Church, Wake Up! An Urgent Call to Action
Hostility toward Christ and the Church is turning totalitarian, even in America. What can we realistically do?
Western society is rapidly moving toward totalitarianism. I never would have thought it possible — yet it’s happening. Christianity in particular is under attack, at risk like never before in our part of the world. I’m not new to these issues, but a recent National Review article by John Daniel Davidson was still a kick in the gut for me. We must wake up. We must rouse ourselves to action.
From Davidson’s article: Peter Vlaming, a teacher at a small-town Virginia school, was fired recently for “misgendering” a trans person. He sought a compromise answer, but trans activists insisted on a totalitarian one. They demanded total obedience to their standards. The board caved to them.
Davidson explains, “School officials, likely terrified of what would happen to them if they didn’t deliver Vlaming’s head on a platter to this student and her family, were only too willing to ruin the man.
Totalitarianism on the Rise
This uncompromising, totalizing punishment is on the rise. No one dare fail to toe the LGBT line. Sane-thinking people are being locked for no good reason out of Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. Apple is poised to enforce a new morality. Davidson reports on 3:30 am rape-and-death-threat phone calls, and tells of an LGBT non-compliant professor’s office door soaked with urine.
You might not see this happening in your town yet. It reached small-town Virginia, not just West Point, but also Gloucester, a few miles to the southeast. It reached Midland, Michigan, where I was born — the “city of beautiful churches,” even.
You can look up those events easily enough. The fact is, everywhere I go, I hear more stories like these.
These events are accelerating. They’re reaching more and more of our country and the world. They are totalizing. LGBT activists allow absolutely no dissent. This is thought-control in action.
The new American totalitarianism has other faces besides LGBT — Antifa comes to mind — but gay and trans activism is at the forefront.
A New Thing In History — And Not a Good One
And it’s different than any such movement in history. That is, every successful totalitarian movement in history has an octopus’s tentacles reaching throughout all society. This is no different in that sense. Unlike all others, though, this one has no visible head; there is no identifiable dictator running it.
This is unique in history; we’re seeing a new thing here. It’s insidious, too. The lack of such a leader could fool us into thinking there’s nothing going on except some occasional, spotty surges of controlling behavior. Don’t let that catch you unawares. This is widespread, and it’s for real.
Davidson ended his article, “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, society won’t collapse over this, but it will eventually cease to be divided on the question. It will become all one thing or all the other.” I disagree. Totalitarianism is collapse.
Are you awake yet?
So I am very concerned. I hope you are too. I urgently hope you will see what’s going on, and that it will move you to action.
That’s not all I hope for, though! I still have strong hope that this will come out for good in the end. God is still God, after all, and our hope is always in Him.
A Call to Action
Yet we must act.
Our response must center in our churches, which is certainly our most strategic point of action. In our churches we have massive numbers of people. We have widespread distribution. If the local church will take action, we can turn this around.
But where to begin? Pastors, you must take the lead.(I’ll be speaking mostly to you from this point forward.) Readers who aren’t pastors, please take on all the leadership you can, for you too can make a difference where you are. But please, pass this along to your pastor as well.
Pastor, you must stir your church to constructive action. And you can do it. Here’s a suggested outline to follow. It won’t all fit in one message or even a month or two of them, but then the LGBT movement didn’t arise in a day, either. It took decades. The point is, we’ve delayed too long already; we’ve got to get started.
Six Strategic Steps You Can Take to Help Quell the Crisis
First: Tell the whole truth. Don’t hold back! Let your congregation know how we’re at risk. All of us are at risk. Learn what’s going on. Study the cultural situation. Read The Stream, for starters. However you do it, please: Wake up your people!
Second: Again, tell the whole truth. God is still God. His Word is still His Word, and that includes His moral instruction. He hasn’t changed His mind on any of it. He’s also still our Lord and Savior, and we’re still in His good hands — no matter what.
Third: Remind them Jesus still lives, and we must live for Him, no matter what. That includes repentance in many ways for many of us, and standing with all that His Word teaches, for all of us. To suffer for Him — if necessary — is worth it. We must not fall away from the only One who saves.
Equipping the Church
Fourth: Lead the way in engaging the battle through prayer. This movement may have no identifiable human head, but the enemy of our souls is surely pushing it from behind the scenes. Call on your people to both fast and pray. Pray like we’ve never had to pray before; for we are at risk like we’ve never been before.
Fifth: Equip your people with answers. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 says spiritual battle takes place in the realm of thoughts and opinions. The current battle is mostly an ideological one. Your church must gear up for that as well — and it can! It just requires some strategic preparation.
This point may be less familiar than the other five, so I’ll give it a bit more explanation. Obviously, to know good answers we have to begin by facing the questions squarely — the right questions, that is. If there’s one that overrides them all in this day, it’s this one: Everyone is telling me the Christian approach to sexual morality is hateful. Please, tell me so I can understand, why isn’t it hateful? What’s good about it? How can I be confident it’s good?
Your older members may not be bothered with that question, but your younger ones are. They need those answers. Now. They need practice — real training — in speaking those answers clearly, under conditions of hostile fire, for there is plenty of that in their world.
Older Christians need to know, too, for why should parents or grandparents be tongue-tied when pre-teens and teens ask them about these things?
Following that initial question there will be others to answer. Your youth will tell you what they are; just ask. But start with this first one. They might not always voice it out loud — it’s dangerous to ask it in church — but you can be sure they’re thinking it.
Sixth, and finally (because people often remember most what they read last): Show and teach how to engage the battle in love. The other side will resort to anything; we will resort above all to speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), secure in confidence that our strong refuge, the rock that is higher, our Savior Jesus Christ, has the victory.
The Stream has been posting articles articles on these topics all along. Recently we’ve begun aggregating many of them under the Spiritual Readiness tag. Keep your eye on that page for more to come, especially resources you may need for equipping your people with answers.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.