It would seem Bernie Sanders has missed the 2,000(ish) year old boat, as he is now just discovering that the person of Christ and the claims of Scripture are central to the Christian faith. All of the political hogwash seemed devised to draw out the main fear of Bernie Sanders: Trump. Now, ultimately, I don’t really care about Trump. He doesn’t concern me. The powers-that-be don’t concern me. I legitimately believe that one ought not to have any fear of mankind whatsoever, so I won’t be touching on the doomsday prophecies many liberals seem to be espousing these days. I won’t really be touching on the doomsday prophecies many conservatives wish to espouse also, seeing that the original premise of a “fear of man” still rings true.
The obvious caveat being that, of course, legitimate concerns over freedom of religion and freedom of speech are not unwarranted. The second obvious caveat being that, of course, legitimate concerns over the actions of a nation’s president are not unwarranted. However, in the grand scheme of things, it seems many on both sides are simply short-sighted. This nation is an experiment; the church is not and it shall remain until Christ returns. Everything in between the events of today and that glorious future is simply the unfolding of the grand meta-narrative of God’s redemptive action in the history of mankind. Bernie Sanders may represent a large demographic, but in the grand scheme of things, this ought not give us all that great of concern.
The Western Christian, in particular, seems so fragile when it comes to waves rocking the boat. Again, I’m not saying one ought not have concerns over legitimate, dubious efforts to stifle freedom of religion and freedom of speech – what I am saying is that these concerns ought not drive us to fear in any sense. Yet secondly, these concerns ought not remove our focus from the plain, biblical notion that the historic church has often not enjoyed prosperity – and we may very well return to what is normal for the broader church, which is fierce persecution. The very real thing the Western church must start to come to terms with is that their beliefs are not popular among the broader culture and these ideas will likely have harsher consequences in the future.
We’ve already seen this in the works for some time now, as cake bakers, wedding photographers, florists, and inns have all demonstrated that holding to the biblical consensus on gay marriage will land one in court. Progressive “Christians” have long abandoned ship, linking arms with the broader culture and presenting themselves as damaged by the industrial-church machine because they espoused views that are contradictory with the Scriptures. Yet the reality the Scriptures paint over and again is that the church ought not tolerate false teaching in any respect. When we look to unorthodox, theological views that bear the eternal consequences outlined in the Bible, the church does well to decry these beliefs.
Simultaneously, we must come to grips with the Scripture’s teaching on the matter of unbelievers hating those who follow Christ’s teaching. It is no small wonder that Bernie Sanders and Democrats alike lambasted Russell Vaught, yet it is also of no small importance. Christians, take note: if your beliefs match that of the Scriptures on nearly every regard, you will not escape the condemnation of popular culture. You will not escape the hateful screed simply because Christ Himself did not escape His accusers. What you will find is the increasing presence of infringement upon your national rights and an increasing intolerance against your views.
The sentiment of Paul is true: surely, those who have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, hatred, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice, will exude these qualities when their cup is tipped. Those described as gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, and boastful, will undoubtedly continue to reject God’s righteous decree and approve of deeds worthy of death. Those of a hardened and unrepentant heart will continue to build up wrath against themselves for the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Unless God is pleased to intervene, they will continue to reject the gospel because they hate the God of the true gospel. If they hate the God of the gospel, they will hate those connected to the true gospel.
What Bernie Sanders revealed is that his socialistic beliefs carry over into how he views not only the function of government, but religion, and ideologies in general. As far as logical, next steps, it would seem perfectly reasonable for a progressively minded culture to conclude the idea of exclusivity is itself, bigotry. What Canada has revealed is that holding to gender norms can potentially get your kids taken away from you. What Illinois revealed is similar, in that if you don’t adopt the social convention of gender fluidity, you are not fit to be a social worker or foster parent.
What the courts have generally revealed is that if you don’t accept the notion that homosexuality is proper, good, and normal – and that homosexual marriage is an affront to God, that cannot be reflected in a proprietary business. No one is talking about refusal of service altogether, but service in an event, like a homosexual wedding, which would directly violate one’s religious beliefs. No one is talking about refusing to treat all peoples without respect and dignity deserving of those bearing the Imago Dei.
Corporations supporting progressive and leftist agendas are rampant across America, and truthfully, the globe, but those of a different opinion bear the crucible. When Coopers Beer was seen in an advertisement published by The Bible Society of Australia that had the audacity to suggest people could have a reasoned, calm conversation about the issue of homosexual marriage, all hell broke loose. Don’t be surprised to find that these same ideals will likely soon land the average worker-bee in a similar predicament. I am not suggesting passivity or silence – on the contrary, I am suggesting unabashed boldness in being faithful to the truths of Scripture.
Things may change. I don’t believe we are at the point wherein tolerance of Biblical Christianity is extinguished, but we may swiftly find ourselves at the end of that rope. I am certainly no prophet, nor a pessimistic doomsayer, but opinions like that of Bernie Sanders are replete. However, I believe Christians have a particular reason to be optimistic in God’s work in and through any given society and culture – yet I also believe biblically faithful Christians also have a particular reason to prepare themselves for suffering at the hands of men. Whatever that looks like, it ought not give us reason to fear those consequences.
Rather, it should give us reason for sober reflection and prompt us asking what level of compromise we might entertain in order to avoid suffering for the sake of the gospel. If the proverbial rubber meets the road and we are forced to take a stance that will put our job, welfare, family, and liberty at risk – will we endure? I don’t believe we can faithfully answer that question if we aren’t seeking faithfulness in the moment now. If ridicule and slander on social media are too great a consequence for maintaining a biblical ethic, we might do well in seriously examining whom we fear.
“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther
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