Evangelical Doctors, Coughing Up Blood

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This last week, the voters of Ohio enshrined a right to abortion in their state constitution, in what might be called Ohio’s suicide note. In the heady days after the Jericho of Roe fell, this was the gut punch that we might call the first battle of Ai.

There are many political observations to be made, not to mention certain tactical decisions to be worked out. That aspect of the fight will certainly go on. That’s as it should be, and the political fight needs to continue, with all pro-lifers doing all that they can, in every state. But that is not our subject for today.

There are more fundamental issues that need to be on our minds, and on our minds all the time. The foundational issue is that our entire nation is riddled and shot through with the pox-ridden disease of secularism, and we have gone so far as to trick it out as some kind of a virtue. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided that that the splotches on our skin were to be deemed as marks of robust good health, and that heavy fines for denying this would be fully appropriate.

And this relates to a secondary disease in the pulpits of our land, one which absolutely refuses to confront this problem, or to name the sin in any way. It is as though the patient America is lying in the ICU, coughing up blood, and periodically our team of evangelical doctors will come through the ward on their rounds, coughing up gospel-centered blood.

So am I about to lay the responsibility for America’s condition at the feet of the evangelical church? Why, yes. Yes, I am. Prophetic denunciation is right and proper, but our muddled and confused murmuring and fearful complaining is not the same thing as clear-headed prophetic denunciation. In a time when our nation has declared open war on the God of heaven, despising His law/word, we, ostensibly His people, have responded with a farrago of lame theological excuses—and I really wish you would allow me to describe some of the bowtie pasta noodles in that farrago.

We have distorted the Reformer’s nuanced doctrine of the two kingdoms. They had a subtle and elegant Regency cotillion, and we have turned it into a boot-scootin’ Escondido line dance. We have worried (and out loud) that any Presbyterian attempt to save the babies is just a trick that will enable them to flog Baptists again—the obvious and ultimate goal! We have baptized the shambolic reasoning of the Warren Court with seltzer water and called it the genius of the American Founding. We have hammered out a gospel centeredness that can articulate nothing clear about the size of the circumference. If we keep up this pace, we may soon be confronted with think pieces that weigh and consider the perichoretic implications of the choreography in Taylor Swift concerts.

Secularism is a wanton, a vixen, the town tramp. She has made the rounds, if we may speak frankly. Everybody in town knows what is going on, in other words. Everyone, that is, but the evangelicals. They are preening themselves on being particularly virtuous because they have only been able to get her blouse off, and have never been able to get past third base. But I would remark, somewhat mildly, that this is not the same thing as virtue exactly.

We refuse, as a matter of high evangelical dignity, and in the name of cultural engagement, to distance ourselves from that strumpet. We will, however, distance ourselves from people who come up with illustrations like this one.

The Fatal Conceit

When reprobate man gets to a certain high-flying level in his conceits and rebellions, he believes that he has somehow achieved escape velocity. He thinks he has somehow gotten free of the gravitational pull of God’s judgments. What is actually happening is that in his demented helium dreams he is displaying the judgments of God. There are of course those who do not see any of this as a display of judgment, and this is because they are themselves a display of that judgment.

The Scriptures describe the wrath of God as the process in which God lets go. It is the mercy of God that restrains and prevents men from running headlong into their own corruptions and lusts. But when His wrath is exhibited, how is that described, and what is the result?

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness . . . Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature”

Romans 1: 18, 24, 26 (KJV)

The wrath of God is revealed. How so? How does God reveal His wrath? God simply lets go of the reins. This stallion has long fancied himself a Pegasus, and so the moment the rider gets off and lets go of the reins, that idea is immediately put to the test at the very first cliff.

“The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: He that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein.”

Proverbs 22:14 (KJV)

Mark it well. This adultery is not just a sin that brings judgment later on. This sort of sin is the judgment for something else. The one who is abhorred of the Lord is the one who falls into the mouth of the super freak.

Some sins are actions for which a judgment will follow later on. But other sins are the evident judgment in themselves. Some sins march straight into maw of judgment, while other sins drag the judgment after them like a rope. The sins of some men are revealed to the world when the sky rolls up like a scroll, and all the mountains and islands are shaken. But the sins of woke America were revealed when the permit for the first pride parade was obtained.

Which kind of sin was it when we all agreed together to slaughter tens of millions of our children? Judgment for that later on, certainly. But was it not obviously a severe judgment from God in itself? In its own right?

We have struck down Roe, and thank God for that. But have we received forgiveness for Roe? Has there been atonement? We still have the blood of innocents on our hands, up to the elbows. Doesn’t anybody realize we still need to seek forgiveness?

We, in the name of a demented constitutionalism, have dashed out the brains of far more infants than Hamas could ever dream of. That’s the problem with those Third-World pikers—they simply don’t know how to scale. And not only does their ineptitude not know how to scale, these ignorant barbarians slaughtered the infants of their enemies instead of doing what civilized Westerners do, which is to target their own citizens.

“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”

1 Timothy 5:24 (KJV)

So it is not difficult to determine which way America has decided to go. We opted for a flamboyant descent into madness. But if you decide to go over the lip of the Abyss, your chosen method of locomotion for getting there doesn’t much matter. Nothing is made better just because there was a feather boa around the neck, and a pair of sparkly lifts, and a prancing homo-strut. It is still the Abyss, and you still go over.

And so here we are. America is currently acting the part of Gollum falling backward into the crevasse, holding his ring, and savoring his moment of triumph. We laugh as though we had just proven that there is no such thing as judgment, and we do this while clutching at the judgment itself. The cackling is hard to listen to, but it is over soon enough.

Evangelical Flop Sweats

And so all of this has happened in a country that is the home to tens of millions of evangelical Christians. What has our response been? Well, we dither. And we hold very successful conferences. And we publish books at each other. And we erect lame excuses that only seem plausible because they are swathed in the cotton batting of Escondido theology. I said theology, but I think I really meant shifts and evasions.

The foundational disease is in our pulpits, which have gone largely silent when it comes to the Word of Jehovah on any of these subjects, or on any topic that seems remotely connected to them. It sounds noble to say that you want to stay focused on the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. It is less noble to refuse to mention any of the high-handed sins that made such a crucifixion necessary. The New Testament message of repent and believe has been transformed into believe if you would like. to. And so now all the godless have to do to get evangelicals to lay off is deck their rebellions out in the camouflage of public square neutrality.

This is supplemented with claims that all those gnarly things the Bible talks about are not the same thing as what we are doing. Our Sodom is not like their Sodom. Our Moloch is not like their Moloch. Our scribes who mutter deceits are not like their scribes who muttered deceits. Oh, but they are, like peas in a pod.

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

Jeremiah 5:31 (KJV)

The lie of secularism is that we have the right to make decisions like the people of Ohio just did. We might locate that right in the Supreme Court, or in the deliberative chambers of our legislatures, or in the voice of the people, the voice of democracy. But we actually have no right even to broach the topic. Heaven forbids it. It was a grievous indicator of sin that the measure even got on the ballot.

So evangelicals believe in democracy, do they? So what did democracy do in Ohio last week? Can democracy sin? And, if democracy can sin, can democracy be forgiven? The only way to answer that question properly is to acknowledge the authority of the risen Lord Jesus Christ over the nations, including ours, and that would run the risk of being labeled a Christian nationalist by the cool kids. No, no! Anything but the disapproval of the cool kids. Ah, cool shame . . . thy name is craven evangelical.

Of course democracies can sin, and our most common and widely unacknowledged sin is called secularism. Secularism is the delusional pretense that there is no transcendent authority above us. It is the daydream that there is no divine voice that could ever tell the majority of the American people no. Faith in democracy amounts to the implicit claim that 55% have the right to vote on whether or not the 45% are persons.

Faith in Christ amounts to the explicit claim that we have no right whatever to autonomous law. And by autonomous law, I mean bloody law. I mean murderous law. I mean anti-fertility law. I mean death-wish law.

Not Splitting the Difference

There are only two roads, only two paths. There is the way of life and the way of death. There is the culture of life and the culture of death. Only two ways. There is no third way. There is no splitting the difference between the culture of life and the culture of death. So choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve—the Lord of life or the prince of death. Which is it?

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)

Moses called heaven and earth as witnesses against Israel. He wanted them to testify that the stark choice had been set before them plainly. Life or death. Which will it be? The culture of life or the culture of death? Which way?

Whom shall I call as witnesses? I call the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. I call the Mayflower Compact. I call the Declaration of Independence. I call the year 1789, the year of our Lord, the year the Constitution was ratified. I call 1789 again, the year the American Westminster made Christian nationalism a confessional issue for Presbyterians. I call the Supreme Court Holy Trinity decision of 1892. And if that does not settle it for you, I can call in the sun, moon, and stars.

But it is not as though the ministers of death can call no one to witness. Who can they call? They can demonstrate for us the stark realism of their way—they can call 60 million dead babies. Those babies represent 60 million orgasms that ended in blood. 60 million sexual revolution orgasms that ended poorly for the by-product. They can call in the halting and fruitless marriages summoned forth by Obergefell—bizarre caricatures of marriage that are almost as lame as the legal reasoning that Justice Kennedy used to get there.

One might think that we could also summon the voices of these slain on our behalf, and that would be correct also. The way of life is the way of wisdom, and there is no way to embrace the path of death, as they have done, without simultaneously embracing contradictory nonsense, as they have also done. How does Lady Wisdom speak of it in Proverbs?

“But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.”

Proverbs 8:36 (KJV)

In the grip of moral insanity, they prefer death. They love death. They follow out the ways of death. They yearn for it.

There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.

Didache 1.1.

So there is a great difference between these ways, and they cannot be averaged, they cannot be combined. To use a word that might incur charges of bigotry and hate, the choice between death and life is a binary one.

Descent into Madness

One final note. The way of the death-wish is not just death simpliciter, but it is also the chosen path down into a dunsical folly.

“We know from [Milton’s] prose works that he believed everything detestable to be, in the long run, also ridiculous; and mere Christianity commits every Christian to believing that ‘the Devil is (in the long run) an ass’ . . . it is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower. As a consequence the same rebellion which means misery for the feelings and corruption for the will, means Nonsense for the intellect”

C.S. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost, pp. 95, 97

And what this means is that it is impossible to rebel against Heaven—as we have done—without simultaneously beclowning yourself. This is what is meant by the apostolic warning—”professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22). There are few things more awkward than trying to navigate a conversation with someone who believes himself to be the smartest guy in the room when—if we may speak openly—you haven’t met anyone more blinkered in quite a few rooms.

And this is why the evangelical sheepdogs didn’t bark. The intelligensia of the evangelical movement, some of them educated well beyond their intelligence, and many of them educated in such a way as did not erase their aching insecurities, are deathly afraid of being called out for their lack of sophisticated and/or sophistical academic cred. They try very hard to fix it. We consequently have leaders who try to negotiate a patchwork deal with the liberals: “We’ll call you Christians if you call us scholars.”

It truly is a descent into madness. And this is why the Abyss is not going to be a convention of very rebellious but highly intelligent Bond villains. No, the Abyss is going to be an Asylum, with hordes of erstwhile scholars, scribbling their manifestos on the walls.

Relentless Giveaways!

November 13th-17th:
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New Parenting Documentary Series Release: November 17th:
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