Rev. Brian M Abshire
The Curse in Genesis three is in one sense, a blessing, it restricts Man’s sinfulness. Men who must labor diligently for their subsistence have few resources left over to sin as overtly as they might otherwise wish. However, when men walk in obedience, the Covenant blessings of Deuteronomy 28 promise godly men prosperity, health and success. That same covenant promises disaster, disease and death to covenant breakers. Because all men are created in God’s image, and all have some dim understanding of His Law (though twisted and distorted by sin), at various times, in various cultures, some societies have come closer for a while to Biblical norms. Those cultures that abhor sodomy, adultery and murder for example are more stable, prosperous and safer than those that tolerate them. God’s ordinances are written into the very fabric of creation. Even the most cursory examination of great empires of the past reveals a dismal cycle; an early morality that degenerates into the worst sort of perversion as God brings His judgments against them. Romans 1:18ff is very clear; idolatry inevitably leads to social disaster.
There can be no doubt that the very best features of Western civilization are a direct result of its Christian presuppositions. There can also be no question that the last one hundred and fifty years has seen an all-out assault on the Christian faith systematically destroying those very same foundations, while a rampant humanism is offered in its place. And as a result, socialism, fascism, and communism have enslaved and murdered hundreds of millions of Europeans, Russians and Asians.
Americans in the main have been spared the worst of a consistent Humanism, and in no small measure, because her own Christian roots helped to defeat the worst aspect of both Fascism and Marxism. Yet the ideological rot also settled deep in her own institutions. In the opening years of the twentieth-first century, American Christians now find they are strangers in a strange land. In the last thirty-five years, Americans have seen the destruction of the traditional family, acceptance of adultery, sodomy, and illegitimacy, rising crime, oppressive taxation, creeping socialism, corruption of our highest officials, etc. Economic inflation now requires both husband and wife to work to provide the same level of real income that only one provider required just a generation ago. The central government de-capitalizes the family through oppressive taxation. The State uses the public school system to indoctrinate our children into an alien, anti-Christian world-view, subsidized by Christian tax dollars. Meanwhile, Federal agents murdered American citizens at Ruby Ridge and Waco with hardly a whimper from a once free people. Why should they? What are a handful of deaths in comparison to the forty million Americans butchered in the womb by their own mothers!
Abandoning the Faith that created on the American continent the richest, freest and most productive nation in the world, we are now losing both our wealth and our liberty. We are a cursed people.
Sodomy and the Destruction of Biblical Masculinity
As men turn their backs on their sovereign Lord, God gives them over to social/cultural chaos and sexual depravity (Rms 1:28ff). Sodomy is so ugly, so repugnant to the Christian simply because it is the most flagrant example of open rebellion to God. It is a perversion of the most fundamental aspects of the created order. And since it is unnatural, it is no accident that Sodomites die so young (even before AIDS hit the Sodomite community in America the average age of death is in the early forties). Sodomy is not the cause of God’s judgment, it IS God’s judgment on a rebellious and idolatrous nation; a nation where Men abandoned their natural function; a nation where men worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.
Too often in the church, we put Band-Aids on sucking chest wounds, offering too little too late. As the church hemorrhages it’s lifeblood due to compromise with humanism, far too many Christians are more concerned about how to please men in their worship, rather than challenge them to become what God calls them to be. Modern Men have no clear definition of what it means to be a man. Modern Evangelicalism, like the Republican Party, is simply a decade behind the rest of the world. Humanist ideas, values, priorities and THEOLOGY infiltrate a church where men refuse to stand up against error.
Reformation occurs not from the top down, but from the bottom up. Liberty is possible only as men learn to live self-governed under God’s Law. Only as individual men submit to the authority of King Jesus and work to bring every area of life under His authority can we hope to rebuild Christian civilization and recapture the liberty and prosperity we have lost.
But men do not live in isolation. A very understudied aspect of Christian influence on culture is the culture’s influence on Christians. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.” Men cannot live atomistically, even if they are working hard to rebuild their own families, they still live in a larger culture; church, community, etc. This larger culture can either be a blessing or a curse. Every godly family knows how their hard work can be undone when their children encounter playmates from families who do not share their convictions. And one of the peculiar dangers of Christian schooling is that they often become dumping grounds for “bad” kids thus exposing one’s own children to the very influences that a Christian education was supposed to prevent!
Christian culture is no longer the norm, and one of the great tasks facing the Church today is rebuilding a distinctly Biblical alternative to the neo-pagan culture around us. However, how does one build an alternative, when most of us are influenced by one degree to another by that very same culture? The problem is not a new one; the Church of Corinth faced the very same dilemma. Their basic operating values came not from God’s Word, but prevailing Greek norms. The entire litany of sins that Paul rebukes is a microcosm of Greek culture.
The early Church had to reform its view of the world, eradicating the influences of Greek philosophy while establishing new, counter cultural values. They were some magnificent successes, e.g., rescuing exposed babies, eliminating sodomy, establishing chastity etc. But there were also some horrible failures; monasticism, ecclesiastical tyranny, and compromise with Greek thought through rationalism, pelagianism, etc.
Hence, in the task of restoring Christian civilization, we need to offer a counter to popular culture. This will be achieved in several ways. The first is of course the necessity of regeneration. All sin, evil and wickedness proceeds out of the depravity of the human heart. Our very nature is twisted and distorted by sin. Only in Christ and Christ alone can the human heart be transformed by His glorious gospel.
Secondly, men must be converted to a comprehensive faith. Modern evangelicalism’s “Easy Believe-ism” is not historic Christian orthodoxy. Christ demands not just a decision of the lips, but a whole-hearted submission to His authority over every area of life. Sinful men are in rebellion to their lawful King. Salvation is unconditional surrender to His sovereign rule over lives. And therefore, men must submit every area of life, time, energy, wealth, family, work, culture, etc., to His Law.
Thirdly, men must become self-governed. Each man stands before a Holy and Awesome God, accountable for how he lives his life. Men must recapture what it means to be a man, and to live life in a holy and godly way.
Fourthly, men then must lead their families, serving their wives as their covenant heads, raising their children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. The godly family is our King’s primary way of exercising dominion in the world and He holds fathers accountable to teach, lead and order their families under His Law.
Fifthly, godly men must work to restore the Christian church. A church consists of families covenanted together in a specific locale to ensure that the Word is preached, discipline enacted and the sacraments administered lawfully. The Church is the family of God, united not by ties of human blood, but rather by Christ’s blood. We need to become a true covenant community, an extended family committed to the truth of our Lord as well as to loving and serving one another.
Sixthly, the church is more than just her institutions. Christians must rediscover that the Church is the whole congregation of God’s people in all their work and service. Christian men must therefore build parallel institutions to replace the present Humanistic ones. In the early Church, living under persecution from the pagan Roman Empire, Christians developed their own charitable agencies, rescued exposed babies, created their own court system, and took care of widows and orphans. And as a result, when the Empire fell, the Church was prepared to take it’s place and thus held civilization together despite the barbarian invasions.
Modern Christians need to apply the same principles in the great task facing us of restoring Christian civilization. It is not enough to decry the socialist welfare system that de-capitalizes the family while subsidizing the indigent and slothful. We must develop truly Biblical alternatives to life and medical insurance, courts for adjudicating problems, retirement and disability provisions, etc. The humanist system is failing and we need to work now for when they finally collapse. Christians must through their diaconal work, take seriously God’s command to care for the poor and offer sound, free-market alternatives. We need to build Christian schools of higher education that do not compromise by seeking secular accreditation.
Seventhly, one way to build an alternative to the present Humanist culture is to establish dominion over specific locales. Right now Christians are spread out in many different areas, in many different communities. Thus our voices are mixed into the larger population. But what if Christians targeted certain specific geographical areas and began moving there with the intention of establishing a long-term (i.e., generational) commitment to that specific community? Then, as we go about our normal business, work hard, raise large families, educate our children, etc., within just a few generations, Christians would find themselves in the majority. We could eradicate the local school system, get rid of burdensome property taxes, elect Christian officials for mayor, alderman, country sheriff, etc. Then as we have dominion in one geographical area, our large families will have to spread out into the next county, and the next.
Of course some will object that rather than being a counter-culture this would lead to becoming a corner-culture, like the Amish and that as mainstream American civilization continues, Christians will have little or no influence and be forgotten. Two responses: first, some Christians are specifically called to live and minister in large urban centers. They are in effect missionaries to the broader world. But missionaries have always been only one of many specific callings. Hence, we will always be sending missionaries into mainstream culture.
But more importantly, unlike the Amish, we are not techno-phobes. We have no fear of modern technology and will continue to use and develop it. Modern electronic communications allow us to interact with the broader culture, even while we can gather our forces and build a counter-cultural alternative. An old adage goes, “an ember left by itself soon burns out, but many embers placed together starts a fire.” Our Puritan ancestors left security and comfort to carve out a new life in the wilderness simply so that their children might grow up in a Christian community. Perhaps large numbers of Christian families need to start considering something similar. Buying land in a common locale, perhaps even living simply for the first generation until the blessings of hard, diligent, conscientious work begin to flow would allow our children and grandchildren to grow up in a Christian culture, avoiding the mistakes and sins that some of us made.
Thirdly, such covenant communities of committed Christians can then finance the great work of evangelism. Our goal, according to Matthew 28:19-20 is not just to win a few converts to Christ from around the world, but rather disciple the nations that they might obey their lawful King, the Lord Jesus. But we need practical models of what a genuine Christian community is like. If we work to build genuine, counter-cultural alternatives, we can then pool resources to help our brothers in other nations reform their communities from the ground up.
The church has lost her sense of community. To regain it, will require Christians to radically re-think how they prioritize their time, their work, and their life decisions. But it can be done, and it will be done, either voluntarily as Christians seek an alternative to an ever-depraved society, or involuntarily as humanist culture begins to persecute the church.
Vainly waiting for an imminent rapture is no solution. Christians need to remember that once, North Africa and Turkey were centers of Christianity. But they compromised with the world, and God gave their cultures over to Islam. The end of THEIR world, was not the same thing as the end of THE world. In the same way, for all her faults, blemishes and wrinkles, America is now the center of Christian civilization. But the fall of America to a consistent humanism will not necessarily mean that the Lord will return. Christians in China, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, Zambia and other nations may have to re-evangelize a pagan America. But our children will pay the price.
“You can’t fight something, with nothing.” Christians need to break out of the inner, subjective religious mush they have been fed for the past 100 years, and rediscover the concept of “Christendom;” the gospel applied to every institution of society. If we do not, our descendants will curse our folly, and cowardice, as they struggle to re-claim, what we so easily surrendered. God will not be mocked; what we sow, we will reap. We are reaping now 150 years of Christians retreating from the cultural wars, and have delivered an entire nation over the Adversary. Before it is too late, we must gird up our loins, stand like men, and create a genuine alternative to humanist society. And as God brings His divine judgments against that culture, “the meek shall inherit the earth.”