An unwelcome realisation of mine since the start of the pandemic is how prone Christians are to media messaging, or to put it another way, how gullible we are. Sadly, and somewhat inadvertently, this subject has now become a perennial theme of the CAL blog. It appears that if the pitch is right Christians can be easily wooed into supporting the latest cause célèbre. After all, it's a great way to appear relevant and let people know how lovely we are (sic) - maybe they will come to church. "I support the Ukraine, I've had my Covid vaccination, I stand with BLM, stop climate change..." - ad nauseam.
Incredibly, supporters of the 'current thing' seem to intuitively know which side to support in a war, the best way to keep others 'safe' and which radical political groups to support. We don't need to assess and consider the complexities, nuances and agendas behind what we are told, we just know we are on the right track. How do we know this? Well that's easy, 'they' tell us and we trust them - after all they are 'trusted sources'.
The process is almost routine. The media skillfully fan the flames of our indignation, pull on our heart strings or stoke fear to get us to react in the desired way, and once we do the hook is in. The stronger the emotions the better as we are less likely to engage in critical thought. Once a concensus is built we can demonstrate our virtue and solidarity with the world on social media by displaying cute little rainbows, flags and slogans. Then our friends will know we are good because we can be seen to be doing the 'right' thing - right?
Our achilles heel: Making us feel we are doing the 'right thing' without first establishing if it is the righteous thing
Fighting the world's fights is not the same as fighting the good fight. The two are often completely at odds. The gullible Christian will end up trying to serve two masters, or rather two agendas - the World's vs Christ's. How does that end? Jesus tells us we cannot possibly serve two because we will end up loving one and hating the other. Worse still, there is the danger of serving another gospel. The more we are drawn into the world's agenda, the further we drift from God's agenda which is not of this world.
Solidarity with the world is NOT godly:
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." - 1 John 2:15
Justified by the world's standards?
When we align ourselves with the world's agendas we are seeking the approval of the world, not God. We are not justified by taking a medical procedure, supporting a particular side in someone's war, for valuing one life lost over another, for 'taking the knee' or recycling a plastic bottle. Faith in Christ is enough to make us perfect in our imperfection. None of these causes add anything, not one iota, in fact they are distractions and in most cases a distortion of Christian life.
A worldly church is an apostate church
Many of the agendas that churches and Christians are lending their support to are not of God. Aside from contradicting scripture (enough in itself) they are, in the most part, the creations of those that deny Christ and often have an axe to grind with Christianity itself. We can know this by looking at who the agenda setters are, from where these agendas originate and what their most vocal supporters believe.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." - 1 John 4:1
Climate change and the Church
Putting aside the abomination of pimping vaccines from the pulpit which I've covered extensively in other posts, one example of an anti-Christian doctrine in which the Church has embroiled itself is climate change.
In solidarity with the goals of the 2021 COP26 summit, over 2,200 churches and church groups throughout Britain and Ireland participated in the Climate Sunday Initiative. These churches urge their members to fight climate change, but why? Is God not sovereign and in total control over his own creation? Would he create a planet with limited resources, prone to overheating, that could not deliver on his commandment to be fruitful? Well this is exactly what the architects of net-zero policies want us to believe. They are so arrogant that they would have Christians believe God's creation needs us to 'save' it. If God exists in any form in their materialist worldview he has been cast as merely an impotent bystander. What God created is not enough, it is insufficient, necessitating a reduction in human populations. This is indeed what the climate zealots want, fewer people and zero growth - contrary to what God commanded. They may euphemistically call it 'sustainability' but churches now support this policy.
Climate critic, astrophysicist and author Robert Zubrin wrote on the movement's anti-humanism. He noted that early 20th century elite social darwinism and eugenicist beliefs were repackaged as “population control” and concern for the environment in the immediate period after the second world war. Having dodged the opprobrium of Nazi associations, these movements found a new home in organisations like the Population Council. The same continuity exists between eugenics groups and environmental organizations, such as the British Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund. Particularly notable is Zubrin’s examination of the eugenic roots of Planned Parenthood, whose founder, Margaret Sanger, wrote in 1919: “More children from the fit, less from the unfit—that is the chief issue of birth control.” These movements, Zubrin writes, soon made up “the imposing and influential population control establishment,” which became entrenched at the United Nations and in U.S. government agencies. The efforts of these groups were suspiciously concentrated in the developing world and frequently overlapped with environmental and economic planning.
The obsession with overpopulation led to attacks on the economic and technological development that represents the best hope for improving human life around the globe. The alliance of radical environmentalism, population-control advocacy, and anti-capitalism continues to suppress the development of the Third World and is now actively reducing the living standards in the developed world, via organisations like the World Economic Forum.
Spelling out the zero-growth strategy was the 1972 publication The Limits to Growth which still shapes attitudes to the present day. As recently as 2019 the report's author, Dennis Meadows, advocated for the reduction of the global population from 8 billion to 1 billion, which he hoped could be achieved "soon" and by "peaceful" means.
As if that's not enough, the climate movement has a quasi-religious aspect. Its proponents support the goal of a one-world government and keenly promote social oneness and inclusivity. But this is in fact a system with no alternative, no 'outside' - it is a totalitarian state - it's also the type of government the Antichrist establishes. In the Gaia Hypothesis by James Lovelock, named after the Mother Earth goddess, its appeal to ecological oneness has attracted many New Agers. The language was the same, even if couched in more scientific terms, as that of pagan belief systems such as Druidism and the later New Age movement. So much so that in 2014 Lovelock denounced environmentalism as a religion that does not pay enough attention to facts. Perhaps because the movement was never really about 'facts' in the first place but a 'spirit'.
Even if efforts to reduce populations and perceived global warming were successful church leaders will have to contend with what is written in scripture, that God himself purifies the world by fire at Christ's second coming: 2 Peter 3:10-12, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, the Earth also, the works shall be burned up. The heavens being on fire and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."
So where does that leave us? This is just one example where the world's agenda is unholy, unscriptural and not in line with God's agenda.
Taking sides in war
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." - Ron Siskin, senior advisor to George Bush during the Iraq war
Given the above statement and what is common knowledge regarding truth as the first casualty in wartime I'm taken aback at the speed with which many Christians have done just as the world implored them to do and aligned their support with the Ukraine. Just as Mr Siskin said, 'they' created the 'reality' and this has been consumed in the predicated manner.
I am not saying that it isn't right to pray for those involved in conflicts but it shouldn't be partisan. As I see it, both Russia and Ukraine have legitimate grievances. When I see the Ukraine flag on a profile or flying outside a church it just looks as though it's saying "look, we are on the right side". But few Christians have such concerns. Instead, I'm seeing ministries utterly convinced they are supporting the Ukraine in a fight of good vs evil. So what then does the Church's make of those Russian soldiers mercilessly slayed with their throats cut while being held captive by Ukrainian forces or the fact that Israel has supplied arms and support to Ukraine's military despite its notoriety for neo-Nazis? This blot on the Ukranian military was reported openly by the mainstream media until the global spin machine sprung into action. Nobody wants to be a cheerleader for Nazis, or so you would think.
War is an evil, messy business. Surely, being non-partisan, even-minded and treading carefully is what's required. We also need to remember that Christ won the only war that matters on the cross. Post-resurrection no worldly war can possibly be just - what would the killing serve? Certainly not God.
What good is 'Critical Race Theory' to the Kingdom?
But that is by no means all. We even have churches engaging with the 'woke' agenda. Recently the British conservative commentator Calvin Robinson was blocked from the priesthood because his political views did not align with that of the Church of England. Even though Mr Robinson himself is black he rejected the Church's view on institutional racism and other woke, self-flagellating doctrines that permeate left-wing thought. In one of Calvin's tweets he called “wokeness” a “spiritual virus”. I'd go further and call it a 'doctrine of devils'.
CRT (born as Critical Theory), identity politics and other woke ideas originate from the Frankfurt School of social philosophy. All members of the School were atheists. They vilified God and truth as being the tools of capitalism and liberated themselves from facts and human realities that did not conform to their ideology. The Frankfurt School serves as the intellectual foundation of today’s cultural war. The main front for Critical Theory was the legal profession, its aim was to change society by changing its laws, this was known as Critical Legal Theory. These earlier incarnations of something that is now almost exclusively linked to racial wokeness have helped create deep divisions within society while claiming to be working to resolve them.
At the height of the BLM riots in America Chanequa Walker-Barnes, a Black woman, professor of theology and BLM activist, published the following prayer:
"Dear God, Please help me to hate white people, or at least to want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them, individually and collectively. I want to stop caring about their misguided, racist souls, to stop believing that they can be better, that they can stop being racist."
Her profoundly unchristian statement reminds me of the following scripture:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." - Matthew 7:15
Chanequa was mentored by Willie James Jennings, an exponent of Liberation Theology. A peculiar brand of pseudo-Marxist theology which was founded in Latin America by Jesuits. Yes, you did read that correctly. The doctrine has become synonymous with racial and gender identity movements. In fact so-called Christian LGBT movements and Queer Theology is based on the precepts of Liberation Theology.
In 2 Timothy 3:5 we are warned to avoid these people:
"having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men."
Despite their learning and many books they are never able to arrive at the truth because they deny the power of God and his living word and have corrupt minds. These, we are told, have been "disqualified regarding the faith". Heavy words. It is likely that these very people, who profess the faith but are in fact dead are the same ones mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23 where the Lord says to them "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"
Not in the Church's name
The truth is none of these agendas or philosophies belong in the Church. They add nothing of value to the gospels, they either contradict or confuse them. Our commission is to bring people to knowledge of the truth that they may be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Often that is difficult enough without unnecessary baggage. If salvation gets lost in a fog of worldly strivings then all is lost.
Also, where is the Church's point of difference? The agenda-driven Church of the 'current thing' is simply reflecting the world back at itself. Worst of all, a worldly church is an apostate church - it has sided with the enemies of God and rejected the truth.
Time to to be as wise as serpents
We may be likened to sheep, but that doesn't mean we are to think like them. We are instead commanded to be as 'wise as serpents', to use our intellect and other gifts God has given us to discern the truth. We are unwise if we follow only our hearts without reading between the lines (or behind the headlines). Led by the world in diverse directions, supporting the 'current thing', only to find ourselves further away from the 'righteous thing'. We must firmly ground ourselves in the kingdom of Christ over the kingdom of the world with its conflicts, confusion and ever-changing philosophies.
I sometimes like to remind myself of the fact that there were only three wise men at Christ's birth - not a crowd. Only three people in the world who were watchful enough to recognise the signs of the Lord's first coming. What a blessing and reward for their watchfulness! For me this is an important lesson: there is scant spiritual wisdom in crowds. It's equally foolish for Christians to seek solidarity with the agendas of unbelievers. Christians are not justified by any of these things and the Bible is clear: narrow is the gate.
If the world insists you must do something, follow someone or subscribe to a particular cause, it's probably not of God. Test the spirits and the self-proclaimed prophets of our age. Be awake not woke.