Monday, 26 August 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

When a Public Mind Cannot Repent

Many Christian activists and reformers are in that position because they see — they anticipate, they look forward, they can run out the consequences. If they were in a position to do so, they would be good providers for our society. The word provide comes from two Latin words, meaning to see beforehand. You can give the provision because you saw it coming.

When someone sees ordinary things coming — springtime and harvest, for example — he is considered diligent. The sluggard is surprised by the arrival of winter. He wants desperately, but has nothing (Prov. 13:4). He is reduced to begging in the time of harvest (Prov. 20:4). But can you warn him beforehand? Not a bit of it — he is wiser in his own conceits than seven men with good reasons (Prov. 26:16).

When someone sees extraordinary things coming — the famine that threatened Egypt, for example — he is considered a prophet like Joseph. When someone truly identifies future things in a way that is not consistent with chance, we say that he is a prophet of God (Is. 41:23). And (in a movie) if someone were able to predict the winning lottery numbers, we would say it was clairvoyance . . . or cheating.

But when someone sees damnation coming to someone, the more his prediction is confirmed, the more it is discounted and despised.
This applies to individuals who are in the process of apostasy, and it applies to cultures that are coming apart. Those who anticipate, those who see, those who predict, are like Cassandra, speaking the truth and never believed. This is because of the very nature of damnation. When someone is spiraling toward the darkness, the light doesn’t get any better as he goes. This is happening to them because they can’t see. This is what a judicial stupor is.

Let me illustrate it with individuals first, and then move on to our culture at large. Suppose you have two partners in a business, fast friends. They have strong fellowship together, and are very much of one mind (Ps. 56:14). After a few years, one of them starts to say and do some strange things — reading odd books, watching movies he shouldn’t, dropping the random comment here and there. The two friends talk about it, agreeing to disagree at the end, but the healthy friend remains worried.

Then one day something happens that makes a bigger confrontation necessary. Not the end of the world, but it needs to be addressed. Suppose the one friend says to the other, in a spirit of frank earnestness, that if you keep this up, if you keep thinking like this, if you continue going in this direction, you are going to wind up divorcing your wife, and you will run off with some teenage boy who wants to become a model in Manhattan. And after you are gone, we will discover how much money you embezzled. “Don’t do this to me, man.” The other friend is shocked, and denies all of it. “That could never happen. It saddens me to think . . .”

Now — five years later, he divorces his wife, runs off with a boy who was 13 when the prediction was made, and the auditor calls the remaining partner with some bad news. And the point is this. For the person who is apostatizing, for the person who is falling away, the accuracy of the predictions made beforehand does not in any way confirm that he is in the wrong. The nature of doing wrong is self-will, with the outside world and all its facts considered to be irrelevant. To the extent they are thought about at all, they are just an additional grievance. Every confirmation of the truth after the event is filed in the "how-dare-he" file.

This is our position as we are trying to confront our nation. Each new outrage is met with a new set of predictions, and is answered with a fusillade of denunciations, denials, and curses. Homosexual marriage doesn’t mean polygamy, you bozo. Polygamy doesn’t mean sanctioned pederasty, you bozo. Then, three weeks after the ink is dry on the Gay-Is-The-New-Straight legislation, who do you find testifying before Congress? Is it the Big Love family? What a shock. But if you hope that pointing out that you called this shot beforehand, and that it was stoutly denied beforehand by everybody in the room, will convince anybody in the room now, you are living in a dream world. Winning an argument, with documents and everything, is not what brings repentance.

This is because cultural damnation is denial of God, denial of the truth, denial of reason, denial of what is obvious, and it is denial of all these things, no matter what. Absolutely anything can be repulsed (and will be repulsed) by a heart in this condition. A private heart in this condition cannot repent. A public mind in this condition cannot repent. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can cause the old heart to see. And that is why, when the Spirit moves, He does what He does by giving a new heart.

And when He does that, nothing can stop Him.

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