In these troubled times, I remind myself that this world is not my home. I know there will come a day when we have no more sorrow or pain. What a glorious day that will be! Though we may want to meet him in the air today, Jesus’s prayer was not to ask that we be taken from the world, but that we be kept from the evil one as we carry out the great commission:
I have given them our word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:14-19).
We are in this world for one purpose: to tell the truth, that is, to share the gospel of salvation through repentance, trust, and obedience to Christ – all the while in the midst of an earthly world system that is in direct opposition to God, a world that will hate us as it hated him.
What’s more, I believe there will be an acceleration of evil as the enemy (Satan) knows his time is short (Rev 2:2). As in the beginning, he deceived Adam and Eve with the lie that if they disobeyed God, they too would have wisdom to know “good and evil” (Genesis 3: 5). The opposite, sadly, has been the case. Society is now calling evil “good” and good “evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Therefore, is it any wonder that God’s protective hand is lifting, allowing man to live under the consequences of his own making?
Note Romans 1:18-20:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. And though they knew God, they did not honor him and give thanks. They became empty in their speculations; their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. Amen.
It is mankind that has chosen to suppress the truth and exchange it for their own reality. One way we are seeing this is in the form of gender identity politics. It is thought that children have the capacity to “decide” their gender. 1 There is even a YouTube by the BBC that stated there to be “over 100 types of genders”. 2 What an example of “speculations” set against Genesis 5:2, which simply states, “Male and female he created them.”
According to John 8:47, the unregenerate mind isn’t even capable of decerning truth from a lie. Considering the propaganda of “cancel culture” and onslaught of today’s media, we are not only seeing more obvious rebellion, but “hearty approval” to those who practice it (Romans 1:32). We see the legalization of abortion, the defunding of police, people judged not by their character but by the color of their skin, and attacks against the church in the name of “equality”.
In short, the culture that is overshadowing this country is held together by lies. It gains power through lies. After all, Satan himself is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). How are these lies perpetuated? By continued indoctrination of deception while silencing voices that speak against them.
For the first time in history, big tech is censoring conservative voices. Recently, Facebook has penalized conservative talk show host Mark Levin3 and Amazon has banned books critical of LGBTQ.4 Christian social movements, such as March for Life are left out of news reports only to give airtime to this summer’s BLM riots.5 Biblical morality with regard to LGBTQ behavior is considered hate speech, even when spoken objectively.
While it is true that Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are private companies and can legally control their content, when these platforms have such a vast global reach, there needs to be reform. The much bigger concern from a spiritual (and civil) perspective is the potential for increased silencing of conservative, particularly Christian voices. Censorship lies in not just what is being blocked/never covered and news channel biases, but also in alternatives that get push-back (think Parler). In these agendas, we can begin to see a loss of our First Amendment rights.
How should we respond?
As believers, how should we respond to censorship that is moving towards telling us what we can and cannot read, say, or write? We find some insight in scripture:
First and foremost, we can’t engage in hate speech, but to continue to speak the truth in love. The Bible warns against slander, (Psalm 101:5, Proverbs 10:18 and James 4:11), and we cannot look like the world in any respect.
Some have suggested speaking in allegory. After all, Jesus taught in parables. However, when he did, he always explained them to those who would listen…and he never shied away from presenting the gospel message, which must be communicated. The story of Phillip and the eunuch come to mind. The eunuch was reading Isaiah and asked Phillip “how do I understand it unless someone explains it?” (Acts 8:26-40). It illustrates the importance of clear biblical teaching and interpretation. One look at those misled by false doctrine can tell you that a distinct message of repentance and trust in Christ alone must be in focus. The gospel is essential. Otherwise, we may have a nice inoffensive message which has little contrast to the world.
Second, we must understand that this is a spiritual battle. Second Corinthians 10:3-5 reminds us that “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
It reminds us that the battle is the Lord’s, and the best weapons we have are prayer, obedience, and trust. This leads us to the final and most important point.
We must remember that the church will prevail. When Peter confessed Christ as “the Son of the living God”, Jesus replied with a wonderful promise: “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We are assured that God’s word will prevail as well. In Christ’s account of the last days in Matthew 24, he adds, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away”. (Matthew 24: 35).
There is a great clarifying quality to persecution. Will we be silenced, or will we be prepared to pay the price of our convictions? One day, when all is said and done, all lies will be annihilated, all evil will be exposed, and in God’s pure and eternal kingdom, there will only be glory, honor, and truth.