(© The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., October 26, 2016)
Gospel light is like a rheostat: turn it down, and darkness floods a room; turn it up, and light floods the room. In either case, the rheostat controls light and thus darkness. Likewise, the gospel will dispel the darkness or it will allow the darkness to come in. The Church at large controls the rheostat. By definition, light controls darkness, not darkness the light.
This past week I heard the pastor of a large evangelical congregation in Dallas say on his radio program: “We are not going to prevent America’s ultimate collapse, but we can delay it. We can buy time so that we can preach the gospel. . . .” The context was that we should vote, and that for the less wicked person: Trump. After listening to several of the pastor’s sermons on the Internet, here is what he meant: The Church will lose in the spiritual battle in the USA and the world; Satan will win, but we should at least delay the inevitable destruction by voting for Trump.
If I believed the Church would lose, I would have quit the ministry years ago. Unbelief in overcoming the devil and his fallen angels is one reason evangelicals do not vote, thinking what is the use since this is Satan’s world, and he allegedly cannot be defeated except by muscle (Jesus beats him up at the end). But if all evangelicals did vote, we could control the country. It is primarily our fault that the USA is falling apart morally. Most denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have fallen prey to liberalism; but those who have remained true to Holy Scriptures, have otherwise generally fallen prey to end time hysteria with its inherent pessimism and defeat of Christ’s Church. This end time fear has paralyzed us. Allegedly, the only way we can win the spiritual battle is to be delivered from this world in a secret second coming called the rapture. Then seven years later, when the Church is once again defeated, there will be the public Second Coming, the real Second Coming that the Creeds speak about.
Now we all believe in the Second Coming, for that is part of the ancient Creeds and is very clear in the Gospels; that is not the issue I’m raising. The issue is whether the Church is impotent and can only retreat, and whether the gospel is impotent. The issue is that many evangelicals use the rapture to do nothing. This defeatism reflects directly on the enthroned Son of God, and whether He can, by His Holy Spirit, change cultures and people. But the problem with many evangelicals is that we think Satan and his “gospel” of darkness is more powerful than Jesus and the true gospel. It is Jesus who is enthroned; not Satan. (We’ll comment on Rev. 2:13 next time.)
Consider this logic. If we Christians obey the Triune God’s commandments, preach His gospel, and live accordingly, we lose. But if the ungodly disobey God’s commandments, preach abortion, LGBT, steal through excessive taxation and printing money with no backing, lie and murder to get their way, they win. But how in the world can pursuing darkness win and pursuing the light lose?
Recall what happened to the children of Israel when they sent the twelve spies into the land and ten came back with a bad report. Essentially, the ten spies were guilty of unbelief, and their bad report lead Israel to regret that they had left Egypt. The two spies, however, responded with belief:
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:30-33).
The ten spies contrasted themselves with their enemies, concluding they could not defeat them; but Caleb and Joshua contrasted their enemies with the LORD God, who had given them victory over all their enemies up to this point, not the least was the parting of the Red Sea. The LORD God made Israel wander in the wilderness 40 years because of their unbelief manifested in their fear. Will King Jesus make Christians in the USA endure much persecution for their unbelief in facing the enemies of Jesus? Only God knows.
This is what we are facing with most of evangelicalism: unbelief in the face of godless enemies. We contrast ourselves with those in power and conclude it is hopeless, denying both the power of the Gospel and the power of the risen Christ who reigns over all the world by His resurrection and Ascension, where He is seated in victory at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1). But we must contrast our enemies with the Lord God, the Lamb of God, who sovereignly rules.
When the Lord Jesus gave the great commission, do we think He was giving commands that could never be carried out, that He was just helping the twelve be positive amid certain defeat?
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Notice Jesus said that He had ALL AUTHORITY, but where?—“in heaven and on earth.” The words “heaven” and “earth” mean the whole universe, using a device called a merism, opposites to mean totality. Considering His having “all authority,” He commanded a few followers to “make disciples of all the nations,” by two means: baptizing in the name of the Holy Trinity, which assumes the gospel, and teaching new disciples all that Christ had taught the twelve. To give them faith that His command to subdue the word by the gospel was not an empty command, He proclaims He will be with them to the end of the age. And He is with them, not just as a comfort in their trials, but to give them victory, for that is clearly the context!
In two thousand years, Christianity has grown from a handful to the largest religion of the world, about 2.5 billion, and in every country in the world. Islam cannot boast of being in every nation nor of so many, being about 1.8 billion.
Thus, we must bring to bear His righteousness in every area of life, which means voting. AMEN. Ω
(Next time we shall look at who is Lord of the world, Satan or Jesus, and how that affects voting? Read the blog just before this one to see an answer to voting for the lesser of two evils.)