Times that Try Our Souls

When the young American Revolution was nigh unto coming undone, Philosopher and Scholar Thomas Paine wrote a series of 16 pamphlets, written in common language, to bolster the sagging morale of the Colonists. Often known as, The American Crisis, or simply, The Crisis, there are 16 pamphlets in total. Thirteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776 and 1777, with three additional pamphlets released between 1777 and 1783. The first of the pamphlets was published in Pennsylvania Journal on December 19, 1776. Paine signed the pamphlets with the pseudonym, “Common Sense”.

The young American country needed a victory badly.  As General Washington stood before Trenton with his ragtag army on December 23rd, 1776 the first of these pamphlets was read to them. The opening line of his first pamphlet set the tone:

 “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Allow me, if you would, to co-opt this sliver of American History to apply it to the day in which we, as Bible believing evangelicals, exist.  We are living in a day that “tries the souls” of those ancestors of the Reformation here in America who are standing against another revolution; the sexual and cultural revolution that has descended upon our society with such stupefying speed so as to make one’s head swim.  We, who stand for historic orthodox Christianity and biblical morals, are under attack.  Do not be mistaken, the purveyors of “tolerance” no longer have any tolerance for you if you hold to biblical morals.  As a matter of fact, there are many professing “evangelicals” who have been so captured by the zeitgeist of our culture that they too will have little toleration for orthodox Christianity that would dare stand against this revolution.  They… these supposed evangelicals… are the “enlightened, broad minded, and modern thinking ones” who have decided that two thousand years of Church teaching on these subjects now has to be “updated” and changed in order to be on “the right side of history”.  Have you heard that term before; “The right side of history?”  That is a progressive term meant to shame holders of traditional Christian morals and make them seem anti-intellectual and anachronistic.  It is the same tactic used to “shame” anyone who opposes same sex unions as being “homophobic”.  Who ever thought that in America one would be considered a bigoted person to hold to historic biblical positions?

Well, we are in a revolution, and the revolutionaries are not content to “live and let live”.  They are not content for you to have your position and they theirs.  No, the agenda today is along the lines of a war.  In a few short years, we have moved from things like abortion, homosexual unions, and transgenderism being “unthinkable” to “unquestionable”.  We have moved from the reality of biological sexual identity to the fantasy of identifying ourselves however we wish.  And this has become unquestionable for a majority of Americans today, as silly as it is.  And because it is “unquestionable”, should you indeed question it, you will be called all manner of unkind things, like xenophobe, misogynist, hate-monger, and homophobe.

The combatants in this war will not allow your biblical standards into the public square. Keep them inside your home or your church but do not dare bring them to school, business, or community contexts. But conversely, their agenda is being promoted and pushed upon our children in every venue from the schools they attend to the soccer teams they join.  If the leadership of companies like Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby dare stand against the now prevailing cultural attitudes concerning sexual behavior, they are to be boycotted and not allowed to open stores in certain liberally minded communities. And woe be unto you if you are the CEO of a company and you dare to make a comment supporting biblical morality.  You very well might lose your job.

“These are the times that try men’s souls”.  These are the times for which Berean has attempted to train you so that you might stand with biblical truths against the “winds of doctrine” that are blowing through our society.  In biblical Christianity, this is not time for the “summer soldier or the sunshine patriot”.  We are fast coming to the time where believers in our culture are going to have to “fish or cut bait”.  They are going to have to stop halting between two positions.  We are going to have to choose with whom we will stand; the ancient Word or the ascending world.  Yes, the world is in the ascendancy today. But the eternal Word will ultimately prevail.  What side of history will you be on… the shifting ideologies or the world… or the historic faith?

Paine included in his first pamphlet these words, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” Frankly, we have had it far too easy up to now as biblical Christians in America.  For most of our history, we have had favored status. But no more.  This will not be an easy battle.  Many will surrender.  Many will defect.  But I want to be on the “right side of history” when Jesus returns (or I go to him) and I have stood for the historic morals of the Bible and the Faith once delivered to the saints.  For the ultimate triumph will be Christ’s…and it will be glorious.


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