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The Titanic sinks, April 15,1912.

For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.

  • 1 Kings 11:4

Just yesterday, I watched a video – confession, I binge watched several videos – about the sinking of the Titanic.  It’s remarkable after well over a century – this April will mark the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the great ocean liner – the fame of the ship and of its disastrous end show no sign of abating.  Doubtless, it’s the most famous maritime disaster ever. 

Some years ago, I listened to a classroom lecture by Gordon Clark, dating, if I recall correctly, from sometime in the 1950’s.  Clark, remarking on the youth of his students, commented that they hadn’t even been born at the time the Titanic sank. Clark himself was a few months shy of his 10th birthday when Titanic went down in the icy waters of the north Atlantic on that fateful morning of April 15, 1912.       

Shipwrecks have always had a certain fascination for me.  Were you to press me for why that is, I suppose I would have to answer that it’s not so much the shipwreck itself that I find fascinating, but the reaction of the people involved in it.  Life and death situations have a way of revealing the true character of those on board.  And shipwrecks, because they tend to play out over longer periods of time than some other types of disasters, give greater opportunity for the faith, bravery, good judgment, foolishness, and cowardice of people to show themselves.

One of the Titanic videos I watched was titled “Titanic History/What caused the Titanic to Break Up?” Years ago, when I first heard about the Titanic, no one talked about the ship splitting in two.  Maybe this was something known to those who studied the disaster closely, I don’t know.  But for decades, it was not generally known to the public that, before sinking, the ship split in two. . 

One of the points that the presenter made in the video was that, although the breakup came suddenly and visibly, there was a lot happening to the structure of the ship on the inside as it went down.  It was these unseen stresses on the ship’s structure ultimately resulted in the breakup, even if the forces at work were not obvious to onlookers before it happened. 

In reflecting on this idea – the notion that powerful, unseen forces can be at work for some time before producing very visible results – it’s easy to see how it can have a wider application.  In this case, I’m thinking how unseen, yet powerful forces can put stresses on the structure of a nation for years, decades, maybe even longer, prior to their resulting in a major and visible catastrophe of some sort.

Take the nation of Israel, for example.  The kingdom hit its peak under the Solomon.  But even while Israel was at the height of its wealth and power, forces were at work which would split the nation shortly after Solomon’s death. 

Solomon’s policy of forced labor and heavy taxation to pay for his public works projects was very much resented by the people.  He also split the nation into administrative districts that paid little heed to traditional tribal boundaries.  There was the longstanding north-south rivalry that, while remaining subdued during the reigns of David and Solomon, nevertheless was present and which would reassert itself under Solomon’s successor Rehoboam.

There was a fourth, and most important, factor in the breakup of Israel after the reign of Solomon: idolatry.  In 1 Kings 11 we read,

But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites – from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you.  Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.”  Solomon clung to these in love.  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.  For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.

As a result of Solomon’s sin, his lack of faith in the Lord and his turning to idols, God told him that he would tear the kingdom from him.   

Scripture doesn’t record for us what the Israelite public thought of Solomon’s idolatry.  If I were forced to conjecture what the public’s attitude was toward Solomon as his idolatry become more and more obvious, it seems to me that most people probably paid it little heed.  There was no public outcry against it that I am aware of noted in Scripture.  This is not surprising.  After all, Israel’s prospects had never looked brighter in the 500 or so years since Joshua had led them into the promised land.  The nation was numerous, economically prosperous, and militarily powerful.  It must has looked to most Israelites as if the future was even brighter.  And if there was a little idolatry going on in high places, well, no one is perfect. 

Let’s fast forward to our own time.  Do any of the lessons from Titanic or Israel – hidden forces at work for a period of time which result in big, visible breakups – apply to America? The answer, I think, is yes.

Our nation traces its roots to Puritan settlers from England in the 17th century.  Although at the time of the American Revolution, the colonists were remarkably homogenous – 98% of the population was Protestant – there were still significant divisions present.  The most obvious of these was – in an interesting recapitulation of the fault lines found in ancient Israel – the north/south split over slavery. 

In the 19th century, the homogeneity of the nation began to change as waves of Roman Catholic, Eastern European and Jewish immigrants brought large numbers of people to America that did not share the history, religion or political and economic beliefs with the old-stock American’s descended from the nation’s founders.  The 20th and 21st century have seen the growth in the Muslim population in America.  As was the case with the Catholic and Jewish immigration in the 19th century, Muslim immigrants brought with them a religion with a philosophy of politics and economics that was at odds with a free constitutional republic.  It’s not that Roman Catholics, Jews Muslims – and, to be fair, one must add Orthodoxists – are inferior people, but their ideas are inferior and incompatible with republican government.  

In today’s world where diversity is become the pearl of great price and more to be prized that all other virtues, any suggestion that diversity may not automatically be a strength, but can, in fact, prove to be a weakness, is dismissed as unacceptable.  But look at Solomon’s wives.  They were a diverse lot, but they were not a source of strength, but rather one of weakness.  His Moabite, Hittite, Edomite and Egyptian wives “turned his heart after other gods,” the major factor in the breakup of the United Kingdom.    

At the same time waves of non-Protestant immigration was taking place, American Protestantism itself was succumbing to the forces of irrationalism, liberalism and feminism.  Had American Protestants remained true to the faith of their forefathers, perhaps they could have served as counterbalance to the increasing religious and ethnic diversity in American and kept the nation on an even keel. 

But just as Solomon’s unfaithfulness allowed once hidden divisions within Israel to rise to the surface after his death, so too has the faithlessness of American Protestants led the collapse of any basis for national unity in the United States. We’re no longer so much a nation with a shared history and set of beliefs as we are a warring mob of people that happen to live in the same geographical vicinity to one another.  In the Year of Our Lord 2021, it appears to this observer that the rule of law in America is, if not fully dead, very nearly so and that there is nothing to stop its ultimate demise. If and when that day comes, can America be long for this world?  Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand.  If true, and it is, how can America survive?

Earlier I mentioned that what I find most compelling about shipwrecks is that they provide opportunity for people to reveal their true character.  On Titanic there were heroes and cowards.  Not often mentioned were the brave stokers and engineers who stayed at their posts in the bowels of the ship long after it was obvious that Titanic was going down.  Their actions helped keep the ship’s power on and wireless going to the very end. There were cowards, too.  One man dressed as a woman to secure a place on lifeboat he otherwise would not have been able to board.       

Faith was found among Titanic’s passengers as well. Well known is the account of the ship’s orchestra playing “Nearer My God to Thee.”  Then there’s the less well-known but very compelling account of Scottish evangelist John Harper, who preached the Gospel to his final convert just before drowning in the Atlantic’s icy waters.   

The metaphor “ship of state” dates all the way back to Plato’s Republic, and is certainly an apt turn of phrase for this post. Just as ships are large and powerful objects that require a steady hand to steer them, so to do states.  After a large disaster in either case, there can be a lot of second guessing of the people in charge.  You can play the “what if” game with Titanic just as you can with America. 

What if Titanic’s designers had extended the watertight compartments a deck or two higher?, what if the ship wasn’t traveling at top speed?, what if the lookouts had spotted the iceberg 30 seconds sooner?, what if the iceberg hadn’t just nicked the six and final compartment? 

What if slavery had never been established in the colonies?, what if American Protestants had not abandoned the Calvinism of their colonial forefathers?, what if America had a wiser immigration policy in the 19th and 20th centuries?

We can play “what if” all we want, but obviously none of that is going to change either the fate of the Titanic or the present reality of our nation. 

As did Titanic, America is taking on water, and fast.  As Christians, how do we respond?  Do we ignore what’s going on around us and seek to rearrange the deck chairs?  Do we panic?  Do we play the coward hoping to survive through dishonest means?  No to all that.  What we do is what we’re called to do, to walk in our present circumstances in a manner worthy of the Lord.  And what does that look like?  Read what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

That’s our job. Yours and mine.      

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The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower.  He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

  • Deuteronomy 28:43, 44

Just a few hours before the Capitol Hill riot captured the world’s attention on January 6, Washington Post political reporter Dave Weigel tweeted out, “Protestants locked out of the top offices for the first time ever (president, chief justice, speaker of the house, [Senate] majority leader).”

Of the offices he referred to in his tweet, three – President, Chief Justice, and Speaker of the House – are held by Roman Catholics. Senate Majority Leader, Charles Schumer, is Jewish.

Jesse Curtis, whose Twitter bio states he is a historian of race and religion and is starting a job as Assistant Professor of History at Valpariso University in the fall of 2021, retweeted Weigel’s tweet, commenting on it, “The decline of Protestant supremacy (both as fact and ideology) is really something.  Less than a century ago this would have been front page news and major social tension.  Now it’s just quaint trivia.”

Another tweet by Sean Penn – yes, the actor – from 2/12/2021 reads, “Evangelical leaders should themselves be impeached by the Vatican if they themselves don’t follow Nikki Haley’s – The Monstrous Regiment (R-SC) – lead & clearly state they should not have followed Satin (sic) – this is a reference to Donald Trump – into the bowels of hell. But, perhaps they are too busy at sex parties.”

Now one could dismiss this as just another silly tweet from a confused Hollywood dweller.  But a response to Penn’s tweet caught my attention.  “thank you”, it began. “people often don’t like to acknowledge that the one holy roman catholic apostolic church has authority over the protestants so i’m glad you’re speaking out on this critical issue.”  That response was sent by Elizabeth Bruening, whose Twitter bio indicates she’s an “Opinion writer at @nytimes.”  That is to say, she is someone with journalistic and cultural clout.  Bruening also retweeted Penn’s tweet with the comment “absolutely.”

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Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877.

There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a might man is not delivered by much strength.

  • Psalm 33:16

Watching the news.  It’s hard to do these days.

I admit to following day to day events, politics, economics, and the like.  It’s too much a part of me not to do so. 

But it really isn’t a very enjoyable experience. 

There’s simply no good news.  Or at least many days it doesn’t seem like it.

As a reformed believer, I know well that God has decreed all things, whatsoever comes to pass.  He doesn’t merely know in advance what’s going to take place, or passively allow it to happen.  He actively brings about the events that occur, both in our own lives and on the scale of nations and of the world. 

As much as I don’t like it, God decreed from all eternity that Joseph Robinette Biden would be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021.  And his purposes in doing so are his own glory and the good of his people.    

But even though a Biden presidency is for our ultimate good as Christians, this does not mean that it is going to be a pleasant experience. 

Scripture does not teach a foolish optimism where we’re expected to treat disasters as if they were manna from heaven.  It’s okay to call a disaster a disaster an mourn over it.  As the Author of Hebrews tells us, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful.” 

Jeremiah wept at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus.  If it was not wrong for them to grieve, it is not wrong for us to grieve the enormous disaster that has befallen our nation.

And yet, there comes a time when grieving must end, and work must begin.  We, all of us, have suffered difficulty and disappointment in our lives.  There is a time for grieving, and a time to cease grieving. 

Joe Biden is in a position to do a lot of damage to this nation.  As Christians, we have a responsibility to speak out against his evil policies, to refute them from the Word of God and, if possible, to prevent them from being enacted.  We have a responsibility to preach the Gospel of Christ, that perhaps some who don’t know him may hear and be saved.  We have a responsibility to protect and provide for our families, both our natural family and our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

How do we do this?  Do we look to ourselves, to our inner strength?  As the hymn goes, the arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own.

No.  It is to Christ we must look if we are going to find the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to not just to survive, but to triumph in these dark times. 

This brings me to the lesson from Luther which I’d like to discuss. 

As we did in last week’s post, this week we’ll be referring to Luther’s treatise “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.”

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Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877.

And it cast down truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

  • Daniel 8:12

Truth is cast to the ground. 

I’ve thought about that quite a lot in recent years.  It seems as if the lie always prospers, while truth, it if even is heard at all, is quickly dismissed as nonsense and those who speak it as fools or worse. 

I was reminded once again of just how corrupt things have become after watching some of the shenanigans in the stock market last week with the big dust up over the Gamestop stock and how, supposedly, a group of small investors beat the big guys on Wall Street. 

I’ll not dive into the details of what took place, but on the surface we can say that at least one major hedge fund sustained significant losses when its short position on Gamestock was blown up by investors piling into the company’s stock and driving it to over $400 per share. 

For our purposes, what important to understand is that when an investor – either an individual or an institution such as a hedge fund – short sells a stock, he profits when the price goes down.  If the price goes up, the short seller loses money.  If the stock price goes way up, as was the case with Gamestop, the short seller loses a lot of money. 

When the losses were piling up for the big guys during the week, it didn’t take long for the weeping and gnashing of teeth to begin.  Billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman went on an epic rant on CNBC last Thursday, 1/28, saying, “The reason the market is doing what it’s doing is people are sitting at home getting checks from the government. This fair share, is a (bleep) concept.  It’s just a way of attacking wealthy people and I think it inappropriate and we all gotta work together and pull together.” 

Just how true is the narrative that a bunch of unemployed Robin Hood traders on their own drove up the price of Gamestop, thus inflicting heavy losses on some hedge funds, I cannot say for sure.  I have my doubts that things are what we’re being told, but, at the very least, Cooperman seemed to accept that narrative when he went on his rant last week.    

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Detail from The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths by JN Sylvestre, 1890.

“At the hour of midnight, the Salerian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet.  Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia” (Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. 31).

With these words the English historian Edward Gibbon captured the sacking of Rome by Alaric king of the Visigoths on August 24, A.D. 410.   Although the Western empire did not officially come to an end until A.D. 476, the sacking of Rome by Alaric was certainly an indication of the Empire’s fast approaching end. 

As something of a history buff myself, I’ve often wondered what it was like for people who witnessed the end of their civilization.  It must have been terrible and terrifying.  One wonders at the horror that must have filled the hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem when the Babylonian army broke through the city walls in 586 B.C. and proceeded to destroy the city and burn the temple, which at that time had stood for over 300 years.

Reflecting on the excerpt above from Gibbon, what was it like for the Romans, and even non-Romans, in A.D. 410 to hear that Rome had been taken by a barbarian Germanic king? 

At the time of the sacking of Rome, the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa found himself confronted by many angry and puzzled questioners, many of whom were refugees from Alaric’s invasion of Italy, asking how, if Christianity were true, God could allow Christian civilization – recall that Constantine had become the first, at least nominally, Christian emperor about a century earlier – to be destroyed by a pagan barbarian king and his army?        

That bishop, as you may already be aware, was none other than Aurelius Augustine, the greatest theologian of the early church.

According to one scholar,

More than any other single episode the sacking of Rome gave Augustine a reason to write the City of God. After 410 he found exiles, those escaping the disturbing events in Italy, arriving in North Africa where he was now Bishop of Hippo and asking how he could explain this collapse of a Christian Empire.  It was their angry challenge that led him to begin work on a book which was to appear in episodes stretching over many years of composition (G. R. Evans, Introduction, City of God. Penguin Books, London, 2003, ix).

It seems to me that, although our present circumstances are in certain important respects different from those faced by Augustine in his day, nevertheless there are some important similarities.  While Rome in the fifth century was sacked and burned by outside forces, America today is being sacked and burned – in some ways literally, in others figuratively – by forces from within.  In both cases – Rome in A.D. 410; America in A.D. 2021 – the civilizations were in advanced states of decay well in advance of their sacking.  One may fairly view the two events not as the beginning of their respective civilization’s collapse, but as another, more overt, step along the way to their demise. 

The comparison of Rome’s sacking in 410 to the events in America over the past year – namely, the massive civil unrest carried out by BLM and Antifa and supported by the political, business, entertainment and academic establishments; the brutal Covid lockdowns in defiance of the Constitution, medical precedent, and the teachings of Scripture; and an overtly stolen presidential election –  can be instructive to Christians today, because many of the same problems that plague America and the West today are the same problems that plagued Rome in Augustine’s day, and the answers he gave to his critics are just as applicable now as they were then. 

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Rioters wearing Trump paraphernalia breached the Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers met to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win
PHOTO: MANUEL BALCE CENETA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” 

  • President Donald J. Trump, Washington D.C., January 6, 2021

As was the case with most kids who grew up in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s, I was a huge Star Wars fan.  The original film, released in 1977, was such a huge hit that everyone knew it would be followed by a sequel. 

The eagerly anticipated follow up, The Empire Strikes Back, debuted in 1980.  Unlike so many movie sequels, this one was worthy of the original.  In fact, many critics consider The Empire Strikes Back to be the best of the original Star Wars trilogy.

A lot of the things that forty years later we think of a quintessentially Star Wars were not in the first film.  The Imperial Walkers, the Darth Vader theme music, Boba Fett, and Yoda all mode their debut in The Empire Strikes Back, not in the first 1977 movie. 

Now you may be wondering why I’m talking about The Empire Strikes Back, a movie that came out over forty years ago, in the context of a piece about last week’s Capitol Hill riot.  

My reason is this, just as The Empire Strikes Back was a movie, as the title tells us, of the Empire going on the offensive to once and for all crush the resistance of the Rebel Alliance that had blown up the Death Star, the Empire’s super weapon, so too the events of the past year, including the events of January 6, 2021, seem to be aimed at brining to a quick end the populist uprising that began in Great Britain and in America back in 2016.

After years of discussion, in June of 2016 Great Britain held a vote on Brexit, which was the popular name given to the movement to take the UK out of the European Union.  The vote turned out, to the shock and horror of globalists everywhere, in favor of Brexit. 

Across the pond, we here in America were faced with a similar choice in that year’s presidential election.  We could support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, who, we were told by all the experts, was and unstoppable electoral juggernaut, more than capable of crushing all resistance in her path, or we could support a very bad orange man named Donald John Trump. 

Hillary supporters were the blessed, the righteous, the very elect of the Lord.  The Donald’s backers?  Well, we all know they were just a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic basket of toothless, uneducated, irredeemably deplorable rednecks, who, just like their leader Donald Trump, were very bad people who deserved very bad things to happen to them.      

But, as was the case with Brexit, much to the shock and horror of the Masters of the Universe crowd, Queen Hillary lost and the Donald and his merry band of deplorables won. 

It was at this point that the Empire – by “Empire” I mean the whole rotten basket of Deep Staters, establishment types, Clintonistas, RINO’s, Obamites, Bushies, crony capitalist billionaires, banksters, Vaticanites, Wall Streeters, globalists, etc. – began to plot how they were going to strike back, oust Donald Trump, and permanently return themselves to power.

In a nutshell, I believe this explains the last four years of nonstop shrieking from, and relentless attacks by, the establishment on Donald Trump, his supporters and about every single thing they have said and done. 

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Credit: AP
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, center, smiles with his mask pulled down as he watches an opening day baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at Nationals Park, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“New year, same old virus.  Masks on, Ohio.”  That was the cheery New Year’s greeting on the electronic message boards on the interstates around Cincinnati yesterday.

How is it that the government has managed to turn “fifteen days to flatten the curve” into over nine months of lockdowns, mask requirements, and social distancing with no end in sight?

From the very first time I heard about Covid and all the attendant liberty and economy destroying measures the experts insisted we follow lest we die the death, this entire so-called pandemic has struck this author as a psyop designed to allow wanna be tyrants the opportunity to enact measures they otherwise could never get away with.

From the standpoint of the authoritarians and globalists, Covid certainly has been a far better tool for restricting freedom and bolstering their own power than climate change. 

Compared to the threat of a supposedly killer virus which could strike you dead without warning while driving to work, climate change seemed downright boring.

Two years ago, socialist con-artist and Congress critter Alexandria Ocasio Cortez tried to scare people with her Green New Deal, eloquently warning people that, “like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”    

Queue the collective public yawn.    

But a killer virus, one that’s not merely an epidemic, but a pandemic?  Now that’s just the sort of thing to make people sit up and pay attention!  And pay attention they did.

Nearly the entire developed world went into lockdown mode in February and March of 2020.  When I first heard about lockdowns, I thought the whole idea was so absurd, so clearly a violation of people’s liberties, and so obviously destructive of the economy, that I really didn’t think governors would actually go through with them.

Obviously, I was wrong. 

Not only have public officials – including Ohio Governor Mike DeWine – embraced lockdowns, mask requirements, business closures, etc., but they have done so with great gusto and with relatively little effective pushback from citizens who are daily having their lives destroyed by their policies.

And it’s the pretty much the same wherever you go in the formerly free West.  Some places are a better, some are worse. But with very few exceptions, not only has Covid been used as an excuse to destroy liberty, but the level of destruction is continually ratcheted up.

Just today, CNBC ran the headline “Tougher lockdown restrictions likely on the way, says UK PM Boris Johnson.” 

The beatings will continue until moral improves!

It was only in November that headlines were declaring that the UK economy had suffered the worst recession in more than 300 years. 

Now, Boris Johnson wants to do more of the same thing that’s already substantially destroyed the economy of his country and the liberties of his people.

This is madness.

It’s also sinful.

But, sadly, it’s also typical of the sort of thinking that has gripped the minds of civil magistrates throughout the West.

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Is feudalism in our future? Medieval illustration, circa 1310.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

  • John 15.5

My heart is greatly troubled.  I hate, hate, hate what is happening to my nation and yet am powerless to do anything to stop it.

Mocking arrogant and hateful sinners are exalted.  And truth?  It’s cast to the ground. 

Just this past week, Pete Buttigieg was named as Joe Biden’s nominee for Transportation Secretary.  During his press conference, Buttigieg explained his love of transportation, describing how he proposed to his husband (sic) in an airport terminal.  Said Buttigieg, “Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic.” 

I doubt that even 5 years ago it would have been possible for someone to give a speech like this and remain politically viable.  But that’s just a measure of how fast the deluge of evil has been in so short a time. 

Mayor Pete – Buttigieg went by this title during presidential campaign season when he was running to be the Democratic presidential nominee – is a child of Satan.  Not only does he practice what is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, but he boasts about it.  Further, he encourages other to follow him in his sin.  And it this weren’t bad enough, while he’s doing all this he has the audacity to claim to be a Christian.     

In many ways, he’s the very embodiment of the antichristian line of thinking that is set to dominate the incoming Biden administration.  Buttigieg is smart, eloquent and highly educated, with the prestige of a Harvard degree to his credit.  He holds all the fashionable ideas beloved by the elite of our day.  The press loves him.  He has, as it were, gained the world.

But he is losing his soul.

Unless he repents, he will face a Christless an eternity in hell for his many, egregious sins.

And yet for all that, in the here and now he is winning.  And not just him, but many others of his ilk as well, chief among them Joe Biden himself.     

Joe Biden is an obvious crook and the head of the Biden crime family.  In addition to his own private crimes and those of son Hunter, he’s the beneficiary of an election stolen by the Democratic party machine.  For all his evil, he is set to be rewarded by being inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States a month from today.

And while Joe Biden goes from strength to strength, Donald Trump and his supports go from failure to failure. 

Bill Barr, Trump’s Attorney General, said there was no evidence of election fraud sufficient to have made a difference in the outcome of the election. 

All the court cases have been a bust.  The Supreme Court, the strong tower in which conservatives put their trust, dismissed the suit brought by the Texas Attorney General with a backhanded slap. 

Last week, Republican Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader in the Senate, congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the Electoral College vote.

In short, all the governmental machinery of the establishment has declared that Biden will be the next president, and there seems to be nothing to stop it at this point. 

I have prayed that it would not come to this, but, at least as of this writing, a Biden presidency seems inevitable. 

This does not mean that Christians ought not continue to pray.  Perhaps by some means a Biden or Harris inauguration can be prevented.  January 6th is the final step in the Constitutional electoral process, where Congress finalizes the vote of the Electoral College.  What happens if Trump supporters show up in force in Washington D.C. that day?  I don’t know. 

But given the failures of the Trump legal team so far and the momentum behind Biden, a Biden presidency appears inevitable as well as all the evils that will come with it.

How did it come to this? 

Why do the bad guys win?

Some Christian commentators I heard seem to be of the opinion that evil can’t triumph.  They rightly see Joe Biden as evil and, at least if I’m hearing them correctly, seem to think for that reason he can’t carry the day. 

But in this fallen world, sometimes evil does win temporary victories.  This isn’t speculation.  You can see this right in the pages of Scripture. 

God used the Philistines and other heathen nations to subject Israel from time to time as punishment for their sins.  Things eventually got so bad that the Lord used the wicked nations of Assyria and Babylon to take the Jews into captivity for their rebellion against him. 

In the New Testament, Satan won what he thought was a victory with the death of Christ on the cross.  His victory proved short lived.

If evil can triumph in the Scriptures, it should come as no surprise that evil can score victories in our own day.  Even a brief review of recent history should show anyone just how far from the paths of righteousness governments can stray.  The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China are but of few of the evil regimes in recent times. 

All this leads to the question, so why do the bad guys win?

We know that all of history is in the hands of God, and that nothing happens apart from his willing it to happen.  God did not merely allow Joseph Stalin to carry out his reign of terror, he caused it to happen as part of his eternal decree. 

But while appealing to the decrees of God is appropriate, usually when people wonder why it is that evil sometimes wins the day, they’re looking for something more specific.

In the Old Testament, God often used prophets to explain the reason such and such a disaster had befallen his people. 

Today, we don’t have prophets, but we do have the Word of God which gives us example after example of how God deals with nations and their rulers and how he uses them for his own purposes. 

While I don’t pretend to have the exact answer why Joe Biden stands at the precipice of the presidency, but we can look at the Scriptures for some clues why this may be the case.

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Pharaoh decrees the drowning of every new male offspring among the Israelites by Michiel van der Borch, 1332.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.

  • Hebrews 11:23

We Christians in the West have been singularly blessed in that we have rarely been faced with the option of either obeying God or our governors.  For the most part, the laws of the state have not required us to violate our consciences.

But that period of relative peace seems to be drawing to a close. 

In the next few years, it is very likely Christians in America and elsewhere in the formerly free West will be faced with a choice either of obeying the civil authorities or God. 

This will come as a new and strange experience for most of us.  In my own life, I’ve not found myself in such a position.  Ideally, this should be the case.  Civil magistrates, if they are properly doing their jobs, will seek to pass laws that are in accord with the law of God.  The Bible tells us that one of the two legitimate functions of civil government is to “praise the good,” by which is meant pass laws that are in accord with God’s law.  If men violate these laws, they are to be punished.  This leads to the other legitimate function of civil government, punishing those who practice evil by breaking those laws.

Perhaps in part because Christians in the West have, for the most part, not had to face the choice of either obeying the civil magistrate or God, many Western Christians are uncomfortable with talk of civil disobedience.  “That’s the stuff of Marxists and radicals,” they may say.  “After all, it says right there in Romans 13, ‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.’ That settles the matter.” 

This argument carries a lot of weight with Christians.  It certainly seems convincing, at least if we take this passage in isolation.  Christians, it appears, must without question always obey the government in all things everywhere no matter what.  And if Christians do not obey all governmental edicts to the letter, they get what they have coming to them when they are punished by the civil authorities. 

I have no doubt but that most ordinary Christians who hold this position are sincere in what they say.  They want to be law abiding citizens.  But if we follow out this form of thinking to its ultimate conclusion, we find that the practical effect of their stance – Christians must always obey the government in whatever it says – is some form of tyranny, where right an wrong are determined by the will of the leader.  Put another way, Christians who hold this position are unknowingly endorsing the fuhererprinzip, the leadership principle, where whatever the leader says goes. 

But the fuhererprinzip is not Christian. Christians are not called to blindly follow government edicts, but to compare what their civil magistrates are saying with the Scriptures.  The Christian idea of judging the statements of civil magistrates, and all others for that matter, by the Scriptures is known, not as the fuhererprinzip, but the Schriftprinzip, or the writing principle.

In his essay “Christ and Civilization,” John Robbins provides several quotes from Martin Luther on the Schriftprinzip.    

  • We intend to glory in nothing but Holy Scripture, and we are certain that the Holy Spirit cannot oppose and contradict himself.
  • I have learned to hold only the Holy Scripture inerrant. All other writings I so read that, however learned or holy they may be, I do not hold what they teach to be true unless they prove by Scripture or reason that it must be so.
  • Putting aside all human writings, we should spend all the more and all the more persistent labor on Holy Scriptures alone…. Or tell me, if you can, who is the final judge when statements of the fathers contradict themselves? In this event the judgment of Scripture must decide the issue, which cannot be done if we do not give Scripture the first place…so that it [the Bible] is in itself the most certain, most easily understood, most plain, is its own interpreter, approving, judging, and illuminating all the statements of all men…. Therefore nothing except the divine words are to be the first principles for Christians; all human words are conclusions drawn from them and must be brought back to them and approved by them.
  • Scripture itself…alone is the fount of all wisdom.
  • And even in the writings of the fathers we should accept nothing that does not agree with Scripture. Scripture alone must remain the judge and master of all books.

Now if what Luther said is true, and it is, then this implies that Christians have, not only the right, but the duty before God, to compare what their civil magistrate is saying with the Scriptures.  And if it is found that the laws of the state require what Scripture forbids, or forbid what Scripture requires, then they are bound to obey God rather than men. 

But not only is civil disobedience an implication of the Scriptures, there are many examples in Scripture of believers resisting tyrannical edicts of civil magistrates.  And these individuals, far from being censured by the Word of God, are praised for the stances they took. 

With this in mind, let’s look at some of these examples of resistance to tyranny in the Bible.

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