It has been almost a month since the gruesome terrorist attack in Paris and not quite a week since the mass shooting in San Bernardino. We have become so numb to these massacres that we expect them and barely blink when yet another one happens. Our nerves are raw and even expressions of goodwill are the targets of mockery. Prayer-shaming on social media is now a thing, though it is curious to watch those doing that argue for the same kinds of policies that were already on the books in France and California. I understand the palpable exasperation and grief in the air because I want this senseless violence to end as much as anyone. If only it were so easy as a simple legislative fix, and I am a supporter of regulating firearms including background checks, mandatory safety training, and the closing of loopholes in the law that allow FBI terror watch list suspects to purchase guns.
Yet beyond the debate about 2nd amendment rights in United States, what I find so frustrating is the refusal in the West to come to grips with the distinctly spiritual nature of this evil and the inaction on the part of the Church. This is, of course, an offense to our modern, intellectually sophisticated sensibilities as we are a nation under of the influence of the Enlightenment. We live in one pernicious secular stupor.
If God is not real and the spirit realm is fantastical buffoonery we can still chat, perhaps over salad and wine, about the grotesque atrocities occurring right under our noses, calling evil good and good evil, as though we are doing nothing more than casually discussing the weather. We can dismiss eternal verities as strange or foolish and snidely sniff at more primitive societies that hold a much more accurate view of the cosmos while our stunning ignorance of spirituality eats away at our souls. We perish due to lack of knowledge and reap the madness of the chaos we have permitted to be enshrined into our legal code and social structures. As we remain stultifyingly passive in the wrestling match against spiritual wickedness in high places, do we even know we are in a fight?
The Christian faith posits a cosmic battle between light and darkness, good and evil, God vs. the devil. We were born inside of a celestial war. I do not like this reality but it does not make it any less true. Binary categories may be out of fashion these days but it is high time to admit that this postmodern schlock and the willingness we exhibit in living with such blatant spiritual contradictions is rotting us from the inside out. In this moral vacuum we are losing the will to resist the evil that is overrunning us.
French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote that “the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.” If Lucifer showed up and commanded you to imbibe an arsenic-laden ale you would tell him go where to go in a hot second. Uncle Screwtape proves more crafty than that; look no further for the deadly effects of his fingerprints on our cultural mountains than what was happening as the terrorists began attacking in Paris a few weeks ago. Danish journalist Iben Thranholm noted in the Russian Times that when the brutality commenced the concertgoers at the Bataclan were ululating to the band Eagles of Death Metal’s song “Kiss the Devil.”
A series of images taken moments before the massacre started, members of the audience are seen making the hand sign used for devil worship, their index and little finger lifted in preparation for singing along with the lurid lyrics:
Who’ll love the Devil?
Who’ll sing his song?
Who will love the Devil and his song?
I’ll love the Devil
I’ll sing his song
I will love the Devil and his song
What diabolical irony: the audience in the concert hall sings to the devil and is then butchered in cold blood by Jihadists claiming to serve Allah by annihilating pagans celebrating and invoking the Devil.
The Parisians seem devoid of any sense of the spiritual reality they are inviting. Yet their invocation was heard and answered.
What a heart-breaking scene. Servants of Allah and pagan revelers becoming a devilish blood sacrifice.
Diabolically ironic, indeed. The devil does not have red horns, a tail, and a pitchfork. He is cloaked in popular tunes and is as appealing as everything you ever wanted.
As a believer in the Prince of Peace I want to end this post with some hope because in the Kingdom there is only one direction: from glory to glory. Christ Jesus has already won. He has endured every bomb. He has taken every bullet.
And he has given us the power of his name to enforce the victory he accomplished at Calvary. The Kingdom in which we now live has never and will never stop advancing. That is some very good, glorious news. If that was not enough, Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms. By faith we are invited to rule and reign with Him, full of his Spirit, from that place of favor and authority. But do we believe?
As is his pattern, the Enemy throws a raging fit before he is about to suffer a terrible blow and I say it is time to let the worshipers loose. It is time to unleash the artists and creatives. Let’s seek the face of God and partner with one of his seemingly crazy battle strategies–like sending the musicians out in front of the armies–to displace this depravity in the spiritual realm where it originated. If it is won there, the victory will translate on earth soon thereafter. It’s good ole spiritual warfare.
But first we have to realize we have a heavenly victory to proclaim. It is time to wake up, Church.
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