Back in June of 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right, I made the comment on my Facebook page that this was the beginning of the end of Western Civilization as we know it. By “Western Civilization” I mean the shared Greco-Roman ideals of a Democratic-Republic form of government and Judeo-Christian values which have been the two foundational pillars of the western world since the days of Constantine (4th century AD).
As you might imagine, I took a lot of flack for posting that comment. However, in recent months my prediction is proving to be true. Just in the last six months we have seen come across the news horrendous stories that are both frightening and sobering, and harbingers of what’s to come. In Texas, a dad is in a legal battle to prevent his ex-wife from medically trans-gendering their six-year-old son. A family in New York is being touted by the media as bold and courageous for allowing their eleven-year-old son to perform in nightclubs as a drag-queen. “Drag Queen Story Book Hour” is becoming increasingly popular in libraries and public schools across the nation wherein men dressed in drag are reading to kinder-aged children. Recently, photos have been circulating the internet showing these young children sitting on the laps of men dressed in drag--a pedophile’s dream. And most recently, the state of California is considering a bill which would require churches, ministers, and religious workers to embrace LGBTQ ideology and stop teaching that homosexuality is a sin under penalty of being fined or jailed.
Around the same time I posted that comment, I was preaching through a sermon series on marriage and I made the prediction that if the Lord tarries and my health keeps up and I am able to preach until my 80th birthday (year 2052), I firmly believe my life is going to end behind bars. And if my son follows in my footsteps and enters ministry until his 80th birthday (year 2090), his life will end by being put to death in the public square. The posturing of the Left has gone from tolerance to intolerance to outright hostility toward those who adhere to the teachings of the Bible. But none of this should be a surprise to us. Jesus warned his followers: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (Jn. 15:18-20 ESV). In fact, Jesus will go on to warn his followers: “Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (Jn. 16:2 ESV). Jesus taught and preached love. He taught that the two greatest commandments are “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39 ESV), and they crucified him for it. Why did they crucify him? Because he also said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15 ESV). Love for Christ is not expressed by emotions. Love for Christ is expressed by obedience—obedience to God’s word, obedience to God’s commandments. However, the more the western world moves away from Judeo-Christian values; i.e., the more we witness the disintegration of Western Civilization, the more hostile the public becomes toward those who continue to promote a Judeo-Christian worldview. Again, this should be no surprise. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4 ESV). That time the apostle Paul predicted 2,000 years ago has arrived. The western world is becoming increasingly hostile toward the sound teaching of the Bible and, instead, “accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”
So what are we to do about this? As we watch the news, as we witness the collapse of western civilization, as we fear for the future of our children, as we feel increasingly small and insignificant, what are we to do in the meantime? Four things: First, remain faithful to our mission to share the gospel boldly with all who are willing to listen (Matt. 28:18-20). Only the gospel has the power to transform lives (Rom. 1:16). So if you’re looking for something to do to help stem the tide of moral decline, tell someone about Jesus. Second, pray hard and pray often knowing that the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7 ESV). When the going gets tough, the tough go to God in prayer. Third, immerse yourself in God’s word knowing that “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). In times of trials and tribulation it is only God’s word that will sustain us and comfort us. Finally, we need to mentally and emotionally prepare ourselves for the inevitable. We read about Christians being fed to lions in the Roman Coliseum before the days of Constantine and it seems almost unimaginable. But those days are not far ahead of us. When severe physical persecution comes, those will be the days when God will separate the wheat from the chaff. Those will be the days when God weeds out nominal Christians from committed Christians. I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet, but the writing is on the wall.
Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash