My initial response to Phil Robertson’s suspension by A&E is best expressed by Theoden, at the beginning of the battle of Helm’s Deep, in The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings Trilogy. They, too, were fighting to defend their families against powerful aggressors.
The “it” that I sense beginning (accelerating, actually) now is not some new culture war. It is the culturally- and legally-mandated suppression of Christian religious liberty, with people losing jobs and being faced with fines and jail time for their beliefs.
It’s not that Robertson’s suspension is the turning point, as that moment in The Two Towers was. It’s not as if all was quiet and expectant earlier this afternoon, and now A&E has sounded the first bugle for the first assault across the bridge. My sense of “and so it begins” has been building over the past few years. It’s been growing at a faster pace recently, as the government has (for example) now made it a matter of legal requirement that bakers bake cakes for gay “wedding” celebrations.
There may never be one clearly identifiable turning point in our defense of biblical truth against the pressure exerted by advocates of unbridled sexual expression. More likely it will remain more a matter of challenges increasing over time. Still this is a significant symbolic moment; a very sobering moment. The battle has just intensified.
It’s now upon us and the whole church to respond with spiritual power through prayer, with the truth of God’s holiness and righteousness, and with the grace of knowing that the only thing we have going for us is the same mercy in Christ we want the rest of the world to know.
We could get angry, and in the right context it’s fully justified. It’s also very spiritually dangerous, though, for anger often goes wrong and loses track of what’s truly just.
We could get vengeful, but “vengeance is mine, says the Lord.”
We could consider ourselves wounded and injured over it, but God has a better word than that for the persecuted: “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.” Indeed, a truly thoughtful and deep expression of joy could be our most effective means of evangelism now.
None of us should expect things to get easier–not unless the Lord intervenes with a sweeping move of the Spirit in revival. We ought instead to expect things to become more challenging. Darkness may well increase around us in ways we had not anticipated. The light can shine all the brighter, if we will let it.
Let’s all be in prayer, okay?
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