CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

How NOT to Respond to the Tsunami of Evil Engulfing Us

Nov 30, 2017

In my books, yesterday will be remembered as Black Wednesday. It was a very dark day for Australia indeed. As I wrote in my previous piece, we had a double whammy with a death bill enacted in Victoria and a death to marriage bill basically enacted federally.

Two of the most important things that we can run with – the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage – have both been mown down by the radicals. You can read about the depressing and diabolical details here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/11/29/fake-marriage-kill-bills-nails-australias-coffin/

In that piece I looked at some of the political, cultural and spiritual implications of these deadly bills. Here I want to focus much more on the Christian and biblical ramifications of all this. And the way I will do this is by examining a number of responses that have already been made.

I think many of these options are faulty, unhelpful and often unbiblical. While the way forward will be difficult indeed, and I do not have all the answers as to how we must proceed, it seems that these responses are far from ideal. Here are some of these oft-heard but often unhelpful responses:

‘This is the end – we are doomed.’ When these sorts of events occur many believers will assume that this must be the darkest moment in human history, and that there is just no way of getting beyond such darkness. Make no mistake, this double assault on such vital matters is very diabolical indeed.

But we have been through dark periods before. Church history is littered with such dark days and such dark periods in which it seemed like all was lost and there was no hope. Yet through all these periods of immense darkness and great evil, the church has survived and the gospel has continued to be proclaimed.

As G K Chesterton once put it, “At least five times the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.” Whether his numbers are exact, he is quite right to affirm that there have been plenty of other very dark days and dark periods in church history, yet by God’s grace the faith still remains.

And as he also said, “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” So this will not be the end of Christianity. It may be a very hard blow indeed, but long after the Turnbull and Andrews governments are minor footnotes in history, the church will continue to thrive.

And if it gets all but wiped out in the West because of persecution and anti-Christian bigotry, it will continue to flourish elsewhere, as it is now doing in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Of course having said all that, yesterday is still a day that will live on in history.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the next day US President Roosevelt gave a speech in which he spoke about “a date which will live in infamy”. Without question November 29, 2017 will also be a date which will live in infamy as well.

However, we must stand and fight and not lose hope. I speak to this more fully here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/15/say-no-counsel-despair/

‘It must be end times. Jesus is coming back at any minute!’ Many Christians take these sorts of events as fool-proof indications that Christ is about to return at any moment. They are convinced that the Parousia must be imminent, and they almost rejoice over such evil things occurring.

There has never been a shortage of such speculation about the end of the world when momentous things like this happen. Christians have been convinced the end was near for many centuries now. Dates have been set repeatedly, only to have been proved false.

Eschatology is certainly important, but a study of church history should make it clear that far too often we get things quite wrong with our speculations about where we are headed and when the end will come. Too often believers go off the deep end in pushing end-times scenarios.

I had one fellow recently claim that I do not like comments on eschatology posted on my site. That is not true. There are plenty of such comments that I have allowed on, and I have penned two dozen articles on all this. But what I do find somewhat problematic is overly speculative and somewhat reckless claims being made, as if a particular eschatological spin on things is gospel truth.

Plenty of prophecy buffs and end times experts are out there trying to tell us this is how it all works. I prefer a little more room to move here, along with a bit of humility in our pronouncements on how things will all be wrapped up. So are these two assaults on faith, freedom and family part of biblical prophecy?

Maybe yes, maybe no. We have always been in the end times in one sense, and the Bible is crystal clear about not setting dates, and that we should occupy – keep busy with the work of the Kingdom – until Christ returns. But I have often written on this, eg: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/16/eschatology-and-fatalism-doing-right-fighting-evil-and-the-end-times/

‘Mercy triumphs over judgment.’ After these hardcore events, I did a prayer walk yesterday (admittedly in a cooled shopping mall) to cry out to God. It is hard to know how to pray for this nation at this moment. Do we keep pleading for his mercy, or do we welcome his just judgment on this darkened land?

Hmm, that is a good question: should we seek his mercy or seek his judgment? Other folks have said they have been thinking similar things. But some replied by quoting passages like James 2:13 which speaks of mercy triumphing over judgment.

That passage can often be abused and misused by Christians so I have written about it in much more detail here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/21/difficult-bible-passages-james-213/

However we proceed, we need to seek God more than ever, and seek his will in this regard. Be it mercy or judgment or some combination, we need to discern what God is saying in these dark days.

‘It is all happening according to God’s plan, so relax.’ Well, yes and no. Yes, God is sovereign, but no, that does make us fatalists. It is too easy to just let this response become an unhelpful cliché which relieves us of our biblical responsibilities to be salt and light.

Yes God is in charge, but he expects us to be involved in his work on planet earth. The early disciples certainly believed in God’s sovereignty, but they also worked and prayed like mad to spread the gospel. Wilberforce and his co-workers certainly believed in God’s sovereignty, but they also worked and prayed like mad to fight against slavery.

Believers today can rightly believe in God’s sovereignty, but they also must work and pray like mad to stop the war on faith and freedom, and to help extend the Kingdom in all areas of life. See more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/05/06/against-christian-fatalism/

‘Persecution is promised, so no big deal.’ This too is a rather unhelpful approach to take. Sure, there is truth in this, but we can often be far too glib about this. We should not wish persecution on anyone. I do not want me and my loved ones languishing in a prison cell, facing daily gang rapes and so on.

I do not want me and my loved ones to be forced out of our livelihoods, forced to beg on the streets. I do not want me and my loved ones to be heavily fined so that we have to sell our homes and our possessions. None of this is something we should desire.

But, it seems we are moving in that direction. As I just recently said in a radio interview, dark times are now certainly upon us, and our main expectation as believers must be that of increased opposition and persecution. More persecution it seems is becoming inevitable the way things are going in the West.

Of course the one bright side of all this is that the wheat and the tares are becoming ever more distinguishable. We are seeing in these tough times those who are truly His, and those who are not. But still, we should not be glib about all this. I wrote this in more detail; here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/11/20/christians-stop-glib/

‘The state should have nothing to do with marriage anyway.’ The problem is, it is involved, whether we like it or not. And I believe there was a very good reason for proper state involvement in marriage. All societies know that the future belongs to our children, so all societies have had a vested interest in looking after their wellbeing.

And until recently, all societies knew that the best way to ensure positive outcomes for children was to see them raised by their own biological parents, cemented by marriage. Thus the state has always been interested in marriage, and has always sought to support it.

But now things have changed radically of course. Now the state is warring against marriage and family. So now we can ask if it is time for the Christians to pull out of the state system when it comes to marriage. But on the reasons why the state did have a legitimate and vital role in defending and promoting marriage in the past, see this two-part piece:
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/04/04/libertarianism-and-marriage-part-one/
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/04/04/libertarianism-and-marriage-part-two/

These are six common responses often offered in difficult times, and I have heard them all just in the past 24 hours since these two terrible bills were passed. Each one contains some truth, but they can often be twisted into unhelpful and unbiblical directions.

What we do know is that as believers, we must remain faithful, we must persevere, and we must keep going with God’s grace in these very dark and difficult days. As one saying puts it, “Do not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

[1674 words]

21 Responses to How NOT to Respond to the Tsunami of Evil Engulfing Us

  • Thanks Bill.

  • The early church suffered a lot more than today. However, Jesus warned us that just prior to His return it will be the worst of all time for believers and non-believers. We are not there yet by any stretch of the imagination but it can get much worse very rapidly. No one knows the time nor the precise direction from which the biggest storm of evil of all time is to come. I can imagine how hard it will be to endue if it happens in my time, and if it does I will do my best to hold fast in the faith regardless of the consequences in this fractured world.

  • I reflect on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and how the most unexpected, unlikely ‘heroes’ were called upon to bring down the spreading darkness across Middle Earth. Yes, it is a beloved story for many, yet I wonder if even now God could raise up from an unexpected corner a ‘David’ that ‘Goliath’ never saw coming. What do we believe about God that the secular culture has long since dismissed with derision? What do we know about God that the ‘liberal/progressive’ church has educated itself out of believing? Is it possible that the infinite God of Glory could yet so fill the lives of those committed to the Word of God, that the very Presence of God could burst through the many reams of dogma and the dry struggling churches that a society that has happily dismissed God as a delusion would be confronted anew with ‘the God who is there’. The disciples hid behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, and Jesus came to them. The church now is concerned with the freedom to preach the gospel and increasing persecution. Let Jesus come to us in this hour also. It may bring more pressure than we have yet known, but coals will be turned to diamonds and truly spread an increasing light in this dark time. We may feel we are insignificant, but even hobbits can be called to engage with the great matters of the age.

  • Quite right Bruce. Well said.

  • Thanks Bill and Bruce. We have some champions waiting in the battlefront and trenches and as they like to say on the coalface. Keep writing, keep alerting the brethren in the ‘sleepy hollow’ churches to its upcoming dangers .Martin Luther came for such a time as this; so it is with every danger, calamity and dark times. Contend, parry and pray. The Word is the Sword. Keep Digging, the Word is the Trowel.

  • It seems to me that each generation needs to be reminded that it is born into a war zone. The World is constantly at war. Our generation has had it too easy, and we have been lulled into a false sense of security, believing that peace, stability and justice just came out of thin air, when in fact that they were hard won by our ancestors who would turn in their graves if they were to see us now. God is withdrawing his protective hand until life becomes so unbearable we are driven back to Him and his Word. Either that or we perish.

    David Skinner UK

  • Bill,
    The State will force regulations (control) over people’s harmful behaviours and practices in order to protect the public and society from harm. The NSW Marriage Registry History website clearly recorded that it was the Australian parliament that forced Christian ministers to register all genuine church marriages on a public Marriage Registry and this was done in order for the courts could have a legal right to punish the harm of adultery and a breakage of the marriage oath in a no fault divorce. Where in the Bible does it state for Christians to force the state (government) to regulate (control) “one flesh” union between husband and wife?

    Australian farmers are free from many laws such as the public roads authority so they can drive an unregistered vehicle with no driver’s licence on their private property, and they don’t have to register their cats and dogs with their local council etc. The Occupational Health and Safety laws apply to all worksites including farms.

    Christians can’t force the state to create laws including the Marriage Act to regulate (control) their harmful behaviours and practices in order to protect the public and society from harm. Christians can be like farmers who have to identify their own risks for their own safety in order to protect themselves and their family as well as the public from harm. Farmers are a minority group of workers in Australia, but no one would claim they’re not essential to the Australian economy. Farmers have to be self-sufficient, self-reliant and hard working, plus they have to rely on God for the weather. Therefore, genuine Christians can have a “one flesh” marriage which is self-sufficient as they can support and protect all their family members with God’s help. Genuine Christians shouldn’t marry (become one) for legal government marriage benefits such as status, welfare, immigration nor access to a no fault divorce. However, genuine Christians can be independent with marriage like nurses and midwives who can be independent to laws that allow for legal killing, but they’re still registered but they don’t believe in abortion or a legal assisted dying practice. My husband and I have our marriage recorded in the NSW Marriage Registry Office, but we have never been forced to purchase our NSW Marriage Certificate because this isn’t our “one flesh” marriage and we don’t want any government marriage benefits.

    A “one flesh” marriage is a natural behavioural practice of a public marriage oath to a faithful, lifelong consummation between a man and woman as they can naturally procreate, nurture and raise new-life with male and female role models (natural human reproduction). A “one flesh” marriage is the only sexual relationship which makes it impossible to get an STD. Also, this is the only living arrangement which makes it impossible for a child to be born out of wedlock (a marriage oath). The Australian society are going to rely on genuine Christians to maintain this natural practice even if they’re a minority group of people like Australians rely on farmers for fresh food.

    The Australian Parliament has amended the Marriage Act by removing the criteria that “marriage is an exclusive union between a man and woman for life, and they have accepted an idea that “marriage is between any 2 people” based on the sexuality and gender theories. Genuine Christians can’t accept this falsified Marriage Act for themselves because they don’t want to participate in a fantasy marriage as this means they have to deny the truth in God’s word the Bible about “one flesh” union between husband and wife.

    The Australian parliament has created a man-made marriage which leads to a breakdown of marriage and family in a no fault divorce. Christians would have to pretend that a civil marriage is good when it clearly showed evidence of harm such as a Sydney lawyer has recently offered a free pro bono service for a no fault divorce to a Christian married couple who didn’t believe in SSM. This is like a Christian nurse and doctor pretending that an unwanted neonate is bodily waste products rather than the truth that all lives are made in the image of God and “they shault not murder.” Genuine Christians would like the Marriage Act to re-enforce good behaviours and practices such as a “one flesh” marriage.

    I have explained to MPs that they’ve created a “marriage between any 2 people” which means 2 people become one for government marriage benefits. This means Australians can’t discriminate against a sex worker and client because they meet the criteria of “any 2 people who can marry” and have a no fault divorce. A “Harlot marriage” absolutely scares politicians because they discriminate prostitution from marriage, and they don’t like the idea of “Happy Harlots” in the safe school programs nor do they like the idea of the “Scarlet alliance been accepted into the gay alliance. However, there worst nightmare is that the governments won’t receive the income tax and GST from sex workers. Also, “Harlot marriage” makes politicians understand the reason that genuine Christians totally reject the idea that “marriage is between any 2 people” because they don’t even believe a genuine marriage can exist between a sex worker and their client even if the law makes it a legitimate marriage. Politicians are absolutely scared that genuine Christians will be like the Muslims and Jews who abide by their religion first rather than just accept their man-made marriage and they’ll push this onto their church. Politicians thought that genuine Christians couldn’t be independent from this idea of a “marriage between any 2 people,” but they’re wrong.

  • Printing this one out & handing it to the ‘lukewarm’ believers in my church……………..
    Some of who say to me – “Yes – I’ve read the Bible”……….?!?
    But
    Especially my priest who is ‘floundering’ in these ever-increasing darkening days.

    The Hobbit of Geelong.

  • Hi Bill. So sorry for the outcome in Australia. My heart is heavy for your country and the true believers living there. I prayed and hoped your country wouldn’t fall into this evil against families and especially children as my country did in 2015. I live in a very liberal state, Oregon which has the dubious dishonor of electing a governor claiming to be the first openly bi sexual governor ever elected in the USA. Since she’s been in office, the transgender agenda is moving rapidly into our school system, with little outcry from parents and the Christian community. Another travesty is a new law passed in the state legislature, which allows the state to use taxpayers money to fund illegal immigrants abortions, which is another first in the USA. The motto for my city, Portland is “Keep Portland Weird.” And, it does, believe me. I live in urban Portland, which is in your face relentlessly with the “we tolerate everything and anything except white, straight conservatives, especially Christians” nonsense. PETA just recently plastered a huge picture of a naked woman, with her derrierre exposed quite prominently on a building next to mine. When I walk up my street towards home, there it is, in all its pornographic glory. My first thought was for my 4 year old grandson who visits me quite often and we do a lot of walking. I consoled myself thinking he wouldn’t notice it as he’s so busy skipping, hopping or running down the sidewalks. Boy, was I wrong. As we rounded a corner, he immediately saw it. His reaction should make us all pause and think about how the Lord expects us to shun and denounce the blatant evil around us. He simply but profoundly said, “Mema, thats a bad picture.” I told him he didn’t have to look at it, so he averted his eyes, and he continues to do so whenever we come near it. Some might say, well, he’s just a child, of course its bad to him. But, didn’t Jesus make it clear we are to become as children to enter the kingdom? So, my heart is saddened for my sweet grandson and all the precious children the world seems to despise. You are absolutely correct, true believers in Christ must continue to do battle against evil, even though it appears we are losing.

  • The old saw: “It’s all in the mind: It pays not to think too much.” no longer sounds as funny as it was originally meant to. Instead, the jibe appears to be taken all to seriously by those who have seized the high ground of public discourse in Australia and elsewhere in the West. Serious Christians are, in all probability, in for a rough ride in the decades to come. witness the breaking case of a Christian maths teacher in UK who unintentionally “misgendered” a student during the course of enthusiastically affirming a good learning outcome in a student group he was teaching: youtu.be/_9_b49s-xVg . The abolition of the biblical “binary” model for human gender is not without its consequences.

  • We are truly in a time when we will see Gods judgment with His mercy but let’s remember the way of salvation follows judgment I believe as l have studied the OT we see God bring judgment to save His people today the church must arise strong and withstand the evil we are faced with our problem the Church has gone down the road of entertainment

  • “And until recently, all societies knew that the best way to ensure positive outcomes for children was to see them raised by their own biological parents, cemented by marriage.”

    Absolutely correct and until people start to accept the scientifically proven facts that there are fundamental instincts that make biological parents far and away the best people to make decisions about their children and for people to face up to to the history that proves that people with a political or psycho-sexual agenda are not, then society and future generations will inevitably suffer. These are fundamental rights that are being overturned and they have been that way for a long time and in pretty much all civilizations, especially successful ones, for a very good reason. You simply cannot go against nature and God in this way and expect a good outcome but this will not happen until the media and especially the public media are changed so that the facts are revealed because the public media has shown itself to be extremely adept at hiding facts that are inconvenient to its political and psycho-sexual agenda.

  • Thank you Bill. You have put into words all my thoughts in such an honest, forthright way. I’m grateful for your exposè.
    I will continue to pray and speak the gospel of our Lord Jesus in full confidence that not only He is with me, but that a brother in Christ stands with me too.

  • I wonder how many people have noticed that the euthanasia bill in Victoria and the marriage redefinition in the federal sphere are actually a coordinated attack on the middle two of the Ten Commandments.

  • Another response that embodies part of the truth is; “It came to pass,” or “It is the fashion of the moment”. Both of these are true when we see the cycles of human opinion in history. We cannot tell how long they will last or how profoundly accepted they will be.

    From where we stand now it seems that current philosophical/social fashions in the West are increasing exponentially and are here to stay. We then, have to face these from the proper Biblical view, in the power of the Eternal Spirit, with the right measure of our energy, for the sake of our nations, church, and families.

    There will be an end to them, they will come to be past, the fashion will change.
    It remains to be seen how that will happen. It may be that there is a spiritual/moral revival in the churches and society, it may be that collective human wisdom will see that the current fashions are a dead end and reject them, or indeed, it may be that God will wrap it up in “the Day of The Lord”.

    So in the meantime we need to “pray and work like mad”.

  • I think we can have marriage in the Church for believers and then if they wish the married couple can register it with the state. Interestingly this is what some Muslims do. I was talking to one who had been married for some time and just hadn’t got around to registering it. The religious ceremony is the most important to them. As long as ministers are no longer registered to be state registrars there will be no pressure to marry homosexuals. We will just not have the traditional signing of the marriage certificate photo. Time to separate church and state in a positive way. In France people marry in a registry office and then have a religious ceremony which is another option which some may not take because of the distortion of the marriage act.

  • Our laws, up until now never had the power to create. They could only protect and preserve that which had already been created.
    Eight out of the Ten Commandments were negative. “Thou shalt not”.

    Apart from the written Law, God gave us a conscience and intelligence to know when we were breaking the law, even without consciously knowing it. This left man a tremendous freedom in how to make decisions. He did not need be controlled like a robot or a horse with a bit and reign. When Adam was in the Garden God said you can eat of every tree, except this one. Everything else was permitted.

    If a government denies God’s created order, it is necessary for it to create one of its own and to prescribe laws for maintaining that new order. More over it is necessary to take over the independent mind and conscience of mankind , who will no longer be able to make decisions of its own as to what is and what is not permitted. There will no longer be a private world.
    The law will no longer protect instead it will positively enforce the bowing down to strange Gods, the blaspheming of God’s name, the killing of whoever or whatever becomes an inconvenience or cannot defend itself, the committing of adultery and fornication, the telling of lies, slandering and libelling, the viewing of pornography and committing adultery and fornication in one’s imagination and the stealing and coveting of what others have.
    The government will be the power in which we move, breath, live and have out being. Every single thought, feeling, spoken word and action will have to be minutely legislated and policed, because the conscience of mankind will have been taken away. This will create uncertainty as to when one has broken a law or even gone close to breaking it. This will render man completely paralysed and totally dependent second by second on the government telling him what to do.

    Now that the government has redefined marriage. It must decide on how many may participate in such amalgamations. If the binary world no longer exists, why have two? Why not five or five hundred? It must decide how long such partnerships will last or when they are no longer legitimate? How will a marriage be deemed eligible? Is it possible to run several different forms of marriage at the same time, each performing a different purpose – say one for producing children, another for sex, another for companionship, or another for economic purposes etc. ? Does marriage have to involve sex or romantic feelings at all? Does it have to be between humans or even anything material?
    But if a government can take over creation, what else can it reorder? The first six days of creation will be rewritten. How about the times and seasons, what is true and not true? And who exists and who does not? The government said, “let there be and it was – or was not.”

    David Skinner UK

  • “Be it mercy or judgement or some combination, we need to discern what God is saying in these dark days.” I take Bill’s comment as a cry for the truly prophetic voice to be heard in the church today. I’m also relieved to read the biblical prophets and see that whilst their total output varied from a page or two to longer books, what they had to say about particular issues at specific times was mercifully shorter to read than much of today’s output on current affairs and how this relates to our faith.

  • @ J. Sheryl: In his second reading speech of the Smith bill, Senator George Brandis said that “marriage equality” will remove the last vestige of discrimination and stigma against consenting adults in same-sex relationships. No doubt he will want to remove discrimination and stigma against consenting adults in sex worker/client relationships by granting these relationships “marriage equality” too, especially as all consenting adults sexual relationships are given equal protection from discrimination under the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994.

    The relationship between sex worker and client, “harlot marriage”, fulfills all requirements for civil marriage registration and legal divorce. It is a civil contract, entered voluntarily, whose terms both parties agree to in advance. It is a life-long union, because it lasts for the life of their union, before acheiving a mutally-agreed “irretrievable breakdown” for legal no-fault divorce, when the client pays the fee for sex, which terminates the “harlot marriage” contract by mutual consent. Parliament believes that granting civil marriage registration to the “2 people” in a same-sex couple is good for society, because more people will be marrying. Therefore, “harlot marriage” runs (wedding) rings around same-sex marriage, as sex workers get married several times a day.

    In a speech to the national symposium Australian Association of Social Workers held in Hobart this week, former High Court judge and LGBTIQA activist Michael Kirby said that churches need to “catch up” and accept “the science of sexual orientation and gender diversity”. Surely there’s no more sexually oriented and gender diverse sector of society than the sex industry. Progressive churches will “catch up” in support of “harlot marriage”, and eliminate the church’s traditionally negative portrayal of prostitution with a new translation of the Bible, called the Harlot International Version, or HIV.

  • It is a Godless society we live in. These sorrowful and evil times are to be expected. I believe that our duty, as Christians, is to bring one person at a time to Christ. That will be the biggest change we can make on Earth and in our society today. Read Psalm 107 and we can understand how things change without God, and with God…

    Of course, people must have thought that WW1, then Nazi Germany and WW2 were as close to “end times” as we could get during the 20th Century. Now threats of sabre-rattling nukes and missiles between North Korea and the US has people terrified and anxious. As Christians we need to keep our focus on God, not the world.

    God will be bringing a lot of people to their knees soon, with so much turmoil and confusion around us. We need to be there to guide those people to Christ. We really have no power beyond prayer, and care for those who seek God and the Truth. Give God the glory, and everything else will follow…

    Look what is happening in the USA, as “intelligent” people are seeking solace for their souls, but turning to the wrong places for finding peace. It is people like this that need to be reached with the Gospel.
    “Where Silicon Valley Is Going to Get in Touch With Its Soul” www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/technology/silicon-valley-esalen-institute.html

    On the other hand, the “hippie movement” did eventually lead to the “Jesus Freaks”, and there was a revival of sorts. I know there is hope. My own pastor found his faith via contact with these Jesus people, and others during these heady times. There is still hope!

  • Is Christianity dying? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZOkJcBKuhI

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