To get right to the point, the high price of forgetting God is that God forgets you. And when that happens the descent into madness becomes tractor beam inexorable. And because we Americans have been suppressing this inconvenient truth out of a pretended high principle for many decades now, calling our pretense by the lofty name of secularism, we have now gotten to the point where our madness seems almost normal to us.
We are starting to see what politics and culture and art all look like when there is no transcendental arche. Or at least some of us are starting to see it. Think of us all standing in a crowded corridor that has an eight-foot tall acoustic tile ceiling, and it is a hallway that stretches away for miles into a vanishing dot in the distance. We are all of us crammed in here like so many mole rats. Here we all are. Does anybody know who or even what we are? Does anybody know whether or not there is a point to any of this? When life in this mole rat corridor goes crazy, is there any help or hope for us from within the horizontal line of sight? Not to keep you in suspense, the answer to that one is no.
Now if one faction down here within the crowded hallway wants to walk peaceably in one direction together, I might favor that, over against the alternative suggested by a different party, which wants to start a brawl and kill a bunch of us. And then yet another party wants to make us all rich by taxing the air in the corridor, and I would naturally be opposed to that, thinking it counterproductive and likely to make things a lot more stuffy, and it was already stuffy enough. Like the other mole rats, I do have opinions.
But here is something that is not just an opinion. It is a conviction. It is doctrine. It is the truth. It is the everlasting Word of God. And here it is — we are not just mole rats.
Whenever you say something like this, the king of the mole rats, not to mention his privy council, and his supreme court of venerable black-robed mole rats, all say in unison together, “Ah, ah, careful! Separation of church and state . . . ”
The only hope for us has to be vertical, and it has to be an infinite vertical. But it also has to intersect with where we are down here, and that means we are talking about the Christ.
Apart from Christ, there is no hope. It is either Christ or chaos. You Christians who are good with secularism have been representing us all for a good while now, and so it is we have the chaos. When will you consider Christ? And in referring to Christ, I am not talking about a plastic dashboard Jesus, Lord of your personal vehicle, the one you are driving to your own personal Heaven. As a poet, one of your own, has said, “I don’t care if it rains or freezes/Long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus/Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car.” Rather, I am talking about the Christ who rose from the dead, and who as a consequence claims ownership of these United States (Ps. 2:8). That Christ. The one in the Bible.
How long will you professing Christians forget God? And how long will you do so in the vain hope that God will somehow still remember you? Or your prayers?
When God Forgets
When we forget God, God forgets us. And when God forgets us, it is not long before we forget ourselves. And when we forget ourselves, we forget our names, our identify, our heritage, and at a certain inevitable point, even our reason.
What is the alternative to remembering the Lord your God? It is walking after other gods. And what happens to those who walk after other gods? They will “surely perish.” That kind of expression comes out of the Bible’s rather binary way of speaking. What’s with that?
“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”
Deut. 8:19 (KJV)
All Christian pastors, theologians, and other leaderette types who therefore advocate secularism, or pluralism, or principled pluralism, or whatever horse they think they are riding around on, are actually arguing that we should in some measure walk after other gods. And as a corollary, they are therefore urging us to take a path where we will “surely perish.”
But let us not paint with too broad a brush. There are different kinds of condemnation. It must be remembered that this “other gods are okay” contingent of Christian leadership has a right wing, a left wing, and a moderate middle. Those leaders who have already hooked up with the sexual revolution are down at Baal-Peor, urging the rest of us to come on down and find a cute little Midianite girl. Or, perhaps, if you are so oriented, a Moabite. Love is love, either way. The middle-of-the-roaders in the Revoice project think it is all right to desire a Midianite girl, and perhaps to cuddle with her. Second base is okay, at least while we are awaiting further theological developments. But the right wing conservative Christian secularists are the true chumpions. They are trying to talk the priests of Chemosh into allowing for religious liberty for those few remaining YHWHists who want to retain their hateful and misogynist attitudes toward Midianite women. They have won some recent victories, but only for those YHWHists who have agreed to shut up about it, keeping their deeply-held and precious convictions behind their eyeballs and between their ears. But the legal team for these right wing accommodationists were not able to secure any concessions for the more belligerent ones, particularly the ones who wanted to impale the compromised chieftains in the sun before the Lord (Num. 25:4). The ones strapping on their swords were also problematic (Num. 25:5), and Moses was particularly intransigent. He eventually had to be dropped from the class action suit entirely because he had chased their legal team out of his tent with a spear.
“The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.“
Psalm 9:17 (ESV)
The great problem with American Christians is that they want Jesus to save America’s bacon, but they want to arrange it so that America doesn’t have to say His name. They want deliverance, and they want the deliverer to remain masked. They want a salvation, but they want the savior to remain off stage. They want to incur an enormous debt of gratitude coupled with no obligation to pay it.
But all the nations that forget God go down to the dust of death. They descend into Sheol. Nations that forget God rush headlong toward the sinkhole, all yelling something about black lives mattering, which is, at least where they are going, false. Nothing matters in the outer darkness.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
If ever there was a nation that rejected knowledge, we are that nation. The people are destroyed through their ignorance, but it is not the ignorance of a new born baby, who cannot help being ignorant. No, we are ignorant because we have rejected knowledge, and we have vilified the teachers of knowledge. And, because America has rejected knowledge, God “will also reject” America. You have chosen your path, America, and you have chosen poorly. Having made the choice, you do not have the option of wondering aloud, “Why is it getting so dark?” You chose the darkness.
You have forgotten the law of God. You have rejected the law of God. You have spurned the law of God. You have poured out abuse on anyone who attempted to stand for the law of God. Very well, then. God will forget your children.
As I Write These Words . . .
As I write these words, the presidency is still undecided. Respectable outlets are trying to get some momentum going which would allow the question to be settled by those selfsame respectable outlets, which I call a remarkable coincidence, but President Trump has not conceded, and promises legal challenges in a number of states. When it comes to recounts and/or legal challenges, Trump’s team will have to make their case. If they do not have a case, then for some inscrutable reason Trump is in hot pursuit of a second humiliating defeat within one month. If they do have a case, then 2020 promises to go out with a bang. But I brought this up to simply set the stage for a different point.
Among evangelical Christians, there are three broad groups of people. There are the evangelicals who voted for Biden, or who rejoiced over Biden’s apparent victory. Then there are the evangelicals who, without a worldview framework, didn’t vote, or who voted third party, or wrote somebody in, or who went in for the full Trump regalia, a Trump Uncle Sam hat, flags on pickup, t-shirt, the works. Then in the last category were those evangelicals who voted with care and thoughtfulness, depending on their state, in the fervent hope that we would get a lot more judges and justices over the next four years who were just like the last four.
Our prayers for these groups should vary. For the first group, we should pray that God would grant them a spirit of deep repentance. Failing that, we should pray that God would frustrate their counsels, befuddle their advisors, beclown their public pronouncements, and open the eyes of their donors, who are probably in the second group. The second group are confused and hurting, like sheep without a shepherd. Our prayer should be that God would heal their confusions, and get them the shepherding they need. These sheep are often bewildered, and would respond best to vertebrate shepherds. The third group? The prayer should be that their tribe might simply increase, and that God would supplement the ranks of their shepherds as well.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)
Pluralism Is An Evangelistic Opportunity, Not a Theological Option
What is the difference between compromise and evangelism?
The apostle Paul was not compromised with idolatry because he preached in the city of Athens, which was crammed with idols. He certainly recognized the reality of their religious pluralism, but did so without making any peace treaties with it.
Christians need to understand the nature of the pluralism around us, which means that we have to understand the theological underpinnings of the whole operation. The theological name for pluralism is polytheism, and Christians are sent into the world to topple all the idols. We do not get to work out an arrangement with any of them. We are not pluralists for the same reason we are not polytheists. We are Christians.
And professing Christians who want to be pluralists also are Christians who need to be called to repentance. It is not a political difference. It is whoredom.
The Changing of the Guard
In the days, and weeks, and months to come, conservative Christians need to be cleaning house. We plainly need to do this, regardless of who takes the presidency. Judgment begins with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17). We need to clear out anything that rhymes with woke, and anything else that smells like social justice. And if we see that old slew foot Critical Theory coming around, we need to have the deacons get the security team to escort him off the premises.
We need a new set of leaders — leaders who are not embarrassed by the Word of God, and who are not embarrassed by other leaders who are not embarrassed by the Word of God. You’d be surprised.
And so if you want a straightforward set of questions that will help you ferret out what authors to buy anymore, what conferences to go to anymore, what podcasts to listen to anymore, what pastors to call to minister in your church, what elder candidates to vote for, and so on, you are in luck. I have some questions that should do the trick. And here they are, completely free of charge:
Do you believe that we in the Christian church should have as our long range goal the evangelization of our nation, such that the United States at some point becomes an explicitly Christian nation? This would be done by evangelism and persuasion only, not by coercive means, but at some point we would have to abandon our pretense of secularism. Is this something we should work and pray for?Jube Tarbox