From My Perspective - - -
Few people would deny that stability and a clear sense of direction would be welcomed into our culture and world. We are seeing all kinds of tensions and conflicts occurring - wars in the Middle East; persecution and ethnic cleanings accelerating in several places in the world; anti-semitism demonstrations in Europe, America (Boston and New York), Canada and elsewhere; Christians driven from their homeland. A news article yesterday included the following: “ISIS have officially forced the last living Christian in Mosul to leave the city, ending 2 millennia of Christian existence, which began with St. Peter’s scriptural reference to the church in Babylon. The Assyrian International News Agency Reports: The last Christian reportedly left Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul at 12:00 pm on Saturday, ending over 6,000 years of Assyrian history in the city. Assyrians have lived in Mosul for over 6,000 years, converting to Christianity over 2,000 years ago. This all came to an end on Saturday, when the last Assyrian Christian left the city.” All their possessions were taken from them and they had to walk many miles to find a place of refuge. Some media indicated that this is very similar to what occurred in 1938 as Germany extended itself throughout Europe.
As bad as that is, a wave of cynicism and skepticism is in the process of emerging within America. Bifurcation is obvious as class distinctions are championed and emphasized. Ordinarily, bifurcation would convey the idea of something being “divided into two parts of branches; separating into two parts or branches; a fork.” Not only have we come to a fork in the road in this nation, we have gone speeding past it and are accelerating in the process. It is reminiscent of the Airline Pilot who addressed the passengers and said: “I have some bad news to share with you - we are lost. However, the good news is that we are making excellent time.” Not only is there a growing cynicism and skepticism, some gullibility and naiveté has also emerged. Our culture has grown accustomed and comfortable with government being a deciding factor in one’s welfare and well-being. A term that describes what we are becoming (or have already become) is proclivity: “a natural propensity or inclination; a predisposition.”
I recently referenced a book - Where Do We Go From Here? by Erwin Lutzer (Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago) and quoted the following: “It’s gone. Some of you will remember when the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer told us back in the 1970s that someday we would wake up and find out that the America we once knew was gone. That day is here. We have crossed an invisible line, and there are no signs that we are capable of turning back. Like a boat caught in the mighty torrent of the Niagara River, we are being swept along with powerful cultural currents that just might put us over the brink. Seemingly irrevocable trends put in motion forty years ago continue to gather greater momentum and speed. Our Judeo-Christian heritage that gave us the freedoms we have enjoyed is for the most part gone, and in its place is an intolerant form of humanism that can boast of one victory after another. The “cultural war” we used to speak about appears to be over, and we have lost. Daily, perhaps hourly, we are losing the war for America’s heart and mind. We must understand the direction and speed of this cultural river that has spilled over and engulfed our land. We must also ask: what should we be doing at this critical hour?”
There are different ways of dealing with persecution. In Elijah’s day, Obadiah hid God’s servants in caves. Hebrews 11:34-38 addresses the suffering and hardships of people of faith in the past. The Book of Acts records the threats and persecution of God’s people. What did they choose to do? Acts 4:26-31 summarizes their response: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,” In the MSG, “"And now they're at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message.” It is the expressed desire and confidence of Paul in Philippians 1:20, “Christ magnified in my body by life or by death.” Is that our identity and commitment as a follower of Christ today? No bifurcation but allegiance. May it ever be! Consider these things with me!