Though we may be a month into 2016, we deem it is not too late to do some reflecting on what is coming, in light of events of 2015.
For believers reading the signs of Christ’s promised return, 2015 was not an insignificant year.
Back in the early 1990s the late Dr. James Boice made an insightful observation, likening Christianity and professing Christians to an endangered species.
Back then already there was a long and growing list of endangered species: the great blue whale, various kinds of fish and fowl, such as the snail darter (trigger a memory?), the California condor, and various mammals (like the white rhino) with their plant habitats as well.
It is a list that continues to grow. We do not dispute the reality.
To that list could well be added the historic Christian faith.
Not just Christianity as such and those who claim the right to the name Christian. That ‘genus’ flourishes. But biblically-defined Christianity; Christianity of the historical, orthodox vintage with its roots in the apostolic truth itself.
An endangered species.
Boice’s concern was chiefly with the great inroads apostasy made in the twentieth century as Protestant denomination after denomination corrupted and diluted its ‘bloodlines’ by corrupting one biblical doctrine after the other.
With this we certainly agree.
But in the twenty-first century the threat to the survival of true biblical Christianity goes beyond a great ‘falling away’ and its dying off in its generations. What is becoming plain is that biblical Christianity itself is becoming the focus of a godless society that would like nothing better than to hasten its extinction from the face of the earth by force and fiat.
This became clear in 2015.
Events of lawless violence occurred that made all too plain how far the agenda of the spirit of Antichrist has advanced in the last decade or so. And 2015 was a year in which our Supreme Court made a landmark decision regarding the lawfulness of homosexual unions, declaring that civil magistrates could not refuse to grant marriage licenses where recognition of these unions was sought.
A watershed decision, and anti-Christian to its core.
Make no mistake.
Dominating the headlines of 2015 were the atrocities of ISIS and the lawless violence of Muslim terrorists and extremists.
It began already in January of last year. As you recall, a French satirical newspaper had the temerity to mock the Muslim religion and to caricature its prophet, Mohammed. As a result, twelve journalists paid for their folly with their lives, gunned down as Muslim gunmen stormed the Paris offices in broad daylight. And the year concluded with attacks by Islamic terrorists in Paris at a rock concert and at a soccer stadium, resulting in hundreds of casualties, the dead and wounded. Closer to home, you can throw in the murderous attack in San Bernardino, CA by a couple of Muslim radicals as the year ended.
And during the months between, news reports and videos of barbaric execution after execution. Embedded in our memories are photos of men in orange prison suits kneeling with bags over their heads as their executioners stand behind them with swords raised, waiting to behead them immediately following a religious propaganda statement. And then the headless bodies sprawled on the desert sand. “Great is Allah, god of the pure Islamic religion!”
The ISIS adherents, of course, consider themselves to be the true embodiment of the pure Islamic religion. Too many other Muslims have made their peace with the Western infidels. That’s the problem.
But let none imagine that ISIS is the only Islamic group claiming to be the true continuing strain of the pure Islamic religion. These groups abound.
What has become crystal clear is that all these self-identified, so-called pure strains of the Islamic religion have this in common, namely, they are anti-Christian to the core. They have no tolerance of a Christian faith that declares that Christ Jesus is the one only, God-ordained Lord and Savior, and that biblical apostolic Christianity is the one only true faith and religion. And then on top of that, a Christianity that has the audacity to refer to their Allah as a pagan god, to the Muslim religion as an idolatrous, heathen religion, and to their Mohammad as a false prophet. Given opportunity they would gladly return to the ‘evangelism’ method of their early forbearers, namely, conquer the West and give the conquered two choices, convert to the Islamic religion or be executed!
To this add the reports that have filtered through the news media (not headline news by any means) that in the last year in African countries and the Near East those professing the Christian religion in any shape or form have been slaughtered by Muslim radicals in the tens of thousands.
Make no mistake, the Muslim religion as promoted by its zealots is not only anti-Christian to its core, but militantly and aggressively so.
But here is the truly worrisome reality: the liberals who dominate our universities and public schools, as well as our present administration, will not talk about Muslim extremists or of Islamic radicals, but only about religious radicals and religious extremists and fundamentalists.
Because they want room to place Christianity with its fundamentalists and its purists in the same category. And for our godless society, such are the real home-grown radicals and the greater threat! They will go to great lengths to prove from ancient and medieval history that such is the case.
You may ask, “Over the past years, has it been Christians who have committed acts of terrorism without regard for life, slaughtering others in the thousands, presenting an ongoing threat that requires national security measures running in the billions of dollars?”
Of course not. But to the liberals that makes no difference. Surely, they say, these Christians of the fundamentalist persuasion are the breeding ground for future threats to the State. Think of what they fill their children’s heads with toward present-day liberal educators and what they call our present liberal ‘regime.’ Not honor and esteem, that is for sure.
And, it is those Christians governed by their inflexible creedal convictions who call peace-loving Muslims idolaters and say that Mohammad is a false prophet. These are those who by their uncivil and inflammatory words offend and rile up the Muslim communities and keep the fires burning.
How can our society have peace and unity as long it allows such a species as these creed-bound Calvinists the right to propagate their religion? These are the real disturbers of the peace and the true religious agitators.
Do not think that the violent events perpetrated by Muslim extremists in this past year will not be used to bring charges against the practitioners of biblical Christianity in the days ahead. The spirit of Antichrist with its ever strengthening hold upon the liberal mentality of our day will make it so.
The days of our free, unmonitored worship, our freedom of speech, and our right to instruct our children in our convictions are limited. Don’t think they are not.
And that looming reality has been strengthened by the Supreme Court decision made this past June.
What the Supreme Court decision of June past has done (namely, give the right to homosexuals to seek and obtain marriage licenses from every State and to have all the rights of married couples), is to give to that segment of society tremendous leverage, not only to intimidate those who condemn their lifestyle as sin, but to silence them in the end.
Those who dare charge the homosexual population with sin, condemning their lifestyle as perversion, are already being tagged as guilty of hate speech. And such a Christianity that ‘brain-washes’ its children with the same bigoted, discriminatory mentality should be allowed to continue to exist and teach their children such?! Or continue to have the right to discriminate against such folk when it comes to church membership?! Does any have the right to practice such an intolerant and bigoted Christianity?!
The days of such accusations come. And the decision of this past June gives the ‘gay rights movement’ all the lawful ammunition it needs. A loaded shotgun has been placed in their hands. And do not think they will not use it to hunt down a certain species of Christians.
This was brought home to us in a forceful way by an incident one of our deacons observed at year’s end.
He was entering a large store that requires membership ID to purchase its products. As he stood in line, a young employee checking the IDs greeted a couple of persons just ahead of him (both clearly of the female gender) with a smile and the words “Hello, ladies.” Whereupon they turned on him and with loud voices so all could hear shouted, “How dare you speak to us that way!” The one whose hair was rather short and who was wearing jeans declared, “As should be clear to you, I am the husband, and this is my wife! Where is your manager? We are going to file a complaint. We do not feel welcomed here at all.”
After apologizing and giving the couple the information they required, the young man in shock turned to our deacon and said “What did I say wrong?”
Well, whatever mistake the young man made, this much was clear, he was not addressing two ladies! How two such females should be addressed we leave to the reader’s judgment.
The point? If a young man trying to be civil can be accosted this way, his very job now in jeopardy for a remark made in all innocence, how long do you think it will be before the angry and aggressive segment of these people turn their scope on us, that species of Christianity that insists on calling a male a male and a female a female, and insists on practicing a certain gender discrimination regardless of all the present hue and cry?
And do not forget, those who want to make a case against us for what we dare say about homosexuality, to say nothing of our practice of a gender discrimination, will not lack for ammunition. Not with all our sermons being in the public domain, as well as books and articles that we encourage others to read.
We will be easy game for those set upon hunting us down.
And strikingly, a number of popular, well known evangelists, who prior to the Supreme Court decision were very vocal in their opposition to homosexual relations being sanctioned in some legal way, suddenly changed their tunes when confronted by news reporters (agitators?) who wanted their response to the newly sanctioned law.
No longer simply, “The Bible condemns such practices!” It was suddenly, “We have to review our church policies. We want to be a community where no one, no matter what their sexual disposition, feels threatened or unwelcomed or judged!”
In other words, we will adjust our views to ‘co-inhabit’ peacefully with national policy. We are not the inflexible fundamentalist Christianity you are looking for. Those particular billy goats, much tastier than we, can be found just down the road. Just leave us alone.
And off they go to safe pasture.
We are next on the list.
And then there is the visit of Pope Francis to our fair shores.
Not so momentous in itself. But what is significant was the popular and published response of Protestant evangelicals and spokesmen in great number. They with one accord spoke in glowing terms of this ‘man of God’ and his mission. It was plain that a Romish reformation was in the air. A transformation is going on before our eyes, a less dogmatic, more accommodating, receptive Rome.
And how all of beleaguered Christendom needs Rome with her political power and influence, right?
This two years before 2017 and the 500th anniversary of the Great Reformation.
Truth to tell, indications are that winds of change are blowing through the halls of the Vatican. But if any one imagines these will be changes to line up with Scripture, once again, you have been deceived.
The year 2015 revealed just how far down the road the anti-Christian spirit of false ecumenicity has come. A wounded head in the process of being healed by a demonic power ().
And when fully recovered, the great eye of the Beast will be fixed on whom? On what troublesome religious species and disturber of social and ecclesiastical peace?
Those creed-bound people.
It is time to remove their habitat, prevent them from ‘breeding’ anymore, and to silence their witness once and for all.
Like sheep to the slaughter.
What hope do we have?
This: remember, all these things have been fore-ordained, and it is the Rider on the great white horse who is directing all things (). Having conquered by His death and resurrection, He will do so once again when He returns. Then all of our seeming defeats will prove to have served His ultimate victory over all evil.
Maranatha! Lord Jesus, use 2016 also to hasten that Great Day.