits are the final stages of death panic. Christ is King. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.
What we need right now are bunch of Jonathans who see all the Philistines in the land and say to their buddies, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few” (1 Sam. 14:6).
Come, let us go over to the garrison.