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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Enemy Territory

This is not our world.

It hasn’t been ours since the garden of Eden and it’s not ours today. It is the dominion of the “god of this age”, the “prince of the power of the air”, the “ruler of this world”. 

That explains so much, when you really think about it.

We live in enemy territory, like Frodo in Mordor without the obvious orcs and spiders. Oh, there are plenty of both here, but they come well disguised. They don’t even drip acid when they speak — unless you pay very close attention.

When we forget these things, we lose not only our sense of mission but more importantly our sense of who we are.

That doesn’t mean we ought to walk around feeling alienated and hostile, but it does mean that we have to be very careful about going native. The seductions of this world are not always obvious. The temptations targeting Christians in particular are well designed to appeal to the spiritual man, not the carnal:

Be tolerant says the world, knowing our new nature compels us to love our enemies.

It’s the law says the world, knowing that we have been instructed to respect delegated authority.

It’s inevitable says the world, knowing that we believe in a God who is sovereign and may therefore accept hardships and restrictions their own would not easily countenance. Insurgency and bloodshed are not in our playbook.

It’ll hurt if you don’t play along says the world, knowing that nobody including Christians likes pain, and that the ruler of this world is well equipped to dish it out.

When confronted with a situation intolerable to their believing hearts, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego gave the best possible response:
“… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Society is setting up its ninety foot golden image on the plain. It’s an image of man, and it’s an image that originated in the mind of God himself, just as Nebuchadnezzar’s statue came from the dream God gave him and was only understood via the interpretation God gave Daniel. It would have been easy for Jews in Daniel’s day to rationalize a quick and formal grovel for the sake of a little peace and safety. But they didn’t.

Homosexuals are made in God’s image just as we are. Love is God’s very nature. It would be easy to rationalize an accommodation with the world. We can even use the Bible to do it, provided we lie about the meanings of words, deliberately misunderstand context and whitewash everything we can’t explain away as cultural.

Lots of Christians are doing it already. Last Tuesday the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to redefine marriage as “a commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman”. The United Church of Christ went there in 2005, and the Episcopal Church (officially) in 2012.

They’re building an image of gold and when it’s finished, you can bet Christians will be expected to start bowing when the music plays.

This is enemy territory, not our home. We need to live like it.

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