Volume 4 1990
Napoleon observed that a good general: ‘Must not allow himself to be elated by good news, nor depressed by bad news.”
Many Christians are elated over the apparently momentous successes for faith and freedom in Eastern Europe and Nicaragua. Other concerned believers are depressed at the massacres and oppression of Red China, the hand-over of Namibia to the Marxist terrorists of SWAPO, and the moral collapse of the West.
Yet, no matter how the world may change — our task remains the same. The Christian priority is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Mark 12:30).
In the face of the many overwhelming crises the Christian strategy is to be obedient to God’s Word (Psalm 1).
In response to every issue and problem our response is to stand firm on the clear teachings of the Bible and “make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
THE CRISIS IN THE WORLD
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their
stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord"
We are living in a world at war—with God. People are seeking “independence” from their Creator, “freedom” from God’s law, and “liberation” from moral restraint.
Evolutionists, humanists, abortionists, communists, terrorists and satanists — each in their own way are rebelling against God, our Creator, and His revealed Word.
“Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.”
This rebellion takes many forms.
Communism and Islam openly persecute believers in Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia and Sudan. I have seen hundreds of bombed-out or burnt down churches. With all the windows shot out. The walls often pock-marked with bullet holes. Blasphemous and Marxist slogans written on the walls. A pile of ashes where Bibles were ceremonially burnt.
“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Muslim mobs in the Sudan have often burst into churches and massacred believers. Churches, homes and bookshops have been fire-bombed and pastors have been murdered. This is the physical persecution — visible and vicious.
“Do not fear those who can kill the body and after that can do no more. Fear Him
who can destroy both body and soul in Hell.”
However, in the Soviet Union, where such persecution has openly raged for decades, we now find a more sophisticated persecution. The atheists in the USSR have not experienced a change of heart, but they are enforcing a change of tactics.
Having failed to destroy the church by violent suppression, they now seek to wear down the Christians by legal harrassment, and temptation to compromise.
Churches are still demolished on occasion — but now, because of structural failure, overcrowding, fire regulations, zoning and other technical details. Christians are fined a month’s salary for attending an ‘unregistered church.” Thousands of Christians remain in psychiatric prisons, tortured by electric shock “treatment” and mind-altering drugs — because “they showed signs of madness by prolonged prayer” and other “ailments”.
“Whoever seeks to save his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his life
for me will save it for life eternal.”
And in the United States of America a legal persecution rages. Thousands of Operation Rescue, Pro-lifers have been arrested and jailed for peacefully protesting the murder of the unborn (with their tax money!). Teaching the scientific evidences of Creation is outlawed in most schools. God has been “legally” kicked out of the public schools. Prayer is forbidden and the Bible is banned in government schools. Many Christian teachers, church-based schools and home educators have been harrassed by discriminatory laws clearly prejudiced against Christianity. And Hollywood wages its own war against God by often ridiculing Christian standards, promoting blasphemy and producing anti-Christ films like “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?”
THE CRISIS IN THE CHURCH
And in Namibia and South Africa? Fear and intimidation is threatening to achieve a church of compromise and appeasement. As Francis Schaeffer writes in “The Great Evangelical Disaster”:
“We must ask where we as evangelicals have been in the battle for truth and morality in our culture. Have we as evangelicals been on the front lines contending for the faith and confronting the moral breakdown over the last forty to sixty years? Have we even been aware that there is a battle going on — not just a heavenly battle, but a life- and-death struggle over what will happen to men and women and children in both this life and the next? If the truth of the Christian faith is in fact truth, then it stands in antithesis to the ideas and the immorality of our age, and it must be practiced both in teaching and practical action. Truth demands confrontation. It must be loving confrontation, but there must be confrontation nonetheless.
“Sadly we must say that this has seldom happened. Most of the evangelical world has not been active in the battle, or even been able to see that we are in a battle. And when it comes to the issues of the day the evangelical world most often has said nothing; or worse has said nothing different from what the world would say...
“Here is the great evangelical disaster — the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this — namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.”
Sadly we see this compromise on every side. Missionaries have left needy areas because of threats from ANC “comrades”. Church conferences pass resolutions, saying nothing different from what news editorials and political parties declare.
“The last sixty years have given birth to a moral disaster, and what have we done? Sadly we must say that the evangelical world has been part of the disaster. Where is the clear voice speaking to the crucial issues of the day with, distinctively Biblical, Christian answers? With tears we must say that largely it is not there and that a large segment of the evangelical world has become seduced by the world spirit of this present age. And more than this, we can expect the future to be a further disaster if the evangelical world does not take a stand for Biblical truth and morality in the full spectrum of life. For the evangelical accommodation to the world spirit of our age represents the removal of the last barrier against the breakdown of our culture. And with the final removal of this barrier will come social chaos and the rise of authoritarianism in some form to restore social order.
“Whether we see this as the judgment of God (which surely it is) or the inevitable results of social chaos makes little difference. Unless the mentality of accommodation within the evangelical world changes, this is surely what we can expect. This will certainly mean that the fiction of a united evangelicalism will have to be faced with honesty, and some will have to have the courage to draw a line — drawing a line lovingly, and drawing a line publicly. There must be loving confrontation, but confrontation. The Bible gives not just moral limits but absolutes and truth in regard to the whole spectrum of life.”
— The Great Evangelical Disaster
THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
What then is the Christian answer to the present crisis? The Bible. An uncompromising stand on principle “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” — Jude 3.
What is needed is Christians committed to doing what is right — not what is popular.
Jesus challenges us:
“How can you believe if you accept praise from one another yet make no
effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”
Of the hypocrites it was written:
“For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”
The Apostle Paul makes clear where the people-pleasers stand:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?
If I were still trying to please men then I would not be a servant of Christ.”
“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against
the workers of iniquity?”
Today we find many battlefields, for example --
- Pro-lifers seeking to save the unborn from the abortionists.
- Creation scientists working for equal access to the classroom.
- Christian educators teaching family values and moral standards to the young.
- UNITA freedom fighters opposing communist colonialism and fighting for religious freedom in Angola.
- Evangelists winning souls for Christ.
- Bible teachers applying the Word of God to every area of life.
Yet God’s Word presents the same priority to each one of us:
“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”