Okay, so you can probably tell by the title that this post isn’t exactly gonna be “the feel good hit of the summer”.
In some ways, that’s a pretty solid assessment.
But in one great big fundamental sense, addressing these “signs o’ the times” head on ought to inspire some of the greatest, most positive feelings imaginable in the heart and soul of the true Believer…not because big, bad, evil advances like those addressed here are a sign of our imminent departure or escape by way of a Left Behind-style *poof!*, but because we as Christians – each and every individual one of us – have been purposefully placed here and now to glorify God through our faithful stand and application of His Word to the confrontation and solution of these problems. Put another way, this is our great opportunity to proclaim and apply the true Gospel in pursuit of our Great Commission, all by His grace and for His glory. (See: Matthew 28:18-20.)
How’s that for something to “feel good” about?
How’s that for something to be excited over and thankful for?
Pretty awesome, huh?
Yeah, I think so, too.
But the modern American spin on Christianity and its Great Commission doesn’t tend to present it that way, does it?
Generally, things like ISIS, Ebola, the emerging Orwellian NSA State, our teetering Monopoly Money economy, and the aggressive homosexualization of the culture are spun as inevitable, unstoppable horrors to be endured, accepted, and even celebrated in a sense by Christians as part of a steady decline that supposedly culminates in a whirlwind of uber-badness right before Jesus returns to pick up the mess left by a church and great(?) commission that is on the verge of being completely squished by its enemies.
American Churchianity’s Self-Fulfilling (End Times) Prophecies
This eschatological view (perception of “end times” prophecy) has been incredibly effective in neutralizing the Church and Great Commission. It has also therefor played a major roll in bringing about the present Obacalypse.
This “end times” perspective brought into Christendom just a couple hundred years back and recently advanced through books like the Left Behind series explains much as to why so many professing Christians, particularly of a politically conservative bent, are presently inclined toward many actions that profoundly aid and abet the enemies of Christ while hindering the Great Commission of the true Church. Some examples of this include…:
- Looking to secular standards and standard-bearers for solutions to “real world” problems. Since the Kingdom of Christ and Word of God is not necessarily in effect as the guiding authority right here and now, then it stands to reason that “getting things done” here and now requires worldly practicality and pragmatism. So it is that duped Christians look to Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Fox News, the Republican Party and any number of other influential non-believers for their marching orders to change things for the better here in “the real world”.
- Dismissing the Word of God as relevant to “real world” problems and issues anytime that Word challenges (often cherished) popular secular sensibilities. This “Christ isn’t actually reigning now” approach is routinely and conveniently used by professing evangelicals to dismiss out of hand any Scripture that exposes and challenges their cherished idols. The idols of patriotism, Americana, politics, activism, and even “end times” eschatology itself are some of the most frequently and flagrantly protected idols in question.
- Embracing an apathetic, lazy approach to “waging the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). Even the suggestion that we might make bold strides in a positive direction on a culture-wide scale through the faithful application of the Word of God and the Gospel-fueled Great Commission is so “off the radar” to most professing American evangelicals today that they often have to do a double-take if such progress is even seriously suggested. The Christ-breathed Spirit and biblical presentation of improving lives, families, communities and cultures as the inevitable fruit of the faithful proclamation and propagation of the true, supernatural Gospel of Jesus Christ has been almost totally eclipsed by a spirit of preemptive surrender and resignation to defeat on every battlefield. This spirit of preemptive surrender is rooted in a hope for the collapse of civilization into satanic darkness so that the attached hope of being raptured out of that collapsing civilization might be realized. In this, these folks are actually inclined to…
- Celebrate advances of the enemy in a weird, self-serving, and dangerously unbiblical manner. Professing believers who embrace this prevailing end times view are often happy, in a very real way and on a very fundamental level, to see the enemy conquer territory in the culture and civilization in which we live. To say that this is counterproductive would be the second greatest understatement of the end times. To say that this approach has been beneficial to the enemies of Christ, His Church, and the Great Commission, would be the greatest understatement of the end times.
[Tweet “The supernatural Gospel of Jesus Christ actually changes lives and families (and the cultures in which they live) for the better.”]
Before going on much further, it seems important to note that I was once one of those Christians who bought into pretty much every one of the ideas that I am critiquing here.
I’m not sharing these critiques out of any sense of personal superiority or personally achieved enlightenment. Everything that we have (including everything that we know) is a gift from God. None of us have room to boast, and I am certainly no exception to that rule. My goal in sharing these hard truths as I understand them – truths that I know tend to touch on and rattle some very sacred cows and favorite security blankets – is not to bash or pummel those “poor, silly” people who have what I think might be “bad theology” or “bad eschatology”. My goal is to share truth as it has been given me with Brother and Sisters so that, wherever they are in their walk of sanctification, they might be inspired to test everything, including my words and their cherished “end times” beliefs, in the perfect light of Christ as revealed in His Word.
It is my hope that such testing in accordance with the revealed will of the Lord in Scripture will inspire each of us to pursue ongoing personal repentance and reformation, and that such reformation would produce true, Christ-centered application of His Word in every realm and on every cultural battlefield in His creation.
It is my conviction that until and unless the people of God personally repent and initiate such a transformative reformation, the culture in which we live is, and should be, doomed.
It is also my conviction that when His people do rise up, by His grace, and pursue such reformation (aka “The Great Commission”) then, and only then, every good thing becomes possible…no matter how dark the culture may be or impossible restoration might seem.
That is my understanding of the Gospel and Great Commission.
Obacalypse Now: The Judgment of God on an Unrepentant America
Hopefully this gives us some proper context and a better perspective as we consider some of the specific items on the Obacalypse Greatest Hits list.
To be plain: We ought not be viewing Obama as the true source of the Obacalypse.
He cannot be the true source of the Obacalypse because…we are.
We, as in: the professing church of Christ in America.
Is Barack Obama evil?
Is he just the sort of wicked leader that one would expect the Lord to give to a people who have been so drenched and steeped in prideful rebellion for so long that they no longer even clearly see, much less desire, the God of Christianity?
Yes. Certainly. No doubt there.
Even so, what we must understand is that these judgments – perpetual war, pestilence, wicked leaders, etc. – are upon us now first and foremost because the professing church in America has failed to embrace and pursue the Great Commission to “make disciples” as lovingly commanded by the Lord of creation. In trading in the Gospel-fueled, Christ-centered Great Commission for all manner of secular conservative, liberal, or libertarian alternatives to “solving the problems of the world”, the church has been conformed to the world she was commissioned to transform and is therefore most to blame for where we are at now.
Lest you become really depressed after reading up to this point, please remember the point made at the beginning: We are here purposefully.
Each and every true, supernaturally saved New Creature in Christ – regardless of our past error, apathy, laziness or anything else – has been perfectly placed by the Lord right here and right now to prayerfully contemplate and actively apply His Word to all of these problems. We are right where He wants us and He has perfectly equipped each and every one of us for the mission at hand.
So even the failings of the professing church – great though those failings may have been and may be even now – are not to deter or depress us. Even our own confusion and disobedience of the past is not to impede us – and is no excuse to us.
No, by His grace, even our past errors have been and will be perfectly used by our loving Lord to bring maximum glory to Himself and maximum benefit to us (see: Romans 8:28).
How cool is that?!
We have everything we need in His perfect Word to confront and correct (or destroy) every enemy on every front on the battlefields that surround us.
Each and every one of those battlefields is a place of great opportunity, not a place of inevitable defeat.
One of the first things that we need to do, by God’s grace, in pursuit of that victory is actively seek a spirit of ongoing personal repentance and reformation, so that we might continually strive to expose and bring down the cherished idols that are enabling the enemy and suppressing Truth in our lives and, by natural extension, the culture in which we live.
Before we can truly tackle the Obacalypse, we have to stop blaming the world and the worldly for pursuing worldly paths that can only ever ultimately lead to destruction, and we need to start recognizing and repenting of our central role in promoting that worldliness.
Once that is done, we can boldly and coherently take up the banner of Christ and embrace the Great Commission that He has given us.
Lord willing, future posts will present some practical biblical approaches to tackling some of the specific problems we are facing in this critical moment in God’s creation of time, but, for now, I wanted to share what I hope is a clarifying, invigorating, and encouraging perspective on the present Obacalypse and the future means by which I fully expect it to be overthrown.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.