The Most Dangerous Book of Our Times

As I watched the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Olympics, I experienced a range of emotions. Awe at the creativity of humanity. Respect for the training and athleticism of the participants. Wistful hope at the sight of the two Koreas marching as one.

Sadness at the singing of Imagine by John Lennon. I love his music, but those opening lyrics don’t inspire my dreams. I don’t have to imagine people living for today as if there’s no eternal blessing or everlasting separation from God. These are those times.

How do you think the words of that song would play over the loudspeaker of a North Korean labor camp housing individuals who dared speak of their faith or treasure the Word of God?  Probably not the way they sound landing on the ears of comfortable Westerners safely tucked in luxurious homes watching screens the size of walls purchased using the philosophy of living for today.

Living for today has such different meaning in a prison camp than in an upscale neighborhood in the burbs.

During the technological artistry of the ceremonies, the announcers discussed the incredible possibilities of modern tech, but they also pointed out that it has an addictive dark side. South Korea has a “Cinderella law” aimed at curbing the gaming habits of their youth between midnight and six am. We need to be brave enough to have those same conversations about unity.

Unity has beautiful possibilities for humanity, but it has an evil underbelly as any student of history can demonstrate.

There has never been a more important time for Christians to resist complacency, to know God’s Word, and to find creative ways to inject the truth into everyday life than today.

False prophets preach from every available screen. People hear a twisted version of scripture from Grey’s Anatomy, The Handmaid’s Tale, Scandal, top 40 billboard songs, and Golden Globe awarded films to name just a few avenues of deception. I have heard four or five partial out-of-context verses from Leviticus spouted so often on prime-time television you’d think the shows were written by one tortured soul who’d been abused by an Old Testament scholar as a child.

Loved ones, it’s not enough to change the channel. It’s not enough to avoid the movies or novels or rappers or talk shows that spout this deception. Withdrawing from the conversation is like a battalion of soldiers retreating from a village of unarmed civilians leaving them to protect themselves from the enemy’s advance.

Frankly, it’s a coward’s move, and cowardice is listed first in this powerful verse from Revelation 21:8, “‘But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’” (ESV)

As a church, we must, with the power of Jesus Christ, wage war on our own cowardice and complacency regarding His Word. North Korea demonstrates a greater wisdom than we do in this. The powers behind that nation know that the Bible is the most dangerous book of our times and so they make outlaws of those who embrace its truth.

In some countries, our enemy has come against God’s Word by making it unavailable. Because that didn’t work in the free west, he found a work-around. Here, a Bible is easily obtained. No need to outlaw it because it’s being disarmed by widespread, malicious propaganda delivered through every available headphone and screen.

Let us encourage one another to boldness, to bravery, to belief demonstrated by both word and deed everyday in every way. We are the knowers of truth in the age of deception. Let us not leave those we’re called to protect defenseless in the face of enemy attack.

The media creates caricatures of Christians, of those who hold to God’s Word, of those who believe in this most dangerous of all works of literature. The only way to remain undaunted by the lie is by a steady, minute-by-minute exposure to the truth by ingesting His Word, by prayer, and by living obediently in relationship with Jesus Christ.

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:8b-10 ESV

Today let us take courage from the fact that since the birth of the church, followers of Jesus have not been seen clearly by those who reject Jesus.

When we became citizens of the Kingdom Come, we inherited an incognito factor. If we embrace it like a Father’s cloak, we will move more easily through our days, striving less for their understanding, and possessing greater energy to devote to loving them in Jesus’ name.

We are the true, the known, the living, the enduring, the joyful, the rich, the inheritors of all. We are those unafraid to read and to embrace the most dangerous book of our times. We are Christians.

While others aim for this world they can imagine, we will follow Him who can do more than we imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Marge says:

    Thank you, Lori, for this timely message.

  2. Lori, Amen! I’m praying for the courage to live out this quote: “There has never been a more important time for Christians to resist complacency, to know God’s Word, and to find creative ways to inject the truth into everyday life than today.”
    People need REAL hope and we Christians have it: Jesus Christ! We must show love and grace, but not comprise the truth.

  3. Jann Butts says:

    Why are we so hesitant to speak about Yeshua, the Messiah? satan worms his way in, installs in us fear to say something to those we don’t know. They might reject us, mock us, laugh at us, treat us with scorn and distain and hatred. (Can’t have that, can we?)

    Yes, we should be bold! There’s a song (on the Christian radio station in Houston, Texas, KSBJ) the words asking, “If not us then who? If not now then when?” We are the ones God expects to boldly proclaim His Son and salvation. Not when it’s convenient for us but every time the situation presents itself.

    Thank you, Lori! Once again you bring forth truth and encourage us to live in that truth.