Soft Totalitarianism Is Here

“That’s not possible!” was one of the thoughts that I had when I first read the book and watched the video series called, “How Should We Then Live?”, published in 1976. It was in 1986 that I read and saw (in this video series) Francis Schaeffer use the words, “. . . a manipulative authoritarian elite . . .”, describing what is happening and coming in the Western world, of what would become the new setting for Christians to discern how we should then live under a government that has thrown off all historic foundations that are rooted in a “Christian Consensus.”

Totalitarianism will not come with the garments of Hitler’s Third Reich or Stalin’s Gulags, it will come with a softer tone and a more manipulative approach that will cause the masses to surrender to the state, as long as the state promises to provide for my “personal peace and affluency/prosperity”, that is, the citizens will say to the state, “you may take control and censor all of my life as long as you keep me modestly wealthy and safe from any external constraints or threats upon my life, my body . . . your choice.”

But we really should not be so surprised as we presently are; I suppose that’s what happens when it’s been so easy for so long to be a Public Christian, or for the sake of my audience, someone who would not confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior but at minimum, be a conservative, a moral traditionalist in the historic sense of American beliefs rooted in a bed of biblical morals.

This post has one modest goal, and that is to refer you to a few things that you can read to better equip your heart and mind to answer the question, “What in the world is happening?” You see, I am of the persuasion that there is a spiritual battle at play behind what is happening on stage in front of our eyes, for the author of tyranny is Satan. But the good news is that Christ is the author of salvation, and Christ aims to get all the glory by allowing the tyranny that is already in men’s hearts to reach the surface of public discourse. Then the world will know two things: that apart from God’s restraining grace man is a dictator who wants to rule over others at their expense, and secondly, that the best King of all is Christ, who rules over others at his expense.

Here are a few recommendations for your reading this year:

  1. “We Will Not Be Silenced” by Erwin Lutzer. The former pastor of Moody Church in Chicago surveys the landscape of the past several years here in America, summarizing what he sees as the latest confiscation of liberties and freedoms, many of which are directly aimed at biblical Christianity, and at least, any expression or views held that replicate biblical Christianity. Allegiance to Christ has always been and always will be a threat of insurrection to Caesar.
  2. “Fault Lines” by Voddie Baucham Jr. Here we have a very prominent black pastor and evangelist helping everyone to see that everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to the Critical Race Theory advocates, have one main objective – to silence the voices of traditional mores. Voddie is warning the Church that you stand on a fault line that may sink your church, if, you side with the latest “woke” movement in our country so that you might not be “canceled.” But the reality is that these movements instigate racism, hate, jealousy, covetousness, defiance of law-and-order, slander against the traditional family of a married man and woman with children to raise, and then attempt to silence any resistance by any means of force. They have shown their hands: it was never about justice for all or about tolerance for all, but about a complete overhaul and takeover of life in general, and of Christian life in particular.
  3. “Time for Truth: Living Free In A World of Lies, Hype, & Spin” by Os Guinness. This book takes a hindsight look at the Clinton Administration and its effect upon American life and it’s impact upon the Church in America. I’ll quote from the inside jacket: “One word of truth outweighs the entire world,” so said Aleksandr Solzenitsyn, the former Soviet Union’s one-man dissident movement whose courageous stand for truth helped topple his country’s machinery of propaganda, deception, and terror. But in the West today it appears that truth in any objective form is dead. At best it is relative and at worst it is created. Where does this leave us? If truth is dead and knowledge is only power, all that remains is a world of lies, hype, and spin. In Time for Truth Os Guinness goes far beyond well-worn attacks of political correctness. He shows how current assaults on truth – from the president down – have grave consequences for Western civilization and human freedom . . . Truth matters supremely, he (Guinness) says, because without truth there is no freedom. In fact, truth is freedom, and the only way to live free is to become a person of truth.”
  4. “Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents” by Rod Dreher. Again, from the inside jacket: “Survivors of Soviet Totalitarianism Have A Warning For Us: It Can Happen Here. Over the past few years, America has seen the rise of a chilling “soft totalitarianism” – something more Brave New World than Nineteen Eighty-Four. Identity politics are beginning to encroach on every aspect of life. Progressives attempt to marginalize conservatives, traditional Christians, and other dissenters, sneering at the idea of civil liberties protecting their beliefs. Corporations now censor opinions with which they disagree. Technology is inching us toward a surveillance state, and consumerism has dulled our spirits and made us willing to accept a secularism imposed not by gulags but by “softer” means . . . Dreher amplifies the alarm and explains why it is so hard for us to recognize the threat of totalitarianism in our own time. He lays out the steps for resistance and shares stories of modern-day dissidents who preserved their faith and their integrity during a time of tyranny . . .”

I am presently preaching through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings so that our church family will be equipped to take a stand for Christ when the magistrate, and those that the magistrate controls, attempts to silence us with threats with their soft totalitarianism. There are several other books and many videos clips that have been very helpful for me in trying to understand what in the world is going on. Thankfully, Schaeffer had my ear many years ago and to this day his words are as spot-on as ever. True, no book outside The Book is completely trustworthy. The books above are written by fallen man, as all books are. So take what is helpful and toss what is not, in your opinion. Just be sure that what you toss is non-essential to your hope in the Lord and keep what is essential. And remember, our government has already proven what they think is essential and non-essential. Keep that in mind.

“It’s Designed to Be Absurd”

I think this is a very good explanation of the absurdity that has invaded the public square. Doug Wilson makes several keen observations and viewpoints that are helpful in trying to understand what is at stake and how the church needs to prepare for what is coming. Political Correctness and the Cancel Culture are having a negative impact upon the church. He councils the church to figure out what hill you’re going to die on and get ready. At about the 10:25 mark pastor Wilson defends his postmillennial position, of which I do not hold; his illustrations would fit nicely in a premillennial position just as well. Nonetheless, I found this interview insightful and thoughtful.

How Does God’s Providence Cause You To Persevere?

John Piper recently published his life long book, “Providence.” I say life long because in the beginning of the interview posted here he describes God’s Providence as the back-drop and foundation of all that he has ever done.

I encourage you to watch the entire interview – almost an hour and half. But the final clip that begins at 1:15:17 where Joy Rigney asks John about the connection between holding fast to God’s Providence as a means to keep on being a Christian is my favorite. Why? Because this is how I feel and think about my own life. The only way that I have any confidence of waking up tomorrow morning and still desire to follow Christ is because of God’s Providence. May you also lean heavily upon the Providence of God to keep you until breakfast is served in the new heavens and new earth!

Jordan Peterson collides with the Foolishness of God

When I watch this my heart is filled with awe and joy that the “foolishness” of God is greater than the wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). My prayer for those who have been given an exceptionally contemplative mind about the world we live in and the condition of humanity, may fall down and joyfully bow to the unsearchable riches of Christ, that is . . . may your mind and heart be filled and overwhelmed that the one who made you sent his son to rescue you – from you, from the idolatry of yourself.

I enjoy and profit from the language of psychology, philosophy, and theology. If you would like to engage in a personal discussion with me regarding Dr. Peterson’s words, I would deeply enjoy the time with you. Email me at, or respond directly to this post.

May the Lord who was raised be your treasure!

O Come, All You Unfaithful

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

In addition to this song, purchase this book to hear Dane Ortlund speak to your heart what Jesus said about himself in the above Bible verse.

Gentle and Lowly (Hardback) - Dane C Ortlund -

Your Love Broke Through

I have always loved this song by Keith Green and Randy Stonehill, published in 1976, and recorded by many since then.

It describes what life is like without Christ – it’s like living in another dream world where you’re actually “asleep” to the real world, the world of living alive in Christ. The dream world without Christ “seems so real” to the lost mind. But if you see Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it is because his love broke through the barrier that kept out the light of the gospel.

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:3-6)

This means that your ability to see your need of Christ was God’s sovereign love and decree, just like speaking Creation into existence. There was nothing to work with in creating Creation and likewise, there was nothing to work with in creating Gospel Light in your heart.

Let’s gather in the Lord’s House this Sunday and worship him who has broken through! And may God be gracious to break through the sleepy hearts of family and friends.

“The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness; The path to True Christian Joy”

The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: Timothy Keller: 9781906173418 -

With only 44 pages, double spaced, about size 14 font, Tim Keller published a booklet in 2012 and to this day, I go back to and read some very helpful words. The title to his booklet is the title to this post.

Here is the back cover description:

“This is one of the questions the apostle Paul addresses as he writes to the church in Corinth. He’s not after some superficial outward tinkering, but instead a deep-rooted, life-altering change that takes place on the inside. In an age where pleasing people, puffing up your ego and building your resume are seen as the methods to ‘make it’, the apostle Paul calls us to find true rest in blessed self-forgetfulness . . . this is a truly liberating book for anyone who’s ever worried about what others think of them or been caught up in conflict.”

And here is a quote from Keller on page 39:

“Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance? The atheist might say that they get their self-image from being a good person. They are a good person and they hope that eventually they will get a verdict that confirms that they are a good person. Performance leads to the verdict. For the Buddhist too, performance leads to the verdict. If you are a Muslim, performance leads to the verdict. All this means that every day, you are in the courtroom, every day you are on trial. That is the problem. But Paul is saying that in Christianity, the verdict leads to performance.”

Buy the booklet! Buy bunches of them for stocking-stuffers this Christmas. There is nothing more freeing than to care about the only opinion of you that really matters: it is Christ’s opinion that matters most. Everyone else’s, including your own, matters little.

What Guides My Vote This Nov. 3, 2020: Scripture, as best as I can see.

Render unto Caesar - Wikipedia

I hope that your days are going well amid many things that make life a little more challenging in these times that are proving to help you to live for Jesus Christ.

I started preaching the book of Romans in September 2018. About 6 weeks ago I began chapter 13, which addresses submission to the government through paying taxes, offering the support of revenue, honor, and respect. Over the past several weeks, a few of my heroes of the faith have lovingly and respectfully disagreed with one another. I’ve read their books, sat at their feet at conferences, and have appreciated with the highest respect, their contribution to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, they do have differences of opinion.

It is my prayer and hope that you will engage the arena of politics with the Bible open and do your best to honor the Lord with not only your your vote but especially with your ongoing understanding of how God’s Word applies to politics. True, you may have already voted. Or, you may have already chosen to completely abstain. Or, you may have chosen to write in a third party candidate – that you know does not have a chance to win, but out of conscience you support. I completely respect that.

However, for your edification, in terms of learning to hear things out, and weigh all things to scripture, here are just a few things that I have read over the past several weeks. With very little comment from me, may what you read (and you should read for the benefit of your mind to pursue Christ), prove to be helpful in how you think about the world we presently live in and the godly responses that you should take.

Please take the time to read all that they say – for a believer who is serious about having their mind transformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 12:1-2), I think that you will find more peace and comfort in what Scripture has to say about Government that what any news network has to say.

First up is Wayne Grudem, from Phoenix Seminary in Arizona.


Then from John Piper that opposes Wayne Grudem:

John Piper disagrees with his life long friend, Wayne Grudem. They love each other and respectfully disagree. But at the end of the day, I agree with Wayne Grudem.

Now enter Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary in St. Louis, KY, partly in response to what is being said:

I agree with both Wayne Grudem and Albert Mohler. May the Word of God guide your conscience today and all the tomorrows over the next decade and beyond for the welfare of your fellow man.

I want to be “Left Behind” and so do you.

Left Behind (2000) – The original movie – Kirk Cameron - YouTube

I remember hearing and reading about the song and series, “Left Behind”, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in the early 2000,s, based upon the song produced by Larry Norman in 1989 titled, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” Both the song and the movie received huge positive reviews and viewership. It was based upon the belief that there will come a time when Jesus will secretly return to “take” his children home and leave the unbelievers “behind.” And therefore, you don’t want to be “left behind” but rather “taken”.

I believe that the entire premise of the song and movie are biblically inaccurate, misunderstanding the meaning of “taken” and “left”. Let’s look at the scriptures.

Matthew 24:27, 28 “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Matthew 24:36-44 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The question is: who will be taken and who will be left? The other question is, who is “taken” to what? and “left” to/out of/from what? And also, is Jesus calling us to be ready to be “taken” or is he calling us to be ready to be “left”?

We do know that Jesus is connecting those who were “unaware” and were “swept away” to those who were “taken”. How do we know this? Because Jesus used the analogy of those in Noah’s time. In the days of the flood, those who were taken, were taken, swept away into judgment. And those who were “left behind” were those who were left safely in the Ark.

This leaves us with the question, “Who is it then that the vultures depicted in verse 28 are feeding on, clearly a sign of judgment?”

As always, scripture interprets scritpture when there is any ambiguity. Turn to Luke 17:20-37:

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot–they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all– so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Much like the account of Matthew, but Luke gives us more. Are the disciples asking where the one will be left in bed and at the mill, or are they asking where the one will be taken? Jesus’ answer reveals that they are not asking where the one will be left, but where the one will be taken. The one left is still in the bed and at the mill stone – the disciples cannot be asking where the one at the bed and millstone are – because that is where they are. They are asking where is the one taken to. The one taken is “where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”, which is what Matthew said, though with not the same clarity as Luke. They are taken into judgment.

The point is: those who will be taken, swept away, like those in Noah’s day and those in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, are taken into judgment while Noah and his family, Abraham and Lot and their small family are left behind, that is, left out of the judgment. That is the point that Jesus is making. When he returns, you don’t want to be taken into judgment, you want to be left behind, that is, left out of that judgment.

Jesus is helping the church to get ready for his return by telling us that many normal things will be taking place in our lives (eating, drinking, getting married, buying and selling, ect.), but that his coming will be so sudden that those who are not ready will not know what hit them until it’s too late. You don’t want to be taken into judgment; you want to be left behind, left out of his coming judgment!

A few good things:

  1. Jesus promises that his elect will be left out of the judgment (Luke 17:37; Matt. 24:22, 28).
  2. Jesus promises that those who “remember” Lot’s wife and lose their lives in this lifetime, will not be taken into judgment. (Luke 17:32, 33).
  3. Jesus promises that after the “tribulation of those days” that he will gather his elect, with a trumpet sound, from the entire corners of the earth (Matt. 24:31).
  4. Jesus promises that in those days when the trumpet sounds, that those who are not ready will “mourn” when they see him coming on the clouds to take them away in judgment (Matt. 24:30).

Therefore, your hope in Christ is that when he returns you will be left behind, left out of his judgment, and not taken away, swept away into his judgment. For everyone knows: judgment is where the vultures are feeding! Thank God that when Christ returns, and the trumpet sounds, the elect are gathered together, that we will not be fed upon, but will rather feast with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-8).

My #1 Guitar Hero

I started listening to Phil Keaggy in 1988 and have attended 8 concerts with one photo-op and brief discussion and guitar pick signing time. While spending time here in Nashville, for the first time, the place is filled with a century of recording artists that remind of my #1 guitar hero. Not just because he is revered as one of the best of all time, but mainly because of his love for Jesus Christ. He’s produced over 60 albums and has toured the world sharing the gospel with his God-given incredible talent. Here’s a sample of what he can do (Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN), with no one else in the recording studio playing any instruments. Below are the wonderful and encouraging lyrics.

True Believers

The true believers stand on every word You say
The true believers made alive in Christ today
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay
The true believers

You’ve had enough, all you can take
When your river of tears
Runs into an ocean of heartbreak
He’ll be your moon when your sun goes down
Fire for you if ice is all that’s on your ground
When your music has died
And silence is the sound

The true believers stand on every word You say
The true believers made alive in Christ today
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay
The true believers

So if you need to call on a friend
He’s there for you right until the very end
His love is alive forever and amen

The true believers stand on every word You say
The true believers made alive in Christ today
This is how we survive and where we mean to stay
The true believers