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The World is Team Barabbas
Approximately 1,988 years ago, the world put God on trial. When offered a choice, the world surrendered up God to be tortured, crucified, and killed and asked that Pontius Pilate free the criminal Barabbas instead.
There is no compromise between Christ and the world. Young evangelicals, complacent in the United States and un-harassed, would do wise to remember this.
Evangelical leaders across denominations, from Tim Keller to John Piper to Russell Moore to John MacArthur and more, have noted that some young evangelicals are trying to balance worldliness and godliness. These young evangelicals are trying to publicly affirm sexual ethics that deviate from the Bible while claiming they personally hold to Biblical ethics. It is the new version of pro-choice — go live your best life now and I support it, affirm it, and celebrate it for you even as I pass. But it is not just them.
Older Christians who once argued that character counts now defend bad character as a means to justify ends. They have sought political refuge with scoundrels they think will protect them and God help you if you speak up to them and remind them they do not need political saviors for spiritual problems.
In response, other Christians have taken up with those hostile to Christianity. Look no further than some otherwise reformed theologians embracing critical theory and critical theorists. They defend their wokeness in response to the behaviors of other evangelicals. They defend their own sin because others sinned. They defend their own bad eisegisis because others have had bad eisegisis.
Christians in America have gotten soft. We’ve turned the nation into an idol to be worshiped. We’ve become so convinced by the “shining city on a hill” rhetoric we think “It can’t happen here,” regarding persecution of Christians. We’ve turned the American ideal of liberty into an idol we worship. The religious liberty in the first amendment is meant to protect the religious as they seek to draw people to them. But the world demands instead that the first amendment be used to draw the religious to the world and silence those who refuse to go along for the ride. In making an idol of our democratic freedom, the irony is that many evangelicals in America are abdicating the use of it.
What Christians in the United States of America, who’ve had it pretty easy for a long time in the USA, have forgotten or never learned is that the world is deeply hostile to the things, and people, of God. Remember, one thousand nine hundred eighty eight years ago, the world chose to spare a criminal and crucify God himself.
Many young evangelicals who are making the decision that cultural progressive values and sexual ethics conflict with their personal beliefs, but it’s okay to celebrate and affirm them, are making a compromise to avoid conflict in their quest to be liked by the world. “I’m not one of those Christians,” they think and often say.
They want the world to like them and to think themselves a part of the world. They view Christians who are seen as too hostile to others as inferior in spreading the Gospel or too judgmental. They fall victim to the sin of pride that their gospel is greater.
The world is not on its way to Christ. The world hates Christ. The world will not allow a compromise between Christians and the world.
Evangelicals have a tough time on the issue of sexual ethics these days. If we hold to our convictions, we’re accused of hating others. If we point out that sex outside of marriage is a sin and God makes us male and female, we are accused of judging.
Christians are called to love their neighbors. In the present world, loving one’s neighbor is interpreted as loving their sin too. The balance is off. The Christian is on defense. Many defensive Christians then try to make compromises in worldliness or politics that then compromises their love for their neighbors and their witness.
We must live our lives with love toward everyone and be friends to all who are open to being friends. But we should not delude ourselves. At some point the world will make us choose. If we choose Christ the world will accuse us of hating, condemning, and judging. The world is deeply hostile to the Christian idea of loving the sinner, but not the sin. The world believes we cannot love the sinner if we do not fully affirm them, which means loving or affirming their sin.
There is no accommodation on the issues of morality with the world. Young evangelicals delude themselves if they think they can seek a compromise with the world. Old evangelicals delude themselves if they think any politician of the world can protect them from the world.
Mammon chose Barabbas and too many evangelicals are choosing Mammon.