Welcome to Babylon! Here’s Your Mark!

[Update: Rod Dreher has another article worth reading (in addition to the one linked at the bottom). In this one he speaks to a political strategist on the reality that some religious liberty is going to be lost in the near future. Consider. Note too his suggestion that the only solution is another Great Awakening. Oh, that the Church would prioritize being the Church. -RDP]

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In July of 2013 I posted on the topic of persecution of Christians in America. At the time the Supreme Court had recently made some decisions allowing same sex marriage. I opined on how I saw this as a key marker that the future would see social persecution of Christians in America because of their opposition to homosexuality. Also at the time (and since) I received a bit of friendly criticism, admonishing me for being an alarmist.

Well, here we go again.

When I first took up this topic I expected that society-wide overt social persecution of Christians would not be wide-spread for at least a few decades. Not being a prophet or a prognosticator, I was engaging in the time honored tradition of looking at history for lessons to apply to today’s circumstances. Admittedly an inexact “science”, I thought I was in the ball park to propose that my children and grandchildren would face at least social persecution for maintaining belief in the Bible’s sexual morality teachings. E.g., I thought my grandchildren might suffer the loss of education opportunities while their parents, my children, suffered the loss of jobs, homes, etc., for simply declining when demanded by the World, “Say same-sex marriage is holy, right, and true!!”

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Given the widespread response to recent events, I’m now expecting such social persecution within the next decade.

Consider Indiana’s passage of its Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It is being characterized as a form of a Jim Crow law (Google it: “Indiana RFRA Jim Crow”). Yeah, I know, those are just crazy comments from folks no one listens to anyway. Except for one little problem, what sounds crazy today increasingly becomes “gospel” tomorrow.

Consider the Indiana Pizzeria owners who got tricked into saying they wouldn’t cater a same sex wedding celebration (again, Google it: “Indiana Pizzeria same sex”). The family for whom this is their livelihood has shuttered the business and is thinking of leaving the state due to the amount of death threats they’ve received from those who think any vocalized opinion against homosexuality is tantamount to saying one thinks lynching is an acceptable way of carrying on race relations.

We won’t even talk about the poor grandmother florist in Washington where the power of the state is being used to force her to comply with the new (im)morality or lose her economic livelihood. (Google it: “Barronelle Stutzman”)

After my last post on this topic in which I listed eleven examples of Christians whose economic freedom and well-being was harmed because of their declining to participate in a same sex wedding, I thought I might keep a running list of such examples for the naysayers. But it got too burdensome. There is almost a new example of this every month!

For you who insist on not seeing this as a form of persecution, I’d ask you to read the book of Revelation a bit closer. [Full disclosure: I consider myself a pan-millenniliast: at the core an amillennialist, with a willingness to affirm and adapt insights from the other positions.]

In the Bible Babylon is presented as that world system, that empire of Man, which is fully invested in opposing the Kingdom of God. Life is quite simple in that empire. Publicly affirm your allegiance to the ruling belief system (the anti-Trinity) and your economic well-being is secured. Fail to do so, and punishing you economically is just the start.

(Rev 13:16-17 ESV) 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

So what’s my point? No, I am not predicting the date of the 2nd Coming. I’m not even interested in debating whether or not we’re in the end times of the Last Day.

Instead I’m pointing to a principle. In Scripture the first empire to set itself up against God was Babylon, at the Tower of Babel (Gn 11). Babylon then becomes paradigmatic: it becomes the picture that represents man in his best efforts to prove the lie of Satan, to become like God through his own efforts. In Revelation Babylon is clearly presented as this Kingdom-of-God-opposing empire (cf., Rev 14:8; 16:19; 18:2, 10, 21, and everything in between). It is Babylon, the world in opposition to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is the primary source of persecution for the people who follow King Jesus:

(Rev 17:1-5) 1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”

3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

Notice that among the chief characteristics of this Empire that economically persecutes the children of God is leading the rich and powerful to engage in sexual immorality. We don’t have to ponder much to see this wedding of possessions-position-power with sexual immorality in the push for moralizing same-sex marriage … and soon to come, its in-bred cousins. (E.g., be prepared for transgenderism to become the latest “gospel” from Babylon. April 24 should prove to be another pivotal point, when Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer is broadcast.)

The upshot? Whether we’re in the end of the Last Days or not is not material. What is material is that in this country, in this generation, or if I am not Chicken Little, within this decade, we should expect to see the overt adoption of laws that persecute Christians for simply declining to affirm same-sex marriage as morally good. Following this we should expect the passing of similar laws forcing Christians to affirm the holiness of other sexual perversions.

Already it is socially unacceptable to speak against these things (e.g., homosexuality, etc.). To do so is to invite the label bigot. Yet, in light of the response of a number of companies to Indiana’s passing of their RFRA, just around the corner is this: not only will you be labeled a bigot, you will also lose your job!

Don’t think so?

Don’t think this is not the new norm? Businesses are moving from being supportive of same-sex employees to demanding that all employees vocally support the gay rights agenda, or risk losing their jobs. Don’t think that they aren’t rationalizing this as just a necessity of doing business. Their profit margin is their holy of holies.

And as businesses threaten the economic well-being of those who disagree with the gay rights agenda, don’t think you’ll find support from your local state representative. Politicians will cave if they think their own future is jeopardized. They will pass laws protecting homosexuality via persecuting Christians in less time than it takes them to flip flop on where their favorite pizza joint is located!

So what does the future hold? Well, if the new norm is to deny the Christian his First Amendment freedom of speech rights (at least with regard to his views on sexual morality), is there anything stopping Babylon from removing Christians’ First Amendment freedom of religion rights? I think not. Indeed, I foresee the not too distant day in this country when even churches are not only not allowed to speak against homosexuality, they will also be forced to openly support this sexual immorality, and all its in-bred cousins.

This is just the way life in Babylon operates. We may not lose our heads, but we will lose our wallets and pocket books. Will we find the strength of faith to remain faithful then? Be prepared for a pruning of the Church:

(Jh 15:2, 6) 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. … 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Maybe we can find hope and power in these promises of our King:

(Rev 2:10) Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

(Rev 2:25-27) 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

Reed DePace

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[Postscript. Yeah, I know, I’m not painting a Kinkade picture here. But I don’t think I’m fear-mongering. You can tell the tenor of the mood of America by looking at the response to those who are paid big bucks to write a weekly opinion column. When they say something that most Americans don’t agree with, that weekly column becomes major news. When they say something that most Americans don’t find controversial, that weekly column is quickly forgotten. It is just economics; the media reports what people are interested in.

Here are three such recent opinion columns related to the Indiana RFRA topic. What concerns me is that these opinions should cause quite a bit of consternation, at least among Christians. Yet I fear these columns are being quickly forgotten – because they just aren’t that controversial at this point!

If so, my cautions are well founded. Prepare brothers and sisters. Worship Him more!

39 Comments

  1. Truth2Freedom said,

    April 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  2. Cris Dickason said,

    April 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    So, I read the essay by Douthat that Reed provided… I wonder, can we head off some of this, as churches, by volunteering to drop our tax-exempt status? Should we ask that by paying sales taxes, etc, as do other incorporated entities, would that be our price for continued freedom of speech and assembly with our Scripturally-based morals and values?

    We need freedom of speech, freedom of assembly (freedom to worship), freedom to apply our moral standards to staffing decisions.

    Can paying taxes buy that freedom, even though it shouldn’t have to, and was not required historically?

  3. truthunites said,

    April 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    “Welcome to Babylon! Here’s Your Mark!”

    Is there a R2K mark?

  4. Ron said,

    April 7, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Many churches are handling this badly. By ministering as they do to what they now call “same sex attraction”, the behavior is no longer being classified as deviant. If these churches unashamedly taught that such sin is God’s temporal punishment for already having incurred His abhorrence, these touchy feely small groups would have no takers. Bottom line is, the church is already positioning herself to escape persecution. However, it won’t work. Somehow, in her attempt to normalize the practice, this flabby love will backfire. I can only imagine how.

  5. truthunites said,

    April 7, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    “Many churches are handling this badly. By ministering as they do to what they now call “same sex attraction”, the behavior is no longer being classified as deviant.”

    Ron, could you point to a church and/or senior pastor that is handling this well, and could be held up as an exemplar in this particular matter?

  6. Ron said,

    April 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Anyone who is not coddling or pandering is doing just fine in my book. I don’t need a pastor to preach “quit talking with an intrntional lisp and walking with a limp wrist.”

    I think some denominations are outright unbiblical in their accommodations. They’re undiscerning and lack faithful obedience. This stuff is not all that difficult to navigate through, but it’s a twisting labyrinth if you’re immersed in the pop psychology and pseudo counseling of this Christian age. Nuff said.

  7. Chris Schroeder said,

    April 8, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Plenty of this going on in the UK these (last) days; you can ‘google’ the Twitter hashtag #SupportAshers or check out the Christian Institute webpage at christian.org.uk

  8. Reed Here said,

    April 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Chris: no intention to diss our family in the UK. You’re actually in some ways ahead of us in this experience.

  9. April 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    You know I read this article, which is very good, but I couldnt help but think about the hypocrisy in Luther. The very thing he tried to fight against Rome for, namely no institution, or government has the right to bind man’s conscience, he ended up supporting state sponsored persecution of others in some way. I think he regretted it. There seems irony in the concern here of government and culture binding men, coming from a Reformed Pastor. Many Reformed did the same with the power of the state. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world. I love the truths of the Reformation, but they carried with them many of the dreggs from state religion. And it was as oppresive as modern american society on Christians, probably more. K

  10. Reed Here said,

    April 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Maybe Kevin, I won’t analyze too much. I will observe that Luther’s support of the German Princes was because those who were rebelling were committing atrocities in the name of Christ. Maybe its better to say Luther was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The gospel he recovered did not lead to such licentiousness. I’ve a bit of sympathy with him therefore when those who abused the gospel by breaking God’s law, in Luther’s name at times, necessitated the ministry of Rom 16.

  11. April 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Reed, ya, I want to be careful. I just know that Luther’s contribution to freedom of conscience and from Rome’s state religion was recapitulated in the dark Potestant Europe. Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world. If Im not convinced by scripture or sound reason… MacArthur says if you look at the history of state run churches, always disaster. So while im in total agreement with the article, im thankful we have freedom to worship how we want in a composite society. But we owe so juch to the great Reformed doctrines and confessions. Specifically that we were freed from Aquinas meritocracy, that in some way man is predesrined to glory according to his merit instead of just the goodness of God. This is the freest of frees, the freedom to love your neighbor in the full acceptance of God. God bless.

  12. Andrew said,

    April 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    “Such sin is God’s temporal punishment for already having incurred His abhorrence”.

    Ron, this is exactly what Romans 1 teaches, so no probs there. Entirely out of interest, do you think homosexuality is primarily a judgement on an apostate individual, or on an apostate culture?

    Obviously we are all sinners, so you could say that it is a temporal punishment for the individual. At the same time, Romans 1 does seem to suggest homosexuality as a final stage of apostasy, which is not always noticeable in the lives of individual homosexuals.

  13. Reed Here said,

    April 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Cris, no. 2: I’ve heard others suggest this move. Its kind of a preemptive drawing of a demarcation zone.

    Problem is the other side needs to be willing to accomodate. Nothing, nothing suggest that there is any willingness to do so. Its as if there is no more possibility of a reasonable adult conversation.

    If gender is a social construct,
    If love is the highest expression of self,
    Then anything that stands in the way of the individual expressing themselves in love as they define, is by definition evil.

    The blindly righteous warriors of the Gay Rights movement will never compromise with what is by definition evil.

    And, looking at things through their (flawed) logic, I don’t expect we would want to either.

    I fear we truly have arrived at that point where dialogue will achieve nothing but painting a laser bulls eye on oneself for the guided missiles of the LGBT warriors.

  14. Ron said,

    April 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Andrew,

    For what it’s worth, I do think the prevalence of such sin in a culture indicates judgment upon the nation. The more it’s accepted by a culture the more we should expect to see people punished *with* the sin. Yes, the sin itself is punishment, both for individuals and the organic community in which they live.

    No, I don’t think it is the unpardonable sin, yet it is an incongruous lifestyle for the believer. Christian men cannot be effeminate. Sadly, much of what we find in worship today has a effeminate “quality” to it.

  15. roberty bob said,

    April 9, 2015 at 11:44 am

    to #14, Ron . . .

    If the men are not singing with robust voices in worship, the prime culprit is the poor hymn selection — not enough “dominion” songs to get the men on the march for our King.

  16. Stuart (OPC) said,

    April 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    I think for Pastors, especially in conservative denominations, there is a tricky practical pastoral issue in dealing with the sin of homosexual perversion–especially from the pulpit. We want to preach to the people that are assembled and not to some enemy that has not come inside the building. The unspoken message may be, “We are right and the rest of the world is wrong so pat your self on the back and forget for a moment you too need grace.” Many of us desire that covenant childen be present during corporate worship and sermon. How specific can we be in such a situation? If someone who practices homosexuality and happens to be present, will the a sense of the hope and grace that Christ can change them stand out? I post this as one who early in my ministry preached a sermon that included something like the following remark: “If there is a debate to be had about homosexuality it is not whether it is allowed for church members or officers–it is wether such should be executed or not.”
    Without changing my opposition to this perversion, I would argue now that I made an unwise pastoral choice in speaking the way I did (cf. reasons above). I still think a better debate can be had over theonomy (though I am not a bonafide theonomist) than the church accepting this sin. This leaves open the question, how do speak prophetically against this sin? Perhaps finding wise words to use in the various media is the answer. When someone accuses us of being haters I wonder if something like the following response–without pausing for interruptions–might be helpful– (you decide if these are wise words or not):

    “What is loving about helping people on the way to everlsting torment in hell? Jesus says there broad road to destruction and many choose this road rather than the few that choose his road [Mt 7 -I told you I am not a theonomist]. Homosexuals who refuse to repent are not the only ones on that road but if they refuse to repent it is certain they are on that road because this what God says in his Word. It is certain a promise of doom even as Christ offers the certain promise of new life to those who come to him forsaking their sin by faith. Homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. So what is loving about letting anyone go to hell comfortably without a warning? And what is loving about adopting government policies that make people comfortatable with sin and perversion that will destroy them in the life to come and possibly in this one too? You sound like the hater to me?”
    There are follow up challenges and answers to such a response but I think you can fill them in.

  17. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Stuart (OPC): I don’t think your suggestions are unwise. I do think they are presently meaningless.

    Simply responding when asked, “I’d rather not,” is now taken as an overt, evilly motivated attack against the right of an LGBTQ person to peacefully exist in society.

    There is no ground for reasonable discussion, debate, or even giving an opinion when asked for one.

    By definition, what we call choice they believe is of the essence of their being. As soon tell a black person or a Downes Syndrome person they’re sub-human, rather than expect a LGBT person to even consider they might be wrong.

    I’m persuaded that the debate is over. Now it is a matter of doing what we can to slow the tidal wave coming our way.

    [Consider this illustration from the “debate” in Ireland, from an article sent to me you a regular participant on this blog. Change the word “Ireland” to “the United States,” and it reads the same.]

  18. roberty bob said,

    April 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    What did the church do in the early Christian centuries in the corrupted Greek-Roman culture? I learned that the church showed society what Christian marriage, Christian family, Christian hospitality, and Christian charity looked like; they modeled a compellingly attractive alternative society to the corrupted culture, and won people over to the side of Christ.

  19. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    More to the point Stuart, of course we need to weigh carefully our words, and not just on this topic. There is no reason to willfully throw ourselves under the Roman chariot wheels. God will not welcome us as a martyr, but a fool.

    But the possibility that carefully chosen words is far gone. It is no longer even an option to refrain from teaching on the passages which speak to sexual perversion. Instead, the expectation is that you WILL speak on them, and demonstrate how they can be adjusted so that the faithful believer no longer has to find himself opposed to homosexual or any other sexual perversion.

    Admittedly, this is not presently being forced upon us. But I expect it will, soon. Upwards of 30% of Evangelicals have already turned Quisling (or 5th Column?) on this topic, and are eager for the “scholars” who provide them with the arguments to demonstrate that the homosexuality Scripture condemns is NOT the homosexuality being practiced today.

    We will be forced to pinch the incense to Caesar or suffer the consequences. I continue to try and teach the flock around me the full counsel of God on this (e.g., seeing our own sins, loving the sinner, etc.). Yet that means less than nothing to the LGBT person listening to the popular culture, as most of them are. They see themselves as warriors, and guess who is the enemy to be destroyed with prejudice?

  20. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Roberty: they did that in the midst of persecution. Of course we pursue the ordinary Christian life. We need to prepare people for the reality that it is NOT going to be like grandma’s church, but more like this:

    (1Pe 4:12-14 ESV) 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
    13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
    14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

  21. Ron said,

    April 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    “If the men are not singing with robust voices in worship, the prime culprit is the poor hymn selection — not enough “dominion” songs to get the men on the march for our King.”

    RB,

    Yes, that’s part of it I suppose, but inspiring words can be put to love song melodies just as easily as inane lyrics can be put to triumphal tunes. Oh to hear more of Christopher Wordsworth’s great hymn: 291 in the “new”Trinity Hymnal, and others like it!

  22. Stuart (OPC) said,

    April 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Reed,
    Yes, there is no need to throw pearls to swine. Choose one’s forum wisely. Yet I wonder how we can evangelize if we cannot speak to specific sins. Perhaps we can focus the question this way: Can we separate evangelism from a prophetic witness against specific sin? Each situation calls for special wise word selection. I am impressed how Rosaria Butterfield was converted and I doubt that it was from words that were as hard-edged as I suggested for prophetic witness. Forming some sort of sympathetic bond with people we want to evangelize is likely wiser for evangelism–where possible. But does this then mean we must retreat from a prophetic witness and only communciate in relative secrecy and safety? What do we tell the judge when he says our Christian school must hire a practicing homosexual? We can plead civil law protections if such still exist but I think the slander that we are haters deserves a strong answer. Maybe the tide will prove irreversible but if we say nothing then that tide will surely prevail. Furthermore, there is a certain kind of Libertarian streak in some Evangelical and Reformed circles that I think harms the cause of righteousness and the gospel by undermining civil protections. Before the SCOTUS overturned the Texas Law against perversion, there was the obvious protection for Christian merchants in that “discrimination” against criminal activity is not a cause for civil or criminal action. In the Libertarian camp are some professing Christians that help the current tide along (I am less of a Libertarian than a Theonomist because I do not think these are neutral issues which I think is the practical if not theoretical stance of Libertarianism). A prophetic witness might touch them.

  23. Ron said,

    April 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Reed,

    I appreciate many of your thoughts.

    I also received the same link in an email from one who posts here. This doesn’t pertain to you but I’ll save postage by posting it here. Maybe we might keep invoking those natural law arguments and then try, without appearing too arbitrary that is, to make that quantum leap from what feels immoral to what should be considered absolutely criminal. But if we’re not careful our R2k arguments might be turned to make any immoral act into a criminal one. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) natural law doesn’t distuingush the two categories of sins, which is why we have so many silly laws and not enough serious ones.

  24. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Ron, maybe. I hope I am just pessimistic at this point. I don’t expect any arguments will be considered. As suggested in the Dreher column I reference above, in which he recounts an interview with a top law school professor, the legal arguments are being made now to support a whole new definition of foundational concepts.

    We will be labeled, branded, and then penalized as criminal, all in the name and under the mantle of what is holy, right, and true.

    I do not think any legal arguments will suffice.

  25. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Stuart (OPC): well, I’m not such a big phish that my prophetic pronouncements go much beyond my own congregation and some oddball friends and acquaintances such as I have here.

    I have appreciated Ray Comfort’s witnessing to the homosexual community. I’ve watched the video where he effectively brings the law to bear on two lesbians, all without even mentioning the obvious category of sexual sin. He was very effective in his witness, even though there was no evidence of the Spirit’s use in their hearts.

    I’ve had maintained relationships with some LGBT folks. I regularly hear their words of thanks and love, even though they cannot comprehend how I can be so loving to them except in the one key area that means most to them, where they actually feel like they are being actively oppressed, their sense of their identity.

    My evangelism of them needs not involve the prophetic element much at all. Its all around us. What I can do is challenge them to see I am the same as them. The essence of my (old) being is just as equally condemned as theirs. Such arguments, however, hold little water with someone whose definition of sin is so decidedly other centered.

  26. April 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I actually agree with Ron in post 16. I think Romans 1 is the template for judgment on a nation. First a sexual revolution, and then a homsexual one. God’s wrath is being poured out even now.

  27. April 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    That should be #14.

  28. April 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Stuart, I actually agree with you. We are naive to think that when Christians speak the truth about sin, that it wont offend. I’ve been kicked off of 5 c Roman Catholic sites. I am not exempt from being unloving at times, but people dont want to hear truth if it c ramps their life style. Specifically the homosexual movement is militant an has a militant agenda. To even speak negatively about it incurs wrath. They are 2% of the population and receive the magority of topic in this country. Remember what happened when Sodom and Gommora they were carting their sin around in thd streets. This is the environment we witness in. It aint going to go well, although we should be as loving and winsome c as possible.

  29. Ron said,

    April 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Reed,

    I agree. My point was that we’d be better off thumping our bibles a bit more rather than trying to build cases for morality and criminal acts based upon appeals to natural law.

  30. Reed Here said,

    April 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Ah! Amen brother. They’re only hope is also ours, the word of the Gospel, the Bible.

    Good reminder.

  31. April 11, 2015 at 12:04 am

    […] This article first appeared on greenbaggins.wordpress.com, and is used with permission. […]

  32. Barbara said,

    April 11, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Visiting via Aquila Report…it’s interesting that you use this analogy, and I appreciate it. I have been pondering exactly the same thing over the past couple of weeks and was just discussing it with my women’s ministry mentor on Thursday. The difference between the mark of the Lamb, which I believe goes back to Deuteronomy 6, (bind God’s commands on your hands and wear as frontlets between your eyes) and the mark of the beast, to the point that one will not be able to do business of any kind unless they cave. At the rate things are going, I don’t think it will be even close to a decade. I don’t know that this would be THE “Mark” as some in the dispensationalist/Premil camp might view one, but surely it is A mark and a time of testing, trial, and perhaps threshing. I have found much encouragement in Psalm 37 as I look around.

  33. Jack Bradley said,

    April 11, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Reed, I appreciate the way Doug Wilson has recently framed the issue on his blog:

    “This entire sexual fracas is a three-dimensional, real time instance of God’s reductio ad absurdum, one that He is running on secularism. The reason is straightforward. Secularism is incoherent, like a plane made up of spherical cubes.”

    And because secularism is incoherent, “Bigots don’t believe in argument because they consistently lose them. They routinely have bad experience with arguments. And so if you want to identify the bigots in any situation, then look for the screechers. Look for the people who are shouting everyone else down. Look for the coercion. In response to this the liberals say, ‘It is not like that at all.’ ‘How is it not like that?’ I ask. ‘Shut up,’ they explain.”

    I do think this is the best strategy at this point. To demonstrate (not much of a challenge with these screechers) that they are the bigots, not us.

  34. Reed Here said,

    April 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Barbara, thanks for the comment. Yeah, the Mark of the Beast can take many different forms. The purpose is to identify one who swears an oath of faith in the Beast and the system of life and worship he represents.

    In the Roman Empire this mark took the form of a pinch of incense on the public altar at town hall, while swearing by the “genius” of Caesar. It was in effect saying one believed Caesar was in some manner divine, godlike.

    It was a hard challenge for those believers who took the 10 Commandments seriously. One sooner break the vow of faithfulness to one’s wife than break one’s vow of exclusive love to God as the Only true god. Of course, the wickedness of the former, lesser offense, demonstrates the greater wickedness of the latter offense.

    I could easily see something arise by way of a terrorist attack. Its kind of like how the federal government works any program:

    Year 1. Hi, we’re the Federal government. Here’s some money for your problems.

    Year 2. Hi, Federal government. Here’s the money, plus some suggestions on how to use it.

    Year 5. This IS the Federal Government. You will use the money the way we tell you, or you won’t get any.

    Year 10. This a God (formerly the Federal Government). Not only do you have to do the former things our, here is a whole new list of things you better do our way, or we’ll take what little money of your own you have left.

    Of course I am exaggerating to make the point. Imagine a scenario where another terrorist attack establishes some sort of national identity card. Then nickle and dime additions to the use of the card are made. Before you know it you can’t discriminate in any manner defined by the Federal Government, or face civil penalties that all but end your liberty and pursuit of happiness. What is life worth then?

  35. Reed Here said,

    April 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Jack, appreciate Doug’s observations. My opinion is that at this point the only reason I open my mouth to speak to this issue is to declare God’s forgiveness through Christ on all the sexually immoral, including the latest flavor of the day.

    Of course, I fully do not expect most will listen, but will screech louder, in a vain attempt to drown out what in their ears is only bigoted condemnation. But some will hear, and be saved. That’s my end game. Everything else is such a distant second as to be meaningless.

    [Think about this. If things keep going the way they are, in a few years even Jesus Christ would be considered Fred Phelps!

    Fortunately (tongue in cheek) the Evangelical “Church” has the resource of a new form of Higher Criticism. Watch for some of the most creative exegesis you’ve never seen. “Well Jesus said no, but that means yes in this context.” (Followed by pages of convolution.)]

  36. Jack Bradley said,

    April 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Well said, Reed. I’ve appreciated your perspective on this thread.

  37. Eric W said,

    April 15, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Did someone remove my comment ? If so, why ?

  38. Reed Here said,

    April 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Eric, I did. You made a connection to abolitionism that seemed unwarranted and inappropriate. If you’d like to discuss further please contact me off blog, reedhere gmail.

  39. Eric W said,

    April 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Reed & Kevin,

    No problem…Reed, thx for the offer to contact you.


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