Thursday, 8 November 2018

Signs of an Apocalypse

When God Gives Them Up

Evil is not a constant.  Like all things human, it waxes and wanes.  One of the clearest passages in this regard is Romans 1: 18-32.  This passage describes and prescribes what Van Til called the integration into the void.

All men, apart from those quickened to life by the Spirit of God, suppress the truth to some extent or another.  God's existence, glory, power, and wisdom is overtly displayed to all men.  But men, in rebellion against God and lusting after their own glory and power, suppress these self-evident truths.  At that point, things become much worse, for the Scripture says when men attempt to suppress God it is so egregious a response that He gives them up.  [Romans 1: 24].

The first sign of a culture in the throws of being abandoned by God is an increase in lusts and "dishonouring their bodies".  Then comes a rise in homosexuality.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.   [Romans 1:26, 27]
Clearly Western civilization is in the throes of divine desertion.
  Homosexuality represents the celebration of a death culture.  Homosexuality represents a form of acute self-absorption. Out of it flows a plethora of evils which can be generally described as a hatred of mankind and self.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  [Romans 1: 28-31]
One only has to recall the demise of civil society in our day and its replacement with strident shouting and rampaging hate across social media to have a case study of what divine desertion is like.

It is inevitable that when God gives a culture up, hatred of Christians in particular rises leading to outright persecution.  Here is just one example in the UK.
Between 1719 and 1871, Parliament repealed various laws that had excluded Roman Catholics and Nonconformist Christians from employment in certain professions, including teaching.  In 1854 and 1856, University Test Acts, which excluded people from studying at certain universities unless they affirmed particular beliefs, were repealed.  However, in 2015, academics at Sheffield University effectively introduced a new University Test Act by expelling a student from a social work course because he had posted comments on Facebook supporting a biblical view of marriage. [Barnabas Fund, Turn the Tide: Reclaiming Religious Freedom in New Zealand, 2018 p. 24.]
This does not mean that the Church will be shut down.  After all, the Gospel spread widely and powerfully amongst the Gentiles of Paul's day--despite the fact that God had given up the Gentiles in general and their culture.  But it does imply that the progress of the Gospel will be marked by resistance and persecution. 

Persecution of the Church, of Christians becomes the norm.  We are to see this for what it is--a divine judgement upon the West.  Eventually this situation will be reversed--but possibly only after many generations, even centuries, have passed.  Meanwhile, the Gospel continues to spread powerfully elsewhere in the world--bringing many social benefits in its train.

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