“The church has lost her testimony! She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust declaration of TRUTH has faded away to an apologetic whisper.” — A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
In my earlier essay Why The World’s Dark Business Is Booming, I described how the world’s ancient business of moral chaos has grown into a mega-monopoly of soul-crushing power. With its unabated glorification of sin and self, the industry of this world has succeeded in supplying products of discord to the masses in order to ensnare them with a false sense of freedom and protection. Self-agency and temporal security may be the world’s sly promise, but tyranny over humanity is the tragic end result.
Sadly, this evil world conglomerate has come to dominate today’s global market because of one simple fact: It has capitalized on the current devaluation of biblical stock and a depreciation of the Gospel proclamation. The world’s only legitimate competition, the Truth-bearers of Jesus Christ, have too often shuttered their factories of bold witness and settled for a curiosity shop that plies its religious trinkets among the world’s seducing lies, with little awareness of their dangerous compromise.
Looking over this barren landscape of Christian appeasement, one can easily see a massive segment of our population living in spiritual confusion because they believe the world can provide the solution to their struggles. Without truth to guide them, however, they will continue to toil under such satanic delusion. So who is there to help them out of the chaos? Where are the fearless disciples of old who, under penalty of death, reached out to the lost and dared to proclaim truth against the lies of this world? And why are some professing Christians today outsourcing truth to the world’s business, where it will always be retooled into a cheap knock-off for mass consumption?
“To have one foot on the land of truth, and another on the sea of falsehood, will involve a terrible fall and a total ruin.” — Charles H. Spurgeon
Have you noticed that the citizenry of this world, with all our global connectivity and technological advancements, seem to be shifting more and more into a trajectory of chaos and uncertainty? Why is this? Surely in an age of scientific precision and meticulous social engineering, we should be achieving a high level of stability. Yet, obviously from our current state of cultural upheaval and political warfare, we seem completely unable to reign in the darker elements of our nature. A gathering swell of violent rage, fear, depression, and a growing lust for drugs, alcohol, and pornography are tearing at the moral fabric of our society. But why?
Perhaps we should seriously considered the distinct possibility that all the guiding philosophies of this world have unionized to cobble together a central message that drives us into the moral chaos in which we find ourselves. Like a fat-cat global conglomerate, the world and its board of directors have fine-tuned their mission statement and built a business model around it to achieve its vision of complete domination in the marketplace of souls. And like a scheming conglomerate, it has engaged in a massive PR campaign to transmit their corporate message into every mind and heart on the planet.
The following is a hypothetical discourse in which a die-hard “Christian libertarian” is challenged by the biblical standard…
My dear friend! It’s always good to see you, but as you can plainly see, you caught me in the middle of doing one of my favorite things in the world. Of course, I can tell by the troubled look on your face that you’re spiritually grieved by what I’m doing, but frankly it can’t be helped. As a Christian, my conscience is clear in this matter, so I’m completely free to do this. And I don’t have to stop doing it just because you are positioned from a vantage point that sees it as detrimental or sinful in some way.
You don’t believe I have this liberty? Doesn’t it say as much in the Bible? As a Christian, I’m a “free man” (I Corinthians 9:19; I Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13), and “all things are lawful” for me (I Corinthians 6:12; 10:23). Nobody can put me under some “yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). When I indulge in more worldly activities, I just make sure I do it “in the name of Jesus” or “for the honor and glory of God,” and then it’s completely blessed. (Colossians 3:17; I Corinthians 10:31). The only law I have to worry about is the Christian “law of liberty” (James 2:12), and not your personal rules and regulations.
See? There are numerous passages in the New Testament that prove that I have an exemption from your contrary preference concerning my behavior.
Funny thing, though. You still look… skeptical.
“A grave, wherever found, preaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Look for a minute into the grave….
Each one of you must die. If I were addressing an assembly of the sages of the world, I should say, “All your combined wisdom cannot lengthen the days of one of you even a single minute. You may reckon the distance of the stars and weigh worlds, but you cannot tell me when one of you will die, nor how many grains of sand are left behind in the hourglass of time which shows the exit of each spirit from the world.”
Now you have so many days and in one of those days there will be the poison of death. I do not know which one. It may be tomorrow. It may not be until many days have gone by. Is it not foolish, therefore, to be living in this world without a thought of what you will do at last?
A man goes into an inn and as soon as he sits down he begins to order his wine, his dinner, his bed. There is no delicacy in season which he forgets to request. There is no luxury which he denies himself. He stays at the inn for some time. By-and-by there comes the bill and he says, “Oh, I never thought of that… I never thought of that!”
I’m sure you’ve seen the phenomenon before. You’re sitting there watching a baseball game on TV when all of a sudden a large sign pops up in the stands behind the batter’s box reading, “JOHN 3:16.” It’s a well-known technique of stealth evangelism and quick-strike Gospel proclamation that’s been around for decades at various televised sporting events. As soon as that sign appears, no doubt thousands of unsaved viewers are sent scrambling for a Bible to see what the hubbub is all about.
But do they really?
It makes me wonder what would happen if someone decided to really shake things up by holding a sign that read (for no particular reason), “HABAKKUK 3:8.” Hoo, boy, I bet a good number of folks would be suddenly Googling THAT peculiar reference on their smartphones — just to get some sort of informational closure. A “John 3:16” sign? Not so much.
The fact is, most folks know the basic gist of John 3:16 because they’ve seen it constantly promoted as Christianity’s go-to catchphrase. They know it’s an advertisement slogan for Jesus as much as “Just Do It” is a pithy salute to Nike. And therein lies the problem. In some ways, “John 3:16” has become just another billboard cliché in a sea of American consumerism that has blended into the cluttered landscape as a benign symbol of conventional Christianity.
How important is it for the believer to cultivate his or her mind through regular, prayerful study of God’s word? Well, this is what the apostle Paul taught the Church way back when:
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God — what is good and well-pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). …For we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).
Surely now more than ever, the apostle’s exhortation must be heeded by professing Christians. It is the only way to ward off the deterioration of thought that comes from repeated exposure to the buffeting of the Enemy and the toxic indoctrination of the controlling world mechanisms. The current dark forces against us appear more energized in this age of digital dementia where minds are becoming conformable to machines. We must be both mentally and spiritually equipped to defend against these mechanized attempts to subvert the mind of Christ. Paganism, once thought antiquated and impotent in civilized society, has arisen again, now perfectly joined with the world’s postmodern sensibilities, digital imagery and technological advancements. From that breeding ground we now see new counterfeit belief systems like scientism and transhumanism making inroads into the visible Church with the intent to promote man’s high-tech wonders and marginalize God’s holy word.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” — Matthew 5:4
Of all the beatitudes of our Savior, perhaps one of the most accessible pronouncements given to His hearers is on the topic of mourning and our great need of comfort in that low state. Indeed, the death of a loved one is a tragic thing for everyone, and a brutal reminder of man’s fleeting mortality. We are immediately shaken to our core at the loss of dear souls taken from our immediate senses, much more aware at that very moment that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass,” which withers and falls away (I Peter 1:24). And thus, we all mourn.
But is the object and quality of one’s mourning truly a blessing?