On December 9 in Chendu, China, Pastor Wang Yi and over 100 members of his church were arrested by government forces.  More have since been arrested.  The Pastor left a letter to be published in case of his incarceration, titled “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience.”  The full declaration is available here.  An excerpt (translated) is published below:

As a pastor, my firm belief in the gospel, my teaching, and my rebuking of all evil proceeds from Christ’s command in the gospel and from the unfathomable love of that glorious King. Every man’s life is extremely short, and God fervently commands the church to lead and call any man to repentance who is willing to repent. Christ is eager and willing to forgive all who turn from their sins. This is the goal of all the efforts of the church in China—to testify to the world about our Christ, to testify to the Middle Kingdom about the Kingdom of Heaven, to testify to earthly, momentary lives about heavenly, eternal life. This is also the pastoral calling that I have received.

For this reason, I accept and respect the fact that this Communist regime has been allowed by God to rule temporarily. As the Lord’s servant John Calvin said, wicked rulers are the judgment of God on a wicked people, the goal being to urge God’s people to repent and turn again toward Him. For this reason, I am joyfully willing to submit myself to their enforcement of the law as though submitting to the discipline and training of the Lord.

At the same time, I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely. The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.

But this does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.  – Pastor Wang Yi, October 4, 2018

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Andrew Sullivan, of New York Magazine, has a compelling description of the new cultural faith.  I strongly recommend it.

Seduced by scientism, distracted by materialism, insulated, like no humans before us, from the vicissitudes of sickness and the ubiquity of early death, the post-Christian West believes instead in something we have called progress — a gradual ascent of mankind toward reason, peace, and prosperity — as a substitute in many ways for our previous monotheism. We have constructed a capitalist system that turns individual selfishness into a collective asset and showers us with earthly goods; we have leveraged science for our own health and comfort. Our ability to extend this material bonanza to more and more people is how we define progress; and progress is what we call meaning.  – America’s New Religions

Of course, these new religions are really just updated versions of the old secular humanism and self-worship in a world supposedly without God.  What is different is society’s willingness to openly embrace the selfish and destructive as an acceptable choice in a relativist, and nihilistic, universe.

 

 

“The Whirlwind Is Already Here” writes Scott S. Powell.  He’s probably right.

The Critical Theory project emphasized and prioritized the demolition of Christianity and the nuclear family. They also sought to exacerbate race relations and promote massive immigration to destroy national identity. Additional focal points in their agenda encouraged dependency on state benefits and the bending of the legal system to favor perpetrators of crime over victims. And lastly, the agenda sought to dumb down the media and undermine schools’ and teachers’ authority.

An important part of the Critical Theory project of total transformation of society was to break down traditional relationships between men and women by promoting and legitimizing unhinged sexual permissiveness with no cultural or religious restraint. Building on the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, leaders of what came to be known as Postmodernism advanced the wrecking ball cultural deconstruction project right through the turn of the 21stcentury.

Postmodernists have had no use for tradition or any standards of normalcy, believing that all truth is contrived illusion rather than absolute.

You can read his full essay (and you should) here: https://spectator.org/the-whirlwind-is-already-here/

 

 

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

Yanan Wang, of the Associated Press, has an excellent article detailing personal stories of recent persecution of Christians in China.   Required registration with the government, constant surveillance, and destruction of church property by government officials are just some of the consequences faced by religious citizens.  Read more here.

You can read the US State Department profile of China in the International Religious Freedom Report of 2017  here:  http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=280814

fallenrome

It isn’t terribly provocative to note that the modern West seems to be going to way of other great civilizations trending towards decadence, corruption and immorality.  The West has more riches, more technology and more freedoms than ever before in the history of humanity.  Yet we seem content to follow in the footsteps of those great nations and empires who inevitably declined.  Why?

This week’s readings offer a view of how we have chosen for ourselves the means of our own decline.

Perhaps the most well known recent discussion of this problem is Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s essay, “Defining Deviancy Down.”  While focused on crime and family disfunction, it has a broader application to how the West has chosen to redefine conduct previously stigmatized as “abnormal” to be instead “normal” behavior.  This change in cultural norms, of course, has far reaching consequences.

This model can be applied to many aspects of modern life including politics (courtesy Daniel J. Flynn), sexual proclivity (courtesy Gary DeMar), religion (courtesy Daniel Jang) or even specific social choices such as abortion or torture (courtesy Mark Shea).  Together this “defining down,” or as previous generations would describe it, immorality, results in negative consequences for both individual and society.  If unchecked, the downward spiral continues until those virtues that made a group or nation successful are no more.