7 Reasons for Cultural Optimism

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Someone recently mentioned to me that my cultural commentary of late has not seemed very postmilly. Where did all my optimism go?

Many years ago members of my family were assembling for breakfast, and I believe the demeanor of all of us was somewhat somber, particularly my mother. This inspired my father, seated at the other end of the table, to begin singing an old gospel tune, keeping time with his spoon in the air.

Cheer up, ye saints of God,
There’s nothing to worry about!
Remember Jesus loves you, so why not stand up and shout!
You’ll be sorry you worried at all tomorrow morning.

At the time it didn’t go over that great, but there is a lesson in it.

As I write about race relations, and sexual lunacies, and petty despotisms, and the abortion carnage, and grand despostisms, and the predations of our ruling pirate class, the impression seems to be that I have gone all Barry McGuire, the way he was before his conversion.

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction.

So then, allow me to present 7 stone cold reasons for confidence and upbeat optimism. Cheer up, ye saints of God . . .Calvin

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Prophetic Promises

Christians have an eschatological orientation. It is possible for us to know, in the midst of all our challenges and conflicts, that the word of the prophets was given for our encouragement and hope. “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). We were taught to pray that the kingdom would come to earth, not that the kingdom would float off into the sky. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Not thy will be done in Heaven when we get there. The meek shall inherit . . . what?

Narratival Promises

When the edict of Haman for the destruction of the Jews went out, Mordecai only saw one way out, and that was for the queen to intercede on behalf of her people to the king. But he was a man of faith, and not just a man with a plan. He knew that it was possible for Esther to falter. He knew that she might stumble. And so he said, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place” (Esther 4:14, ESV).

Mordecai knew how to read the story he was in. Scripture presents us with many different kinds of stories, and we are called to discernment as we seek to place ourselves We are in an Esther story.

Clear Theological Distinctions

Centuries ago Augustine wrote his great work The City of God. He did this because Rome had been sacked by Bernie supporters, and many Christians who had too glibly equated Rome with the kingdom of God needed some encouragement. The United States of America, as it was in the times of the good Dwight Eisenhower, is not the same thing as the kingdom of God. The disappearance of the former is not the same thing as the disappearance of the latter. The kingdom of God is doing very well. The America I grew up in, not so much. Idolaters are always discouraged when the idol falls, but Christians serve the living God of Heaven.

Genre Criticism

I watched Melania’s speech to the RNC last night. We are clearly in the middle of a made-for-tv movie, and those things always turn out okay.

Stupidity Doesn’t Work

In the long run, stupidity doesn’t work. Stupidity never works. If it worked, it wouldn’t be stupidity. Lady Thatcher reminded us that socialism doesn’t work because sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. A lot of the lunacy we see around us has to be subsidized in order to function at all, and the subsidies are starting to run out. We are in that point of the cartoon where Wile E. Coyote is standing ten feet off from the lip of the cliff, holding the Acme Anvil of Deficit Spending, but just an instant before he looks down.

Affliction Winnows

We cannot pray for the purification of the silver, and then despair when we begin to approach the furnace that removes the dross. The church in America is shot through with corruptions. If we want that corruption removed, then we must also want God’s appointed instruments for removing it. When God wants to reveal what cannot be shaken, He does so by shaking. That is where is are right now, and it should be a great encouragement to us. That is, it should be a great encouragement for those whose ministries are not chaff, dross, or loose unmortared stones.

Trouble Farming

In Luke 19, Jesus tells the story of the ten servants given ten minas each. In this version of the story, He throws in a curious aside — “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).

In other words, while the servants had their own gifts, challenges, and fears, they were also laboring in an environment that was hostile to the master they were working for. And the point of the story is that Jesus was commending the servants who, in addition to whatever ordinary risk there might be on their investment, had to deal with the surrounding enmity toward them and toward their master.

The lesson is that when things get tough, the godly are still expected to turn a profit. When nothing grows up but troubles, we are called to become trouble farmers, and to sell our crop at a tidy profit. And if Jesus said to do it, it must be possible to do.

Can I get an amen?

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Jim-N-NC
Jim-N-NC
5 years ago

Amen!!

Jon Swerens
5 years ago

AMEN!

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago

Glad to see your postmill optimism taking on a longer term these days. The “we gonna start winning this thing any day now, ’cause JEEEZUS!” variety of postmill thought belongs right next to Left Behind in the Ridicule Section.

Douglas Michael Singer
Douglas Michael Singer
5 years ago

Amen from an optimistic premillenialist

Caleb Wallace
Caleb Wallace
5 years ago

Isn’t that an oxymoron???!!!
All the best, brother!

(#datpostmil)

ashv
ashv
5 years ago

Amen. The people of God have much to hope for — even when that hope manifests itself through smaller churches and lighter wallets.

And yes, I expect future historians to record the 2010s as the decade that made satire impossible.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Satire evolved into trolling.

David
David
5 years ago

amen

meech_nendrils
meech_nendrils
5 years ago

“Genre Criticism
I watched Melania’s speech to the RNC last night. We are clearly in
the middle of a made-for-tv movie, and those things always turn out
okay.”

Hahahaha…

John
John
5 years ago

It’s really an odd feeling, I’m having a harder and harder holding onto the admiration of the US that was taught to me as a millennial child. At this point, I’m basically apathetic about it. The descent is unavoidable and coming quickly. This election has really brought the fallenness of the US and its church into perspective.

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Had this conversation with a friend the other day. I don’t want America to be great anymore. I’d like America to be good, but unless that happens, if America continues to be “great” America will continue to be influential in the world and the world is better off not being influenced by what we have become. I’d still like America to be safe, since I live here, and all those I hold dearest live here. Now I figure America doesn’t have to be “great” in the world to be safe, and in fact might be a measure safer if her… Read more »

Daithi_Dubh
Daithi_Dubh
5 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

It all depends on who’s doing the defining of terms, doesn’t it? I’m with you in totally rejecting “greatness,” at least as our elites define it! Yeah, I’d settle for doing justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God, wouldn’t you?

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  Daithi_Dubh

From Christians, exactly that, and we should not, may not, settle for less. For the country as a whole, from where we are now I’d settle for common sense, common decency, and responsible adult behavior.

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  Daithi_Dubh

Though upon reflection your point was more along the lines of we ought to find contentment in doing justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God, without striving after “more”? In which case I also second that motion.

St. Lee
5 years ago

quote: “We are clearly in the middle of a made-for-tv movie, and those things always turn out okay.”

…but what if it turns out to be a black comedy?…

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago

Not to be a Pollyanna here, but golly-gee boys and girls, the sun does not shine out the cloaca of the United States of America. More people are coming to Christ right now in the Muslim world than in the previous 1400 years. There is revival going on in a big way in South America, Asia, and pretty much all of what is not “the western world.” What is going on in the United States right now is we have asked Aaron to build us a big ol’ golden calf to throw live babies into while we dance around and… Read more »

Mariano Ifran
Mariano Ifran
5 years ago
Reply to  Capndweeb

Hey guys: (1) great article, (2) yes, here in South America reformed theology and expository preaching are gaining force. The prosperity gospel is being mocked by those who were following it 2 or 3 years ago. True, we’re also in a liberal and secularist environment (Uruguay for example legalized cannabis and gay marriage few years ago). But the invisible church around the globe is far from collapsing. Take heart, and as Capndweeb said “It’s not over until God says it’s over”. Regards. PD: Sorry for my English!

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago
Reply to  Mariano Ifran

Mariano, your English is fine. My eyes were opened on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ve done some research since then and found that God is doing amazing things. Dios te bendiga, hermano!

steghorn21
steghorn21
5 years ago
Reply to  Mariano Ifran

Yes, Mariano. I know our American friends are justifiably worried about the state of the nation, but God’s kingdom continues to flourish. Thanks for the good ness and God bless you Christians of Uruguay!

ME
ME
5 years ago

Amen!

One of my favorite paradoxes in faith is, ‘it’s the end of the world, rejoice! And again I say, rejoice, these are but birth pains.’ It’s not really a paradox, but it sure feels like one, as in to be cheerfully rejoicing while on the way to be scouraged in the synagogues, does require a bit of Monty Python humor.

timothy
timothy
5 years ago

Amen.

timothy
timothy
5 years ago

Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty praying to God in Jesus Name at the Trump Convention…

https://youtu.be/OgWczB0a-wk

timothy
timothy
5 years ago

Some guy named Sobato (?) invoking Jesus Christ at the Trump Convention:

https://youtu.be/zDFqjTGDWcg

katie
katie
5 years ago

This amillenialist says amen.

timothy
timothy
5 years ago

Christ and only Christ.

ZLee
ZLee
5 years ago

What wisdom. Thanks Pastor Wilson.

Clayvessel
Clayvessel
5 years ago

So simple. Jesus had pretty clear words (repeated in exasperation) “My kingdom is not of this world.” (Just as clear as “This IS my body.”)

Using the figurative to explain the literal, why we have so much apostasy today.

Caleb Wallace
Caleb Wallace
5 years ago

AMEN!

Caleb Wallace
Caleb Wallace
5 years ago

#datpostmil

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

I think the best reason for optimism is that things aren’t that bad. They’re downright good, in fact. The country is as safe as it was in the 50s. Standard of living is higher than ever. Major wars are mostly a thing of the past. Name your metric, see how it stacks up.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

How about dead aborted babies? How do their bodies stack up?
How about national debt? Corporate debt? Personal debt?
How about the spending power of the dollar?

Matt
Matt
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Abortion, to my understanding, has been on a downward trend for some time.
National debt could become an issue. The Bush recession really hurt, but it has leveled off under Obama. I’d rate it a watch item.
If low inflation is good, then be happy, as recent years have featured some of the lowest inflation rates.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Matt probably isn’t counting chemical abortions, or abortions because of interference with implantation. In any case, abortions are way up since “the 50s”. Matt seems to think that the President controls government budgeting and spending, rather than Congress. Here’s a chart showing how the debt tracks which party is in control of the House and Senate. It is perhaps given that Matt drinks whatever Koolaid is served from mainstream media, but even he has had to acknowledge that national debt is out of control. We aren’t even considering future unfunded/bankrupt pyramid obligations, such as Social Security and Medicare, or the… Read more »

Matt
Matt
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Well I don’t know how long you want these comments to be, but I got things to do man. Abortions up since the 50s — which 50s? I’d wager abortions are down since the e.g. 1550s, when people just threw babies in the river or left them in the forest. At least people are rather embarrassed about it now. National debt isn’t out of control, but it could get that way, especially if the Republicans got their hands on all branches of government again for 6 years. Ok ok, it’s not really fair to blame the Republicans only, they didn’t… Read more »

ashv
ashv
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

This is, in a nutshell, what Carlyle called “pig-philosophy”. Even if it were true, it misses the point.

Matt
Matt
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Maybe, if you take the position of, um, “highly motivated” religious types, where the primary metric is how many people subscribe to their particular religion. Recent years haven’t been so good to profession of Christianity.

ashv
ashv
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

The American church still has too many people in it.

Matt
Matt
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

It has a lot farther to fall, I’ll give you that.

John Warren
John Warren
4 years ago

Amen (from a pre-mil pre-tribber)!