For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.(2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)
Homoterrorism is all over the news. Florists, bakers, photographers, governors, fire chiefs, and pizzeria owners are some of the most recent victims of homoterrorism. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Homoterrorism” is not a real word, much less a real thing. Well, you’re right that it’s not a real word. If you break the word down it just doesn’t make any sense. Just like “homophobia.” But that hasn’t stopped people from using words like “homophobia” with great success. So we’ll retain the use of “homoterrorism” for the sake of this post.
Whether or not someone is offended is not the be-all and end-all of moral discourse. Truth be known, most homoterrorists should be offended. But the use of “homoterrorism” isn’t intended to unnecessarily offend people. Rather, it’s designed to highlight the recent reality of systematic targeting and terrorist tactics used by homosexual activists looking to score cultural and political victories. I’ve listed some examples in the first paragraph. If you need more, see Google/Twitter/Facebook/etc. Homosexual activists are using obscene language, censorship, threats, and intimidation with reckless abandon.
Of course, they are free to do so, within the confines of the law. This is, after all, the United States of America I am talking about. It’s a free country. Every ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion has a place at the table of freedom. Or so we are told. The problem that is coming to light now in the media is that the future of religious freedom in the U.S. is questionable. Oh, we have a history pointing out the place of religious freedom in our founding. And we have laws on the books establishing freedom of religion over against tyrannical governments and mob rule. But how long those laws will hold up to the current sexual revolution dominating the media, academy, big business, and an uneducated, unthinking teenlite is anybody’s guess. The argument against violating a religious person’s conscience doesn’t carry much force in the context of an angry mob without one.
Take, for example, the ubiquitous fuss over the recent law in Indiana which prompted the penning of this post. Apparently, similar versions of the law already exist in numerous other states, and a federal version was signed over twenty years ago. Yet, when Indiana created its own version of the law, the backlash was so unbelievably powerful that the law was sent back to be reworked. A few have noted the tendency toward mob rule in response to the law as exemplifying the need for such a rule of law in our land. But nobody seems to care.
The rule of law will not ultimately protect religious minorities anyway. So-called “freedom of religion” in its purest form is no match for the mob rule mentality of homoterrorists who are adamant they will trample over the rights and destroy the lives of anyone who dares even hypothesize about what they would do if they were, for example, improbably asked to cater pizza to a pagan wedding, much less think particular sexual practices are sinful perversions. If you are shocked, offended, or discouraged by the fact that Christian business owners are targeted to have their rights to religious freedom taken away, their consciences defiled, and their livelihoods destroyed by homoterrorism, you are not alone. Any morally sane person would object to a pizzeria having to close its doors due to death threats and social media bullying and someone asking for help burning it down, but moral sanity is not amongst the marks of your average American citizen anymore.
So what should you, and those who share your sentiments about homoterrorism do? First, there is nothing wrong with being shocked at the depths of human sin on display, even though we know quite well such depravity exists. Second, there is nothing wrong with being offended by a perverted minority who want to sue Grandma to make sure she can’t hold her “backward” Christian beliefs while owning a flower business too. Third, there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by the amount of evil exhibiting itself all around us in the form of misinformation and mockery and malevolent legislative actions. It’s certainly shocking and offensive and discouraging to see how quickly and effectively sinful human beings can completely undo the last vestiges of common sense in even one particular geography or generation.
Moreover, there is nothing wrong with putting our hands to the political plow as individuals, working for legislation that strives to protect our religious freedoms for the sake of the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with fighting as a culture warrior, using social media and the classroom and community to engage those around us in defining, defending, and devising a Christian culture of X,Y, or Z. What’s wrong is that so many of us have participated in these activities while rejecting the weightier matters of the law. Many of us have narrowed our focus to a particular place and time and cowered at the crushing force of sin in the lives of those around us. We’ve forgotten that our hope in the message of the cross is the only thing that separates “us” from “them,” our belief that the crushing force of sin was brought to bear upon Jesus, which is not just for us to hear and not just for the U.S., but for the world, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. The message of the gospel is far greater than the degeneration of one particular geography or generation. But there are some problems.
We have churches that are full of members who are not actually members. People who have joined the church, at some time in the past, and then left, for whatever reason, without a trace, and we are afraid to contact them or remove them from our membership lists because it might offend someone. We have churches where the average member attends once or twice a month, apparently not really needing or caring about the things of the Lord, since church is, after all, the scripturally-warranted corporate worship gathering (outside of the family) where we tend to the things of the Lord, and since, as already mentioned, nobody comes. We have families who claim to be Christian, but the way their households operate differs not the slightest from pagan families, except their children are allowed to watch Duck Dynasty but not Dexter. We have congregations who dread the formalities of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, misunderstanding their meaning and thinking they’re not really all that important anyway, since those who are baptized usually fall back into their former sinful lifestyles in two weeks’ time and thereby miss the quarterly “celebration” of the Lord’s Supper. We have pastors who are more concerned about entertaining visitors than preaching the Word with the gospel taking a back seat to “church growth” since churches that are growing spiritually but not numerically are not considered “model” churches in our numbers-driven society. And of course, we have you and I, who value virtually everything under the sun more than we value the richness of communion with Christ through the spiritual disciplines of ingesting the Scripture and crying out to God through prayer.
Now, I know this all sounds thoroughly legalistic and old-fashioned. It sounds as though you’re reading from one of those old Baptist checklists asking if you’ve read your Bible daily, prayed, tithed, visited, and brought a friend this week to church. And you are, sort of. Because as misguided as those checklists may be, and as heretical as the entire legalistic mindset actually is, there’s a truth in that tradition. Unfortunately, preachers who say so are regarded as puritanical (which improperly presupposes, of course, that there is something wrong with being puritanical). We are inclined to accept only that which is fashionable. We want nothing to do with that which we think has gone out of style, that which is unfashionable. And what is certainly no longer fashionable is a gospel that the world considers, well, foolish. I mean, think about it. God became a man and was executed by the Roman government in order to forgive you for looking at pornography or gossiping about your neighbor. How on earth is somebody supposed to preach that in this day and age? We have smart phones! And it’s not just the message of a bloody Christ that’s so unfashionable.
Church attendance has become unfashionable because we have adopted the radical individualism of American political philosophy and concluded that we are just as well off worshiping God alone. Family discipleship has become unfashionable because we have adopted the radical pragmatism of American educational philosophy and concluded that the state is just as well equipped as parents are to educate our children even in matters of worshiping God. Celebration of the sacraments has become unfashionable because we have adopted the radical conformity of American socio-political philosophy and concluded that it’s much better to look like what popular culture defines as “normal” than to commit to something like dying and rising with Christ or eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Preaching the gospel has become unfashionable because we have adopted the radical consumerism of American marketing philosophy and concluded that people want to hear a “relevant,” “positive,” “applicable,” and “practical” message pertaining to their many first world problems instead of hearing about the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-man for our sins. (It’s not as though we really believe that we sin anyway.)
So I’ve gone all preachy. Unsophisticated. Offensive. Obtuse. Sure, the recent events concerning Indiana incline one to think that Christianity’s current political position is not sustainable in our current cultural climate. And sure, I’ve already mentioned that there is still room to work in the public square. But what I’m suggesting is really quite laughable. I mean, really? Go to church? Disciple my family? Observe the sacraments? Preach the gospel? Read my Bible? Pray? Are these the means I am suggesting for “combating” homoterrorism? Wait. One other thing. I’m still sounding a bit legalistic here. I mean, going to church and praying don’t make a person a Christian. What about the gospel?
What about the gospel? The gospel is lived out in the community of God’s people. The gospel is delivered to the next generation through discipling our children. The gospel is pictured in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The gospel is proclaimed when the Word of God is faithfully preached. And the gospel is believed when we meditate deeply on the Word of God and confess our absolute dependence upon Christ in prayer. I’m not advocating legalism here. I’m asking you to believe the gospel.
But this is a very a long post. What’s the point? That we should read the Bible? Pray? Sing psalms with our children? Partake of the Lord’s Supper? Go to church? Seriously?