We are living in remarkable times. Throughout the Western world, there is a huge fault line, now clearly manifest, that separates the transgressives from the normals. This fault line has even affected the evangelical world. We have contributed quite a large number of the bewildered normals, and we have also had a feckless leadership that for some mysterious reason wants to be thought winsome by the transgressives.
Their evangelistic yearning is palpable. If only the devil and his minions could pronounce us winsome and approachable, then perhaps we might even see revival in our day. The only thing preventing this remarkable miracle from happening would be the die-harders and bitter clingers within our evangelical ranks who have, we are afraid, made an idol out of the things the Bible says to do. The sure sign of such idolatry is a dogged insistence on actually trying to live the way Jesus said to live.
So nonsense is in the air, and ironically, the thing that prevented many of us from breathing it in was our refusal to wear masks upon command. Who knew that not wearing masks would filter out anything?
But all is not lost. We still have this going for us. When we look at the transgressives and the normals, each group has, of necessity, a hard leadership cadre at the center. These are the people who know what is going on, on both sides, and who also know what they intend to do about it. And what they both intend to do is to collide with the other.
“I mean this,” said Dimble, answering the question she had not asked. “If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.”
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength
The Insignia of Each
Considering the issues at stake, and the lay of the land, a hard collision is inevitable. This is something that is known and acknowledged by the leadership of both groups. And by “leadership,” I am not referring to the erstwhile leaders. or the figurehead leaders, or any captains of the previous guard. I am referring to those who understand the inevitability of the collision, and who are preparing themselves and their people for it. As the impending collision becomes increasingly obvious to more people, the location of the actual leadership is going to become increasingly obvious.
But in the meantime, if you want to identify the leadership of each group, they are already marked out by this. Take some appalling outrage, according to the definitions of the opposing group, and see what the reactions are within the group associated with that outrage. This metric might seem confusing, but it will become extraordinarily clear in just a moment. One group gets associated with an outrage, and if it is the transgressives, their hard leadership will be identified by their shamelessness. If it is the normals who are tarred with “an outrage,” then their leadership will be identified by the fact that they are unashamed.
Being shameless and being unashamed have certain similarities on the surface, but there is an ethical chasm that lies between them. God has spoken certain “thou shalt nots” into the world, and the shameless transgress these commands, and impudently raise their heads. God has spoken His pure words into a corrupt and sinful world, and the unashamed take them up and hang them as a garland around the neck. The shameless refuse to be ashamed when any decent person would be ashamed, and the unashamed refuse to be ashamed when it would be utter moral failure to be ashamed.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:38 (KJV)
Case in Point
The most recent case in point—there are multitudes of examples—was the response to the Nashville murders. A messed up young woman, calling herself a man, went into a Christian school, and there murdered three staff members and three students. She was then killed by the police.
In response to this, the press secretary at the White House said that it was the trans community that was “under siege.” In the first place, that word community has been filled up with almost as many lies as our modern pronouns have been. There is no community in the outer darkness, and that is where all of this is headed. But even aside from that, this was a brazen and outlandish statement. More to the point I am making here this morning, it was brazen and shameless.
To make the point in the other direction, suppose that a Bible teacher somewhere made the point in a sermon that wives ought to be submissive to their own husbands, as the Scriptures teach. Suppose someone in his congregation tweeted a snippet from the sermon, and Twitter went nuts. It was like throwing chum in the water at a shark farm. Thus far my imaginary example is not all that uncommon, but let’s make it uncommon. Suppose the preacher involved refused to bend an inch, and simply ignored all the calls and demands for an apology from White Church Ladies League (WCLL), and simply said that he thought that the Scriptures taught what they do, and that he also thought it was time we came to terms with it. This man would be what we should call unashamed.
No Level Playing Field
The lie of secularism has lured many evangelical leaders into the false notion that the conflict between good and evil is like a football game with neutral refs. According to this naive view, the refs just call the penalties, applying them equitably to both sides. And somehow the refs are supposed to apply their calls “honestly,” but without being in submission to any particular sectarian standard or definition of honesty. For to be in submission to a transcendent standard of honesty and integrity would put them on the side of the good football team, and that would be cheating. And so they somehow adopt this unattributed standard of “reffing a game” that just floats above their heads somehow. They judge the game in accordance with the rule book from somewhere. It was probably somewhere important, and one thing that rule book of dubious origins disallowed, it was any form of “cheating.”
But this is nonsense. Jesus can call his opponents whited sepulchers because they were whited sepulchers, and they do not get to call Him a glutton and a drunkard because He wasn’t one. There is no penalty here for generic “name calling.” There is the truth and there are lies.
Now we have all seen games where the hometown refs appeared to be participants in the game, and were not playing the role of objective and honest refs. They appeared to be actively working for the hometown boys. But this issue of shamelessness I am speaking of goes well beyond the question of obvious bias. We live in a time when the refs came out onto the court wearing the jerseys of the hometown team. When our coach went over to them in order to inquire about it, he had a technical called on him, and when the assistant coach went over to inquire about that, he was ejected from the game.
Whereupon David French writes an editorial for the New York Times about the importance of respecting our long-standing institutions, referees being among them. It is crucial for evangelicals to learn to not sass the referees.
So what does the Bible say about these two categories, about the shameless and the unashamed?
The hypocrites acknowledge the standards of God, but do not live according to them. They do not live according to them deliberately. Struggling sinners acknowledge the standards of God, and attempt to live in accordance with them, with varying degrees of success. But the shameless defy the standards of God.
“Such is the way of an adulterous woman; She eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.”
Proverbs 30:20 (KJV)
When the shamelessness is far gone, the most abominable things can be done, and the echo chamber of approval from others engaged in the same wickedness reinforces the evil. The residents of Sodom who gathered on Lot’s front porch still had their standards, objecting as they did to Lot’s implied rebuke of their behavior. They were gathered there to rape Lot’s house guests, and they took offense at the fact that Lot had forgotten our Lord’s admonition to “judge not lest ye be judged” (Matt. 7:1).
“And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.”
Genesis 19:9 (KJV)
The shameless are under the judgment of God. The day of visitation is coming for them, and when it arrives they will be cast down, and cast down utterly.
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.”
Jeremiah 8:12 (KJV)
Scripture says that homosexual acts are shameful—men with men committing what is shameful—so when we find ourselves in the middle of Pride Month, and we have pride parades, and pride floats, and rainbow flags everywhere, this has to be considered as the high meridian of shamelessness.
“Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
Romans 1:27 (NKJV)
And this sets up a foundational juxtaposition. It is yet another inescapable concept—not whether, but which. It is not whether you are ashamed, but rather what makes you ashamed. When God says that homosexual acts are degrading and shameful, and we hold a parade in honor of these degrading and shameful acts, one of the results of this pressure is that people with normal sexual desires are made to feel ashamed of the way they feel.
So not only are pride parades the epitome of shamelessness, the fact is that they are a recruiting tool intended to pressure the normals. And this is why there are many normals who need to learn the grace of being unashamed.
And make no mistake. To be truly unashamed is a great grace indeed.
Never forget the fact that Scriptures instruct us on who should be ashamed and who not. the psalmist prays that he would not be ashamed and that the wicked would be. When the wicked are ashamed and the righteous are not, the world is right side up.
“Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.”
Psalm 31:17 (KJV)
One of the things that the righteous can do in resisting this onslaught of the vile is to get their kids out of the government schools, and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The “quiver full” that Scripture speaks of is not so much about birth control and the patter of little feet around the house as it is about Christian education, such that your grown sons are standing behind you at the city council meeting. They are going to speak next, right after you, and they are on your side.
“Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: They shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:5 (KJV)
The things we have to say are things that no one should ever be ashamed to speak. We should speak them in the pulpit, around the dinner table, on social media, and when we are called to speak before presidents and kings.
“I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.”
Psalm 119:46 (KJV)
When our salvation comes to fruition, we will be able to see that this salvation, when in full bloom, consists of us not being ashamed. And we are not ashamed in the day of light because we were not ashamed in the times of darkness.
“But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.”
Isaiah 45:17 (KJV)
The cornerstone of our ability to live in this way is our relationship to the gospel of Christ. The key to being unashamed about God’s words on sexual ethics, for example, or economic matters, or educational issues, is to be unashamed of God’s plan for the salvation of sinners. If we are ashamed of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, it will take hardly anything to make us embarrassed about other features of God’s Word.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Romans 1:16 (KJV)
This is one of the traits of the solid believer.
“For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
Romans 10:11 (KJV)
If a believer acts shamefully, as many believers have done in the face of this perversity jihad, then he should be ashamed. But if he stands firm, and encounters the fury of the mob, then he is suffering precisely because he is a Christian. That being the case, he has no business being ashamed, not at all. Rather, the torrent of abuse that he endures should be reckoned as a good reason to glorify God.
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
1 Peter 4:16 (KJV)
As Peter put it just a few verses before this, if a man is reproached for the sake of Christ, the spirit of glory rests upon him (1 Pet. 4:14). Another way of putting this is to say that all the attempts of the adversary to make you feel ashamed of the words of your God are to be worn by you as insignia of honor. It is a grace to be disgraced for Him. It is an honor to be dishonored for Him. If we have one eye on the accolades of the world, wishing we could only obtain them, this does not advance the gospel at all. What it does is interfere with our ability to believe in Christ at all.
“How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”
John 5:44 (NKJV)
In other words, if you still care what the world thinks, how can you believe in Jesus Christ?
And if we do not learn the grace of being unashamed, then the end result will be disaster.
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
Jeremiah 8:20 (KJV)
But I expect better things. And why?
And If Not . . .
One of the heartening signs that has resulted from the ascendancy of this creepy clown world regime is that it has revealed to me that there are still seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. There have been many new voices, deserted by their former leaders, who have stepped into the breach. They are standing up straight, and they are unashamed.
It is true that things look bad. The leadership of Laketown was feckless and self-serving. The whole town is in disarray, and is under attack. The dragon has come and everything is hopeless.
But there is one man, Bard, and he has one arrow. And with that one arrow in his hand, one bird comes and speaks to him. And he sets the arrow to string, unashamed.