Has there ever been a time and place in history where someone wasn’t abusing their power and ability by tyranny? Adam was created to bear responsibility for Eve but instead he misdirected her, abandoned, then accused her (and her Creator) of being at fault. Most people have heard of the reign of terror during the French Revolution and again in Russia under Joseph Stalin. The current reign of terror has to do with everyone being required to approve, affirm, and support the gender agenda. This year on the university campus where I teach, there have been students in my class desperately anxious and angry about their agenda, intolerant of any thought or voice except their own (though what they say sounds like it came from a script, rather than from their own thoughts and experiences).
There is a noticeable sense of shock, fear, and anxiety about what this culture will mean for us, not just disruption in the classroom but antagonism and even prosecution (see a recent article about Finland in the current Lutheran “Reporter”). Is our sense of shock and fear a result of too many years of enjoying a basic Christian morality as the basis for our nation? Can there be opportunity in this opposition?
The whole content of the Bible says, “YES!” Let’s start with Jesus in the gospels. The response of Jesus to the antagonism of the religious authorities is priceless for its demonstration of Jesus’ nature of love and wisdom and for the clarity and simplicity of His teaching. Consider Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as examples of Jesus’ redeeming work among the powerful people of that time. Jesus did not let the antagonism of those with power keep Him from finding and helping people who knew their need and the fear of God. Just so, in our families, neighborhoods, classrooms, and communities, God’s Word and Spirit inspire us to advance the truth and grace of God with a still small voice; kindly, quietly, patiently. We can help protect the innocent from the new reign of terror even as we try to reach those caught up in this tyranny.
As we consider the gender agenda, think about how Jesus instructed His apostles to greet a home or town when they entered: “Peace to you.” If that peace was well received, they were to stay; if not, they were to move on. In my classroom, I will extend this peace at the first class meeting with an explanation of what the “good message” of the Bible is and how our worldviews affect our thinking about it. Students who are excited to get started will enjoy the company of classmates and a professor equally excited to pursue the truth and grace of God. For students who are not or cannot be peaceable, we can back up to their beginnings. I will invite them to tell me their story, what their objections are and how they came to such a negative, antagonistic, and fearful disposition toward God’s Word. If nothing else, I can be a sympathetic listening ear with some questions that may help them out of their darkness. I can help them distinguish the true and living God, His Word, and His ways from their experiences that God is wrongly blamed for.
In the weeks to come I’ll remember with you some of those fantastic narratives about how God protected and preserved the lives of those who were following Him and extending His kingdom in a hostile world.