Prior to the October 1917 Bolshevik revolution, Czarist Russia was in a state of cultural and philosophical flux. The teachings of the gospel were eclipsed as the Russian Orthodox Church struggled to compete with the onslaught of modernity. For a generation, competing philosophers, priests and ex-prisoners promoted Marxism, agrarianism, Leninism, Bolshevism, menshevism, Orthodox mysticism, nihilism and nationalism. The outcome was the communist dictatorship of Lenin and then Stalin. The Body of Christ was ruthlessly persecuted, and millions perished.
Prior to the election of Adolf Hitler in 1933, Weimar Germany was in a similar state of chaos. Theologians’ higher criticism had undercut the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. Reeling from the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, and as the German currency collapsed in value, nationalists, communists and “Freikorps” fighters battled in the streets. The outcome was the fascist dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. The Body of Christ was ruthlessly persecuted, and millions perished.
Prior to the prophesied uniting of church and state and the imposition of national Sunday laws as a means of bringing national unity, the United States is drifting from her Protestant moorings into a bewildering state of social, moral and political chaos. Ideological and street battles are being fought between far-right and far-left partisans, and special-interest groups, activist judges, politicized corporations and media factions are on the warpath. In this rejection of our Judeo-Christian heritage, coercion via economic boycotts, employment purges, media firestorms, physical intimidation and street violence are becoming more common.
David Brooks wrote in the August 11 2017 edition of The New York Times, “We all have our theories about why these moral crazes are suddenly so common. I’d say that radical uncertainty about morality, meaning and life in general is producing intense anxiety. Some people embrace moral absolutism in a desperate effort to find solid ground. They feel a rare and comforting sense of moral certainty when they are purging an evil person who has violated one of their sacred taboos.”
As we know from modern history and the prophetic light of Scripture (Rev. 13), such social breakdown as we are beginning to see in the United States today will ultimately result in the rise of a strong regime that imposes order by economic coercion and physical violence. Once again, the Body of Christ will be persecuted, and once again many will be martyred for their faith.
In this era of debilitating moral uncertainty, how should we respond? In a nation that has rejected the moral foundation from Scripture, my prayer is that we will all recommit to proclaiming with love and grace to all of God’s children the absolute certainty that there is no other foundation for the Body of Christ than Christ alone (1 Cor. 3.10); no other gospel than that of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1.8); no other way to God than through Jesus Christ (John 14.6); no other mediator with God than Jesus Christ (Heb. 6.19); no other power for salvation than through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 1.16); and no other name by which humanity may be saved (Acts 4.12).