Be Careful Who You Crucify
At this point everyone knows about the SCOTUS decision passed down at the end of last week and everyone has probably seen enough commentary on it by now. Rather than telling you why I believe all of this is one spectacular farce, I want to offer a warning to all who want to crucify Christians who hold to a Biblical understanding of marriage.
This is not a warning about how Christians are going to “circle the wagons” and “unify the base” in some attempt to reverse the cultural schizophrenia. No, Christians are like sheep lead to the slaughter. Just like their older brother, Christians will not bow the knee to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar or the mob of cultural elites crying “We have no king but Caesar.” Christians will rather cry “Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing” as you crucify them or throw them to the lions.
Christians will forgive you as you persecute them because of the master whom they serve. A Christian’s master suffered in order to rescue those who hated him and Christians are now willing to do the same. What Christians know that the wider culture does not is that resurrection always follows crucifixion, and vindication always follows resurrection. Christians do not fear the sword and are thus willing to serve their true master even while the sword is laid upon their neck.
This “warning post” is a post about what happens when a culture begins to openly destroy the very thing that has been preserving it all along. Christians are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Salt preserves and light dispels darkness. Cultures that throw out the salt and turn out the light are blind. And when the blind lead the blind everyone falls into the pit (Luke 6:39).
Again, this is not a post about how God is going to judge America now because of our sins. God has already been judging America because he has left us in our sins rather than lifting the veil of stupor from our eyes (Romans 1:24). This post is about the consequences of the attempt to systematically silence and dispel the church from a culture.
Historically the church has understood itself as taking up a priestly function in the greater world. In the same way that Abraham prayed for Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33) and Moses prayed to God on behalf of Israel after their sin (Exodus 32:11), so too has the church petitioned before God on behalf of the world. This is why historical liturgies have taken time in the order of worship to offer the “Prayers of the Saints” on the behalf of the world.
In many ways Christians should not be surprised that our culture has been moving in the direction that is has for quite some time. Rather than faithfully petitioning to God to forgive and bless their land Christians have been transforming their sacred assemblies into rock concerts. Rather than lifting bread and wine up to their God and Father “In Memoriam” (Genesis 9:16) Christians have presumed upon God’s grace and blessings. Christians in the West have lost their saltiness and we know that salt without taste has only one use (Luke 14:34-35).
So, even while the current circumstances should not come as a surprise to a church that has hidden its light and lost it’s saltiness, the historical and cultural circumstances that accompany them still stand. Yet, as always, Christians can look to their Lord as the example.
Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 23-24) on the grounds that the city would crucify its savior on the basis of a (you guessed it) legal hearing (Matthew 27:24-26). Jesus knew that in rejecting the true “light of the world” that Jerusalem would be plunged into darkness. This story was told countless times throughout the Old Testament and it found its culmination in the story of the Gospels. Moreover, this same story has been retold throughout the history of the Christian church.
The church has lost its saltiness, it has ignored the prophetic witness from within its doors (as the Jews rejected Jesus), it has capitulated to the ways of the world (“we have no king but Caesar”) until the world has then turned against it. But when the world does eventually turn against the church it starts the clock to its own destruction. The reason for this is simple: “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” (Tertullian, Apologeticus).
Many have lately written about how the church is “in exile” or “in winter.” But the church is “the Body of Christ” and must therefore look to the life of its Lord to rightly metaphor itself. The church is not in winter, the church is before Pilate. And, like all Pilates throughout history, the trial is a sham. But like its Lord, the church will not play by Pilate’s game.
Today’s Pilate will accuse “they say that you are a hateful bigot.”
The church will respond “you have said so” (Mark 15:2).
The unfortunate thing is that Christians have, for too long, thought that Pilate’s courtroom is a place where they can get a fair trial. Christians have assumed that the officials of the land have no hidden agendas or ulterior motives (we have not learned from the pharisees or Pilate). But now, at long last, the beast has revealed it’s true colors. Rather than a pure bride Jerusalem is a prostitute, Jerusalem is Babylon. She rides on a dragon (Revelation 17:1-6) seeking to devour the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:1-6).
But just like in the days of Cain, righteous blood cries out from the ground calling for justice. America has legally shed the blood of over 50 million innocent lives since 1973. It should not come as a surprise that the axe seems to be turning to the church (for she is covered in righteous blood).
As Joshua pointed out yesterday, Christians have a hope that will not put us to shame (Romans 5:5). This does not mean that everything will work out. Nations rise and nations fall and populations get swept up in the tumult. The sun rises and the sun sets. From dust man came and to dust man returns. But Christians have received an inheritance that cannot be destroyed and have been adopted into a kingdom that will never end.
Food for thought.