Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Caesar Rages Against Christians

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision that unilaterally legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. In light of that historic decision, this week I am reposting old articles on the subject of homosexuality and the gospel.

In his double volume work simply entitled Apologia ("apology" meaning "defense") early Christian leader and philosopher, Justin Martyr, defends, promotes, and explains Christianity to Caesar himself. In one section that remains with me today is his dumbfoundedness of why Rome persecutes Christians so heavily. He explains to Caesar that Christians faithfully pay taxes, obey all laws, serve the poor, and even risk their lives to save those suffering from plagues. Persecuting, and sometimes executing, Christians for publicly exercising their faith, to Justin, made no sense. Christians were the sort of citizens Caesar needs.

So why did Caesar rage against Christians?

I have said before that Christian history has come full circle. The Apostle Paul, and Justin Martyr a few centuries later, ministered in a society grossly oversexed that eventually became predominately Christian. We now live in what was once a predominately Christian nation that is quickly (and I mean quickly) becoming oversexed.It should not surprise us, therefore, that the question Justin Martyr asked Caesar is increasingly becoming the question we Christians are having to ask today. Why are Christians being punished, ignored, mocked, and constantly derided for publically exercising theri faith? Why is Christianophobia on the rise? Why are Christians constantly called to redefine their faith? Why?

That is to say, why is Caesar, once again, raging against Christians?

I think I have an answer but first we must understand the Roman world. Rome was polytheistic (to say the least.) She was also tolerant (in a limited sense). When Rome extended its borders (usually through war) they welcomed the religion and gods of conquered people under the prerequisite that the conquered would also adopt the Roman gods. That was Roman tolerance. So long as Roman religion was not attacked or derided, one was free to worship as they pleased.Today we might call this the "freedom of worship" as opposed to "the freedom of religion." So long as Christians privatized their faith Rome remained "tolerant." However, once Christianity entered the public square or the market place, Caesar intervened.

And today the same policy is gaining in dominance.

This, I believe, explains our world today. America, and the rest of the secular West with her, is not interested in regulating the doctrine of the Trinity or weighing in on baptism; they will, however, intervene when local clerks refuse to marry homosexuals or bakers refuse to just "do their job." "What you say and believe in your pew is perfectly fine," says Caesar, "but you had better put it on the shelf during the rest of the week." The golden statute of "tolerance" demands our allegiance and Caesar is not afraid to use the fire for all dissenters.

Regardless, Christians in Rome openly called for the tearing down Roman gods. Most notable was the gods and goddesses of sex. The gods of today, remain the same.

Recently an exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery celebrating our nation's "Struggle for Justice" (as the exhibit was called) was protested for one simple reason. The exhibit included a bust of Margaret Sanger - the racist, eugenicists who founded Planned Parenthood. The history of Planned Parenthood is anything but progressive and it continues the work of its founder. As one protester noted, had Sanger's vision come to fruition, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks would have never been born.

Neither would have Barack Obama.

The Gallery is shocked at the protest. Sanger's presence in the gallery, and her ongoing popularity, is for one primary reason: her promotion of "contraception" (especially abortion and birth control) is what has fueled the sexual revolution. Modern contraceptives and abortion has severed sex from marriage.

And so we all bow!

Secularism cares more about sex than it does justice. In fact, sexual liberation is the greatest act of justice to the secular mind and Margaret Sanger created a sanctuary for its worship: the abortion clinic. It is behind the fashioned doors of the inner city Planned Parenthood where Eros can be properly worshipped without the interruption of unwanted children.

The recent incarceration of Kim Davis - anything but a violent criminal worthy of a mugshot - proves this thesis further. Elected leaders refusing to enforce the law is nothing new. In his first term, President Barack Obama refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and later refused to enforce his own law: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Finally, both the current administration and its immediate predecessors have refused to enforce immigration laws deriding anyone concerned with illegal immigration as racists.

Meanwhile, no one bats an eye. In fact, such contempt for the Constitution is lauded as brave, bold, and "on the right side of history."

President Obama is not the only elected official to refuse to enforce the law. In a recent post, the National Review highlights the following examples:
  • In 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of California state law. 
  • In 2004, Mayor Jason West of New Paltz directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of New York state law. 
  • In 2010, attorney general Jerry Brown declined to answer legal challenges to California’s marriage law, which, after Proposition 8, was that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid.” His job was to represent the state of California in legal matters and defend its laws, including those he didn’t like. 
  • In 2013, D. Bruce Hanes, an official of Montgomery County, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of Pennsylvania state law. The history of the movement to redefine marriage is shot through with defiance of laws that those who broke them sincerely felt were deeply wrong.
They then conclude, "To be consistent, anyone who thinks that Newsom, West, Brown, and Hanes were courageous and principled must now judge Davis by the same standard."

Nevertheless, while such "courageous" civil disobedience by elected officials continues no one bats an eye. In fact, such contempt for the law  is lauded as brave, bold, and "on the right side of history."

But the minute a Kentucky elected official who is also a converted Christian refused to sign marriage licenses because her faith warns her that severing her conscience is a sin, judicial Caesar's bear their fangs and incarcerate her.

Her crime is not simply she refused to marry homosexuals (or anyone for that matter). Her real crime is she refused to synchronize the risen Lord Jesus with America's religion of sex. She can be a Christian, Caesar assures her, just not in her role as an elected official that refuses to celebrate in erotic anarchy.

The solutions to the Kim Davis case are numerous and I do believe she could have handled the situation better. Regardless, Governor Beshear's continues to refuse to deal with the issue as are most elected officials in the state of Kentucky of both parties. The proper response would be to impeach Mrs. Davis, not to arrest her. But why should Caesar take such action? He is not interested in accommodation. He certainly will not negotiate with so-called bigots who refuse to bow Aphrodite.

In the end, the sexual revolution has never been about sex, but about worship and Kim Davis is on the wrong side of that debate.

This is the world we now live in. For Christians reading this you need to be aware of this. Caesar is not your friend and never was. Apart from a miraculous revival of repentance in our nation, Christians will continue to be marginalized. This has always been the spirit of the Beast yet this is is not reason to fear for by standing firm and living out our faith may result in mockery and incarceration from the culture, we have read the end of the story. God works well when Christians are in the minority and being shouted them down while standing firm in the faith.

In the end, let us not forget that Justin's surname was not "Martyr." No mailbox of his contained the name. It is history's badge of honor. He pleaded that Caesar would open his eyes and rule accordingly. Caesar refused and Justin gained a great victory in the end once his head literally began to roll.

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