I’m tired of extremists controlling the conversation. Christian Nationalism, Qanon, violence, the hopelessness of nihilism, and bald-faced lying threaten our world and have no place being used in the vocabulary of disciples of Jesus.
I’m especially tired (and alarmed) by people claiming to be followers of Jesus, who at the same time embrace ideology that makes it impossible to follow Jesus. Remember that Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15.
Churches are not allowed to make political statements. There’s a certain wisdom to that. However, there is no limit to addressing the dreadful “isms” that threaten the faith of Christians and the heart of our nation. That strike at the heart of the Way that Jesus called us to live.
The Revelation of John begins with John’s address to seven churches in ancient Turkey, some of which were being infiltrated by false people such as the Nicolaitans in Ephesus, the synagogue of Satan in Smyrna, and a woman that John called Jezebel in Thyatira. That is not a complete list of the threats, but they give a good idea of the concerns that John had about the health of the early church.
We don’t have to worry about the Nicolaitans today, however, nihilism is everywhere now. Pergamum was suffering from the heresy of people that resembled OT Balaam. Similarly, the church today has been corrupted by people upholding the wealth of the few and the alienation of the Other.
John would have never called the “isms” infiltrating the seven churches of Asia a “political issue.” Nor should we. They were heresy then, and our own version of these ideologies is still heresy today. John identified them and called them by name for his seven-church audience. So should we today.
God once warned Ezekiel about Ezekiel’s responsibility for announcing the truth he had been given. Here is what God said to Ezekiel.
(Paraphrased) “Watchman, if you sound the alarm to warn the people and they ignore your alarm, it is their fault, and they will bear the brunt of not having listened and obeyed.”
“If, on the other hand, you do not sound the alarm to warn the people, the responsibility is fully on you, and you will be held accountable for not sounding the alarm.” Ezekiel 33:1-6.
If John were writing his Revelation to a modern-day audience, I think that his warnings would be about giving lies a foothold, driving away hope with nihilistic thinking, and lowering the bar on integrity and ethics. The big challenge of our time would be to have the courage to say “no” to Christians who want to quote Qanon and not Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the light.”