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Op-Ed: The American Church Has Arrived at a Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Moment

Last week, Tucker Carlson focused the nation’s attention on the notable silence of American Christian leaders on the Biden administration’s persecution of Christians by asking: “Where are all the professional Christians? You have to wonder. … Where’s … all these people who are [should be] defending Christianity as actual Christians are being arrested for being Christians?” [emphasis added] Of course, there are a host of excuses such professional Christian leaders might offer to explain or justify their silence. But for the most part, most of these excuses have already been completely debunked by people like Eric Metaxas in his latest book, “Letter to the American Church.” In it, he points out that, because American church leaders today have before them the example of the dire consequences that resulted from the silence of the German church when it was confronted by the evils of Nazi tyranny, the American church has no excuse for remaining silent in the face of the similar evils presently metastasizing in this country on an ever-growing number of fronts. Our church leaders cannot ignore that we have a government that is intent on destroying parental rights while at the same time rewriting our nation’s history to obliterate from the record America’s original Judeo-Christian foundation, encouraging our young to question their gender, endorsing the mutilation of their genitals, and inviting drag queens to their schools to twerk in their faces. All with the thinly cloaked purpose of eventually normalizing the criminal proclivities of the ultimate perverts among us — those who are actually hoping that our society will soon be brought around to legalizing their hideous desire to sexually engage with minors. As both Carlson and Metaxas have suggested in their own ways, silence in the face of such evil must also be regarded as evil. But it also raises a question: What are the specific actions these men would have the American church take today that the German church failed to take in the 1930s? Of course, no one wants to suggest that anyone should do anything that might be either unlawful or unpeaceful. After all, nobody wants to be thought of as an insurrectionist. But that leaves the American church with a bit of a conundrum by virtue of the fact that tyrants will use their powers to manipulate the courts, law enforcement and the laws to the extent necessary for any act of resistance to be defined — by them — as unlawful insurrection (e.g., Jan. 6). Quite simply, in the context of any tyranny, justice is always forced to take a back seat to ideologically driven judicial outcomes in order to please either the tyrant or his tyrannical mob. To appreciate that such is very much the case in America today, one need only compare the ideologically driven murder conviction of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd (which was not a murder) with the ideologically driven exoneration of Michael Byrd for the murder of Ashli Babbitt (which indeed was a murder). So, given such a stark reality in America today, what alternatives does that leave the American church? Among other things, the church would do well to carefully reflect on the standard of faith-based courage to resist tyranny that was set almost 2,600 years ago by three individuals named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were brought before the king and confronted about their defiance of his mandate that all his subjects either bow in worship to his golden idol or be burned alive. In that moment, all three were clearly “insurrectionists” so far as the king was concerned. But, even as such, it is notable that none of the three felt a need to either plead for mercy or petition any of their church’s “leaders” to come to their defense. And, in fact, none ever did come to their rescue — except for the very God to whom they were willing to pledge their allegiance. Even before that deliverance was manifested later in the midst of the furnace flames, each of them, as individuals, demonstrated a faith in their God that alone was sufficient for them to resist the tyrant standing before them… and, indeed, to offer him a classic response that has echoed throughout the ages ever since:
“O king, we do not need to delay giving you an answer concerning this matter. Even if what you have said be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from your furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But, even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18, paraphrased with emphasis added).
Translated to the present: Whenever and wherever a tyrant confronts God’s faithful with any policy or edict that is an affront to God or to the truth of His Word, it can only be hoped that the individual members of His church will by then have prepared themselves to demonstrate a personal faith strong enough to enable them to take a stand against that tyranny — i.e., to be willing to publicly declare the tyrant’s diktats to be an offense to God, if indeed they are, and to unconditionally refuse to comply with such diktats, regardless of the consequences — whether that be at the cost of one’s job, one’s freedom, or even one’s life. If such is the standard to be met by America’s church, can our church leaders honestly look out at the people who fill their pews today and feel comfortable? Honestly, how many in their flock have been adequately prepared by them to survive a Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego moment? That is, how many are there in today’s churches who can honestly lay claim to a faith in the God they say they worship to the point that their love for God exceeds even their love for the life they have here on earth? Indeed, not many. If such is the standard that needs to be met, one thing is certain: The pastors, preachers and priests of America most certainly have their work cut out for them. Come to think of it, could it be their awareness of this reality that might explain the silence of our professional Christians in the face of today’s emerging persecution of American Christians, as recently noted by Carlson and Metaxas? Most likely! This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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