Perusal, Autumn 2017 - "Tearing Down Statues and Taking a Knee..."

(* perusal; to examine or consider with attention and in detail)

 2 Cor. 10:4-6 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

We are now living in “bizarro world”.  The term originated in DC comic books about 50 years ago and was intended as satire for a society ruled by the Bizarro Code; where everything in bizarro world is the reverse of what is “normal” on planet earth.    Black is white, ugly is beautiful, and any investment guaranteed to lose money is ideal.

Cases in point –the “quiet” protests of highly paid professional athletes taking a knee during the playing of our national anthem and the tearing down of historical figures statues, primarily from the Civil War era.

True confessions – I am a San Francisco 49er fan and have been since the late 1960’s.  Sad to say all this refusing to acknowledge the American flag started in the Bay area.  While participating in saluting our national anthem does not make anyone a Christian or deny that they may indeed be Christian, it reflects the culture of self above everything else.  Maybe I’m missing something of great significance but athletes (and actors) disparaging our country strikes me as very, very self-serving (take a selfie here and post to your favorite social media site).  America is neither perfect nor Christian, though biblical principles guided this nation for years.  But she has been blessed by God because of His overwhelming grace!  Allegiance comes from a grateful heart and certainly over paid athletes and actors should demonstrate humility for having the privilege of living and working in the USA.

If only taking a knee reflected time spent in humble prayer, calling out to the God that “gives to all life, breath, and all things.” Acts 17:25. I fear we have all lost the need to take a knee in prayer and worship.

The great commonwealth of Virginia is called the Mother to eight presidents; from America’s first president, George Washington, the general that led the Colonies to victory during our revolution from England, to Woodrow Wilson.  It is also home to the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner. Our national liberty was forged by the clarion cry of another great Virginian, Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Virginia is also the birthplace of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, George Pickett, A.P. Hill, and Jubal Early.  In fact, Jubal Early is buried in my town, Lynchburg, VA.  Richmond was once the capital of the Confederate States of America and about 60% of the battles fought in the U.S. Civil War were staged in Virginia.  It is fair to say more American blood was shed on Virginia’s soil than any other state or perhaps, any other country about the globe!  Thankfully four long years of war ended at Maclean House in Appomattox.   America moved on slowly, but she moved on. Some have not.

There are scores of John Lennon (of Beatles fame) statues around the globe.  But Lennon was an outspoken critic of homosexuals and once nearly beat a man to death after the person accused him of having a gay fling.  Should we remove all statues of John Lennon?

Sadly, these are just two examples from a nation that has capsized.  Some cling to a false set of ideals that have neither basis in natural law or in Scripture.  Make no mistake the Lord Jesus Christ is not a fan boy of any brand of racial hatred or national pride.  His love was demonstrated for humanity on the Cross, and Jesus offers to all races, sexes, nationalities, and creeds forgiveness should they humble themselves and call out to Him for deliverance.

The word “hypocrite” is thrown around today without understanding the word itself.  The Gospels record Jesus Christ speaking the word more often than any of the other characters in the New Testament.  It literally means “feigned faces” and described Greek actors using face masks to depict changing emotions.  We are human and “feigned faces” is what we do. We agree with some authors before reading completely through an issue because they agree with our prejudices.  We disagree even in the face of overwhelming facts because our minds are already settled.  Leo Tolstoy wrote: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”

Christians it seems are to blame for most of the ills in the Western world today.  Mention the Christian faith and a hoard of talking heads will wag their tongues about how hypocritical these born again types are.  And yes, some of us are to blame because we focus on tertiary issues rather than the unadulterated truth of the Gospel.  Like statues, anthems, politics or the culture.  Sometimes I rail against the machine forgetting that our weapons are not of the flesh and cannot be won by the flesh! 

We live in times of “lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God”.  Rewriting history is just another ploy by those of lofty opinions to ignore the sin of the world; unbelief in Christ Jesus.  Will crosses be next?  Will the easily offended among us decide that the Cross can longer be viewed in public square? Charles Spurgeon preached, “…there is something in the cross of Christ which hurts men’s pride even more than this, and that is, it is opposed to all their notions of human ability.”

Humans are pursued by Satan, a roaring lion that seeks to devour.  Tearing down statues, failing to acknowledge the flag, rewriting history books, or, more importantly, ignoring the Cross does not change life’s reality.  It simply avoids it. And the lion’s appetite is satisfied.

To all of these silly notions our God has given to mankind His grace for the purpose of taking our thoughts captive to obey Christ. God’s grace alone in Jesus Christ alone is sufficient to correct every lofty opinion and disobedience as we, in grace, submit to complete obedience.

Will the disrespect of athletes or the vitriol of actors and politicians sway God’s mind?  Will removing historical statues of people that were men and women of their times delay the Lords’ return? No to both!  Believers need to remember that our weapon is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, found in the Cross of Calvary and on our humbled knees.

Sola Deo Gloria!

Pastor Carey