One of the most unique problems that has arisen in our new dystopian nightmare world is the social media question and how we must address it as followers of Jesus Christ. It is this question that The Social Dilemma tries to answer from a secular point of view. Directed by Jeff Orlowski, the documentary explores the social media landscape and the various issues it has produced such as surveillance, addiction, fake news, conspiracy theories, behavior modification and much more. These subjects are dissected and lamented by former employees, programmers and executives from Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google, and Apple.
The documentary is a very easy watch. It is easy to understand and does not bore you with minute details. The Social Dilemma gets right into the major problems of our obsession with social media. And while I do think that this documentary is very important in the context of the current times we are living in, unfortunately it misses the mark on a couple of key issues and is nearly six years too late to make a difference to curb the degeneracy we now live in.
Social Media and its effects are both fascinating and puzzling as there has been no other time in human history that we can communicate at such an accelerated pace. The latest news and happenings come at us at nearly instantaneous speed. And everyone with just a few clicks of a smartphone can participate in the human hive-mind. Ideas and comments are spread and propagated. Theories and memes get their moments in the sun Some of these memes wither away while others are spread throughout the web. Groups and different tribes of all types and worldviews can easily assemble with one another through forums, threads and pages to discuss ideas and topics.While their have been a lot of benefits to humanity when it comes to these social media companies, The Social Dilemma primarily focuses on more of the negative accepts that companies like Facebook and Twitter have brought in our lives.
Unfortunately The Social Dilemma is a documentary that has come far too late to make a difference to what is going on in today’s society. Despite its many warnings, its evidences of manipulating our minds and decisions, the artificial rift it is creating in the social structure, and the utter waste of time it produces, people will still cling onto their phones, and participate in the same social media platforms, and get involved in the same social media degeneracy. People want this. And the big tech businesses are just providing what they want.
One of the central themes of the movie is the concept and the problem of what is “truth” in the internet age? The movie harkens on such buzzwords such as “fake news” and conspiracy theories such as pizzagate that allegedly instigates violence. What are facts, and what is fake? Who gets to decide what is the truth? Should these social media companies decide what is the “truth?” Should people like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Google Boys decide what are the facts and what should get censored? This subject is a very big deal, especially with the level of censorship that these tech companies are dishing out. What is real and what is truth in an era where someone can easily distort the facts of a matter or propagate an idea through memes with simple clicks on a keyboard?
However, the world does not view Christ as the ultimate truth on all matters. The Social Dilemma presents it’s version of “truth” in a typical worldly manner, where people will twist and contort any information to push their agendas. But this type of degeneracy has been going on since the printing press was created. Is the liberal worldview correct? Or is it the conservative worldview? Should we listen to the scientist or be suspicious of their data? Should we trust the news? Should we believe every conspiracy theory? It is written in the Bible that knowledge will increase in the end times. But how can a man discern what information has been given to him via these social platforms when we have so many biases in our hearts and the people putting out this information often do not have our best interest in mind?
At the core of the social media question is the constant war on your mind, spirit and heart. Satan is constantly using ways to distract you from what is righteous and to blind you to the truth. This is why Jesus Christ must be your rock, or you will go mad by the agendas of this world. This is why you must do your due diligence to study God’s word to know what the shot really is and how the world really operates. The world is enslaved by the division, hatred, and degeneracy that social media propagates. But as Jesus Christ points out, if you are His disciples, you will abide in His word and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. This is why it is so important to look at the world through the lens of the Bible. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Unfortunately The Social Delima does not talk about anything Christ-related and instead ironically use the same division tactics it warns about. The movie makes a big stink over Trump, Russiagate and other pieces of dust people fight over. The movie does have a liberial bias to it, and because of that, I predict a lot of boomers will lightswitch-brain the documentary off from their minds. The Social Dilemma’s biggest crime is not focusing the spotlight and the true culprits behind the censorship and algorithm degeneracy we see: The advertisers. Advertisers have single-handedly destroyed social media. Most of the censorship that is happening on these social media platforms has to do with money, and how advertisers want nothing to do with controversial opinions. No advertiser wants to be hit by the “cancel culture” mob. There will be a time in the future where authentic, gospel preaching will be banned on the internet, and the truth will be hiddened. It will be replaced by progressive christianity that has no respect for scripture and has an obsession with sexual degeneracy. Instead of preaching a gospel of repentance and Jesus being the only way to the Father, we will get a gospel of universalism. Sugar-coated and marketable to the masses.
So what is the solution to followers of Christ when it comes to the Social Media question? The first answer some of you must be thinking is to not use social media at all. And for practicality, that is the correct answer. However, in reality this cannot be the case as our lives revolve around social media and technology. The fact is that for a large portion of the western world, the action is online. The zoomer generation has been raised on social media and has adapted and if we are to reach the next generation with the gospel, we must have a gospel presence online no matter the cost. Do not get me wrong, there is a time and place for IRL activities. In fact, the priority should be real church communities that meet face to face. But we cannot simply scoff and ignore that these social media companies are part of our lives for the time being. I only speak of ministries and those who partake in the Great Commission. I also concede the fact that not every pastor, minister, elder, deacon or ministry can have, nor should have, a presence online considering the unique pitfalls one would face using these platforms. Nor should they be forced to get a facebook account or an instagram page by techno-deviants. After all, if Facebook is causing you to send, you should shut it down and avoid it.
Another solution I hear, especially from the conservative right is to build our own Facebook and our own twitter to combat censorship. But is this really the necessary solution? I would love to not use these degenerate social media hellholes, but what would we get from splitting? We would get an echo-chamber and not a diverse set of opinions. How is this supposed to further the Great Commision? In fact, should the Great Commission apply to the world wide web and the digital realm? These are quite interesting times we live in.
I believe the solution when it comes down to it, is to first and foremost come to the truth. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have got to open our eyes and realize how sinful the world is and how sinful we all are. You can see it online constantly, how social media manipulates your feelings and emotions. And how people, and yourself, behave online. The truth is that we are not really at war with each other, with Big Tech, Big Brother, Big Eva, the LGBT Mafia, Libtards, MAGA morons, blowhard karens, racists frogs, atheist grifters, CRT or progressive christianity. This is not a left vs right, socialist vs capitalist issue we deal with. But who are we struggling with in this digital age? Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The real fight is spiritual. It is with our dark hearts and our struggle with sin. Social Media is just pointing out the same issue we have had since the days of old: We have a sin problem. Humanity has a deep heart issue and no amount of censorship, spying, monitoring, moderating, “free” market solutions, or legislation on the internet can wipe away the evil from our souls.
What humanity needs is salvation and a savior. This is why we need the gospel. This is why we need the good news that salvation has already come, through the only begotten Son of God, that being Jesus Christ. His life, His death, and His resurrection. That God sent His Son to reconcile with humanity and to reveal His love for us through His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. That whoever believes in the name of Jesus will not perish, but have everlasting life. It is the same message from the days of old, and it is the same message in this technological age. That salvation comes from God by believing in the name of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. When we swallow this ultimate red pill and accept the truth, we receive the Holy Spirit who will open our eyes to what the shot is.
If we cannot control our thoughts, minds and fingers on our keyboards for the minute and trivial stuff we see on social media, what will happen when the real persecution comes and they take away your facebook account for being a follower of Christ? What about your twitter handle? Or Instagram profile? Or what about your bank account for being a Christ follower?
Despite what the conservo-grifters bark at you, the Republican party will not save you from the online persecution that is coming. There is no long term solution on the horizon when it comes to the pressing issues of social media. In fact, the bad news is that it will get worse. As we approach the end of the age and the second coming of Christ, evil will only increase and be more rampant. This is compounded by the fact that there is a massive generation gap between boomers who were not raised on the internet, and the zoomers who have seen a lifetime worth of filth and garbage on the web by the time they are eight years old. Technology and culture are rapidly evolving and degenerating at a breakneck speed with no signs of stopping. Big Tech will only get more powerful and thanks to crony capitalism, the pressure to grow and extract further shekels from the unwashed masses will continue to be the primary motive of these mega corporations.
The Social Dilemma is a worldy documentary that only gives worldly solutions to the social media question that will ultimately lead to more problems and ultimately destruction. The real answer to these issues is to come to a realization of the truth that as human beings, we are broken, and our hearts are full of sin, selfish and greedy. Hungry for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Eccestiates points out, nothing new is under the sun. This is not to say that back in ancient times they had social media, but it does say that the underlying issues of human nature and the human heart is sin. The fact is that thanks to the twitters and the Facebooks of the internet, we are living in the golden age of the pride of life. Where everyone has put themselves or their agendas on a pedestal, making an idol of themselves. Back in the boomer era, it took great effort to get on TV, or on the news, for fame and attention. Now it is just a click of a button and anyone with a smartphone with a camera can have their 15 seconds of fame. But now, everyone can become a 15 second God. Everyone can become a critic, killing people with their keyboards. Everyone now can craft a fake version of themselves on the web when the truth is that they are a broken human just like everyone else. As Paul points to Timothy about the last days:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Reading these verses from scripture, does this not sound like the human condition on the web?
As followers of Jesus Christ, we must take a step back and take a deep look at the technology of the age and repent of our behaviors. We must take a more careful and big picture look when it comes to social media, its challenges, and pitfalls. We must continue the renewing of our minds through the scriptures so we can know what the shot really is and break through the conditioning that social media has put us through. When we know the truth, the truth will set us free. This is not a freedom like the world sees freedom, but a spiritual freedom where you can finally see through the sinful seams of reality and understand the nature of things. Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can start to grow in spiritual maturity. Instead of hurting one another, we start helping. Instead of a spirit of depression over why the world is the way it is, we can have a spirit of truth and understanding. Instead of a spirit of envy over others “successes” on the internet, we can get a spirit of contentment and thankfulness, because not every picture of a successful person is true.
To those of you who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, or have never done a deep dive on Christ, I implore you to study Jesus Christ in the context of the Bible. You know, just by being on the greater internet in general that something is very wrong with our world and that things are getting worse day by day. The truth is that a time is coming, and has come, when God must judge the world again. But the good news is that though we are sinners, God loves us. God provided for us an ark to protect us from the wrath He is going to unleash on the world, that is Jesus Christ, His sacrifice for our sins, and His resurrection. All who believe in the name of Jesus will be saved. They will not perish, but have everlasting life. The Social Dilemma is a documentary that has no real hope for the future. But as followers of The Way, we know that our hope is very real. We know what the shot is, and know that these are simply the birth pains of a New Heavens and New Earth. The fact is, from watching this documentary, is that we need a savior, we need salvation, and we need reconciliation with God. It all comes back to the gospel, it all comes back to Jesus Christ. We need this message more than ever, even in this digital age.
In this video I discuss and deep-dive an article by the Wall Street Journal regarding Nostalgia. What does the Bible say about it? Why are we so obsessed with days gone by? Is there a deeper meaning behind our desire for the past?
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Our degeneration of respect for the Bible made me think of how the media, especially secular media, have treated the Bible in works of fiction. This led me to reexamine a book I read as a teenager (and possibly all of you in school); the 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. Written by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian science fiction novel in which books are outlawed and a specialized group of “firemen” are tasked to burn them. The book is from the perspective of one of these firemen, Guy Montag, as he begins to question the world around him and why he is burning these books. The novel deals with such topics as censorship, the power of ideas, knowledge vs ignorance, and technology.
While not as famous as other dystopian fiction such as 1984 or Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 is regarded as a classic in the genre. Don’t expect much action in this novel; 451 is a book for big brains who eat red meat and do not consume soy products. Most of the novel’s notable parts comes from Montag’s many conversations with the characters around himself. Montag is very similar to Neo from The Matrix in a way that he knows something is wrong with the world around him. In the world of 451, he tries to search for the truth, and eventually he tries to “escape” or break away from the state he is living in with the deck stacked high against him. Both lead double lives. Neo is a hacker, while Montag hides books in his house despite being one of these firemen tasked to destroy them. Both must make radical decisions that will change their lives forever. Neo must decide if he wants to take the red pill and know the truth about the Matrix, or take the blue pill and believe whatever he wants to believe. Montag must decide to conform to society’s degenerate norms or escape and be a free man to learn, grow and experience the world outside his dystopian city. That is where the comparisons stop. After all, Montag is not fighting evil agents in 3-piece suits doing kung-fu in a glorified video game simulation. And while it might be a stretch to compare these two characters, the underlying issue is the search for truth in a world that is fundamentally truthless and blissfully ignorant of what is going on around them and the impending judgement coming.
Montag’s world in Fahrenheit 451 can be looked at as more frightening or depressing than being hooked up in a machine (depending on your point of view). For a book written and published in 1953, the similarities between our current world and the one pictured in 451 are quite jaw-dropping. The society in 451 is illiterate, pleasure obsessed, full of vanity, and totally void of any empathy or substance whatsoever. The human resources in this dystopia often use electronic “sea shells” that they wear on the ears to constantly pump their minds with nonsense and entertainment. Just as in today’s society we plug in our wireless earbuds and listen to mindless rubbish like Joe Rogan or grifters like Ben Shipiro. Prescription drugs are rampant in Montag’s world, and are constantly used to numb the subconscious. EMT’s have become like glorified Uber drivers, resuscitating those who overdose on a regular basis with attitudes like they were delivering McDonalds. Robotic dogs are used to track down and spy on people, which is eerily like the flying drones that watch us from the skies. This is the world that Bradbury envisioned in 1953 and I must say that he nailed it. It is profound because we hear all the time about the glory days of the 1950s. Clearly there was something there that Bradbury did not like, with the rise of TV and media during his era. And could see a foreshadowing of just how morally bankrupt the western world would become.
What interests me most about this book is not the science fiction or the plot itself. The plot is simple and is only a vehicle to engage the audience in deep thought and meaning behind the themes Bradbury was trying to convey. What did interest me was how Bradbury used the Bible itself as a powerful prop to point just how much society has degenerated intellectually and spiritually in the world of 451.
When researching on Ray Bradbury himself, it is hard to pin-point exactly what Bradbury believes in terms of religion. He was raised Baptist but his parents were infrequent church goers. By the time he was 14, he visited synagogues, catholic, and charismatic churches to try and figure out his faith. It seems that Bradbury did have a general respect for the faith but as for if he claimed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, that is up for debate. Many of his quotes are typical of an agnostic that likes to cherry-pick from different religions to create a spiritual soup of cringe. But despite his vagueness, I do believe that Ray Bradbury, as a writer, respected the Bible. Not for the sacredness of the writing, but that the Bible has influenced and shaped more literature than any book ever written. For someone who makes a living as a writer, Bradbury would know how special and influential the Bible is to his craft.
However, make no mistake, 451 is not going to be a book that directly points you to Jesus Christ. The book deals more with such things as censorship, the power of books and ideas, and ignorance and knowledge. Still, there is something deeper in this book if you look hard and ponder on the message and dialogue, even to followers of Christ.
One of the first discourses in the book is after Montag and his crew were tasked with burning a large collection of books and magazines. In the process, the woman who owned these books willingly let herself be burned along with them. A shocked Montag tries to persuade her to live, but the woman stubbornly refuses and perishes. During this event, Montag manages to steal another book for his hidden cache of literature. However, after this event, he is haunted by the woman’s death and struggles to understand why this old lady was willing to die for this literature. What type of power do these books have? He ends up taking the day off, emotionally sick and pondering if he should quit his job as a fireman. That is when Montag’s commander, Beatty, shows up and gives a background of why books were banned in the first place. Beatty explains that due to the technological advances such as motion pictures, radio, and television, things started to have more “mass” and became faster. After an undisclosed civil war, there began an era of peace, and the result was a spike in population growth. As he continues to explain, the various media begins to “speed up” where everything is boiled down to the snap ending, a catchphrase and a one time gag. Books are cut shorter, classics are cut to 15-minutes, then cut again to two minutes. Articles about matters such as politics are only a few paragraphs until the people read nothing but the headlines. The world gets more busier, and much more fast paced. School is shortened, with history, philosophy and eventually English and languages are dropped. Life is immediate, and work has less and less meaning. You go to your wage-slave job, and afterwards pleasure awaits after work. Why learn anything when machines have taken your place? Eventually the people grow more obsessed with pleasure, and are rewarded for their idol worship. More fun, more sportsball, more pictures in books. Less intelligence, less substance, more impatience.
If this all sounds eerily familiar, it should, as this is exactly what is going on with today’s society and the internet age. I must remind you that this book was published in 1953, only eight years after the end of World War II, yet Bradbury must have seen a radical vision of America with the growing “baby boom” of the 1950s along with the rise of television and other forms of media. Today, it is not about the intellectual deep dive of knowledge, or the pursuit of truth, but who can draw the most eyeballs to your article. Who can make the most outrageous headline to sell the papers, and who can make the quickest advertising buck by promoting fear, filth, and hatred. The world’s news cycle is so fast that stories that would last a month in the early 2000s would be buried with more media raw sewage by the end of the afternoon. After all, the average American’s attention span is almost entirely on their wage slave job, families, hobbies, sportsball, and any number of idols. They are just waiting for the 5-o’clock punch-out time to get home and indulge in any number of degenerate acts to numb the pain and inflame their passions. And if they are not employed? Well they can always live the gamer lifestyle. Playing nothing but minecraft, Overwatch, and a JRPG in the evening while gorging on chicken tendies.
What is even more eerie is the way Beatty describes how minorities have an intense power over the various forces that control the world. This isn’t exclusively a racial sort of minority, but more of a splintered group of identities and sub-cultures that people hold on and identify with. Cat-ladies and Dog Moms, Doctors, Lawyers, businessmen, soliders, religions of all nature, people from this tribe, people from that tribe, Democrats and Republicans, Rich and poor, Conservative and Liberial, Feminists and gamers, gay and straight, transsexual and those who identify as trans-dragon, etc, etc. And as Beatty explains to Montag “The bigger your market, the less you can handle controversy.” Market forces drove away the more contraversial, thought-provoking and intelligent content while keeping the comics and sex magazines. After all, you cannot market something that might offend people because that might invoke the wrath of the minority group, or scare the advertisers away. But porn and Marvel comics? That always draws. The book burning did not start by a government. Technology, mass economic exploitation and minority pressure did the trick.
Again, I must point out, this book was published in 1953 and a mere seventy decades later we are right in the middle of 451. Big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and their advertising overlords rule the western world and will censor any dissenting or controversial opinions that don’t line up with their agendas or the advertisers agenda. Exploitative capitalism has completely ravaged the soul with pornography, sugary junk food, plastic crap, big cars, big houses, tiny brain-numbing phones, big products for everyone to buy. The tyranny of the minority is the political and economic dynamo of the times where politicians have to juggle different political tribes based on race, sex, status, and relgion. All to get that precious vote.
This leads us to the revelation that the one book that Montag saved from the burning woman’s house is none other than the Bible, and Montag believes it might be the only complete copy in existence. To an audience outside the confines of the novel, this is a big deal because we know just how vital and important the Bible is to the world. But in 451 this copy of the scriptures is treated more of a passive prop, as if this was the last copy of Plato’s Republic, or a book of poetry. And is used as a vehicle, albeit a powerful one, to point out how much knowledge has been lost in this society. One would think that Christianity is banned in 451, but disturbingly this isn’t the case.
Montag’s curiosity and hunger for more knowledge and truth eventually brings back a memory of a chance meeting with a literature professor named Faber. Montag eventually tracks him down to learn from him and shows the cautious professor the Bible he has kept safe. Faber is amazed because he has not seen a Bible for a very long time. He reflects on what the Bible meant to people back in the past, but as he explains, Christ has become just another character on TV:
“Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs”
Instead of the Jesus that is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, He is instead a character in more of the image of Santa Claus. Instead of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus in 451 is just another pitchman on TV getting His capitalist on. Instead of Jesus that is the way and truth and life, we get a Jesus that has been stripped down, sugar coated, and sold to the masses. Is it any shock that art imitates life?
Have not this generation done the exact thing that 451 portrays when it comes to Christ and the Gospel? We compromise, and give the culture what it wants, little by little. We give people a Savior and take out the Lordship. We preach forgiveness of sins and throw away a call for repentance. We teach people about the Kingdom of Heaven and tone down the coming Judgement of hellfire. In the end we only give people half truths instead of the full council. In the end, we craft a Jesus Christ into a nice corporate image, trying desperately to fit in the culture. We take away all the offensive and challenging revelation of God’s Word, all for the sake of pushing our own agendas, or satisfying our flesh, which rebels against God.
Throughout the whole book, while all of society is in a stupor, there is a constant theme of an impending war about to happen in Montag’s world. Bradbury gives subtle hints such as fighter jets screaming through the skies or radio broadcasts telling people there is nothing to worry about. But the symbolism here is that judgment is about to come in the world of 451 and many in society don’t have a care in the world. This leads towards the final act of Fahrenheit 451. Montag gets caught with the books and ends up having his secret collection of literature, including the Bible, burned up by his own hand, provoked by his fellow Firemen. His wife has left him, his house and life has burned down, and Montag has nothing left to lose in his vapid life. He ends up turning the flamethrower on his colleges, including Beatty, burning them up. Montag then makes a getaway to outside the city and the society. Avoiding the authorities and dog-drones from hell, he manages to escape the city by jumping in a river, which reminds me a lot of Moses. After wandering down the river, and reflecting on his choices, he ends up meeting a group of professors in a homeless compound. Nearly all of them have remembered many books. They have stored them in their brain, as a verbal memory bank and are waiting for the city to be destroyed by the bombs to rebuild society and rewrite the knowledge they have collected. Montag is amazed by their knowledge and has a thirst to learn more now that he has unplugged from the Matrix of his world. He laments how he only knows just a couple of verses from two books in the Bible: Ecclesiastes, and Revelation. However the professors comfort him and tell him that soon, after a little while, the knowledge and passages of these books will come back to him. Eventually, the bombs do drop on Montag’s former home and it is revealed Montag’s wife was in a drug-induced state along with the rest of the citizens as the city is nuked and wiped off the Earth.
Soberly, Montag’s party eventually walks back to the ruins of the city. Montag ponders and meditates on his journey and life and how it got to this point. He laments his wife and the city’s demise, but also has a quiet peace within himself as he is outside the bubble now. He can now learn and grow. At this, he remembers a couple of verses from Ecclesiastes, the famous “time” passages in Ecclesiastes 3. He then closes the novel by remembering another famous passage from Revelation 22:2
down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
These are two very interesting passages that Bradbury decided to feature at the end and it is also very poetic that he features Ecclesiastes and Revelation as the scriptures of choice. Ecclesiastes is one of the wisdom books that tackles the subject of life’s vanity, and our lot in life. In Ecclesiastes 3, the chapter points out and explains that there is a time and a place for everything in our lives and that life happens in these cycles. Bradbury, in a way, is reminding the reader that nothing lasts forever and everything has its moment, then is uprooted, as what happened to Montag’s society and his life in general. That there is a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. Ecclesiastes also points out that only by living by faith in God can we find any meaning in our short lives on Earth and that God judges everything in the end. Montag’s world did not go after the things of God and instead went after the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. In the end God judged them harshly. This bridges into Revelation 22:2, describing the Tree of Life and how its leaves will be for the healing of the nations. That though there was destruction now, there will be healing and a new beginning. This gives a secular audience an interesting ending to chew on, a glimmer of hope that this will turn out good in the end for Montag and his world. To those of the faith, Revelation deals with the things to come, and previews a glimmer of what the New Heavens and Earth will be like. I do not know what Bradbury’s intent was on featuring Revelation in the ending. But this shows how powerful a message of hope is in a nearly vain and hopeless world. Especially a world that relies on other influences other than God or completely checks out of life all together. Now that Montag is completely out of his vain society, the knowledge from the Bible is coming back that he can’t wait to share with the other members of his party. This is how the book closes.
451 gives the most interesting of thought experiments: What would happen if all the Bibles in the world were burned and the knowledge was lost?
Interestingly, the Bible itself contains scenes of characters burning scripture. Jeremiah 36 details how the prophet Jerimiah read the words of the LORD through a scroll to the unrepentant, evil king of Judah, Jehoiakim. Jerimiah was preaching the Lord’s words, calling for all of Judah to repent and turn from their evil ways. However whenever King Jehoiakim read three or four columns of the scroll, he would cut the portion out and throw them into a firepot until the entire scroll was burned. The king and his attendants who heard the words of the Lord showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes (a sign of humility and repentance). Eventually God commissioned Jerimiah to rewrite the scroll and Jehoiakim died a shameful death.
Indeed, the image of a Bible burning is very powerful and gravely offensive, especially to the God who has given us this special revelation. Book burning, in general, has always been a powerful symbol and act in society. Whether it be to reject a worldview, censorship, an ideal, or has themes that would offend the reader. But the interesting thing to get out of the narrative of book burning going on in Fahrenheit 451 is not the act of the burning itself. The burning of literature is just an outward symptom of a much deeper problem. The most damning part of Fahrenheit 451 is Bradbury pointing out that it was not an “evil” government that started censoring people and burning books. This is what the people wanted. This is what a society wants that shuns being offended, disregards the truth, and is after things passing from this world.
One might think that only non-believers can be victims of the times we are living in, but this is not the case as every follower of Christ has to constantly battle the distractions and influences of everyday life. One of the more profound moments of Fahrenheit 451 is a scene where Montag is on a subway, boldly reading the Bible. Montag is desperately trying to understand Matthew 6:38 and the meaning behind the “lilies in the field.” Montag struggles to concentrate the meaning behind these words of Jesus Christ but the subway he is riding is constantly blasting and spewing advertisements to the passengers to an obnoxious level. How many times has this happened to us in our own lives and the current age we live in? From the palm of our hands with cell phones, to the great outdoors with billboards, everyone is trying to catch the attention of your mind. We are often so distracted by the outside forces that we neglect or outright ignore time with the Lord of Glory. This is a very deceptive and powerful problem to a new generation that has always had smartphones and always had the internet. There is a constant war for the mind to pull you away from God and the truth and to things that will turn to dust in the end. This is not to say that all advertising, or economic activity or pleasure, or leisure time, is evil. After all, God created the dopamine in our body for us to enjoy. But what 451 is trying to point out is that there comes a point of no return for society that craves nothing but pleasure and shuns being offended or learning about the truth.
With all this in mind, how do we make of 451, our society, our current faith and the future? The truth is, that this has been going on since the days of Adam and Eve, we reach out our hand to the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil to become our own Gods. The result is we build shame in our hearts and hide from the light because our deeds are evil. But the constant theme in the Bible is that though we run from God, God is searching for us. That salvation is from the Lord. That God always comes through, saves and preserves his people. In Genesis, the world turned from the Lord, and God sent the Great Flood to destroy them. But God preserved humanity through Noah. We touched briefly on the story of Lot and how he was preserved. Israel, when Ahab was king, was almost completely destroyed by its pegan worship yet God preserved 7000 who did not worship Baal. These are but a few examples of God dealing with an unrepentant society. The Israelites continuously rebelled against God and turned to idols and degeneracy. And continuously God dealt with them in order that they might repent and turn from their sins. From the beginning of the Fall of Man, to the crescendo of the scriptures, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the common narrative in the Bible is that salvation belongs to God and it is God alone preserves and saves humanity from their wickedness.
This whole thing is the power of God. Even if all of scripture is burned by the fires of evil, this central message of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven will always be preserved, and will always be preached. The Holy Spirit is always at work, always preserving, always enduring. Men can twist, edit, and defame the Bible and its words for their own agendas, but the truth about the Living God and His Son, Jesus Christ will last forever. God will always have prophets, preachers, teachers, brave men, and women from every part of life to uphold the truth and preach Jesus Christ. Just as the days of Ahab and the people worshiping Baal, so too will be the days of this generation. God will preserve a people for himself, a church for His Son and the gates of hell will not prevail against them.
What does that say about our current generation and our relationship to the Bible? Will our generation be judged by the first generation of believers who might have not have the complete canon of scripture at their fingertips? Will we be judged for treating the Bible as a textbook instead of revelation from God? What would Christ think about today’s generation who want to unhinge from the Old Testament even though Christ himself constantly preached from the Torah, the Psalms and the Prophets? What will God say to a generation that denies and blasphemes Genesis and profanes and degenerate Revelation? What would the generations of the past that would die for this book say to this generation that argues fruitlessly about scholarly gasbagging about who wrote this section of scripture or arguing over hebrew letters and other nonsense that produces nothing of real value? What would God have to say to a church that prostitutes itself to false gospels and vain theology in the hopes of being relevant in a dying world? The fact is we are a society under judgement because our respect for God’s word has deteriorated. Just like in Montag’s society, we run away from the hard truths that God reveals to us. We shun being offended and offending others. And in the end, man collectively rejects the Bible and instead crafts an idol of God to suit his degeneracy of choice. All the while we are blissfully ignorant of the impending end. We do not care about real spiritual matters and instead care only about ourselves and our lives. We do not seek after God, but instead seek only the next fad to improve our marriage, and finances or any other problems in our lives. Instead of seeking repentance, we seek our best life now. Instead of seeking forgiveness, we seek vengeance. We do not care at all for real, authentic, truth. Instead we search for teachers that will tickle our ears and tell us what we want to hear instead of what we should hear. In the end, we believe the lie of our own self-righteousness. Junk thinking, junk life, junk soul.
What we need to do as followers of Jesus Christ is to repent of this sin and madness. We need to open our eyes and see the condition of the world for what it is. That Christ is coming soon and we need to start preparing and preaching like never before. We need to stop acting like “Christianity” is some sect, or political affiliation, or just another theology on equal footing with other cringy world views. We need to stop trying to be like the world, which is passing away. We need to realize that we have the truth! We have the red pill to wake people up! We have the ultimate truth about God, humanity, salvation, sin, the depravity of the human heart, and God’s love for the world by sending His Son to die for us. We have the resurrection and the life. We need to start respecting the Bible and start believing what it says.
Even still, forces and principalities are hard at work to try and distort God’s word. The fact is, we all would be at a severe disadvantage if the knowledge of the Bible was lost in the ashes of history and all we had was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus Christ taught out of the Old Testament. And the writers of the New Testament explained what Christ’s victory means in the context of the Old Testament. What would happen if we lost that? We would lose the Torah and all the knowledge about the origins of man, the world, the miracles like the parting of the red sea and the careful and deliberate plan God unfolds to save mankind from sin. We would lose the Psalms and all the poetic writings detailing the prophecies of Christ, the heartaches, redemption, forgiveness, judgement of the wicked, and salvation. We would lose the prophets who had visions of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. We would lose the New Testement writings that detailed the career of Jesus Christ and the early church. We would lose so much. Yet, this is the power of that message of Jesus Christ. In the gospel, it reveals so much about the wickedness of man, and the incomprehensible love God has for the world. It is a supernatural message that can pierce through the hearts of man. As stated earlier, this is all the work of the Holy Spirit. There is a reason why this message spread like wildfire throughout the world from Juresleum. Because it is that scandalous, that powerful, and that controversial in the context of our great evil, sin and heart issues. That even though we have sinned against each other and a Holy God, that this God loved us so much that He sent His only son to pay the penalty for our iniquities. Now whoever believes on the name of the only begotten son shall not perish, but have everlasting life. It is offensive to the jews and foolishness to gentiles. But it is in this offensive, and incomprehensible message that can give hope and life to many. After all, Jesus did not come to bring peace on Earth, but instead he brought a sword. This gospel message will divide people, as with any truth. And there will be agents of the devil to try and censor or pervert this message of the gospel.
Fahrenheit 451 is a very somber warning letter to western man. But here is the profound part; if a secular man, such as Bradbury, can see and predict this dystopia we are currently living in, how come we as followers of Christ cannot see that the world is passing away and Christ is coming for His Bride? As followers of Christ, we need to open our eyes about what is going on. And to Non-believers in Christ, now is the time to get right with God. Ray Bradbury was trying to point out that this type of censorship could very much happen in our future. But the fact is, that it already is happening. You can see it in “cancel culture” around the internet. Instead of book burnings and fire raids to censor the dissenters, all it takes is the click of a button and you are banned, with your content deleted. People with bad intentions who don’t like what you have to say can threaten your job and career to make you shut up.
But even more important in the context of believers in Christ is we ourselves are burning the Bible when it comes to how we respect, treat and treasure it’s words. We are not physically burning the book, but instead throwing it in the fire of our own lust of our hearts. But the good news is if we change our minds and start treating the Bible with respect, God will open our eyes and give us profound wisdom and knowledge in the scripture. Only with a circumcised heart, instead of one of stone, will our eyes open up to see and we will have ears to hear.
For those who don’t believe, I implore you to read and study the Bible. The Bible is not a textbook. It is the inspired word of the Living God. Given to us to reveal all truth about the world, man, man’s condition, the character of God, the coming judgement, and the hope we have of the future. Above all else, the Bible is about one man who claimed He was from God, and claimed He is God. That man is Jesus Christ. In Him we have light and we have salvation. In Him, we finally know the truth about all matters. In Him, we can finally have life and life abundantly. The fact is that you have been given an opportunity in this very moment, in this very age, to explore who God is. You might claim to know God already, you might claim there are many ways to the Father, and many ways to salvation. But there is a reason why the Bible has endured for such a long time. Because God and God’s word never change. He is, was, and always will be. There is only one God, one book that reveals Himself, and one way to salvation, which is through His Son.
The time is very short and the days are few. As stated by the scripture, the end times will be perilous and marked by an increase of evil. While it is beyond the scope of this ministry to pinpoint the coming of the day of the Lord, we have to be like watchmen. We have to see the seasons and prepare ourselves accordingly. Unfortunately, we are at the threshold of a world envisioned by Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. And while I doubt there will be serious book burnings of the Bible, we are already doing that with our hearts by how much we respect it in the great scope of things. But there is real hope in the madness: Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. The battle has already won. It is finished. With the world passing away and darkening in its iniquity, at the same time the Bible is shining brighter and brighter every day. As the world grows more in it’s sin, the Bible is the one book that stands out and tells the truth about what is going on. Let us all repent, pray, fast, be vigilant, be thankful for what we have, and treasure these times. Montag may have only read one portion of Revelation, but here is what comes next after that verse that gives comfort and hope:
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Note from the editor: What I hope you get out of reading this article is how important it is to read things and analyze the world and the various media, through the lens of the Bible. This is also known as the “Biblical Perspective” in some evangel circles. If you like and want to see more of this type of content, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
As we are currently living in our new pandemic normal in the reprobate nation of the year 2020, I got to watch the 2018 documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone. I was pleasantly surprised by how well made and biblically sound this movie is. American Gospel is chock full of massive red pills and hard hitting questions that American believers need to start asking and meditating on.
Directed and written by a young believer named Brandon Kimber, American Gospel: Christ Alone is a critique, examination, and a thorough deep dive into contemporary americanized Christianity. Including, predominantly, an heavy discourse on the “Prosperity Gospel” and Word-of-Faith movements. The movie has so many jarring red pills coming from all angles that it was very hard to keep up with the many truth-bombs being thrown in the film. In terms of quality, the movie is on par with many other excellent, well-made documentaries. The film is loaded with well-known biblical teachers and preachers, though some briefly. Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur, and many others make appearances in the film to share the pressing issues going on in the Church in America. Despite these big names, the film mostly concentrates on some smaller characters. Such as the amazing testimony of Katherine Berger, a mother with a rare genetic disorder that makes her chronically ill. This was easily one of the most captivating parts of the film hearing how she went from a healthy atheist, to getting sick, and her family and her coming to Christ and navigating their faith through her illness. Justin Peters is also featured in the documentary and he tells his origin story on why he is against the Prosperity Gospel. His story is particularly interesting considering he suffers from Cerebral Palsy and had a couple of run-ins with faith healers in his journey.
Kimber wastes no time in this movie as the documentary is very fast paced, never wasting a second of its two hour, thirty minute runtime. The film runs the gambit of major issues inside the Church in America and includes:
-Grace vs Works
-Jesus in the Old Testament
-The Goal of Preaching
-What is true Happiness?
-The inerrancy of Scripture
-The Nature of Christ
-Signs and Wonders
-Preaching the Gospel correctly
-The cost of following Christ
-The obsession with unifying the Church with other religions
-Faith and miracles
-The sovereignty of God
American Gospel goes to great length to touch upon all of these topics that are affecting the American Church today. And while there are so many countless books and essays on nearly all these important issues of our time, the movie does a good job on at least touching the bulletin points of these often debated subjects.
Still, the main issue the movie addresses is the often lambasted Word-of-Faith movement, and the prosperity gospel. The usual suspects are front and center as we get a large dose of Benny Hinn, Todd White, Joel Olsteen, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and much, much more of the prosperity crowd.
In researching for this film, I watched an interview from Kimber on Doreen Virtue’s youtube channel. Kimber was briefly part of the Prosperity movement until he watched the infamous “Shocking Youth Message” by Paul Washer. This was the beginning of him learning about reformed theology, and the more he dove into scripture, the more he was pulled away from the word-of-faith crowd. With this in mind, it is not shocking that the movie is so very critical of the Benny Hinns and Todd Whites of the world. I know some of you out there will roll your eyes thinking this movie is some cringe Calvinistic propaganda piece. And yes, the way some promote Calvinism is embarrassing and it does produce face-palming cringe, but Kimber does an excellent job at not browbeating the audience with heavy 4-D Chess-level reformed doctrine and there is not one mention of the TULIP in the movie. Kimber is not wasting his audience time by explaining to them the wonders of Limited Atonement or the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. He goes right to the heart of some of American Christianity’s biggest doctrinal issues and leaves some of the more heavy theological debates at the door.
This leaves us with one of the film’s flaws, which is the criticism of the Word-of-faith/Prosperity Gospel movement itself. This is, however, just personal preference. I have been a professional wrestling fan since I was a toddler so I know when I am being conned, shilled, worked, or someone is pulling my leg (I’m looking at you Todd). After all, pro wrestling is fake and even at the beginning journey with Christ, with basic knowledge of the four gospels, I could discern that people like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland were hucksters just by what they were preaching. What was more interesting wasn’t the critique of the prosperity gospel itself, but the theological reaping that the Prosperity Gospel sowed and what it looks like in modern American Christianity.
But even with that being said. The cold hard facts is that many, yes many, follow the errors of the Joel Olsteens of the world and this error must be addressed. American Gospel might be the best nonacademic critique of this movement.
Even with a movie like this that is rich in good doctrine and makes their points well, I know some boomers will make mouth noises and slobber out the usual defenses and tropes associated with contemporary american christianity. They will scoff, not take it seriously, and complain about legalism, and about division, and about this and that to defend the buffoonery going on. They will also go to the extreme asking if this is a matter of losing your salvation. But this is a fair question to ask if this is a gospel issue. I personally believe someone can be saved through the Todd Whites and Steven Ferticks of the world. After all, both are amazing speakers and have a ton of zeal even though their doctrine is heretical. But I believe, if these new converts are truly the Lord’s, God will draw those believers out of their churches. Yes, the Lord works through these questionable men to fulfill his purposes. But at what point does God work through these men in spite of their teachings? It is interesting because Paul himself said that some men will preach out of selfish ambition, but that the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. But that leaves us with an even bigger question, are these men preaching about the Jesus in the Bible? Or are they preaching a false Jesus? This is a humongous question every preacher needs to ask themselves before they open their mouth when they get to the pulpit. And yes, the movie does address this exact question and does it brilliantly.
It is a tough situation because we try not to divide the Church and discern out of love. This is why it is so important to study scripture and why the Bible should be the standard and the rock of what we preach. This is one of the principle problems with the western world today, that we have no respect for scripture.
I often meditated while watching this movie how someone can get entangled in the prosperity gospel movement. The truth is, that we are all guilty of this at one point in our lives. We only care about getting what we want from God, and when we do receive what we want, we often do not give thanks to Him. Instead of Christ being enough in our lives, we instead make Him an accessory to go along with our picture of Ronald Regan or that autographed book of Das Kapital depending where you swing in the political sandwich. We have no respect for the Bible, and ultimately we do not believe what the Holy scriptures say. And in the end we craft out of our 401ks, an idol more like the pegan God of the USA, Santa Claus, and call it God or Jesus. It’s the same old story, from Genesis, to Exodus, to Israel, to the current era in the United States, we continually break the very first commandment and instead of worshiping the Almighty Creator God, we chase after other Gods. Nothing is new under the sun.
I often debate with friends if people are just very stupid and thats why they won’t believe in the truth. But… I think we all need to step back and look at the condition of the western man’s heart in the context of a dying American Dream. For so long the US has promoted the idea of the American Dream: A Big McMansion, a wife, couple of kids, an upwards career or factory job that gives you a comfortable middle class wage, a retirement fund, a healthy body and the freedom to do whatever business you want. This is the ideal. But as we roll along in the year of our Lord 2020 and America metamorphs into Clownworld, all these dreams are melting away in the eyes of the Millennial and Zoomer generations. House prices are astronomical, feminism and soy products have all but destroyed the family unit, we are metamorphosing into a gig economy and the middle class jobs have all but disappeared, we are constantly eating and drinking poison which in turn, are destroying our bodies. And many are shackled by student loan debt, effectively making a slave class that will take them the rest of their lives to pay it off. This is just from the younger generation perspective, as even the boomers are being heavily affected by the downgrade of the nation and the idols are being shattered left and right by God’s judgement. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
We often chase our whole lives after the almighty dollar bill. Some people are trapped under the yoke of debt, others desperately try to advance up the corporate ladder, or make the sales mark, all to get one taste of the sweet nectar of a cash bonus or raise. Some are very very poor, and not by their own doing. Some just have bad luck. Is it no wonder that a lot of people gravitate to these hucksters to cling onto any hope they can? Any simpliecnce of hope or control of their own lives? To just grasp and hold onto some hope that maybe, just maybe, God can give them wealth or a healthy body or whatever just to get some relief?
Yet this is not what the gospel really is. The Gospel is a radical call for all men, both mighty and weak, both wealthy and poor, both healthy and sick, both tall and small, to repent and believe the good news. That though we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins, according to scripture. And rose after the third day, according to scripture. That Holy God, though we are sinners, so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. That whoever so believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. That salvation comes from, is given from, and belongs to God, for His glory. This is not a political theory, or accessory, or silly little trinket you can put next to that polaroid of your favorite false political messiah. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. To be born again, to experience a new life, with new hopes and dreams, and loving the things that God loves and hating the things God hates. To have a new heart and real, true hope. To not die, but to live, in a new Heavens and New Earth without the pain and the heartbreak and the depression of our age.
This is why the red pill is so hard for people to swallow. Because the Prosperity Gospel’s doctrine is not how the world really works. Just a reading through Eccestiaties shatters every doctrine of the PG movement. Because to the materialistic man, the Jesus Christ of the Bible is foolishness. Because of people’s sin nature, and their love for sin, they will harden their hearts to the truth, and instead chase after a gospel that will cater to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. To have their ears tickled and tell them what they want to hear. This is why the Prosperity Gospel is so dangerous, because it placaites to the carnal man who is chasing the things that are passing away instead of the Heavenly things that will last for eternity. They follow these teachers and follow their carnal hearts, and in the end they perish or wind up even more broken-hearted and lost when they start. Quite simply, the Prosperity Gospel is God’s judgement on a nation that is reprobate and will not turn to the truth.
Still, what is true riches? What is true healing? What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? This is why Katherine Berger’s story in this film is so compelling. Because this is a woman whose body is breaking down constantly with horrific ailments, yet Berger has the clarity to know that God loves her, and that she is blessed despite her condition. We see that she has wonderful children, a wonderful husband and you can see that spirit of life in her eyes. She even says she wouldn’t trade her old atheist life with a healthy body for her current situation. Because her relationship with God is stronger each day because she needs Him. To know Christ is to gain. How many of us could really say that about God if we were in her situation? How many of us would curse God to His face if we had cancer, or paralyzed, or any other ailment? This is what makes the book of Job (which the movie does talk about) such an important read, because Job, despite losing everything, refuses to curse God. To walk through the darkest valleys this world offers, and not fear any evil but trusting and praising God, THAT is true power, a true gift, and a true blessing. Because we all come in naked in this world and we can’t take anything out of the world when we leave, even our own bodies.
Does this mean that there is no more miraculous healing? Or signs and wonders? Or speaking in tongues? Should we turn away or dull ourselves to the possibility of signs and wonders in the technological new millennium? Should we forget to pray to God for the healing of our bodies? By no means! There are stories all the time from outside the United States of signs and wonders, all in the advancement of God’s kingdom. After all, this is the same God who created the Heavens and Earth, parted the red sea, and raised His Son from the dead. Many western-minded people will cry and ask for a sign, for photo or video evidence, or scientific proof for signs and wonders, but the Lord will not be put to the test. We should pray for healing, but we must first seek His Kingdom first, then everything we ask will be granted to us.
American Gospel: Christ Alone is a well-made, laborious wake-up call to those who proclaim Christ as Lord and savior. The good thing about this film is it came out (2018) at just the right time as the United States is currently going through a state of turmoil. As the idols of money, wealth, and health get shattered, what will people do and who will they turn to? Will they turn to the Jesus of the Bible, or an idol to look like Jesus. When turmoil comes to us and our house, will we turn to the Jesus of the Bible or will we stumble and deny Him? The life of a believer in Christ is brutal and hard, and requires us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him. But what is the Kingdom of Heaven like?
Matthew 13:44-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Preachers will preach about the cost to following Christ, and rightfully so, but seldom will they preach about what they gain, or what it is like to gain Christ. The gospel is not about the systematic face-palming “DURR HURR get-out-of-hell-free” card. It is not a political philosophy, not a wealth and health scheme, it does not care about your religion, or twelve steps to a happy life. It ignores and laughs at what you think the world’s problems and solutions are. It is not an apologetics tract or scientific foundation. The Gospel is the way, the life, and quite simply, the truth. The truth about the wickedness of fallen man, the world, the fate of a fallen world, and the truth about God, his character, and His redemptive plan through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately during the end times, men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. What America Gospel shows to us is that it is now more important than ever to preach the authentic gospel, without tricks, without the Mickey Mouse tactics or seeker-friendly buffoonery. As the Day of the Lord approaches, we must stay firm and preach the truth, in love, to all who would believe. The truth is that all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that all men deserve the all-consuming fires of the judgement to come. But God, rich in mercy, and grace, sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in our place. And behold! God raised Christ Jesus from the dead and now He sits at the right hand of the father. This is the good news to all those who believe in the name Jesus. The gift of salvation and eternal life to all those who believe. Let us preach the proclamation in joy and true hope in a hopeless world. Is America a “Christian” nation as it likes to claim it is? I would like to think it is, but the truth is I do not believe America, or any nation currently, can uphold this claim in a world so secular and foreign to the scriptures. American Gospel shows that there is still work to be done, that America needs the Great Commission more than ever. And I think this is the perfect time, in all this chaos, to preach. Not Republican party talking points, or the SJW gospel, but of Christ crucified, and the resurrection of the dead.
We often live in an attention hungry society. Social media has inflamed the pride of life where we are obsessed with getting likes and thumb-ups instead of the approval of God. Because of this many feel left out or ignored, especially the local congregations struggling to survive. God, through Paul Washer, gives a special message to the local Pastors and humble followers of Christ who feel invisible, ignored, or left out.
Note: This is from the 2017 G3 Conference Session 6 of Paul Washer. All content of the G3 Conference is protected under copyright law.
As the madness of the year 2020 rolls on and as we approach the midpoint of the year, there seems to be a spiritual low point going on, especially in my life. Just when we thought the chronavirus saga was dying down, it once again swirled back up as health officials claim there is an upsurge in cases and once again, cities across the United States are either shutting down, or placing ridiculous ordinances such as forcing those outside to wear a mask. As someone who is single, whose family mostly lives out of town, and who desires to work for the Kingdom and be involved in a local Church, it is impossibly frustrating and aggravating what is going on at this present time. I am physically, and spiritually tired and drained.
Whether or not you believe the chronavirus is real or some kind of political ruse is not really the major problem that is going on. And whether you believe masks can stop chronavirus, or is some kind of weird power trip by Karens running the government is not the point. What is going on, as I stated in previous articles, is that there is a demonic spirit at work in the United States and in every fabric of public life that we live in. How anyone cannot see the masks, and the “social distancing” signs and not think that it is demonic is beyond me.
What makes the mask so eerie and wrong is that they dehumanize a person that is wearing one. No longer can you see the person’s face. No longer can you see their facial expressions. No love or hate, no smile or frown, no general curiosity or disgust, no friendly gestures or sarcastic smirks, no laughter or agony. Hell, sometimes you cannot even hear the person talking depending on if they are wearing a bandana or not. It is just a blank slake. Sure, some people can choose to wear custom made masks or other headgear to show uniqueness or personality. But ultimately everyone is anonymous when it comes to the masks. It reminds me of what we are online. Social media and the internet in general is full of anonymous posers, fakers, and other “blank” people that can do or say whatever their heart pleases. Even in the world of social media, we are only static pictures of what we want to show the world. No one ever poses a pic of themselves in their bed crying at night, in the bathroom puking because of an overdose, in their car after a severe bout of depression, or on their knees in their closet praying to God for a miracle. No, none of these things we dare show to the internet. We only want to show an illusion of what we want to be instead of who we really are deep down inside.
It is easy to backslide into old habits and old pasts in a time like this when you have no work, no friends, nothing to do, no one to hang out with, and are isolated. It is easy to slide into pornography, drugs, social media baffonary, video game addiction, junk food addiction, alcohol, and all the other vices of mans heart. We become more abusive to our family, more sharp-tongued against our neighbors, and turn our rage against our fellow man at a store for just doing their job. The children are abused and the elderly are neglected. Through this one moment in time, God is exposing the hidden idols of man’s heart and putting even the elect to the test. It is especially hard for single people like me who suffer from extreme loneliness and depression. It is very hard being forced to be at home when you have no one to come home to. The places to hang out are shut down. And no one wants to hangout because they are afraid of the virus. It is a NEET’s paradise come to life as we are all now living the gamer’s lifestyle. This is in contrast to the married individual, who will now be put to the test as he is forced to spend all day with their family as the jobs they escaped to have been taken away. In a lot of cases, married people experience extreme loneliness, some even worse than singles. A lot of people have no job anymore. Careers have been crushed and identities have been trampled on.
It’s one thing during times of peace to be gung-ho saying we must have love and joy during troubled times. It’s another when you are right in the middle of a nationwide crisis, so much so that your mental patience is being challenged as all your social activities and work are shut down and your vices and deep fears of isolation are brought before you forcibly. It is a massive disadvantage spiritually to live in a country like the United States due to the fact we have so many distractions, pleasures and idols we can dive into to feed our flesh. We are well fed and well entertained. The Romans had bread and circuses, and in America we have Pornhub and McDonalds to keep us from opening our eyes to what is going on. The only reason why the country is not in total meltdown mode is because we still have access to plenty of food and no one is starving.
But while we may not be starving physically, we are starving spiritually. Just this past week I spent a portion of my Sunday seeing if there was a church open. And yet there were none. Despite some states and municipalities easing restrictions on churches, many of them choose to be closed or move their services online. And I get it why many church leaders are choosing to stay closed. What if someone’s child or an elderly person gets sick and dies? No one wants that in their conscience. And who can forget the army of lawyers salivating over the thought of suing a church like a bunch of vultures circling a dying man. No pastor ever wants to deal with a shyster lawyer.
Still, most of my depression is the desire to do meaningful work in the local church and the frustration over being locked down for already questionable reasons. I cannot be the only one feeling this. The truth is, no matter how many zoom calls, or streaming online services we do, it is still not what makes church “church.” The church is a community, a family of people of all types of backgrounds. Yet the one thing we have in common is that we are followers of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We stir each other up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another. It’s not the business of Christianity Inc and Big Eva that I am hurting over but the overall community in lockdown mode and people getting split over how the church should respond.
It is a very messy situation with no clear cut answer. because no one knows what is really going on right now or what is true and what is false. What is true and not false is that the situation going on is leaving people isolated and splitting the Bride of Christ in two. There is an army of lawyers, media scoundrels, Karens with iphones, and law enforcement ready to pounce on a local church to bring them down as has already happened with many churches.
Still, there is a silver lining to all this madness. God is in control, and always uses something as bad as a pandemic to further His glory. Many people are now waking up and taking the red pill. Many are finally coming to, and coming back to Christ. As the madness of the world grows, the Bible gets more magnified. As darkness overtakes the land, the gospel shines more brighter. Church leaders are hard at work and being creative to not neglect the elect. Some are having outdoor meetings, some are using a drive-in approach. Others are going back to the original method of home church or small groups, meeting at a home where they will not be harassed by law enforcement. The church leaders are hard at work to make sure their flock is fed and kept safe.
Despite the work God is doing in the background, that does not make this trial any less painful. How exactly does one have joy in the face(mask) of such wild mental calamity? Love and joy are some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that all believers should have. It is one thing to have joy during times of peace, it’s another when you are going through times of trials and tribulations. Yet God ordains the changing of the times and the seasons of our life. And God has written eternity on all of man’s heart. It is a part of being created in His image, that we were originally designed to be eternal beings. Yet we are so focused on the now and the things of this world which are passing away. We desire pleasure and to avoid all pain instead of looking at our seasons through the lens of eternity. This is a symptom of the fall and man’s sinful nature.
Still how can one find joy in a time of suffering? It is interesting reading John and the Priestly Prayer of Jesus Christ before his coronation on the cross:
John 16:19- 22: 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
This is in context of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, but the point I am making is that we are so focused on the pain of the moment instead of looking at the bigger picture of our sanctification and the new birth. Suffering and pain can co-exist. A pregnant woman has both suffering and joy. Suffering from the labor pains but rejoicing because she is bringing a newborn to the world. A sick man may be in pain and suffering through brutal treatment, but rejoices when he is cured of his aliment. A soldier may suffer the trials and tribulations of his training, but rejoices when his perfected warcraft brings him victory over his enemy. Though we are suffering now, we hope for a better future, a better tomorrow, and a new heavens and new Earth because of the cross of Christ and the gospel of salvation. It is written that creation itself is groaning in labor pains, as do we who believe in the Name above all names. As believers we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, and the resurrection of our bodies.
Nothing lasts forever and nothing is new under the sun. God has ordained the passages of our lives and the fact is, every human being goes through trials and tribulations. Believers and pagans, young and old, married and single, rich and poor, familys, tribes, and nations, and even the world itself cannot escape the storm. It is written also that all men are appointed to die once, then face the judgement. Though it might seem that the world is against you, the fact is no one knows what goes through their neighbor or brother’s heart except God himself.
God disciplines and rebukes those who He loves. Could it be God is preparing us for the real persecution to come? After all, the churches being shutdown due to the virus is nothing compared to the historic and continued persecution of believers in Christ where life and death is one the line. We are a very rich and fat nation with much to lose while those of other countries and cultures have nothing to lose other than their life and many are gladly willing to die for the faith if they ever receive such an honor. Will those in the United States who claim to believe in Christ be willing to possibly go to jail or even lose their life for Christ and the gospel? Jesus even said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I am in no way downplaying persecution of the church in the United States because many, and I mean many, have paid dearly for following Christ in the US in the forms of breakups, divorces, job loses, friendship losses, family disownment, monetary losses, and much much more. But it is one thing facing these 1st world problems and another when you are staring at the barrel of a gun and your life’s on the line. Will we pass the test or be like Peter and deny Him? I write this to you because I have thought about this scenario for myself many times over, if I have that strong enough faith of Jesus Christ that I will be willing to lay down my life for the gospel. Thank God that He is merciful and if that time ever arises that the Holy Spirit will give us strength. It is something to think about and meditate over.
Despite going through severe depression, I will give thanks to the Lord because by gazing at the cross of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, I know that He has loved me and has cleansed me of my many sins. I have been blessed multiple times in my life despite not earning or deserving any of them. And even if I was not blessed, He still deserves my praise because God’s greatness of Holiness is beyond any human or heavenly host’s comprehension. Let us be joyful of our trial as the day of the Lord draws near when all tears will be dried up and all pain will fade.
From dust you made Man. And breathed life into his nostrils.
All of these are crafted from your mouth.
Mighty is the Word of the Creator God Almighty.
What is a man’s work compared to you God?
All a man’s toil is meaningless, all turns to ash.
From dust we are made, to dust we will become and all in our wake is ash.
Cities created, and by the winds of the west, cities destroyed.
Nations rise up, and by the winds of the east are blown away.
Men can build great legacies and bring glory to themselves.
But in the end all is folly.
A mere generation can destroy everything a mighty man makes.
Their inheritance wasted, their empires crumble, their works thrown away in the bin.
And all that remains is a footnote in forgotten books in forgotten tongues.
The mightiest works of men are nothing but filthy rags to your sight oh God.
A wretched stench it brings forth.
Unsightly to your eyes.
Blashemphy to your ears.
Tasteless, and unfeeling.
It is written that man’s pride is an abomination to you Almighty God.
Yet we erect our pride like a statue in a city.
Haughty and arrogant.
How horrible is it, the hearts of man, oh God?
We build with our hands idols to satisfy our own desires.
Wicked is the man who creates their own gods and chases after them.
Their bellies are never filled.
Their members are never satisfied.
A constant chasing after wind is their life.
A constant yearning for flesh that dies.
In the end we build with our hands darkened hearts.
Hearts that are hardened by life’s iniquity that we drink desperately like water.
Our work turns to weapons. Our tongues spit out daggers.
No mercy, no remorse, unforgiving, unloving, and with no appreciation.
In the end the building that is our heart crashes down by the storms of life.
Because that house was not built on the rock, but the sand.
You Lord, are the crusher of idols!
With your powerful hammer you break a man’s spirit.
The wicked have no rest, the unjust have no quarter.
The wise man who builds libraries has become a fool.
The Rich man who has built treasure in their houses has become poor.
Those who amass the praises of men have become infamous in a blink of an eye.
Those who build their lives on seeking the pleasures of this life die soulless.
Those who sow the wind against you, have reaped the whirlwind of your wrath.
The wages of a man’s sinful work is death.
His body deteriorates
His mind grows dim.
His love waxes cold.
We chase after the wind of our youth but in the end we end up our sinful hopes and dream of iniquities crumble into the dust we were made. To dust we are made to dust we will become.
The soul that sins dies.
In the end the hearts we craft in our own image are abominable, disgusting, abhorrent, and wretched.
What man can compare to the mighty works of the living God?
Who can compare to God’s masterpiece? The cross of His only Begotten Son.
From the moment man fell, you began a great work to bring redemption.
Though the Earth was flooded by the waters of your wrath, you merely cleared the foundation.
Through an old woman’s dead womb, you brought forth the son of the promise.
Through your signs and wonders you brought your chosen people out of a powerful nation.
Year after year, generation after generation.
Your mighty judgement and redemption was echoed through the ages.
Until the final piece of your grand plan was erected.
The Son of God lifted up, crucified, as an atonement for our iniquities.
Though we were still sinners, the Christ, the Messiah, died for us.
The Ultimate work of your glory. The ultimate symbol of your infinite love.
Who can stand before this work that not even the angels can comprehend?
What man can truly comprehend the gospel? This masterpiece you have made?
For God can speak galaxies upon galaxies into existence.
But dare I say what makes you the most Holy of craftsman is what you do with man’s corrupt heart with the blood of your only begotten Son.
For with this blood you wash away a man’s sin and give him a new heart.
Not of stone, but of flesh, with your law written on it.
To break a prideful spirit into one that is poor and needy for your grace.
To give them a spirit of mourning, so you can comfort them.
To shatter their hatefulness and put in its place, meekness.
To put in them a thirst for righteousness.
To craft in them a spirit of mercy.
A pure heart you craft from an abominable heart.
A peacemaker you make them instead of a warmonger.
Sons of God you create from the ashes of a hellbound heart.
From a fearful heart, you made them bold in the face of persecution.
Blessed they truly are!
Holy is the Lord who saves the wretched man with the blood of the Lamb.
Holy is the Lord who wraps them with the Holy Spirit, who plants the seeds of his salvation.
Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who is all loving, all powerful, all merciful, who wipes the tears of those suffering a broken heart. In Him we find rest from our works. To those who trust in their own works, He will judge them accordingly, but to those who trust in the works of His only Begotten Son, He gives them eternal life, and the right to be called sons of God.
America, the western world, and the globe as a whole, has been through traumatic days in the past couple of months from the Coronavirus Pandemic, to its economic, cultural and political consequences, to the ongoing protest over the death of George Floyd. We certainly live in interesting times. Of course, being a keen observer of culture and the sign of the times, I see a culture of fear, anger, and a general madness sweeping the United States. It seems you can’t go anywhere on the web without the culture talking about the crisis-of-the-month or turn on the TV and be bombarded with native advertising, horrific news, talking heads with agendas, and general buffoonery. And while you can always switch off the TV, or put the cellphone down, the general feeling is one of a broken morale. It is very hard to see a smile behind a mask or join with friends at a bar when everyone is living on the edge.
This brings me to a very difficult question (when you think about it) to followers of Jesus Christ: What are people’s real hope? What are people living for? What drives them? What do they really protest about? Is the hope we are living for worth even living in? Is the hope we live for worth fighting over it? Is the hope we live for worth dying for? What is the endgame of our hope?
What is going on in the world currently is not even the tip of the iceberg to the major problems that are really going on. Many people want to focus or do massive group-think or have a hive mind mentality when it comes to the wrongs of the world when they can’t, or won’t step back and look at the sheer cosmic state of our world. There is massive unemployment going on, and the jobs currently available are service-based part time work. What is even more tragic is the loss of meaning in our work, or even the shattering of the idol known as the life-long-career and the college degree. We can thank the baby boomer generation for propping that one up. Abortion went from a solumn activity to celebrated by demonic women. Even the Baal worshipers were not that deranged when it came to child sacrifice. There is a very deep generational plague of loneliness and isolation being lashed upon the millennial and zoomer generation that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of. Violence is being escalated, both physically and psychological thanks to social media. The most striking thing I am witnessing is the unforgiving nature of people. The apology has been weaponized.
And this is only a small fraction of our deep heart problems.
This again, leads with the question: What is our hope? For some, it is money and a career. But glory from a career fades, all turns to dust, and possessions and fortunes are scattered. This is meaningless, and a great misfortune. For some, it is activism, to be a part of something greater than yourself. But this too, is meaningless. Political false messiahs come and go. Political parties come and go. And all is left is the ash bins of history. This is also vanity and a great evil. Some just check out entirely and live for pleasure and to satisfy all their desires. But in the end, everything is meaningless, they chase after the wind, and nothing is gained under the sun. What type of life is that?
This is why the cross of Christ is so powerful when put in the context of this broken world. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That His death, burial, and resurrection is the real, true hope we have. This is not some demented ticket to get out of Hell that Christianity Inc has watered down to, but precious sacrificial blood to give to an all powerful, all righteous, all merciful, all loving Holy God. This is perfect blood, provided by God himself, as a free gift, before the foundations of the world were set in place, to cleanse one’s sin. This is the door to the Ark, provided by God himself, before the coming judgement. Where God will judge the world with fire, and everything will be made new. The fact is, the world as we know it, with our sinful natures and the sinful nature of others is hopeless without salvation from God himself.
Even with this real hope, there is still a struggle to grasp this way, truth and life that is Jesus. We struggle and toil with our problems and issues. Struggle, failure, heartbrokenness, strife, depression, suffering, and death are all storms that come in our life. It is easy for a man to become a beast and curse God in the middle of the whirlwind and end up becoming a child of hell. Yet God is there in the middle of the storm. God is there with us in the darkest valley, guiding our path with His staff. It is easy for man to curse God in His and lose hope in His distress, but it takes real power, only through the Holy Spirit, to praise God and have joyous hope in your heart in your distress and pain.
As an ecclesia, we must examine ourselves. Are we holding on to this real hope? Are we sharing this real hope? Are we turning to a secular doctrine of demons? Or doctrines of grace? Where are we putting our faith in? Are we looking at the world through the secular eyes or the lens of the scriptures? Are we putting our faith in our works? Or the work that Jesus already did? Are we putting hope in a political messiah, or constitution, or putting hope in the risen King and His eternal Word?
My brothers and sister, I challenge you to have joy in these dark days. We have real hope. Not hope like the world has, but hope that brings salvation to men.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.