The title of this blog might surprise you. It is the title of an article by Robert P George, professor of law at Princeton. He points out that secular liberals or “progressives” are making little effort to maintain “the pretense of neutrality.” “Having gained the advantage” notes George, “on battle front after battle front in the modern culture war, and having achieved hegemony in elite sectors of the culture….there is no longer any need to pretend.”
Steven Smith in his book “Pagans and Christians in the City” names this aggressive liberalism as “paganism.” What he [Smith] perceives, notes George, “is that contemporary social liberalism reflects certain core ideas and beliefs …… that partially defined the traditions of paganism that were dominant in the ancient Mediterranean world……..until the point at which they were defeated….by the Jewish sect that came to be known as Christianity.” Christians were like “resident aliens” in the world, following a God who was transcendent, whereas pagans located the sacred within the world.
These two worldviews clashed with the spread of the gospel in the first centuries of the church. No where was the clash greater than in sexuality. “The Christian view of sexuality was not only radically alien,” notes Smith, “it was close to incomprehensible.” There was a fear that Christians would “turn the lights out on the party.” In the West, the Christian sexual ethic prevailed until the present time.
But now in our day the lights have been turned on once again and the party is going again. It is “live and let live” when it comes to sexual morality. The old Christian ethic is “no longer operative.” We are entering into what George calls a “new Diocletian age,” similar to the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
“The culture war is over; they lost, we won…..Taking a hard line is better than trying to accommodate the losers who are defending positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all” declares Mark Tushnet. The neo-pagans are not willing to accommodate Christians in the public square, when they dissent from progressive orthodoxy.
There are people “who want to ensure that we never again get near the light switch and that we are properly punished for having switched off the lights to the party in the first place.” So what are believers with a biblical worldview to do in the coming days.
George give three options. First that of capitulation and acquiescence. There are whole denominations that practice a visible evidence of faith but have no moral substance. George believes they have made themselves “useful idiots” of neo-paganism.
The two other options are between “flight or fight.” Rod Dreher has a strategic retreat in his promotion of the “Benedict Option.” Christian are to build arks in order to endure the coming flood. Believers would still be involved in the affairs of the world, while attending to intentional community for the sake of maintaining to faith.
The third option is that of staying in the public square and fighting. George opts for fight, saying “the cost of discipleship is a heavy cost……the days of comfortable Christianity are over.” We are, in his opinion, “back in the position of our forebears in imperial Rome.”
So men we are at a crossroads. Accommodation is not an option. Will it be flight or fight? I personally lean toward flight ( building an ark through my church) rather than fight. But I know that I will need to take a stand among the pagans. God give me grace to stand for Jesus
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