Questions: they often linger, mysteriously, even hauntingly.
Nor is it the unanswered and unanswerable questions that are necessarily the most troubling. It is often, perhaps more often, the questions with answers that stay with us, demanding our attention. Maybe that is why humans often are happier with unanswered questions; questions of life, death, and eternity.
Recent circumstances in the providence of God have turned my thoughts more in this direction. I recently received a text from my cousin informing me that his mother had died. In the same week, a vibrant Christian sister about my age died after a struggle with terminal illness. Even more recently I found out that my Father has been diagnosed with stage four melanoma. All of these have reminded me of the rhetorical question asked by James in his inspired letter to struggling Christians: “What is your life…?” To which he replies; “It is but a vapor, appearing for a little time, then vanishing.”
I will soon turn sixty-three. Even if I live a relatively long life, most of it is gone. Which leads me back to the question James proposes. It is more than a reminder of the certainty of death, although it is that. It is a soul-searching question about the meaning of life, especially for the child of God. It is as much a question of why and where as it is what. It is a question of purpose, direction, and destiny. How then can we profit from pondering James’ question and applying its answers?
I urge you to do three things:
First: Embrace the Uncertainty of Life.
Both the surrounding circumstances and the personal conditions of life are uncertain. It is certainly foolish to approach life without plans. But it is just as foolish, perhaps more so, to make plans without God. Everything is predicated upon the active providence of our Lord. Circumstances change, sometimes rapidly and sometimes drastically. This is not abnormal. This is Providential! In like manner, personal conditions of physical, mental, and emotional health as well as financial status can all change, as a quick look at the opening chapters of the book of Job reminds us. If you and I do not embrace this reality, we could become disappointed, frustrated, angry, and even bitter.
Second: Embrace the Brevity of Life.
In August of 1963, my mother began to have labor pains. My Father rushed my sisters and me to our relatives and my mother to the hospital. Soon we were told of the birth of a boy. I had a brother, and, being the only boy, I was naturally excited. But it was only in the next day or two that young Daniel began to have problems and died. My hopes of a brother to share life with were dashed and my nine year old heart was broken. For me, that was an early lesson on the brevity of life. Life’s duration is short, even at its longest. This life’s termination is sure.
Third: Embrace the Priority of Life.
Woven into the text of this exhortation by James is his inspired answer to his question: “What is your life?” We face all the uncertainty of this brief life with one priority: the will of God. Life is not something to be tenaciously held to. Rather it is a valuable gift to be invested. The believer does not spend his or her life nor does he waste it. He invests it. “If the Lord wills….” is not a cliche. It is a way of life. The will of God is not a hard to find lost treasure. It is the path of a disciple. We invest our lives seeking God’s will in the only place God reveals it: in His Word. God’s will is also something that He unfolds in His own good time, as He leads by His Spirit, for “…. as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” “A man’s heart devises his way, but the LORD directs his steps”(Prov.16:9). He must be the Lord of our plans. Then we invest our life in doing God’s will. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. God has revealed His will. It is ours, by His grace, to obey.” “What is your life…?” Its direction, its purpose, its destiny are all in His hands. “Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” To this end we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be pleasing to Him”(2Cor. 5:9).
“A long time ago in a ‘place’ far far away”, something happened that changed the course of the church, western civilization, and the world. It affected what you believe, how you live, where you attend church, and the influence of world wide missions. It turned Europe from a dark continent into a vibrant, thriving one; from a continent afraid to think to a culture bursting with ideas; from a continent of people who could hardly see beyond their doors to a people with the horizon for their vision. If this seems like hyperbole, it is not. No event since the birth of Christ has had such an impact. Indeed it is difficult to overestimate its significance. And while the secular world may choose to ignore it, it cannot escape it. The ideological freedom and openness of thought that is so ostensibly valued today is due, at least in part, to it. Though it was a sovereign act of God, He used men to bring it to pass; men who were resolved to stand no matter what the cost might be. It was their resolve, by God’s grace, that led a continent from darkness to light.
The event I am referring to is the Reformation. This fall we will commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of its beginning. There were preludes to it, but when a mere mortal took the initiative to nail his Biblical theses in a most obvious place, the battle was on. The fire had been lighted, and there was no extinguishing it. Martin Luther was that man who, standing on the shoulders of Huss, Wycliffe, and others, led the charge into the Biblical and theological darkness when it seemed unsafe, unwise, and unfruitful. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists all have roots there, as do others. And later, those who were spiritual descendants of the reformers made their way across an ocean to a New World. Is it all that difficult for the modern thinking Christian to see something of the present day importance of these men and this event? Must we agree with everything they said and did in order to appreciate their work and apply the truth they sacrificed so much to pass on. And dare we undervalue their work and testimony by ignoring their example and legacy. But surely the need for reformation is past. We benefit from their life and work, true enough, but how much and for how long should we dwell on the past? What’s done is done, and this is a new day with new challenges and fresh ideas.
Or could it be that a darkness all too similar to the darkness of those pre-reformation days has slowly and almost imperceptibly surrounded the contemporary church? Have we lost sight of the ideas and beliefs that brought new life to the church five hundred years ago? Could it be that the people of God need a new generation preachers of old truth and a new generation of common men and women with the uncommon resolve to stand once again?
As October and the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation’s beginning approach, will you make plans to join us at Passion4Christ Summit. Together we will take a new look, not just at the Reformation, but at the need for fresh resolve to stand on and for Christ and His Word. How can we do anything else?
Yours for Christ and the Gospel,
Three months after the election of 2016, it seems that cooler heads are not necessarily prevailing. We have had time to see our first glimpses of the Trump presidency, hear words of adulation from some, and screams of anger from others. It seems every general election (the ones in which we elect a President) brings new cries and claims from left and right that this is the most important election of our time. While these claims may elicit from us yawns and criticisms of overstatement, it does seem that we live in an era in which every four years brings us the challenge that this election is indeed the most significant yet. Perhaps this is because we are witnessing a culture “civil war” with major battles occurring at the ballot booth. The deep cultural and moral divide only deepens as the stakes escalate. We watch and wait with varying degrees of optimism. As evangelical Christians we hope and pray that our God will have mercy on us, not giving us what we deserve but what we are convinced we need.
I have been among those who have hoped and prayed for certain results in local, state, and national election. I believe there is Biblical warrant to pray for political leaders before as well as after they are elected. As returns have come in I have had the experience of gratitude and even elation. I have also experienced deep disappointment and concern.
This election brought to me a mixed bag of concerns, convictions, and confused and convoluted feelings. I have reminded myself and others that our hope is not in worldly leaders and their agendas. I have recalled this: “For promotion does not come from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He puts down one, and raises up another”(Ps. 75:6,7). “My hope(whether here or in eternity) is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” My head is not in the sand however. I voted prayerfully, conscientiously, and convictionally. When Joshua was about to enter the Promised Land with the children of Israel, he had an incredible experience. He was confronted by a man with his sword drawn. On the cusp of warfare, Joshua naturally wondered if the man was friend or foe, and he voiced his concern. The man identified himself, then in the words of a well-known preacher of the recent past said;”I’m not here to take sides. I’m here to take charge.” We who call ourselves evangelical Christians are submitted to and trusting in the “Commander of the Lord’s army”. He is in charge. We are beholden to no man or party. The purposes of our Lord are sure and will come to pass. We must not fret because of evil doers or find unbiblical comfort in those who appear to be on our side. I am, I think, a patriot. But my patriotism is not primary. I am prone to be far too attached to this world and far too satisfied with what it offers. That is why I remind myself that my “citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself. Therefore my brothers(and sisters),… stand fast in the Lord,…”(Phil. 3:20-4:1). Thank God this is not all there is. Let us not therefore think and live as though it is. Let us attempt to live every moment to the glory of God, make every decision with eternity in view, “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,…”
The world is searching for genuine joy. They may call it something else or look for it under the guise of fun or pleasure, but the basic need is still the same: joy. And what a time to find and express joy: Christmas, the incarnation. God has stooped to meet man’s greatest need: sinless God for sinful man. While the joy of Christians is unspeakable, our sense of humility is understandable. What would we be without our Lord’s work on our behalf? It is a time to contrast what we deserve with what we enjoy. The wide path to eternal hell and exchanged for the crown of life and eternal glory.
This is the reality of Christmas joy and is expressed so eloquently by H. R. Bramley in his incarnation poem.
A babe on the breast of a maiden He lies,
Yet sits with the Father on high in the skies,
Before Him their faces the seraphim hide,
While Joseph stands waiting, unscared by His side.
Oh, wonder of wonders, which none can unfold!
The Ancient of Days is an hour or two old,
The Maker of all things is made of the earth,
Man is worshipped by angels, and God comes to birth.
The Word in the bliss of the Godhead remains,
Yet in flesh comes to suffer the keenest of pains,
He is that He was, and forever shall be,
But becomes what He was not for you and for me.
This Christmas remember the most memorable gift, the most remarkable event, the most unspeakable joy.
Dear Friends of the Ministry,
We were nearing the end of our time at P4C 2016 when an attendee approached me with some much appreciated words of thanks. I will not quote him verbatim, but he asked a question something like this, “How did this happen? How did your family come to minister together like this?” He added that it was something he would like to do one day. His question was both surprising and humbling. It’s answer is an occasion to give our God thanks and moves me to tears even as I write. How is it that the Cavanaugh family came to minister together as we do?
As I told my brother then, such things do not come together on a whim. They are or should be the fruit of life. As a young man I noticed most young people did not seem to have the same passion and hunger for Christ and His truth as their parents. As I grew older, God gave me the desire and hope to avoid such generational decline. When I entered the pastoral ministry, I longed to have a lasting influence on men and their families. He gave me a wife who shared that desire. We wanted the Cavanaugh family to love Christ together and to show that love for His glory. My prayer and vision was that God would use us to touch the nations, to proclaim His Word, and to touch the next generation for Christ.
The Cavanaugh family is just a small part of what God is doing, but we are grateful to have that part. When I first began to pray about these things, there was no such thing as a blog or podcast. Today we produce “CrossTalk” – a weekly podcast – and maintain a blog on our website. My prayer to touch the nations has witnessed God’s gracious providence in leading Daniel and Micah around the world to minister Christ. Daniel has lead several trips to South America, and since Daniel’s marriage, Micah has continued, leading a trip to Ecuador just last Summer and Summers before that. Many of you have had a part in this, including a trip Pam and I took to Ecuador to lead a Family Leadership Conference a few years back. Micah not only has recently led annual trips to Ecuador, but also serves the Lord in a local church in New Braunfels, TX. God has also placed him strategically in the field of politics and government where he can have an impact for Christ.
The Cavanaugh family as always enjoyed encouraging pastors and their wives, having picnics for local pastors at our home. I have recently had the privilege of teaching a pastoral ministries and leadership class at our church as well. It is our hope that the Lord will open other doors for ministering to men of God. Perhaps the biggest blessing to the Cavanaugh family in all of this is Passion4Christ Summit. It kicks off the Christmas season for us and is the highlight of our year. Our anticipation builds as we look forward to seeing familiar faces and making new friends in Christ. Since 2008, over 500 Christian singles have attended P4C. If we have been allowed by our Lord to have any influence at all, it is that we have encouraged those who have come to carry the reality of Christ and His Gospel effectively to this and the next generation.
One of the great blessings is that Vision4Living is no longer four but five. Daniel’s wife, Michelle, is an answer to prayer, having been raised in a Christ-centered, ministry-minded family. She shares in the vision of the Cavanaugh family to touch and change the next generation for Christ. And part of the fulfillment of that vision is that by God’s grace she will deliver another little Cavanaugh into the Cavanaugh family in February. Michelle’s heart for God and love for people will be used by our Lord to make the Cavanaugh family more complete as she and Daniel raise up a generation to know and love Christ and make Him known to their generation and the generations to come.
As I answered the question of that young man at P4C 2016, I sensed the need to make one thing very clear. The Cavanaugh family is not a special family. We are a very ordinary family. We sin. We have conflict. We have to work through these things as much as you and your family. We need Christ moment by moment and day by day, and we live by His grace. Our hope is that the years to come will find us faithful to Him and to the vision and task of touching and changing the next generation for Him. We ask you to prayerfully consider joining the Cavanaugh family in this work by giving to Vision4Living Ministries during this year’s Reasons to Give Campaign. If you are not able to give, we understand. If you choose not to, may our Lord bless you in whatever way may please Him to use you in the great cause of the Gospel. Christ and His glory are always the Reason to Give. Thank you and thank the Lord for all you mean to us.
To God be the Glory,
There is such a shortage of it. It is not impossible to find, but it gets crowded out by the bad news. The big three, “sin, sorrow, and death”, seem to be having their way. They own the news. Meanwhile, righteousness is diminished, and wickedness abounds. It is somewhat frightening.
The anti-God forces are having their way. It is seen in radical Islam killing many and terrifying many others. It is seen in the advance of secularism in the United States; a militant secularism that will not be satisfied until it silences every voice and every remnant of Theo-centric, Christo-centric, and Biblio-centric truth. We see it in a church that still pins its hopes on a national leader who will turn the tide in another direction: a church far happier with its comforts and conveniences than with Christ and Christ alone. It seems as though we spend our days waiting for the next big tragedy and wondering if anything can stop the forces of darkness. As Christians, we can hardly help wondering if our day is one that will witness an onslaught of persecutions that western Christianity has not yet seen. If we are not careful, we could be caught up in the uncertainty and dread that grips the world. We could succumb, at least subconsciously, to such fear.
But what is actually happening around us? Are things as they appear? The answer is yes and no. Yes, the world is rife with evil. In the United States, the days of cultural Christianity are gone with hardly noticeable remnants here and there. Judeo-Christian values and a Puritan ethic that once dominated the cultural landscape have all but disappeared and are fodder for jokes and cynicism even in some Christian circles. The leaders of our nation pay lip service to Christianity, while denying and undermining every vestige of Christian and Biblical orthodoxy.Sin and perversion are applauded while righteousness is hated. The nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing. But Psalm 2 does not make that as a statement. It poses it as a question. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” The question is as appropriate today as it was in the day of the Psalmist. Why indeed do the rulers of the world set themselves? Why indeed do they take counsel together against the LORD and against His Christ? For what appears to be the triumph of evil men, is but a prelude to their ultimate fall. “He Who sits in the heavens laughs. He scoffs at them.” The world may be falling apart around us, but our Lord is having His way. “He does whatever He pleases.” Fret not because of evil doers,… They shall soon be cut off and wither as the grass. Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; … Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Shall we fret and not trust our mighty God? Shall we fear that His Gospel will not prevail? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” For those who know Christ, the good news of the Gospel overshadows all the bad news, and it is that good news that we gladly bear as a light to the nations.
When something becomes a phenomenon, it tends to define or reinvent cultural standards of measurement. The relatively recent advent of social media is a case in point. With it has come new terminology or old terminology with new meaning. A cloud is no longer just a white, fluffy marshmallow of moisture or a dark ominous omen of a storm. It is a place where information is stored for later use and prevents one from filling his or her hard drive unnecessarily. The concept of “user friendly” originated because computers were so intimidating, and efforts had to be made to eradicate that barrier if they were going to be viable in the market place. Then there is cyberspace; that frontier that includes clouds and volumes of information which tempts humans to “boldly go where no one has gone before”. But perhaps no term or concept has gotten more traction than “What’s Trending”. Just the sound of this phrase reminds us that if it is happening on Facebook, it must be important. Which brings up another old term that has new meaning: viral. Viral used to carry the connotation of something unpleasant, debilitating, even infectious. But now if it has “gone viral”, it is uber popular. Originally it was trending. Then it went viral. Never mind that it was a video of a woman donning a mask of an imaginary galactic creature, a dog doing something unusual or even gross, or a human being stupid. Social media makes it important. This is not meant to be a rant against social media. I use it to keep up with friends and events. This is more of comment, a concern, and even a call to evaluation. Like many other things, social media is a tool which can be used or abused. It is not inherently evil. But let’s go back to my comment, concern, and call. My comment is this. We are far too easily amused. And because we are easily amused we often do not stop to think about what is amusing us. It is not the galactic mask or the silly dog that is the problem. Rather it is the irreverent comment or the snide humor that should alert us to an unbiblical and Godless philosophy. This leads to my concern. We are far too easily distracted. Someone close to me recently said that he had turned off his Facebook notifications; not because they are necessarily evil but because they are a distraction. Granted, we cannot turn off every distraction, and I am not suggesting that we all must turn off Facebook. But I am saying that all of us who wish to follow Christ can be easily distracted from a Christ-centered life by inane and mindless drivel. This should be a concern for all of us who love the Lord. This leads to a call. We who know God are not called to a life enamored with “what’s trending”. In the words of A.W. Tozer; “We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.” This is the call and the challenge of the Christian life. It is not just a daily challenge. It is a moment by moment one. The trendy and the trending are but temporal reminders of the One eternal constant who never changes and Whose “steadfast love endures forever”. So; “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” And may this not be a trend but our life-long commitment.
In the love of Christ,
Loyalty is an important and powerful virtue. It can move one to stand strong in the face of adversity and persevere in the face of insurmountable problems. As a boy, I watched my Dad remain loyal when most others wavered. I saw him stand firm when others of influence stood against his Pastor. Even as a young Christian, he took the heat and played the man. He was loyal to the end.
As I grew older and was faced with relationships and responsibilities, the quality of loyalty became personally important. I learned to be loyal and faithful to friends, family, and leaders and to stand with them even when it was costly. I attempted to exemplify and communicate the importance of this character trait to my sons and watched them embrace it as an essential element of their lives. I can say that the Lord has taught my sons to be loyal and faithful men.
But loyalty is not primarily to a person or persons. Personality and leadership can move us to give our loyalties but should not cause us to be unreserved in their application. Loyalty is not a benign or blind matter, or at least it should not be. Of course it will be if attached to mere personality. The power of personality or human attachment can cause us to lose sight of that which alone is worthy of our loyalty.
The Founding Fathers of the United States understood this all too well and were forced to test the metal of their loyalties. They were not quick to loosen the bonds of loyalty to England and her King. Their sense of loyalty was not easily swayed. But the test of their loyalties caused them to look beyond humans personalities, philosophies, and institutions. Deeply held beliefs felt the pressure of adverse and even compromising circumstances, leaving noble men and women to ask themselves about both the source and the ultimate focus of their loyalties. So significant was this time of self-examination and challenge that it moved them to say: “…with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
As we have followed our Lord, our family has had its loyalties tested as well. We have found that this strong sense of commitment to a person or institution can go a long way but only so far. We have watched those we trust abuse our loyalty. I dare say that most of us have. Torn between long and tenaciously held loyalties and competing issues, we struggle to decide where our loyalties lie. Who or what holds the right to our loyalties? Christianity and the church have struggled with this for some time. Church history is strewn with the casualties of wars over misguided loyalties. And the developments of the past generation teach us that we tend to lose the lessons of the past. The truth is that we still hold out hope that loyalty to earthly alliances will provide us with the power and influence we need to win the war for values, to change the cultural landscape for the better.
It is at this point that our loyalty lies to us. It is at this point that we tend to forget that no loyalty or commitment can be allowed to challenge or obscure our loyalty to the Truth of God and the God of Truth. I am not advocating Christian isolationism. Our involvement is more than noble. It is necessary. But our involvement is not based on human possibilities or humans themselves, however noble they may appear. Our involvement is based on our sure knowledge that our Lord’s Truth will prevail and His will shall be accomplished. Our disappointment at electoral losses may reveal more than a commitment to the right. It may reveal a misplaced trust and a misguided loyalty. After all, a transformed society is not ultimately the result of temporal political victories, but of a Gospel that is the “power of God for salvation”. Let us not forget that “God is the ruler. He puts down one and sets up another”(Ps.75:7). That is a power to which no political party may rightfully lay claim.
In the love of Christ,
To any honest and thinking person, life holds any number of frightening realities. Disease and disaster are constantly lurking in the many bushes that populate life’s landscape. We cannot see them, but we are constantly reminded of their presence by the passing of a friend or loved one about our age or a news report of an earthquake, ten car pile up, or terrorist attack. Such things can make us feel extremely vulnerable and uncertain about our future.
What makes these realities even more frightening is that they bring to mind our earthly mortality. Even the oldest of us has a very short existence here, and the older we get the shorter it seems. Some spend their lives attempting to get as much as possible accomplished in the short time they have while others try not to think about it at all. Some smother thoughts of their inevitable demise with money, things, alcohol, or drugs. The problem is those reminders. They keep popping up. If those were not enough, we have our own bodies. We can hardly ignore them as they lead us on this relentless pursuit of the end of our mortal existence.
But there is something even more frightening than our mortality. Some find it relatively easy to live with the prospect of a future of non-existence. They see it preferable to the pain and suffering of this life or the painful circumstances that often accompany death. How often have we heard the comment at someone’s death or funeral; “She’s so much better off”? They either believe that bliss of some sort awaits everyone or that eternal non-existence is a preferable future.
But while mortality is a sobering earthly prospect, the immortality that awaits us in eternity is even more so. The question of mortality and then immortality can only be ignored for so long. Death is not the drunkards joke or the cynic’s song. It is an exit, an exodus from the temporal to the eternal. It is not left to humans who arrogantly believe they know best when life should end and eternity begins for the individual. Death is an appointment for every human. As is the meeting of Almighty God on the other side of it. The atheist has a vested interest in his unbelief, because the prospect of meeting God is indeed a frightening one. Why not devise a reality that leaves God out and dares anyone to prove otherwise rather than give an account for wasting a brief and temporary life? Why not be your own God and create your own truth? Why not die “happy” and hopeless? Why not live with a sorrowfully skewed idea of justice and fairness which lays blame at the feet of others, sings the victim’s lyrics, and looks forward to a godless death that finally “solves” life’s unanswerable questions?
The other side of mortality is a frightening reality had not the infinite and eternal God revealed Himself to us and made a free offer of eternal life in the person of His Son. “And this is life eternal, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” To know God; now their is a prospect for mere mortals. This is the prospect that pulls the teeth from death’s jaws, ties it’s mighty paws, and leaves it powerless. This is the prospect that turns incapacitating fear into holy awe and eternal joy. For those who embrace Christ, the frightening reality of our mortality is no more, for we await the prospect of knowing and getting to know our Father forever.
The moral high ground: what is it, and where is it? How does one establish himself or herself upon it? How is it maintained?
In the cultural and political debate, it has been customary to attempt to argue from the moral high ground. The moral authority that goes with it provides an advantage that can be used to promote one’s agenda or to defeat one’s opponents. In the battle for power, the moral high ground can provide strategic advantage from which to conduct the battle for ideas which will capture the thinking of the culture.
In a political context of deceit and overt power grabs, Jimmy Carter exuded honesty. His Southern charm and promise never to lie to the American people was the moral high ground that established him as a viable candidate and ultimately helped him gain the presidency. Thirty years later another candidate was able to take the moral high ground by asserting, “I know what the meaning of ‘is’ is“.
But how stable or constant is the moral high ground especially in our now highly relativistic culture? A society governed at least by a modicum of moral absolutes used to know that certain stands or postures were morally and ethically sound. But a steady dose of entertainment that brings amoral thinking and behavior into our living rooms and invites us to laugh at once reprehensible behavior has helped shift the argument and undermine the validity of absolute moral truth. How gradually yet surely have we edged our way to the place where the moral high ground has radically changed. Words like rights and tolerance mixed with appeals to the feelings of the masses have been used to create a new moral order, a new sense of social urgency, and with these a new self-righteousness. Those who hold to the old order are social dinosaurs who are about to become extinct. They are actually worse. They are worthless annoying relics to be discarded and forgotten.
And where do these worthless annoying relics fit in the post-modern discussion of the new morality? They certainly do not hold the moral high ground, because the moral high ground has shifted. The new moral high ground applauds the “courage” to announce your new gender identity. The new moral high ground promotes the right of a woman over her own body and to kill the human growing “safely” in her womb. The new moral high ground looks down on those who hold to a traditional Judeo-Christian view of marriage between a man and a woman. The battle for position on the new moral high ground is essentially over.
What do those who grieve over this profound cultural and intellectual shift do. Should they hide away on Tatooine like some vanquished Jedi uncertain of the future? Must they relegate themselves to a silent existence; a benign Christianity that refuses to stir the waters? Should they fade away into the cultural sunset and face the extinction that the cultural elites hope for? Maybe they should hold out hope for political victories that will stem the tide of relativism. What is to be done when the moral order, and with it the moral high ground, has been redefined into meaninglessness?
The Apostle Paul lived in a culture diametrically opposed to the Christian world view. He challenges us with these words.
Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men… For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all were dead: And that He died for all, that those who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him Who died for their sake and rose again. … Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.
[2 Cor. 5:11,14,15,20]
It is time for the relics of a lost time to erect a new moral high ground of Gospel truth and Gospel living. Let us not moan that we are losing the battle, but let us rejoice that we have won the war. Let us stand on the truth while displaying the evident love of Christ, loving the unlovely as our Father has us. Let us preach Christ who does not merely “hate the sin and loves the sinner” but Who delivers the sinner from his sin and transforms him or her with His own life.
Let it be said of us
We were marked by forgiveness
We were known by our love
And delighted in meekness
We were ruled by His peace
Heeding unity’s call
Joined as one body
That Christ would be seen by all
In the love of Christ,