Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quisling "Christians"

For those unfamiliar with the term, "Quisling" refers to someone who collaborates with the enemy. It goes back to a man named Vidkun Quisling, an infamous Norwegian leader who collaborated with the Nazi regime in World War II. His name has become synonymous with collaboration in much the same way that Benedict Arnold's name is associated with treason ( or at least it used to back when history class included instruction in history. Yes, this is going to be one of those posts). Being a Quisling means placing personal safety, convenience, enrichment and acceptance over the well-being of others. In other words it is not a compliment.

We live in a religious/spiritual world that is rapidly being overtaken by the loud voices of religious Quislings, people who lack the conviction or fortitude or courage to stand for hard truths when there is a cost. Sure when something is popular and happens to line up with the truth it is easy but once that stops being true they stumble over themselves switching sides.

Just look at the news...

American clergy embracing homosexual marriage.

Theologians denying Creationism, hell, sin, the atonement, anything that might get them disinvited from the next cool kids academic mixer.

The Church of England voting to ordain women "bishops" in a response to incredible pressure from the secular centers of power even though England is already an incredibly secular nation and making women into "bishops" isn't going to do a thing to stem the tide.

On and on.

Compromising with the culture has gone from a niche hobby of people like the risibly named "Red Letter Christians" to a mainstream sport that resembles a race to the bottom. It has gotten to the point where even the most stunning betrayal of orthodoxy and Biblical common sense barely raises an eyebrow these days and seems to simultaneously be a badge of honor and a guarantee of book deals and blog traffic.

I know, I know. I am being:


Honestly I don't expect unregenerate people to act differently than they do nor do I think that making all sin illegal will stop unregenerate sinners from sinning. However when someone claims the name of Christ and chastises others who do for holding firm to positions that have long been settled in the church until the last five years, then I have an issue. Smiling at sin and even blessing it. Saying all is well when it is not. Being blown to and fro by the winds of the culture. Standing for nothing except not standing for anything. These aren't signs of spiritual maturity, they are signs of surrender, capitulation and accommodation. If you don't care that is your business but don't condemn those that do.

The Quislings are not alone in their misdiagnosing of what is going on around us and how to respond, as I have remarked before.  Others are seeking "enemy of my enemy is my friend" alliances with "conservative" heretics and blasphemers of all sorts in the  vain hope of winning a temporary reprieve for Christendom in America. Still others are "more of the same is the ticket" types, who hope that repackaging the same old religious nonsense, just with better presentation and more money, will suddenly make people sick of religion fall back in love with religion. Yeah right. Yet others are calling for returns to venerable religious traditions and institutions, some more ancient and corrupt than others but all nevertheless more deserving of a primo spot on the ashbin of religious history than they are in being revitalized after self-inflicted implosion.

While this is troubling, it is not surprising. It is painfully clear from the New Testament that the greatest threats to the church will come from within, not from without. Consider the words of Paul in his final instructions to the elders of the church in Ephesus:

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Act 20:29-30)

History has perfectly fulfilled the prophetic warning of Paul and there is ample evidence of this today in people ranging from Frank Schaeffer to Joel Osteen to Rachel Held Evans to Todd Bentley. Religious charlatans who tell the world what it wants to hear in return for gathering influence, followers, power or money (or some combination of all four). They often (thinking RHE and Frank here) respond to orthodox criticism with cries of persecution and misunderstanding, making themselves martyrs and crying "Woe is me, I am so misunderstood! Buy my book!" while reaping the benefits of the acclaim of the world. Nothing like using a public platform to advance your agenda and then crying foul when others use the same public platform to refute your claims.

There is nothing mean or hateful about pointing out the ravenous wolves that Scripture itself warns us to beware of. I am conscious of my tone and I know it can be less than helpful but the ranks of the Quislings seems to swell by the day and the silence from the church grows more thunderous. In a church terrified of a future with no money, no influence and few friends in the halls of power, there often is simply not enough time for worrying about hard to understand and divisive stuff like doctrine. Who has time for that when their are lawsuits to file and tax breaks to defend, bank accounts to pad for a rainy day and church activities to plan? You might think this is unfair and that many sincere Christians have come to these conclusions based on their own study of Scripture. I have no doubt many sincere Christians hold these beliefs quite sincerely but here is the catch: if these were not culturally popular I don't think they would hold them. Besides, sincerely teaching error is still....teaching error.

If you want to stand on the sidelines, bleating piously about not judging, be my guest. I will not. I cannot.

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