Are You a Wild Christian Who Swims Upstream? Or a Lazy, Farm-Raised One Dyed Artificially Pink?
As we posted last evening, this past weekend I joined my old friend Eric Metaxas at the wonderful Westgate Chapel in Edmonds, Washington to address its outreach ministry Apologia. In our talk we tap-danced across a vast minefield of topics, from “systemic racism” to election fraud, from January 6 to FBI-backed censorship. Some 1200 people took part, and they were kind enough at the end to give us a standing ovation.
But the real applause was owed to the Chapel’s courageous pastor Alec Rowlands, who sees the profound threats to faith, family and freedom and faces them down when others flinch.
Our message was stark and simple, if studded with spit-takes and “Oh, no, he DIDN’T!” moments. I asked the Pacific Northwest audience to look down deep and question themselves: “Are you a wild-caught Pacific Christian? Or a farm-raised, corn-fed Christian?”
Are You Rich Enough in Omega 3s to Even Be Worth Eating?
You probably know that wild-caught salmon are rich in healthful Omega-3 oils, which they build up in their firm, pink flesh by heroically swimming upstream, sacrificing themselves for the sake of their future children. Indeed, once they’ve passed on the gift of life they die.
Conversely, the fish-farmed salmon (same species!) loll around from month to month, getting fat (not fit) on food that’s pumped in by plastic ducts, consuming antibiotics and producing exactly zero Omega-3 oils — to the point that eating them is not much healthier than scarfing down a Big Mac. Their flesh doesn’t even turn pink, unless it’s dyed artificially.
The same thing happens with individual Christians, and with churches. In general, the Church benefits spiritually from facing down adversity, and thereby imitating her Founder. Yes, an outright persecution of Christians is evil, and must be fiercely resisted. Who knows how many “borderline” souls will cave in under the pressure, renounce Christ, and be lost?
Fat and Happy, Corrupt, Wordly, and Doomed
But perhaps the second worst situation for the Church is the opposite: when claiming the Christian mantle makes life more comfortable than not. And putrefaction can claim as many souls as persecution. Think of the fat, corrupt monks and friars found in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Or the comfortably Lutheran, blasé burghers whom Kierkegaard berated in his works. Remember that Jesus had far harsher words for hypocrites in the Gospels than for almost any other sinners. He’s not fooled by empty words, and doesn’t honor “cheap grace.”
In his talk, Eric Metaxas delved into his recent, potent book Letter to the American Church. His warning in it is aimed at lukewarm, culturally conformist Christians. He sees that our Church today is alarmingly parallel to the Church in Eric Bonhoeffer’s Germany — that is, complacent, worldly, timid, and largely unwilling to call out the evils that threaten us.
Bonhoeffer’s Church … and Ours
As the paganism, viciousness, and fanatical hatred of the Nazi movement became inescapably clear, Christian pastors in Germany were largely unwilling to confront it. Metaxas notes that when Bonhoeffer started writing, there were 18,000 Protestant pastors in Germany. Some 3,000 had joined Bonhoeffer in rebuking Nazi abuses of Jews and political dissidents. Another 3,000 had gaslit themselves into embracing Nazi heresy outright.
In between them were the 12,000 … lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. They recognized Nazi evil, but chose to play it “safe” and “avoid politics.” Instead they would simply “preach the Gospel,” minus the parts that might attract the unwanted attention of their nation’s new pagan masters.
Does Your Pastor Play it Safe? Do You?
Does that sound familiar? How often does your pastor talk about the most aggressive evils facing us, the ones that our elites endorse and our government tries to enforce? Does your church have a strong pro-life outreach? Does your pastor warn against the gnostic insanity of the transgender movement, which is already targeting children? Does he remind you that you have a duty to vote in defense of the Natural Law, which God wrote on each human heart?
Or does your pastor play it safe, by condemning the sins that it’s safe, popular, and fashionable to denounce? In Hitler’s Germany it would have been just fine and dandy to preach against the (real) evils of Communism. To warn against Jewish-linked errors such as legalism and ritualism. It would even have been safe to unpack the evils of sexual sins. Just keep away from the “third rails” of racism, militarism, and tyranny, and you’d be golden. At least, in this life. On Judgment Day, not so much.
Depart From Me, You Cursed
That is when such preachers would hear the dreaded words from Our Lord:
Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. (Matt. 25:41-43)
Ironically a farm-raised Christian in today’s Germany or America would butter his bread with sermons attacking racism, warmongering, and tyranny. He’d collect his government salary or rake in his federal contracts, and toddle back into his parsonage never hearing an unpleasant word. However, if he dared to speak against the resurgent evils of Marxism, the Moloch abortion culture, or the squalid and soul-destroying effects of the Sexual Revolution … he might well find the German thought police on his front door. Or the FBI in his yard.
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At the least, he’d see a fair percentage of his flock wander away, in search of greener grass richer in bromides and opiates.
A pastor who preached against slavery and racism in 1848 was probably a hero. Somebody who wastes his breath on those subjects today is just a Sadducee, currying favor with today’s elites by denouncing the sins of yesterday, instead of the threats to souls in our time and place.
The litmus test for Christians is now, and always will be: Which master do you serve? If you’re not willing to anger Caesar, Mammon, and Sodom, you’re as useful to the Kingdom as a basket of tares and chaff. That is, as kindling.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”