“Better to Reign in Hell, than Serve in Heav’n”[?]
(Satan speaking in John Milton’s Paradise Lost)
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
I Kings 18:21
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The web-based version of the Christian Observer has been publishing now for one month, and enters the Internet fray at yet another pivotal point in world history and in the history of God’s people.
The United States of America, for better and for worse, has for more than 230 years been a major influence upon the rest of the world.
Never before in the history of man has there been a country with the same levels of freedom and affluence experienced in the U.S., nor has there ever been a place where such an exponential increase in science, technology, and learning has taken place over so short a time span – all of which have facilitated this freedom and affluence and have significantly influenced much of the rest of the world in the same directions.
Conversely, the United States has changed in those same 230 years from a nation whose founders consisted of many devout Christians who began the nation and wrote its Constitution keeping in mind man’s innate depravity and lust for power, and organizing the government in such a way to keep this depravity and lust for power in check.
As the nation and its culture have embraced first enlightenment philosophy, then theological liberalism, modernism, post modernism, and currently what some call a “post-Christian” philosophy steeped in atheism, humanism and other forms of self-worship and will-worship, the inherent and progressive disregard for God and for Scripture in these philosophies has been and is reaping its bitter fruit.
The disregard for God’s design for marriage and sexuality inherent in these philosophies has led to a 50% divorce rate, widespread immoral behavior, pandemic disease, and the murder of more than 50 million unborn children by abortion since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. Disregard of God’s laws against theft, materialism, greed, debasement of money, and breaking contracts has led to the current sub-prime mortgage fiasco, the collapse of the US dollar and stock market, and to government officials ignoring their constitutional limitations of power by redefining the law to suit their whims of the moment – and thus taking people’s life, liberty, and property contrary to the law. These are only a few examples of the bitter fruit being reaped, and additionally it is adversely influencing the rest of the world in similar ways.
The visible church and professing Christians have largely ignored, tolerated, and embraced these degradations of morality. Two recent examples are illustrative.
Several years ago, Alabama Judge Roy Moore was sued unsuccessfully several times because he displayed the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom. Judge Moore was later elected Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, and he subsequently erected a monument in a state building commemorating the Ten Commandments and their influence on the rule of law in Alabama and in the United States.
A single federal judge, despite the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of inhibiting the free exercise of religion, ruled that the monument was unconstitutional and ordered that it be taken down. Chief Justice Moore refused, the monument was forcibly removed, and an extra-legal tribunal fired Chief Justice Moore for defying a federal judge who was legislating from the bench.
Around this time, the email discussion group of a nominally conservative, Reformed, and Presbyterian denomination subscribing to biblical inerrancy and the Westminster Standards began to discuss the situation and whether or not Judge Moore was right in what he was doing. Several people castigated Judge Moore for not blindly obeying the federal judge, and made baseless accusations against Moore that his actions were only for self-promotion. Moore’s taking a stand for what was right in God’s eyes was mostly met with anger, derision, and contempt.
Another example is the recent actions of the online matchmaking service founded by a well-known Christian psychologist and heartily endorsed by another well-known Christian ministry. Several state lawsuits have been filed against the matchmaking service because it would not match homosexuals with other homosexuals.
The matchmaking service announced earlier this week that they would begin offering their services to homosexuals in order to avoid more of the expensive litigation they were experiencing. In related news, another state suing the matchmaking service certified their lawsuit as a class-action suit. The nominally Christian matchmaking service made a pragmatic decision to compromise God’s law for business reasons, but it has not stopped the efforts to further an agenda and to loot the service’s finances through the legal system.
The U.S. is now governed overwhelmingly by those who have embraced the humanistic, atheistic, and post-Christian philosophy that so characterizes our society. Recent electoral victories have brought into power a super-majority of those who embrace and support abortion and infanticide, who embrace sexual sin, and those who demonstrate contempt for constitutional limitations of power and the rule of law.
Past and recent history, when examined through the lens of Scripture, by good and necessary consequence leads to the deduction that Christian persecution in the U.S. will continue to increase in frequency and intensity, and that we who call ourselves Christians and the church entities we represent are going to increasingly be given the choice between being faithful to God or conforming with this world.
Many secular and Christian media sources are currently concentrating on the stock market crash, high unemployment, and the shrinking value of retirement accounts. The possibilities though are much more severe than the loss of retirement income. 20th Century history demonstrates that rulers unrestrained by the rule of law will crush opposition through confiscation of property, the gulag, the concentration camp, and by mass murder. God does not say in vain in Proverbs 8:36 “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” [emphasis mine]
The Scriptures at the beginning of this article span about 1000 years from the post-Mosaic period of Joshua leading God’s people to the post-resurrection period when Peter, John, Paul, and others were establishing Christ’s Church. The Scriptures show clearly that God being ignored and compromised and the world being embraced by the visible church and those claiming to be God’s are not unique situations for our time.
We at the Christian Observer call ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the worldwide Presbyterian and Reformed community to examine, in the light of Scripture and the Confessions, ourselves and all entities sacred and secular in which our lives are involved; to repent of and cast off anything worldly, traditional, or denominational – and not of God; and to manifest the strength, courage, and character that God will provide to us in boldly proclaiming the whole truth of the full Bible to a lost and dying world – in the love that God the Holy Spirit and Paul so explicitly define in 1 Corinthians 13 – and thus be that salt and light we are called to be.
We pray that our efforts for the kingdom in the Christian Observer will edify you and help you in these regards.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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