As the disintegration of our evangelical institutions continues apace, I would like to have you all sit down at a table here. Once you have done so, I will roll out a chart that diagrams the tragicomedy for you. Just watch and see if I don’t.
Of course, the secularists are establishing the overall environment in which all of this happens. They are in charge of their enormous kultursmog machine—talk about carbon emissions—and that is the stuff that we all of us have to breathe. The machine discharges vast rolling coal clouds of woke-smoke. Evangelicals in our institutions have to breathe it also, and there are four basic reactions to it. There are four basic kinds of people involved.
The Location of our Little Drama
What I am about to describe for you is what is happening in absolutely every evangelical institution that employs more than 3-5 people. I make the numerical claim on the basis of science, and I am sure that no one out there wants to be a science denier. We have learned recently that being a science denier is bad.
I am talking about magazines, seminaries, colleges, book publishers, curriculum providers, denominations, conventions of churches, Christian schools, associations of Christian schools, blogs, day cares, radio stations, the bureaucracies in all denominational headquarters, individual churches, broadcasting networks, and every last one of the parachurch gospel coagulations. All of them, the whole lot.
It is happening in varying degrees, certainly. This is not to say that all evangelical institutions are on their deathbed. Some just have a worrisome cough while others have advanced lymphoma in the Missouri Presbytery. But all of them need to take measures now—for some that would involve seeing a doctor pronto while for others it would mean buying a shiny coffin and writing all the grandchildren.
So evangelicals must recognize that they are not immune from the basic strategy of the Left, as outlined by David Burge on Twitter. Not only are they not immune, they have provided us with multiple examples of what he was talking about . . .
- Identify a respected institution.
- kill it.
- gut it.
- wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.
The Players in our Little Drama
So then, to the point. There are four kinds of characters involved in this foolishness. Three of them basically know what is going on, while the fourth one has nary a clue.
The first is the culprit. He is an essential part of the advance team for the bad guys. He is inside the institution and is doing his level best to steer the organization to the point where they eventually will be able to say that, after a season of incessant prayer, not to mention wrestling with Scripture, they have determined that they simply must evolve on the question of human sexuality. If the pressure is being applied at a different point (theistic evolution, say), then the results of incessant praying will dictate evolving there also. He is steering for that point of capitulation, and he knows that he is steering for that point.
The second kind of character is the outlaw. He too knows what is going down, and can see it from afar off. At one point he was perhaps an insider, but then he got himself exiled. He was banished, which happened when he was grabbed where the pants hang loose and frog-marched to the curb. Or maybe he has been a loner since high school, but has read a book or two, and knows that when the respectable johnnies on the board of the High Snoot Classical Christian School start dressing up the chimps like they was debutantes, then something has gone seriously amiss, and that he had better warn his grandchildren to give the prom a miss.
The bystander is within the organization, perhaps on the board, perhaps in the second-tier leadership, perhaps in a tantalizing position where he might be promoted someday, and then we might see about turning this thing back around to the original vision. That’s the ticket. But in the meantime, the bystander either just keeps his head down, or makes excuses that keep applying a high-gloss amelioration varnish so that the organization looks as shiny as that coffin I mentioned earlier. The website still looks stalwart. It seems as firm as it did back in the days of Horton P. Thackery, founder of this Thackery Mission, because Horton preached with a floppy black Bible, Horton did, and while we don’t really do that anymore, we also don’t spook the donors, especially the ones that have us on an automatic withdrawal donation plan.
Now the bystander might have different motives for keeping his pie hole shut—he has a mortgage, he has a nervous wife, or he has a misplaced confidence in his own sense of the high “strategeries” involved. But in any case, at some level he knows better and watches in culpable silence.
And of course, the useful idiot is always around, offering his talents to the decision makers, making himself useful. He wants to know what “we” have decided to do. How can he help? He is Curry in That Hideous Strength.
If Repentance Were Granted by God
If repentance—a gift from heaven—were to be poured out on Israel, in order that times of refreshing might come down upon us, how would that repentance look?
The culprit would be given love. His loves are diseased, and he would be given the real thing. The outlaw would have his cynicism taken away. The Lord would commend him for the fact that he hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans, but would take away the bitterness and hard edge cynicism. The bystander would be granted courage, both for speaking and for doing. The idiot would be given the gracious gift of wisdom.
The Sin of Omission
If the Lord were to answer our prayers and grant repentance, we would hope for it to be given across the board. But if He determines to start at one end, I would dare to ask Him to start with the bystanders. The real vulnerabilities we have in all this is because of the bystanders. If they were to rise up, there would be a lot more of the good kind of havoc, mayhem, consternation, commotion, disorder, and late night board meetings.
I have outlined before how the glide path for our organizations works. Here it is again.
“This is how our learned leaders have managed the process so far, in four easy steps.
1. There is no fight.
2. There might come a time when we might have to fight.
3. It’s too soon to fight.
4. It’s too late to fight . . .
We are here because our respected evangelical leadership specializes in indistinct bugle blowing” (Same Sex Mirage, pp. 155-156).
The best time for bystanders to cease standing by is in between steps 2 and 3, and to become really noisy right after step 3.
Discuss among yourselves.