“If you deviate from the gospel in what you say about the gospel, or if you deviate from the gospel in how you act, you’re in violation of the purity of the gospel. It’s hard; I understand. It’s hard to be bold for the gospel when you’re with people who compromise the gospel but also talk about Christ. It’s hard to talk to someone in a form of Christianity that is apostate, heretical, outside the bounds of the true gospel. It’s hard to talk to a Roman Catholic or somebody in some cult or some fringe group, or any kind of ‘Christian’ organization that has a review of the gospel that’s in error.
“It’s hard to be bold, because you want to be accepted by them. And maybe you say, “Well, you know, they’re not going to listen to what I have to say if they don’t” – it’s hard. And the fear of men brings a snare, doesn’t it? Even Peter had to be confronted to the face.
We Americans find ourselves, slowly but surely, drawn farther and farther away from truth and reality. God’s revelation and His creation have been left in the dust of this current stampede towards the mirages of imagination and idolatry, a circumstance that Paul so perfectly articulated in Romans 1:18-25. Indeed the rising generation, fed with the milk of self-esteem and human potential, have become more enthralled with the things of fancy. The immense popularity of fantasy literature, movies, and video gaming belies this fact. The current American generation loves their fantasy: wizards, vampires, hobbits, Jedis, and Marvel superheroes are their role models and sometimes even their new religion.
Is the remarkable and astounding truth of the Bible so boring to us these days that we have to make things up to get excited?
Apparently God’s truth and stark reality are now old hat. These days, reality needs to be augmented by our creativity or replaced altogether by a VR world of our own making. Cold, hard facts have been replaced by the warmness of “story,” where a fuzzy narrative can dull the sharp edges and make bitter truth more palatable to our present-day sensibilities. Speaking objective truth in love is now frowned upon and the greatest sin is to “harsh someone’s buzz” and take away a person’s safe space. Much better, they think, to bring harmony to mankind by blurring the dividing line of God’s truth through loving acceptance, compromise, and syncretism.
When a website treads water in the vast ocean of the internet for several months with no rescue of new content in sight, it is only natural that its visitor traffic will suffer and sink to an almost nonexistent level, even for a fairly historically-popular site like mine. The Sandwich has surely suffered significant loss of readership during its recent malaise, but hopefully it has been presently retooled and refocused for the better. The question is whether or not anyone will stick around long enough to make that assessment. Bottom line, I’m glad you are here.
Many looky-loos hoping for a good laugh, including my faithful followers, are no doubt wondering about the move away from humor, and the sudden furrowing of my brow in lieu of the usual satirical fare. Is “Angus” in hospital still recovering from an emergency funnybonectomy, perhaps? Or something more sinister?
When young converts begin to “damp off,” forsake the gatherings for prayer, and grow worldly, I almost always find that worldly Christianity is responsible for the first downward step. The mission of amusements is the devil’s half-way house to the world. It is because of what I have seen that I feel deeply, and would fain write strongly. This thing is working rottenness in the Church of God, and blasting her service for the King. In the guise of Christianity, it is accomplishing the devil’s own work. Under the pretense of going out to reach the world, it is carrying our sons and daughters into the world; with the plea of “Do not alienate the masses with your strictness,” it is seducing the young disciples from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. Professing to win the world, it is turning the garden of the Lord into a public recreation ground; to fill the temple with those who see no beauty in Christ, a grinning Dragon is put over the doorway.
It will be no wonder if the Holy Ghost, grieved and insulted, withdraws His presence; for “what concord hath Christ with Belial, and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”
“Seriousness is not a virtue.” – G. K. Chesterton
Recently, a Christian posted the above quotation on his social media page without further comment, and I found the assertion to be quite disconcerting. To be blunt, I felt it was a rather thoughtless pronouncement void of any biblical support. Surely Christ would consider most forms of seriousness to be excellencies, would He not? My immediate conviction, in fact, was that the second beatitude of Jesus was wholly sufficient to blow Mr. Chesterton’s argument right out of the water: “Blessed are those who mourn…”
I had no doubt, of course, that the Chesterton quote had been wrenched from its original context, and upon further investigation I was able to ascertain that, according to my comprehension of the fuller text of Orthodoxy, Mr. Chesterton was merely pointing out the importance of being able to laugh at oneself, or take oneself more lightly. At least that was my optimistic take. Still, even on this point, his argument was more philosophical than biblical, which was to be expected from a larger-than-life Christian apologist whose romanticism and cleverness sometimes carried him away from the moorings of Scripture and into the waters of creative speculation.
Indeed, I did have to wonder when Chesterton (in another essay) went so far as to state that seriousness is “the fashion of all false religions.” So where exactly does biblical Christianity fit into that panoptic view?