When the thick fog of a judicial stupor has descended upon a people, there is really no way to write a sprightly article that will successfully explain to everyone how we might extricate ourselves from the mess we got ourselves into. There are not “three easy steps” that will solve the problem. There are actually just two steps—repent and believe—and they are not easy steps. They are the gift of God, lest any man should boast, and if the gift is actually given it only seems easy. If the gift is withheld, as it has been up to this point, because God’s anger with America is not yet fully expended, it remains entirely impossible. Repentance and faith are our duties, and yet they remain out of our reach. Only God can have mercy.
“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, They are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”
Isaiah 28:7 (KJV)
Now I am not saying that all our consultants and analysts and experts and cabinet officers and television talking heads and diplomats and media moguls and cultural decision-makers are drunk. I am simply saying that they might as well be.
Four Kinds of People
We are dealing, in the main, with four kinds of people. First we have are the malevolent ones, driven by lust and envy, who want to burn the place down. Their destination is the outer darkness, as they instinctively know, and so they want to leave a trail of that same kind of wreckage and darkness behind them.
After them come the naive conformists, who are imposing the wishes of the lords of darkness because it is now “company policy.” They have the same internal lusts as the first group, but there is more acid in their envy. They are stupid, and wish that wisdom could be achieved legislatively. They are ugly and wish that beauty could be mandated by a regulatory agency. They are boring people who want the UN Human Rights Council to make the power of being scintillating in conversation a basic human right. Regardless, driven by aches they do not understand, they are the ones who enthusiastically implement what the first group hands down to them.
The third group is the largest, in my view, and these are the ones who see and detest the vile fruit that this revolution is generating, but to date have shown no awareness of their own ongoing complicity in the whole thing. This post is primarily for this third group, and particularly for members of this group who are starting to radicalize, but without repentance.
And then, on the other end of this row of four, are those saints who understand the times and who know what Israel should do (1 Chron. 12:32).
So we have the evil instigators, we have the go-along-get-alongers, we have ill-prepared resistance, and we have the actual resistance.
The first group can be seen flying to Davos in order to dine on shrimp and lobster and listen to the likes of Klaus Schwab—I am referring to all the higher echelons of Belbury. I am talking about Wither, Frost, and Straik. The second group is represented by some poor frightened chump who is standing out in the public sunshine with two masks on. The third group would be those outraged parents at school board meetings who are protesting all that CRT commie crap in the curriculum, along with other obscenities, and who are very angry with the school officials. These are the people who are demanding that others take CRT out of the schools when they won’t take their own children out of the schools. And the last group, Cassandra-like, works hard at not taking melancholy pleasure in noting how often their ignored predictions keep coming true.
That third group though. That is where our real problem is. They are very angry with school board officials in charge of a secular school system, and why? They are angry with the officials of a secular school system because they have governed it as though it really were a secular school system. If there is no God, or if God’s existence must be treated as irrelevant to what goes on in t he classroom, then certain things follow. What follows from that is everything that is currently going on. He who says A must say B, whether or not parents get angry when you say B.
A Striking Metaphor
All the details of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas have not yet been sorted out, but the basic outlines of the situation provide us with a pretty striking metaphor. A gunman is barricaded inside a school, the cops outside wait for 45 minutes or so before breaching the door and killing him, the officials who do so are Border Patrol agents who disobeyed orders in order to go in, certain agitated parents outside are detained by the authorities, other parents successfully got into the school in order to get their people out, and so on. The commander on site believed the gunman was barricaded and isolated, which may not have been the case, and so the investigation is going reveal how many died because of that official delay.
In the midst of horrific evil, the good that was done that day was done by the disobedient.
In other words, you have a terrible situation in which the authorities will not do their job, the authorities turn on those parents who insist that they do their job, and other parents go around them in order to do their job for them. Graphic and obscene materials are introduced to the little kids in the government sponsored grooming centers, the word gets out, parents show up at school board meetings, the Justice Department opens investigations on the parents as potential domestic terrorists, and other parents pull their kids out and head off down the road.
Underline this. If America is to be saved, the good that will need to be done will be done by the disobedient. And for that to happen, somebody is going to have to crack open a Bible. And for that to do any good, someone else is going to have to crack open our hearts, and we pray that He does so.
Secularism Is as Secularism Does
If there is no God, and if we are to order our affairs in accordance with that supposed reality, then certain things follow. Or if there is a God, but He doesn’t care what we do or how we behave, then certain things follow—the same things follow from this sort of agnosticism as from atheism.
But Western culture is crammed full of vestigial reminders of our Christian heritage. It was the Christian faith that built “the patriarchy” that these people want to smash. I do not claim that Western culture is to be identified with the kingdom of God, but I do say that the kingdom of God has had a pervasive impact on that culture. I do claim that when the enemies of Christ and His gospel attack the West because it reminds them of Him, they are not imagining things. It is not a hallucination.
And so here we are.
Red state America likes all the vestigial reminders of the old order, and blue state America detests all those vestigial reminders. But all of America has rejected the only possible foundation for those things, having repeatedly elected the people who have rejected them, and that is the explanation for why red state America is standing around, looking and acting bewildered.
Blue state America is trying to act in a manner that is consistent with our new premises, and what a hellhole that promises to be. Red state America wants to keep her old perks and privileges, and to do on the foundation of a vaporous agnosticism. But if you go along with secular premises, you will have secular conclusions. You have heard the saying—play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Play secular games, win secular prizes. It doesn’t matter that the prizes are not what were promised—broken promises is one of the prizes.
If you want God-fearing conclusions, you are going to have to include something of that in your premises. Someone once asked if you can gather figs from thistles (Matt. 7:16), and the answer, for those who are not Bible scholars, is no.
A Short List of Eight
Let me make a short list of the areas where the traditional values Americans need to repent. We need to stop demanding that the progressives repent when they are the ones being consistent with their basic worldview premises, and start looking at all the heartland Americans who are living their lives in a jumble of inconsistencies. It seemed to work for a time, but it is a jumble that really won’t cut it anymore.
Of course the divisions between these following categories are not watertight—there can be (and is) considerable overlap between them. That overlap is not an accident because all of reality is self-consistent, and there is no way to get something right that is basic, really getting it right, without it touching and transforming everything else. All of Christ for all of life.
Secularism: we need to abandon the idea of secularism, and replace it with the biblical doctrine of three distinct governments—family, church, and state, all of them under the authority and lordship of Jesus Christ.
Worship: worship should be a lot less like a junior high pep rally, and much more like a solemn covenant renewal ceremony. Worship needs to be solemn, joyful, dignified and religious. Find a church where God is honored, and His Word is preached.
Psalms: we need to stop singing “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs, and start singing Psalm 68. “God shall arise and by His might, put all His enemies to flight . . .” If you start singing psalms, you will find yourself singing things you have never sung before in your life. You will realize that the writers of contemporary praise choruses don’t have any enemies, and that the psalmists did have them. Just like we do.
The authority of nature: God made the world. Nature was created by Him, and when He created nature, He made sure that nature had a nature. This is another way of saying that reality is not optional, and is not infinitely plastic and malleable. The world is the way it is, and when we are given peace with God, we are also granted peace with the way things are. This includes our XX and XY chromosomes.
Calvinism: the American republic was founded on the bedrock of a Calvinist ethos. That old America is gone now, but if you want to recover any significant pieces of it, you need to realize that without a robust doctrine of God’s exhaustive sovereignty, it ain’t gonna happen.
Darwin: we must be done with Darwin. Done. Sick of it. Done with temporizing Christian attempts to weld iron and jello together. Funniest thing you ever heard.
Government schools: Stop whining at school board meetings. Pull your kids. Pull your kids now. Give the school boards something to complain about. Send them crying to the state legislature with arguments about how the fact that there are no students left in the schools means that their budgets have to be increased.
Bible reading: You will need to fill your head with something other than what you have been doing. Reformations are driven by a recovery of the Word, and this recovery is going to be no different. Join us for Same Page Summer. This is not some add-on extra.
Reaction Without Repentance
So the need of the hour is repentance and reformation—and the reformation as outlined above is going to be genuinely radical. It will go to the root (radix), and so it will be radical reformation. Simple reaction to all the regnant follies may seem more radical, at least initially, but it is actually just the radicalism of a Kleenex fire. I am talking about all those possible Nietzschean reactions, of the sort that you can find among the proud boys, or the alt-right, or with white boy summer memes. For those just joining us, White Boy Summer was a clothing line originated by Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, along with a lame rap song by the same personage, and it was ironic and cool and self-aware in a “stop hate” kind of way until the thing got away from him and was co-opted by various reactionaries guilty of wrongthink. So whatever happens to him there, serves him right.
But in the meantime, Christians need to focus on the basics of a real rejection of the blind alley the Enlightenment has taken us down. That is what we are talking about—thoughtful, studied, real rejection. I am talking about pulling down the Baals and cutting down the groves of the Ashtaroth. We should not settle for just changing some of the titles in the gift shop just outside the groves of the Ashtaroth.