Things seem to be heating up…
Every week, it’s been my discipline – for nearly 30 years – to look at what’s going on within the modern world and American culture, and view it through the filter of a Biblical worldview (via the Bible). Headlines – all headlines – come from sources with bias (some clear and disclosed; many hidden, while claiming objectivity). Everyone has a perspective shaped by his or her values, or lack thereof.
This week, GQ Magazine – one of today’s thought-shaping publications – published their list of “21 Classics You Don’t Have to Read Before You Die.” To a generation that has already abandoned books in favor of Instagram, they’ve eliminated books like The Old Man and the Sea, The Lord of the Rings, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn… and, The Bible (#12 on their ditch-list).
Their argument for avoiding the Scriptures: “Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish and even at times ill-intentioned.”
Will sales of the Bible plummet because of GQ? Perhaps not. As reported by the Washington Post in 2014, “…it is the central and foundational book of Western culture, including American culture. Everywhere we turn in the cultural past, we find the Bible. We cannot avoid it if we tried, and we will not understand our past without a knowledge of the Bible. George Lindbeck, former professor of theology at Yale University, once described the cultural position of the Bible in American culture this way: ‘Its stories, images, conceptual patterns, and turns of phrase permeated the culture from top to bottom. This was true even for illiterates and those who did not go to church, for knowledge of the Bible was transmitted not only directly by its reading, hearing, and ritual enactment, but also indirectly by an interwoven net of intellectual, literary, artistic, folkloric, and proverbial traditions. There was a time when every educated person, no matter how professedly unbelieving or secular, knew the actual text from Genesis to Revelation.’”
In California, a law was passed last week (AB2943) that bans “conversion therapy” for people with non-heterosexual issues. As written, there is significant concern that people antagonistic toward traditional values as they are portrayed in the Scriptures and taught from pulpits would find conservative Christian ministries in violation of state law. There has been no mention of sanctuary protection for those who could come under attack for their failure to relinquish their traditional biblical positions…
How bad could it get? Here’s what Jesus cautioned: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…” (Matthew 24).
Things seem to be heating up, but – at the same time – things seem to be wrapping-up. The Gospel of the Kingdom, as explained in the Bible, is being suppressed in America, but expressed to the language groups around the world who have waited 2000 years for their chance to hear from God. “And then the end will come…”
The Master’s Program