This column is archived at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2006/cbarchive_20061215.html
It is more than interesting to observe how professing Christians will use their own understanding of doctrine to either justify themselves or blame others. However, the truth is, regardless of one's personal view of eschatology, there is absolutely no room for fatalism or apathy. Whether one has a dispensational, covenant, or reform ideology, our responsibility as Christians is the same. We are commanded by our Lord to be "faithful unto death."
I know dispensationalists who will excuse their apathy by saying, "It's the last days, and there is nothing we can do about it." Or, "This is just prophecy being fulfilled; we can't stop it."
On the other hand, I hear reformers excuse their apathy by saying, "Everything is pre-determined. We have no say in the matter." Or, "What will be, will be; we can change nothing."
Therefore, does it really matter from what theological perspective one comes, if apathy, indifference, and inactivity is the result? Regardless of one's personal view of theology, if the result of one's belief system produces apathy and fatalism, what good is it?
As Christians, we are plainly instructed to be "light" and "salt" amidst a crooked and sinful world. We are clearly commanded to remain "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Regardless of worldly circumstances or theological nuances, we are told to be diligent, active, fruitful, and aggressive in both our promotion of right and our opposition to wrong.
Beyond that, as Americans, there is another important lesson we need to heed. That is the warning by Christ, who said, "To whom much is given, of him much shall be required."
We Americans have been given much. We were bequeathed a free and independent nation, a nation founded on Biblical principles, a nation founded on the Christian faith. This legacy did not come without price. Our forebears suffered long and hard to give us-their posterity-this free land.
Are we now going to sit down in apathy and indifference and allow this country to be overtaken by the forces of secularism, socialism, and globalism? Are we not willing to fight for right? Are we so weak and cowardly that we would surrender our freedoms and liberties without a struggle?
When it comes to the details of future events, Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that "it is not for [us] to know." We can pretend that we have absolute knowledge and authority regarding these matters, if we want to. However, the fact is, God will do what is His to do, and we must do what is ours to do! And our job is to be faithful to discharge our duties as diligently and fervently as we can.
I submit that if America's founders had behaved as many of my Christian brethren (from various theological perspectives) are behaving today, we would still be a Crown colony of England. And I remind readers that virtually every major Christian denomination was represented by our patriot-fathers. They came from various theological positions and backgrounds, but they fought side-by-side for freedom and independence.
If our fathers were willing to fight together for the principles of freedom and independence, should not we? If they were willing to set aside (not abandon) their theological differences in order to join forces for the common benefit of liberty, how can we do anything less? Furthermore, if they did not allow their personal understanding of eschatology or even ecclesiology prevent them from personally and individually joining freedom's fight, how dare we use theology as an excuse for fatalism and apathy?
Let's face it: we have been clipping the coupons on the price paid for freedom by our ancestors for decades. It is now up to us-to this generation of Americans-to be willing to be just as courageous, just as determined, just as informed, and just as involved as were our forebears.
On the other hand, if we decide to stay by the warm fire of indifference, or if we determine to sleep in the soft bed of apathy, at least we should have the character to leave God out of it! Admit that we just don't have the stomach for the fight. Admit that we are too lazy, too comfortable, too self-indulgent, and too self-centered to enter the animating contest for liberty and independence. We should stop hiding behind the pious robes of spirituality and admit it: we are simply not willing to fight for our posterity's freedom.
However, should we decide to hide behind our theology in an attempt to obfuscate our apathy and indifference, keep this in mind: when the day comes that our children are living under oppression and subjugation, it will not be our theology that they curse; it will be us!