I’ve long contended that God has a biting sense of humor. The plagues of Egypt, the talking donkey, Christ’s hilarious jabs at the Pharisees – all represent some pretty high comedy in the pages of Scripture.
But even I could not have predicted the exquisite timing of the “divine comedy” that unfolded last week. I mean, it was really on the nose. No sooner had a prayer invoking pagan deities been offered on the floor of the House (I refer, of course, to the infamous “amen and awoman” prayer which we discussed last week) then the Capitol was invaded by shirtless barbarians, complete with horned headgear and tribal tattoos.
The whole scene reminded me of a section from C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. The hearts of many of the Narnians have been lured away from Aslan, with some of them even beginning to equate the great Lion with a sinister foreign god called Tash. At one point, the heroes of the story see the hideous spirit of Tash making its way towards the rebellious Narnians. This dialogue takes place:
“It seems, then,” said the Unicorn, “that there is a real Tash, after all.”
“Yes,” said the Dwarf. “And this fool of an Ape, who didn’t believe in Tash, will get more than he bargained for! He called for Tash: Tash has come.”
“Where has it—he—the Thing—gone to?” said Jill.
“North into the heart of Narnia,” said Tirian. “It has come to dwell among us. They have called it and it has come.”
“Ho, ho, ho!” chuckled the Dwarf, rubbing his hairy hands together. “It will be a surprise for the Ape. People shouldn’t call for demons unless they really mean what they say.”
Obviously I have no idea if God sent “Viking Dude” as a direct response to the summoning of pagan gods, but I do know that society has been calling for “Tash” for longer than I can remember, and Tash has come.
And they’re not going to like it.
The pagan gods bring with them pagan ideas – ideas such as “might makes right” and “societal problems are solved by violence.” Society has been deceived into thinking that by throwing off the remnants of Christianity, it could usher in a period of peace, love, and freedom. Instead, what they are getting is war, polarization, and oppression. The current trend of thought seems to be “if we can just remove the dissenters, the result will be unity.” It doesn’t work that way. Just ask Robespierre.
They wanted the Age of Aquarius. They’ll get the Age of Ares.
Of course, none of this will deter those responsible for the dark days ahead. They have a handy scapegoat. As they suffer the consequences of their own rebellion against God they will rage against His followers.
Which is why I believe the clear-eyed Christian leaders and pastors are the ones who have ceased to focus on how to undo the damage, and who are even now equipping their flocks to live faithfully and boldly in dangerous times. The time for complacency (if there ever was such a time) is over. Things could get dicey from here on out.
In that vein, a few humble suggestions as we contemplate the darkness of a new paganism:
Decide what convictions are important, then hold to them. We will be offered many chances to compromise the things we hold most dear. Believers must make a conscious decision now to hold fast.
Mentally prepare to be marginalized. People who hold to biblical convictions will increasingly become persona non grata on university campuses, in public office, in lucrative jobs, on social media…indeed, as we say here in Brazil, the fence will continue to close in. This must not come as a surprise to us. We must learn to hold lightly to worldly advantages, and to “set our hearts on things above.”
Make the training of our children a deadly serious priority. While we worry about election results, our kids are being stolen out from under us by the “Leviathan.” We need to make some serious priority changes if we don’t want our kids to be the ones who turn us over to the compliance boards.
Develop flexibility. The next couple decades will, I believe, bring about tremendous changes in the way we do ministry. Venues that are now open to us will be closed. We need to think about how we are going to do missions, theological education, and local-church ministry in a much more hostile environment.
Focus on preaching the Gospel. It is perhaps our misplaced trust in the power of politics to change society that has brought us to this point. Society is changed when hearts are changed by the saving power of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Never succumb to defeatism. Hopefully the reader can differentiate between clear-eyed realism and debilitating pessimism. Defeatism says “everything is going to Hell in a hand basket, so I’m going to curl up in my corner and ride it out” while the clear-eyed realist understands the times, and believes the promise of our Savior:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [a]will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
I’m sure this is only a partial list. Actually, one of my hopes in posting this is to generate discussion among fellow-believers as to how we should best live in perilous times. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
We desperately need to be talking about this. The pagans are at the gate.
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