The Fiasco of No Fear

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I am currently enjoying a book by Michael Reeves and Joel Beeke called Following God Fully: An Introduction to the Puritans. It is a marvelous book thus far, but I bring it up merely to repeat a phrase from it that struck me. The Puritans, they said, “feared God greatly, and feared man very little.” Those two things go together, like ham and cheese. Their opposites go together also, like fire and brimstone.

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Proverbs 29:25 (KJV)

Because the fear of God and fearlessness before man go together the way they do, this explains why evangelical believers are famished the way we are. We haven’t trembled at His Word (Is. 66:5), and as a result the power of His Word has been taken away from us (Amos 8:11). And because of that, we find ourselves trembling at the words of Fauci and the like. Golly.

We are not acting like heirs of the Puritans. We don’t fear God greatly, and we don’t fear man “very little.” If we had some ham, we could have a ham and cheese sandwich, if we had some cheese.

If this last year should have taught us anything, it would be the lesson that we are a people who are quite obviously paralyzed by our fears. Specifically, we have been paralyzed by our fear of death, by a fear of what the cool kids might say about us, and by what powerful men might do to us. Scripture has something to say about all of this, concerning which you may consult a small sampling of passages in the scriptural appendix below

Cancel Culture & Cowardice

When all the shouting voices demand that you acknowledge that the sky is pink, not blue, and when they follow it up by saying that you should also acknowledge that two and two make five, the issue at hand is not the absurdity of whatever it is that they want you to affirm. The question before the house is not whether two and two make five, but rather the question is whether or not you have a backbone. The issue is whether they can make you say whatever comes into their heads.

They know that two and two don’t make five. They know that. They know they are demanding that you embrace absurdities. They know that also. That is the entire point. What they don’t know is whether or not you are going to go along with their demands. What they don’t know is whether or not you are a vertebrate. Are you? We shall see.

Such gaslighting works on the pliable. Such gaslighting, and gaslighting it is, is effective on the malleable.

Each new day introduces some new absurdity. And these keep coming because—and follow me closely here—they work. Do you ever wonder why people keep sending out plaintive email messages from a stranded Nigerian prince with billions in gold stashed somewhere? Because they work on some people. Do you ever wonder why your inbox fills up with invitations to “check out this cool dating site”? Because it works on some people.

Now the cultural nonsense that is being foisted on us is right up there in the same plausibility realm with the Nigerian prince. And here’s the kicker—at some level it is working on most people. Some actually buy it, our corporate leaders and poobahs buy it, and regular Americans are what-the-helling under their breath. But only under their breath because they don’t want HR to find out that they are having their little doubts.

You think I am spreading it on a little thick? I just heard the other day that the quaint notion that math problems have only “one right answer” is a racist construct. A clear indication of white supremacy, right there. I began by noting that we have fallen a long way from the ways of our Puritan ancestors, and you may have demurred at that point. You don’t believe, for example, that we ought to put malefactors in the stocks and pelt them with over-ripe vegetables. But I ask you . . . what else can you do with someone who is maintaining that two and two making four is a white construct, and obviously racist?

I also saw that Oxford University (Oxford) is abandoning sheet music because it is too “colonial.” This is the sort of thing that leaves right-of-center individuals who are highly-strung wondering how long they can go without punching somebody.

Here’s another one. What is a conspiracy theorist? It used to be that a conspiracy theorist was someone who believed that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist, and that Queen Elizabeth II was the shadowy head of an international drug cartel. That is what a conspiracy theorist used to be, and we do still have some of that around—here’s looking at you Q guys, who like to swim in the conservative pool, but who also like to pee in it.

But what is a standard conspiracy theorist today, according to the received media wisdom? Today if you want to be labeled a conspiracy theorist all you need to do is listen to someone who has lied to you about twenty times and then entertain doubts about his veracity. If you think that the government is currently lying to you about COVID, masks, the flu, mortality numbers in nursing homes, and so on, and you are thinking this because of all the lies they have told over the last twelve months, then congratulations. You are now engaging in conspiracy thought. Tell me, how did your family celebrate the first annual celebration of fifteen days to flatten the curve? Did you buy some of those celebratory masks, the ones that come in bright and cheery colors?

Today if you want to be labeled a conspiracy theorist all you need to do is listen to someone who has lied to you about twenty times and then entertain doubts about their veracity.

Hang on to those because the Fourth of July is coming. You can put on your celebratory red, white and blue masks, and then go out into the back yard to huddle with no more than four close family members, and at 8 pm you will have ten minutes to wave some little American flags together. If one of your children asks you why “tonight is different from all other nights,” you may tell him proudly that tonight is the night we celebrate our freedoms. “But quickly, kids. Back into the house before one of the neighbors reports us for being one family member over the approved limit.”

One more example. If you are like half the American populace, you believe, as I do , that this last presidential election had multiple buckets of funny business ladled over the top of it. This, quite naturally, means that you are dismissed as a conspiracy nutter, and worthy of being called multiple names, mostly having to do with the shape of your supposed tin foil hat. Now Georgia provided us with some particularly ripe examples of said funny business, and so in an attempt to shore up their tattered reputation in such matters, Georgia just passed some very mild and reasonable measures to guard against voter fraud. And the way the left has reacted to this teaches you everything you need to know about the election controversies now in our rear view mirror. You don’t need to be reading quirky web sites in the dead of night to think the left believes they have the right to win elections, however that may be accomplished. No, you just need to open your eyes in broad daylight and watch them go. What are they doing right this minute? The left believes that they have the foundational right to count any vote they want to, as many times as they want to, and then to call it real democracy. This is their precious. Question it, and Major League Baseball will not deign to do business with you, and Delta Airlines will fly off to do business with someone more savory, like the ChiComs.,

What this moronic Experiment House culture of ours needs is a sweet little intervention.

For they saw the wall fallen down, and a lion as large as a young elephant lying in the gap, and three figures in glittering clothes with weapons in their hands rushing down upon them. For, with the strength of Aslan in them, Jill plied her crop on the girls and Caspian and Eustace plied the flats of their swords on the boys so well that in two minutes all the bullies were running like mad, crying out, “Murder! Fascists! Lions! It isn’t fair.”

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

The Quiet Christian Problem

All of this foolishness is happening to a country that has millions of evangelical believers in it. The salt has lost its savor, and as Christians who have read our Bibles, we have no right to wonder why we are being trampled upon by men (Matt. 5:13).

There are two kinds of quiet Christians. Well, there are probably more than two, but there are two main categories.

The first is secretly rooting for the Christians who are standing up. They see the problems, and they wish the problems were not there, and they are glad that somebody is addressing it. Vocal Christians who are objecting to all the nonsense are welcomed by them as a sort of windbreak. Thank the Lord something is being done. That will probably be enough, don’t you think?

When I was in the Navy, it would be fair to say I was sort of the Jesus freak on our submarine, and there were times when there would be a rousing exchange of views in the crew’s mess. On such occasions I would be defending the faith against a small mob of sailors. So much was to be expected. If you stick your head through the canvas hole in the booth at the fair, you can’t be surprised when people throw wet sponges at it. But what was revelatory to me were the men who would circle back around later to give me encouragement privately. “Don’t let them get you down.” “Stick to your guns.” “We’re with you.”

Put another way, Nicodemus probably had compelling reasons for coming to Jesus by night (John 3:2). This sort of thing is also likely in situations where a person is powerfully attracted to a position, but isn’t all the way there yet.

So then what is the other kind of quiet Christian? He is the one who has a comfortable life, or as comfortable as he thinks possible, and he sees the vocal and outspoken Christians as the cause of the trouble.

“Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us?”

Judges 15:11a (KJV)

Both kinds of quiet Christians need to come to their senses, and when they do, we will hear from them. The first kind need to understand that the situation is dire, an all hands on deck sort of situation. No sleeping down below, like Jonah. The second category needs to repent of their addiction to “personal peace and affluence,” the problem that Francis Schaeffer used to warn us about.

Perhaps a time is coming when Ephraim will join in the pursuit.

Scriptural Appendix on Fear

The foundational reason we are so tangled up in our fear of man is that we have not embraced the duty to fear God. Are things dark around us? Very dark, and so it is that we must return to the fear of God.

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.”

Isaiah 50:10 (KJV)

Because Christ has risen from the dead, those who believe in Him need have no fear of death.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Hebrews 2:14–15 (KJV)

If God undertakes to help us, what can man do? Why should we fear him?

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Hebrews 13:6 (KJV)

Because God is in absolute control of all things, including all the things that might be done to us, we certainly have no need to fear the tongues of men.

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee Before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Psalm 31:19–20 (KJV)

Let us return to consider what man can do. The worst he can do is kill the body, and send us off to glory a little earlier than we anticipated.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 10:28 (KJV)

The fact that the fear of God has gone missing explains a lot. It is absent from our lives, our pulpits, our businesses and more, and this is why the American church is being inundated with every manner of unholy filth.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)

Because we don’t fear the Lord, we don’t fear His commands.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: But he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

Proverbs 13:13 (KJV)

What would have kept us from this great avalanche of apostasy?

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”

Jeremiah 32:40 (KJV)

You want America out of this morass? What is the way out? Fear God.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: And by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

Proverbs 16:6 (KJV)

Do you want us to escape from this little blinkered existence we have managed to get ourselves into? Largeness of heart, which we do not have, flows out from hearts that fear God, which we also do not have.

“Then thou shalt see, and flow together, And thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, The forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”

Isaiah 60:5 (KJV)

In short, if God turns us, we shall be turned. And we will know that we have been turned if we are returned into the fear of God.