Discernment In A Time Of Persecution

John is graciously typing this blog post as I dictate to him from bed. Because I cannot type this entry myself, I will not include Scripture quotes or links to verses — doing so would be difficult to teach John. Please don’t interpret this absence of Scripture as an abandonment of God’s Word.

Regardless of your eschatology, you must admit that evil is escalating. The political situation in the United States indicates that Bible believing Christians will face varying degrees of persecution in the next few months. Regular readers of this blog know that I have been warning about this probability for the last five and a half years, yet I’m not sure any of us (including me) have really let the truth sink in.

It’s not a truth we want to face.

As Elizabeth Prata shows us in her recent post about James Coates, Canadian Christians have begun to experience real persecution. In our prayers for this pastor and his family, American Christians must keep in mind that our pastors may soon experience the same suffering that James Coates and his family are going through.

Times like this tempt Christian bloggers to write about political issues, and that temptation is entirely understandable. Sadly, politics intertwine with religion, and religion strongly influences the politics. Even the religion of secularism influences political beliefs. Let’s not foolishly deny that they are two separate realms. And I appreciate those Christians who make political commentary based on a Biblical world view.

That said, I believe we need to pay attention to other aspects of such troubled times, particularly if our political climate really does indicate that we have entered the last days. Recently I watched a YouTube video of Phil Johnson in which he focused on Scriptures predicting the rise of false teachers in the last days. Whether Christ returns tomorrow or two thousand years from now, we should consider ourselves to be in the last epoch of human history, so it makes sense that false teachers would increase. Perhaps the political situation actually makes it easier for them to proliferate.

Let me explain. Americans, like people in the rest of the world, face instability. Progressives fear the influence of conservatives, to the point that they actively shut down our voices on social media. At the same time, conservatives see that progressives are actively working to silence us, and even to demand that we think as they do. In this tension, we see evangelicals either jumping on liberal bandwagons or conflating Christianity with nationalism. While both extremes are wrong, both extremes open the door for false teachers.

False teachers on either side of the spectrum promise that we can have — to hijack a phrase — our best life now. I want to pick on conservatives first, as I have much more against the progressive wing of evangelicals.

Conservative false teachers tell us that we can reclaim America as a Christian country. They skew history to portray our founding fathers as men of faith who wanted a nation that was built on God’s Word. Well, that’s partially true. Even blatant non Christians like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson assented to Christian principles while still embracing Enlightenment teachings. But notice that the Enlightenment influenced their thinking.

The false teaching that America can be restored to the Christian country that it once was depends on the falsehood that it was a Christian country to begin with. Furthermore, that teaching promises a type of utopia that Scripture never attaches to this earth. God did promise Israel peace and prosperity if they followed His Law, but that promise in no way extends to the United States! Like all other Christians, American Christians must have their hope solely in the eternal kingdom.

Progressives also offer the false hope of racial and gender reconciliation in this life. Unlike conservatives, progressives believe that God’s kingdom comes about through the implementation of socialist and Marxist ideology. Evangelicals that adopt this ideology pervert God’s Word to support their agenda.

Of course, there are many other false teachings floating around evangelical circles during this time, but most false teachers embrace one of these political extremes. Sadly, more and more of them lean toward degrees of socialism. Beth Moore and JD Greer represent two examples of the Southern Baptist Convention’s capitulation to progressive thought, therefore posing a danger to young believers who don’t have firm roots in Biblical doctrine.

We face serious times. Times that the United States have been protected from for 240 years. Let us be careful not to abandon Scriptural teachings in favor of the falsehoods that Christian nationalists or progressive Christians extend. Instead, let us cling to the Bible and the hope of our eternal inheritance.

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