We live in discouraging times . . . and the temptation is to give up. Instead, we must stop, think about it, and hear what God might say to us. I do not believe that traditional, orthodox Christians are weak in the United States of America because of atheism, “the gay agenda,” or politics.
We are weak because we have embraced lies.
“Beware of your friends;
do not trust anyone in your clan.
For every one of them is a deceiver,
and every friend a slanderer.
Friend deceives friend,
and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie;
they weary themselves with sinning.
You live in the midst of deception;
in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.
Our friends are betraying us and members of our Christian family are telling us lies. We do not speak the truth and we slander those who try to tell us the truth. We live in the middle of deception and we like the lies, because they tell us what we wish to hear.
Here are some lies we pay to be told:
Our problems are the fault of some other person.
Our sins are not as serious as the sins of our neighbor, that wicked “other guy.”
We don’t have to worry about sin, because God will not judge us if we just do not judge anyone else.
We have raised up false intellectuals, apologists who lie, and a Christian media complex that sells us product we want and not what we need.
How do false friends lie to us?
We accept books that tell false stories as if they are true. When someone challenges the details, we attack the challenger and protect the Christian celebrity. We don’t mind that Ben Carson told falsehoods about his own life, because we admire other aspects of his testimony.
We accept books that misuse history through false quotations, misuse of primary texts, and abuse of honest secular historians. We accept these false histories, because they tell us a story about ourselves and the founding of our nation that we want to believe. We cannot stand up to even obvious fabulists like David Barton, because they agree with our politics and preferred view of reality.
We have “doctors” with degrees that come from diploma mills or a quid pro quo with an accredited school. We accept “scholars” who get ghost writers and have not read all the papers in the bibliography of “their” books. We are content if they attack our enemies and tell us what we wish was true. Our largest University, Liberty University, has a fine undergraduate on-site program built on the profit of an on-line program that encourages debt, has a too-low graduation rate, and an abysmal student-professor ratio.
We encourage students to borrow tens of thousands of dollars.
We lie when we pretend that the hard work of specializing in a discipline is unnecessary and that anyone is fit to opine on any subject. We have raised up idols of “intellectualism” on the one side and “anti-intellectualism” on the other and both are killing us. There is truth in folk wisdom and there is truth in study. We must heed both and ignore neither.
We insulate ourselves from Christians of different races, politics, and regions. We bend statistics to tell ourselves that racism, ethnocentrism, and misogyny are not problems in the church, the nation, or our neighborhood.
I remain a conservative, because I believe in the wisdom of the past. I embrace smaller government, because pragmatically liberty seems more important than law. I remain a Republican, because it is my family heritage and I refuse to allow Lincoln’s party to be hi-jacked by hate. Christianity, orthodox Christianity, historic Christianity is true, despite my failings and the failings of those who try to live out the teachings of the Lord Jesus.
We can survive persecution: the church of Syria shows us this truth. We can survive decadence: the church that flourishes in the heart of Las Vegas demonstrates this daily. We cannot survive comfortable lies from Fox News that tells us what we want to hear, when we want to hear it, in a manner that requires too little thought and effort.
None of us are righteous and we must begin by saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”