John and I regularly listen to The Dividing Line webcast with Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. Yes, people, I know James White is a controversial figure, and sometimes he aligns himself with teachers he really shouldn’t (most notably, Michael Brown). At the same time, White holds tightly to Reformed Theology, and has an excellent understanding of history in general. We value his insight and carefully consider his perspective — even when we don’t share his conclusions.
White has made various predictions about our country’s trajectory that cause many to accuse him of wearing a tin foil hat. He firmly believes that the Biden administration will plunge the United States into a dystopian society. And he thinks the damage will be irreversible.
I hope he’s wrong. I believe he’s right.
It may well be too late for America to escape socialism. Too many Americans don’t know history well enough to realize that socialism is actually a small step away from communism. In essence, the government of a socialist country controls the people rather than the people controlling the government. Last month, we gave government that control because we’ve ignored history.
Even though it’s probably too late for America to learn from history, Church History can still teach Christians how to live in a culture that openly opposes a Biblical worldview.
Admittedly, I’ve so far mostly studied the Protestant Reformation, so my knowledge of Church History is still terribly limited. That deficit requires correction. Yet even studying the Reformation has taught me that persecution is the norm, not the exception, for genuine Christians. Didn’t the apostle Paul say as much in his letter to Timothy?
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. ~~2 Timothy 3:11-13 (NASB)
Beginning with Stephen (Acts 7:54-60), men and women have been ridiculed, tortured and put to death because of their uncompromising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Forms of Christianity that conform to the culture receive acceptance and admiration, but Christians who stand firmly on Scripture can’t expect any toleration.
As an example, Lady Jane Grey (queen of England for nine days) could have avoided execution for treason after Mary Tudor deposed her. Mary reinstated Catholicism as England’s religion, and intended to spare Jane’s life if Jane would renounce her Protestant faith. Jane, however, viewed a return to Catholicism as apostacy. Her refusal to take the Catholic Eucharist caused Mary to proceed with Jane’s execution. On February 12, 1554, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded.
Reading about martyrs like Lady Jane Grey challenges me, but it also encourages me. Church History demonstrates the Lord’s faithfulness to Christians in the midst of persecution. Lady Jane Grey could have simply eaten the wafer and allowed Mary Tudor to assume a return to Catholicism. But the Lord graciously gave her the strength to stand for Him.
History can teach us how Christians before us have weathered persecution. It can assure us of God’s grace, especially as Biden’s administration ushers in policies that restrict religious freedoms. The secular world hasn’t learned from history, but Christians still can.
Let’s pray that we will.Follow my blog with Bloglovin