Stand Your Ground In the Evil Day
Posted on July 1, 2019
Christian leaders who until the last five years stood for biblical truth and historic orthodoxy are caving in record numbers to what Francis Schaeffer called “forms of the world spirit”: Cultural Marxism (“social justice”), “wokeness,” ideological feminism, same-sex “marriage” and “-attraction,” “Christian socialism,” and upgraded Darwinism. These “thought leaders” among evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Gospel Coalition, and numerous churches and other ministries decry “toxic masculinity,” “white privilege,” and the literal historical account of Genesis. Faithful followers, accustomed to trusting their leaders, are unsettled and perplexed. Has the church in the West really been guilty of “systemic racism”? Must Christians accept same-sex desire as normative? Are males simply presumed to be guilty of misusing power with females? Is insisting on the historicity of Adam and Eve a barrier to the Gospel? It’s no wonder so many in the pews are anxious.
While Christian leaders can be sincere but misled, there can be little doubt that the chief impetus behind the current wholesale defection is simply craven compromise, the desire to curry favor and popularity in an apostate age suckled on individual autonomy. When leaders change their views on historically (and biblically) settled issues just a few years after these issues have become unsettled (and re-settled as apostasy) in the wider culture, we can be confident that we’re observing compromise, not sincere rethinking. A shift would be more laudable if it cut against the grain of the cultural fabric: if, for example, a Christian college president concluded that his institution should issue a formal declaration repudiating Obamacare, or that after much prayer a pastor proposes the church amend its statement of faith to expressly oppose both garden-variety KKK racism as well as Left-wing “affirmative action” racism. It takes no courage, Francis Schaeffer taught us in the late 60’s, to wear blue jeans as an anti-establishment statement when almost everybody is wearing blue jeans.
Don’t Follow Errant Leaders
Meanwhile, followers, church members, laypersons, and patrons would be well advised to heed these items of counsel. First, the fact that your leaders change doesn’t mean you must change. The Bible is replete with warnings to errant leaders of godly followers, issued from the old covenant prophets to John the apostle. The calling of leaders is precarious precisely because of their measure of influence (Jas. 3:1). But sheep are not required to follow errant shepherds, and certainly not wolves. Don’t simply assume a pastor or popular speaker is faithful to the Lord. Don’t suppose that the size of his audience (or number of Twitter followers) is the measure of his faithfulness. Examine his (or her!) teaching in light of the Scriptures. If the apostle Paul commended his followers for scrutinizing his own teaching (Ac. 17:10–11), you can be certain that he expected all Christian followers to follow their lead.
Don’t Be Sentimental
Second, don’t be sentimental about institutions. If they leave the Faith, you must leave them. Churches that were once faithful to the Lord have drifted toward heresy (like City Church-San Francisco). Christian ministries that once championed Biblical faith have become little more than social clubs (the Salvation Army is a striking example). Christian colleges and seminaries that began with godly men on their knees wishing to establish a training center for devout young Christians have been gradually infested by unbelief, higher criticism, socialism, Darwinism, and Cultural Marxism. This is true of every Ivy League college, and increasingly true of a number of evangelical colleges and seminaries (like Wheaton and Azusa Pacific). Christians associated with these sorts of churches and institutions sometimes feel a sentimental loyalty: “I’ve been attending here for 40 years, and I feel comfortable.” Or, “My parents are buried in the church cemetery.” Or, “I’m a graduate of this college or seminary and just can’t pull away.” And they allow their sentimentality to blind them to the apostasy before their eyes. Many continue to support this apostasy with their attendance and money. This is wrong. Abandon apostasy and redirect your prayer, time, effort, and money toward orthodox, Bible-believing, uncompromising, culture-reclaiming churches and ministries. The fact that sectarians draw the lines too quickly and narrowly (over denominational distinctives, for example) doesn’t mean there are no lines. There are bold, God-drawn lines, and they must not be crossed.
Don’t Stay Mute in the Face of Evil
In Ephesians 5:11 Paul writes, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” We don’t have the luxury of obeying only the first half of that verse. The second half of that verse puts pressure on today’s craven Christianity, which says, “I know that I must avoid sin, and I’ll obey to please God. But other people have to make up their own minds. They’re responsible for their own actions. That’s their business, not mine. I’ll just go about my own life.” But that is precisely what Paul does not say. He commands, first, that we separate ourselves entirely from the works of darkness. He also commands that we expose those works. In other words, it’s not sufficient quietly and covertly to avoid evil. We must overtly expose it. The prime reason that we today find this expectation distasteful is that we have a diminished view of God’s holiness. God deplores sin. It diminishes; it deranges, it destroys, and it damns. Curbing sin is a God-honoring act. We must, of course, curb it first in our own lives, and only then in the lives of others, always charitably; and we must never limit that exposure to the “private” sphere. We must expose cultural evils no less than individual evils. The Bible places a high premium on unity, and we dare not sunder it for “light and transient causes.” But Cultural Marxism, homosexuality, and socialism are not light and transient causes.
Ours is an age of rampant social depravity but, in addition, and even more tragically, pervasive defection within the church. It is analogous to what happened about 100 years ago when Protestant liberalism captured almost all of the mainline denominations in the U.S. and England. We will win the war, but there will be no victory without battles. We must stand charitably, firmly, without rancor, but also without flinching. Remember at all times that our great enemy is Satan and his minions. Soon in eternity we must stand before the Lord. Until then our charge is: Stand your ground in the evil day (Eph. 6:13).
 Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway, 1984), 111–140.
 Of course, justice ( = righteousness) should be social, and a culture must be just, according to God’s moral law, but this is not what most “Social Justice Warriors” mean at all. They are simply Leftists with a pious veneer.
 Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, 99.
 John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians in Calvin’s Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 21:310–311.