For the last several months I have been commenting at several different websites on various topics; mostly religious themes; Creation vs. Evolution, Abortion, Same Sex Marriage; that sort of thing.
I comment from the perspective of a life-long Christian raised in the Baptist church, mainstream Protestant.
Some of the people I engage in a lively back and forth with are serious, thoughtful proponents of their beliefs.
A lot are simply ‘Hit and Run’ debaters; they will throw a few epithets, curses, sarcastic mockery at you, and then vanish from the conversation.
In my postings at a dozen different sites, conversing with a couple of hundred different people, on topics from Abortion to Same Sex marriage, Creationism to politics, military achievements to Foreign and domestic affairs, I’ve encountered a remarkable uniformity of opinion, argument, even phraseology across all of these topics.
It’s as though they not only attended the same school, but sat in the same classroom.
A sampling of their responses; (the subjects varied but not the replies)
This is not a Theocracy
Your Bible teaches to stone unbelievers and homosexuals and adulterers
People who preach that religious garbage protect pedophiles
You have no right to live
You are pushing a tired, worn out bag of superstition and myth
Evolution is FACT, get over it
We won, get over it
You can’t force a woman to have a brat she doesn’t want, get over it
You are a – (words that would make a drill sergeant blush)
You can – (see above)
You can’t cram your worn out religious myths down our throat
My father had a favorite saying when he was trying to cross an intersection and couldn’t find a break in the traffic;
“Somebody left the gate open down there.”
There has been a Sea Change in this world. For hundreds of years, in the West, you could not hold public office unless you, at least, paid lip service to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Now, it is publicly trashed and mocked to scorn with vehemence and relish. There is a line from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, which comes to mind;
“Hell is empty, and all the demons are here.”
The gate has been opened, and what has been a trickle of hostility toward the Church and its believers has swelled to a raging torrent. There is no corner of our society; from politics to business, the military, health care and education that is free from this flood that seeks to sweep every vestige of the old America away.
Something senses that its time has come ‘round at last. This is an all out effort.
A new narrative that is founded on the supremacy of Man is generally accepted across the board. No moral or ethical limits to any of its believers are tolerated. Any attempt to suggest one is met with a white hot rage.
In discussing politics, science, business or history, you may reference any source you wish, so long as it isn’t the Torah or the Bible. Any knowledge or wisdom from those books is rejected out of hand. And anyone quoting them is instantly discredited and considered to have no right to speak on any subject.
If you can stand outside of the debate and just see it from that perspective, it is truly remarkable. It’s like walking into a room and all the furniture is on the ceiling, everything upside down.
Trying to present the Biblical perspective in such an environment is wearing and exhausting. There is such unrelenting darkness thrown at you, that you must have a sure source of encouragement, somewhere, from someone.
It’s important to remember that the same power confronting the first saints is at work here, only now it is armed with two thousand years of Church history, which is a history of human pride, arrogance and folly. But, there is also a record of the enemy’s efforts; his favorite darts and snares; he is not empowered with Creativity; that is the province of God, and His gift to man.
How do we deal with this situation? What is the best, most effective strategy when confronting a world that knows nothing of the Bible but what they hear from comedians and quick witted, slick tongued academics?
Twenty or thirty years ago, I heard a sermon by a up and coming junior pastor at a Spirit filled Church in Dallas. The senior pastor had lit a fire and the church was bursting at the seams. My wife and I had joined the choir so we would have a place to sit during services, it was that packed every Sunday.
The young preacher got up to preach and I settled down to endure him; I didn’t really care much for him; thought his preaching was flat and uninspired. I was blindsided.
This is a summary, as well as I remember;
Paul goes to Mars Hill. Having a sharp mind, honed in the Rabbinical schools of Jerusalem, he wants to pit his considerable debating skills against the very seat of intellectual excellence in his world; The Greek philosophers who hold court on that hill in Athens.
He stands before them and delivers his finest oration.
They laugh him to scorn. He leaves in defeat and goes to Corinth.
Its twenty miles to Corinth, a day’s walk. The path winds among the hills and by the blue Mediterranean Sea. A days steady walking through beautiful hills, waves surging softly onto the beach and back out again. All of the sights and sounds to accompany the rhythmic pacing of sandals on the road. A long time to think, to chew on the lessons from a fruitless effort to present Christ to a fallen world.
What was the fruit of that long days walk? What was the sum of Paul’s twenty mile deliberation?
1 Corinthians 2: 1-5
1And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.2For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.3I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,4and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
I am no strategist, no grand thinker. I am a private in the Army of God, and, like many of my brothers and sisters, was asleep at the post. But I am awake now. And until I receive other orders I will be banging the drum, blowing the horn and crying “Stand too, the enemy is upon us, the battle has begun.”