If you are of the opinion that things are going to only move from bad to worst until the rapture comes, your eyebrows may have been raised by the recent revivification of the pro-life initiative. Now, I can be just as pessimistic about it as you: it’s a shame that it has taken so long. Why did it take these videos before people started speaking out against abortion? Why did so many babies have to die before we started to gain any ground on this at all?
All of these points are valid and important, but it is equally as important to notice that something is actually happening. Planned Parenthood is losing funding, politicians are taking tangible action, and sin is being called out as sin. This business of Christians gaining ground on cultural issues wasn’t in any of the Left Behind books. Your defeatist view of the end times is being challenged by reality.
What I would love to do is encourage you to rethink your theology, study the Scriptures, and develop some Biblical optimism. But rethinking my own end times theology took a couple of years and I want you to act more quickly than that. There is a cultural war going on right now and I don’t care if you think you are predestined from eternity past to be on the losing side; I just want you to fight for King Jesus’ sake.
It was the Dispensationalist J. Vernon McGee who coined the phrase, “Why polish brass on a sinking ship?” in relation to the cultural war. He was advocating the idea that we should stay out of culture’s business and let it sink; Jesus is coming back anyway. The outcome of this thinking can best be measured in the lives of unborn children. It is as deadly as it is unbiblical.
Too many Christians have followed this thinking in past decades. Not only have Christians refused to take an active role in the shaping of our culture, we have at times rebuked and scorned Christians who won’t get with the program. We say to our prophets, prophesy not. We have become unsalty, then gone further and declared that the Christians who are trying to be salt and light are altogether unsavory and unenlightened. As our culture covenants with death, we have made a lie our refuge and hidden under a falsehood. As children are torn limb from limb, we sit idly by and tritely mutter something about wars and rumors of war—looking to the sky for Jesus to fix what we’re letting go to hell.
The argument for this radical inactivism is quite simple: The Bible says the world is going to get worse and worse until Jesus comes back. When He does come back, He’ll pull us clean out of our trousers to be with Him in heaven, then inflict seven years of judgment on the world. Since He’s only going to come back when things are bad, just let things get bad. Heck, if anything, we should encourage the world to get worse so that He’ll come back sooner. Maranatha.
This position makes some logical sense if you believe all the presuppositions about the world getting worse. As I said, I’d love to argue the point about the world getting worse, but I have a more important goal in this post—I want to encourage obedience.
A Christian who says, “Just let the darkness grow.” has forgotten that Jesus has called us to be light. A Christian who says the world is rotting has forgotten that Jesus called us to be salt, to act as a preservative in the world. A Christian who says we can’t expect the world to follow God’s Law has forgotten our call to teach the nations to obey all that Christ commanded.
Contrary to what you may have been taught, our mission is not to save a handful of people while dodging heathen pitchforks; although it certainly includes saving people and perhaps even dodging the occasional pitchfork. We have forgotten our mission to change the world. Paul spoke of us bringing about the obedience of faith among the nations. Jesus promised to build the church, not letting the gates of hell stand against it.
Let me be clear. Being salt is not about sending your kids to public school to be indoctrinated by secularists, then voting republican every four years (and wondering why your kids won’t). Being salt looks more like pulling your kids out of public school, then training them in the fear and admonition of the Lord so that you can shoot them like arrows into the culture to make real change. Being salt looks more like writing a letter to a local politician to tell them what God says about abortion, homosexuality, or stealing. Being salt looks like protesting Planned Parenthood or perhaps creating a video campaign to systematically shut it down. It can also look like having hard conversations with your friends and family, posting anti-murder memes on Facebook, and praying that God will save even President Obama (crazy, right?).
Maybe all the encouraging passages Jesus gives us about having all authority and being with us as we seek to disciple the nations isn’t enough for you. Maybe the passages about the Kingdom of God growing to cover the whole earth, leaven the whole lump, or be the biggest tree in the garden aren’t enough. Maybe the promise that of the increase of Christ’s government there will be no end—maybe that’s not enough for you.
Look at Planned Parenthood. Watch as Goliath starts to falter. This is a means of grace God has provided to encourage you to believe His promises and move you to obedience. Nowhere in the Bible are you commanded to sit idly by as children are murdered; actually, you’re commanded to love your neighbor as yourself. Nowhere in the Bible are you told that when you think Jesus is coming back soon, that’s the cue to stop working. Nowhere were you told that the SCOTUS decision means you should start hiding under a basket.
Do you have a problem with the culture? Do something. Change it. Do you hate movies with that glorify fornication, wanton violence, and sin in general? Go make good Christian movies. Do you hate how our nation has no respect for God’s Law? Go study it and become a politician. Do you hate abortion? Go stand outside Planned Parenthood and stop it from happening.
Where has God put you? What abilities has He given you? How can you use what you have to shape your pocket of culture? If you are faithful with what you’ve been given, you’ll be given more. If you do nothing, even what you have will be taken away.