Doug Wilson tackles how the talk of death and resurrection relates to American politics and body politic. State Chairman Ricardo Davis recommended this as an Easter message with direct application to current challenges of American culture.
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Some things cannot be said without presupposing other things. All words require a speaker. All laws require a legislature. All design presupposes a designer. All morality assumes a standard.
And this means that America can have no salvation without a Savior. And His name is Jesus.
In order to do anything, or to be able to receive anything, we must be able to stand somewhere. And where we must stand is on the earth God created, and we must do so as one of His creatures.
God is the God of causation. God is the God of preconditions. God is the God of prerequisites. God is the God of cause and effect, supply and demand, and all necessary and sufficient conditions. God is the God of seed time and harvest. God is the God of B following A.
Our God is the God of the sine qua non.
So Let Me Tell You Where I Am Going With This
We are in dire need of a massive reformation and revival, and it is my deep conviction that we are destined to be thrown headlong into the Void unless we are given a massive reformation and revival. This is something that God in His grace has granted many times in history. This is something we can and must ask for, in the name of Christ, but it is not something we in any way deserve. What America actually deserves is the Void, which turns out to be the same thing that we are for some reason demanding. We think the Void offers a great deal of scope for our talents. Or at least the people we keep electing are demanding the Void, and that works out to pretty much the same thing.
But unexpected reformations and unanticipated revivals have been a tool that God has picked up and used many times in the past. For example, God moved in this way as preparation for the coming of the Messiah. All of Judea was involved.
Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
—Mark 1:5 (NKJV)
There was also a great revival in the days of Samuel.
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
—1 Sam. 7:3-4 (KJV)
That revival was early on in Israel’s history, but we find them recurring down throughout the history of God’s covenant people.
And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.
—2 Chron. 29:36 (KJV)
But . . . but doesn’t our situation seem a bit more dire and a lot more hopeless? More unachievable? In the final analysis, not really. When you come right down to it, a reformation and revival is a cultural resurrection to new life, a societal instance of life from the dead. And when that happens, the death that the people are raised from is always pretty . . . dead. The idolatrous disease that kills can vary, whether it be groves of the Ashteroth or our current woke spasms, but what you get at the end of every such process is a cultural corpse—God’s resurrection material.
God does it this way so that we might learn the essential lesson of not trusting in ourselves. And that sin, incidentally, is one of the central American lies—our pretended self-reliance—which is why we need to be taught a resurrection lesson.
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.
—2 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV)
America’s Stubborn and Wayward Heart
But are there any extra challenges for us? While we should grant that we cannot be any more dead than dead, do we have any extra layers of dirt on top of us? Any extra stones rolled in front of our tomb?
Yes, we do. We are not going to see reformation and revival here until the American people en masse say something like, “You know, we really need to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, and screw the First Amendment.” Not only must we repent of our glaring sins—abortion, sodomy, drunkenness, disrespect of parents, pornography, and the like—we must also repent of what we in our conceits have believed to be our virtues. By this I mean our decaying and rancid secularism. We have claimed in our hubris that we have not needed to name the name of the living God in order to be virtuous. We can separate from the source of all life, we can formally declare ourselves to be the Agnostic Nation, we can set up a continent-wide autonomous zone, a larger version of CHAZ, and still live in the bright sunshine of our own self-approval. We can be virtuous all by ourselves. Look at us go.
Now having mentioned the First Amendment, I must hasten to add that the First Amendment when adopted by the Founders was not an instance of our current inane secularist idolatry, but rather an example of constitutional carelessness. They simply did not want an established state church at the federal level because that should be done, if it were to be done, at the state level. They should have been more careful, and not left certain doors unlocked, but they were not guilty of our current conceits.
But we have taken that unlocked door off, built an alcove there, and installed a Shiva-like secular deity with three heads and eight arms. The purpose of this idol is to ward off the creeping specter of theocracy—you know, Christmas trees on county court house steps, government officials saying bless you when someone sneezes, or the state of Florida deciding not to teach the techniques of sodomy to second graders. Whenever theonomic outrages like that happen, the idol’s arms gesticulate wildly, and all six of his sightless organs of sight stare at you bug-eyed. In the meantime, the California public schools have the third graders weeping for Tammuz, and if you don’t like that, you hater, then something is seriously wrong with you.
One of the problems here is the modern conservative reflexive impulse that cannot come to grips with the fact that America is all the way corrupt, and that we cannot heal ourselves. We, being sinners, cannot heal ourselves. We are way past hope but this has not kept our “but the externals are still shiny” conservatives from hoping that something will somehow turn up.
The progressives say that this disease should better be described as a new kind of health, a new order of wellness. We have an advanced case of leprosy, and we have fingers falling off, and so we now have the hard left saying that to lament the loss of our fingers is simply a form of “ableism,” and that we must come to embrace our corruptions as a new form of socially constructed health. Wanting a society that actually functions is a well-known form of white supremacy, and conservatives who keep pointing at the example of Venezuela as though it were a bad thing just goes to show how deeply embedded our racism is.
In the meantime, mainstream conservatives are in denial. They know that the disease is bad, that the corruption is bad, that the splotches all over America’s skin are bad, but that the underlying fundamentals are “still sound.” Yeah, no, that’s not right. These conservatives just don’t want to go to the doctor yet because Jesus is the only doctor.
Then there are the closet theonomists, those who want to whisper the name of Jesus in their prayers for deliverance, such that when He rises up and scatters His enemies, the secularists can move right back into power and take all the credit.
After all that, we find a handful of those who say something like what I am about to say. “The First Amendment doesn’t say what you claim it does, but if it did, then damn the First Amendment.” And then I would want to repeat something Lewis says in Mere Christianity, to the effect that this was not frivolous swearing.
If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
1 Corinthians 16:22 (NKJV)
You Cut Down All Your Orchards
Behold, I will tell you a dark parable.
Once there was a nation that loved apple pie. They loved it so much that they even had an annual national holiday, an Apple Pie Festival. Apple pie was a good symbol of all the good things they enjoyed, and there were many good things they enjoyed—but apple pie was at the very top of all their good gifts.
But as time passed, the people of this nation began to think of apple pie as a constant fixture of the universe, as something that simply came along with existence, as something that they could legitimately consider to be their birthright. Apple pie just always was, you know? It didn’t actually come from anything. There are no preconditions for human rights, and apple pie is a basic human right.
The trouble began slowly. Some thinkers here and there began to question the propriety of apple orchards. They took up a lot of room, did they not? Some thinkers declared that they were contributed somehow (although this was not really explained) to climate change. Others began to point out that migrant workers, who labored in the orchards, made considerably less than $15 an hour. And one of the biggest owners of orchards in the country was known to have given a sizeable donation to the League of Women Voters, a well-known misogynistic and racist organization. It was time for a purge.
They could not have managed this if they had not first captured the universities, and then after that the lower schools. As a result, over the course of a generation, a deep loathing for orchards and everything they represented took deep root in the ruling classes. So the order finally went out, and all the orchards were declared an environmental hazard, and were all cut down. Anyone who complained was put on a national register, and then had to devote almost all of their energy to staying employed.
A few diehards went out to harvest apples in the fall, but that only lasted a couple of years. They finally quit going.
The perpetrators of this orchacide did not themselves care for apple pie, or for things like festivals about apple pie, but the conservatives still did. So the conservatives rallied, and somebody remembered that Ritz crackers used to publish a recipe for mock apple pie on the side of their boxes, and the conservatives—in plain defiance of the spirit of the age—started holding mock apple pie bake-off contests at the CPAC convention. Making apple pies out of Ritz crackers to own the libs!
No. Apple pie must be made out of actual apples, and actual apples grow in actual orchards. The kind of virtue that is necessary to restore our republic is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Real apples.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
—John Adams, to the Massachusetts Militia, 1798
Nietzsche Among the Dufflepuds
The more I reflect on C.S. Lewis’s great prescient book The Abolition of Man, the more I realize that the profound Lewis understood the inexorable logic of the vacuity of modern man. The logic of this vacuity is simple—it erodes whatever it touches. Men without chests will at the end of the day be men without anything else. Mankind without chests will wind up as mankind without men, and the Void we fall headlong into is a Void that we generated ourselves. The outer darkness is within you.
So these new world order johnnies, these great reset maestros, these lords of the Meta, these fastidious slicers of the great loaf of globaloney, these hackers of the human genome, do not realize that they are simply a jangled mob of dufflepuds, roused to feats of tautological splendor by one of their own philosophers, a monopodal Nietzsche, whose rhetoric could be quite fierce and awe-inspiring.
But however fierce it was, the logic of it amounted to the claim that a man could step into a bucket and carry himself upstairs. Übermensch, eh? By what standard? Their water is powerful wet.
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
—C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Take Your Gospel Like You Should Take Your Whiskey—Straight
So here it is. Jesus Christ came to this earth to reverse the damage created by our first parents. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, we were all represented by them, and the entire human race fell into a condition of spiritual hopelessness. There was nothing we could do to save ourselves, and there was nothing we could do to prepare ourselves to be saved by another.
God had told our first parents that the day they ate of that fruit, they would surely die. The prophet Ezekiel said that the soul that sins shall die. The apostle Paul said that the wages of sin is death. And this is why we, all of us, were dead in our trespasses and sins. This is why America is currently decomposing, as we speak. Death cannot be addressed by improvements in nutrition. Exercise won’t help. Fresh air accomplishes nothing.
The prophet once saw the valley filled with dry bones, and God asked him what he thought. Can these bones live? Ah, Lord, you know. Prophesy to the bones, the Lord said. But what must be said?
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. A tangled mass of skeletons does not need good advice. Good advice has no power to raise the dead. The only thing that can raise is the dead is the message that Christ died on a gibbet, that He was buried in a cave, and that on the third day He rose again, all in accordance with the Scriptures. That’s it. That’s the gospel. Christ died and rose, and He consequently tells you—and your nation—to follow Him.
Because Christ did that—because He came back from the dead—He has the authority to look at our proud and busted-up nation and tell us to repent. He has the authority to tell us to knock it off.
He has the authority to exercise His option.
As it is written in the second psalm, when He rose again from the dead, God told Him to simply ask, and the nations would be made His inheritance. Christ did ask, and for some mysterious reason, He did not exclude America from that request. Christ purchased this nation with His precious blood, and He will not allow anyone to trifle with His inheritance.
The future of America is Christian. We can say this in all confidence because the future of the world is Christian, and there is not a blessed thing that Klaus Schwab can do about it.
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Douglas Wilson is the chief cook and bottle washer at Blog & Mablog. The point of his blog is pretty broad — “All of Christ for all of life.” In order to make that happen he engages a “theology that bites back” that addresses the subjects of education, sex and culture, theology, politics, book reviews, postmodernism, expository studies, along with other random tidbits that come into his head.