If you were to ask me how I would describe the year 2020, I will tell you plainly, “2020 has been the Year of Fear.”
I can see it in people’s behaviors, I hear fear in people’s words and I feel a spirit of fear in the air. Fear has become a currency in our culture. All media, including social media, newspapers, books and talk radio from both sides of the political spectrum fuel fear- and the government is happy to protect you from what the media tells you to be afraid of.
Fear renders humans vulnerable to manipulation and silencing – and dare I say thought control.
Fear is a tyrant!
People are flat out afraid.
If this life is all there is and this world is all there will ever be, then fear is the best idol available to most people. Unless of course, you are an oligarch or an elite, then power is your idol – and fear is the friend of those in power.
Why then are most Christians and churches responding just like those who believe this temporal world and this life is all there is? Why are Christians responding to circumstances like godless pagans who have no eternal vision of reality.
The answer is, we Christians have adopted the idols of the world and imported them into our theology. Whether we want to admit it or not, we have created idols of safety, autonomy, affluence, personal preference, comfort, politics, social issues, self, compromise, immediate gratification and list goes on. Many Christians in America have to some extent adopted a theology of “live your best life now.” I admit, I am guilty of this as well. Humans can’t live in a culture and not imbibe their culture to some degree. And since the Church long ago decided to give up on redeeming, reforming and shaping the culture in which they lived, the modern Church reflects the culture, it’s values and it’s idols. I’m afraid our forbearers would not recognize our modern form of Christianity.
Don’t believe me? Take a few moments and reflect on the last ten months. COVID, lockdowns, mask mandates, social unrest, political battles, the destruction of small businesses, and closing churches reveal things about us. When people are fearful, they will do pretty much anything to ‘feel’ safe. They will even run into a ambush or accept bondage. When the Church is fearful, the light is hidden under a basket. What happens when you hide a light? Darkness invades the room.
“When the Church is fearful, the light is hidden under a basket. What happens when you hide a light? Darkness invades the room.”
Like mushrooms on a pile of dung, fear thrives and grows in the darkness.
When will the mask mandates and lockdowns stop you ask? “When it is safe,” they say.
When will it be safe? My answer is “Never.”
Until the Church stands up to the spirit of fear, the current trend will continue.
Why? This is all rooted in basic human psychology of cost vs. reward and incentives – and human sin nature.
There is no benefit or negative consequence for those in power to stop coercing people and exercising unlawful control. Zero. In fact, there are incentives for the powerful to exert control over you and me.
The thinking Christian must recognize 99% of those in power do not share our worldview. They believe that matter, chance and power are all there is in this life. Why would elites cease trying to control people when there is no incensitve or negative consequence to cause them to? Particularly when free people acquiesce so easily when fearful. For these elites, it’s all about POWER.
Think about it. There is no incentive or risk for those in power to cease and desist mandating shutdowns of small businesses. However, there are big incentives and rewards when those in power designate massive companies like Amazon as ‘essential’ while ordering small businesses to shutdown. Why? Because small business owners are not the big donors or influencers that politicians care about. Politicians care deeply about companies like Amazon, Google, Target, Walmart, Facebook, etc. donate large sums of money and help influence political outcomes that benefit politicians. Does COVID cease to be dangerous inside a crowded Walmart vs an uncrowded mom and pop shop? Absolutely not! Tyranny is always rule by arbitrary edict.
Laws and restrictions only apply to others, not the elite ruling class. That’s why we see tyrannical governors and mayors on media ordering people stay at home, wear masks, requiring businesses shut down and churches closed one moment – then you see them out and about, dining with friends and enjoying other activities the next. While many Americans can’t work or gather to worship God, the elite ruling class is free to live and move about however they want – without wearing a mask. It’s almost like they rub it in our faces when they ‘get caught’. That is called tyranny – and those clowns use fear to control everyone else. In addition, it’s not hypocrisy as much as it is arbitrary because there is no hypocrisy in a worldview that is rooted in matter, chance and power. Whoever has power can arbitrarily impose their will on others – hypocrisy does not exist in their worldview. This is why I tell people to replace the word ‘hypocrisy’ with ‘arbitrary’ when talking about these ideological tyrants and their arbitrary rules.
The current situation will get worse until it is disrupted and challenged.
Those in power must be forced to see their benefits and reward system is at risk. The world system has always been bent on tyranny and bondage (sin nature of man). Read your Bible and learn history. The world before Christ was a world where most of the population was in servitude or slavery. Only in the last 300 years has that changed significantly. I digress.
The Church (those redeemed by the blood of Christ) is the ONLY institution on the planet that can disrupt the trend toward tyranny. Political parties do not have the moral fortitude or mandate to achieve this. Only the Church has the theological equipment, moral conviction and spiritual power to recover, reclaim, redeem and restore that which is quickly decaying.
Consider the following…
Fear is NOT the fruit of the spirit.
Our fears reveal our idols. In other words, we worship what we fear and vice versa.
This is a spiritual battle first and foremost.
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.” 1 Samuel 12:14
How then shall we (Christians) live in this historical moment?
Get ready for what is coming… Embrace the opportunity.
We must begin with prayer and repentance. Pray for renewal, obedience, courage and that God would forgive our idolatry and fearfulness. We must consider his Word and commandments with a renewed commitment to the revealed truth of the Bible and what it says about total reality. We must be prepared and ready to respond, stand our ground and resist appropriately. We must act using our prophetic voice, bearing witness to the truth, sharing the Gospel and working to redeem and restore all institutions – beginning with the church. Finally, we must trust God and leave the results to Him.
I am convinced that individual Christians and the Church need to get ready for what is coming next in America. There is a head-on collision between two completely incompatible worldviews occurring in our nation that are diametrically opposed to each other. They cannot coexist. That is impossible. They have two completely differing visions of reality and what it means to be human. We have two different constitutions and we’re two different nations. We need to get ready for the coming conflict. Unless God intercedes, there will be violence.
The Christian must first look for peaceful alternatives. But when faced with threat, he must take a defensive posture but not a passive posture. This is why every Christian must have a sound theology of resistance – knowing which authorities we must submit to and when to righteously resist.
The church must stand up for truth, goodness and righteousness and stop cowering in fear. Or, the church will be shut down. I’ve said it before, “If we do not exercise our First Amendment rights, we will lose them.” And rightly so, as we don’t deserve good gifts that are not appreciated and used. Atrophy is the fruit of apathy and laziness.
On October 29, 1941 Great Britain was in the throws of war with greatest evil of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Winston Churchill addressed the boys at the Harrow School.
Churchill stated, “This is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Imagine being the leader of a tiny island nation as a German grey giant loomed over everything you loved, threatening your family and countrymen with total destruction and subjugation. The United States had not entered WWII yet. So, it was one man and one tiny nation staring down one of the strongest most destructive armies in history.
Say what you will about Churchill, but the man never quit. Think about the abolitionist William Wilberforce, he never quit. He fought for freedom for African slaves his entire adult life – the British slave system was abolished three days before he died. Wilberforce never quit. Think about our Savior, Jesus Christ. He came to this earth on a mission to redeem and restore sinful man and the world by dying on a cruel Roman cross. God became flesh and dwelled among us – he was born to die. The Bible says, Christ’s face was ‘set like a flint’ as he marched toward Calvary. Even death could not hold him. Jesus never quit. If our King didn’t quit, why should we?
Enough is enough. It’s time for men of faith to be called to greater faith. It’s time to stand up and prophesy against the zeitgeist. It’s time to depose the tyranny of fear.
Never Quit means that you won’t wake up one morning ten years from now wishing you had done something. Never Quit means that you won’t have to look your children and grandchildren in the eyes with shame and regret about the world they inherited. Never Quit means that church gatherings and unmasked faces will not become memories of how things once were.
Never Quit means that you will obediently take a stand and push back against the darkness. Never Quit because Christ is worth it, the church is worth it, your wife and children are worth it and your nation is worth it.
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” – Revelation 3:1-2
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Over the last few months I have been diving deep into history in the area of Christian resistance to forms of tyranny. I’ve learned that we moderns don’t have a clue of how our forbearers thought and responded the world around them. They were far more sophisticated and theologically adept than we are. We believe that just because we have a vast array of technological advances and chronological distance, we’re somehow superior. We need to humble ourselves or history will do it for us.
“More often than we think, our unconscious presuppositions and unquestioned axioms influence our theology. Each of us has a set of theological, cultural, and emotional “filters” that affect our perception and interpretation of the things we see and experience. We seem to be caught in a vicious circle: our experience influences our theology, and our theology influences our experience.” – Ken Boa
This moment may be the biggest opportunity the church has experienced in 200 years. Please don’t let this moment pass because you are afraid. Remember, fear is not a fruit of the spirit. (Comment below)
I hope many people read this.
The sword of the spirit ( The word of God) is the strongest weapon we have.
I remind myself daily right now to focus on the word not what is going on in the world.
Thank you so much for this detailed perspective.
Thank you for taking the time. You are right! We need to put on the full armor of God everyday. Fear God love and serve neighbors.
Thank you Lance- so appreciate your clear message and fervor for the truth. All so true! I’m standing in God’s promises daily, He is at work!
Kathy, yes and amen! Without God’s revealed truth, we have no foundation on which to stand… I think Christians in America (myself included) must recover what it means to stand for Christ in the public domain. I learned that I have in many ways privatized my faith and in doing so put a basket over the light of the Gospel. St. Augustine once said that “the truth is like a lion, no need to defend it, just let it loose and it will defend itself.”
NOW is the time to stand! Once we have acquiesced to tyrannical governing, we essentially have given ourselves over to their authority and must submit. Yet, while still free (in our current state), we have a limited time and opportunity to resist and (may I be so bold to say) depose those who would impose unrighteous, disposed rule over us. The door is still open but it will not remain so for long. What we do today will affect our children and grandchildren… we must be held accountable to God and future generations. Thanks and blessings – AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!