Chalcedon began in 1965 during a time of tremendous social and political upheaval. Destructive sit-ins and demonstrations were often accompanied by vandalism and confrontations with police or National Guard troops. Those in authority were often very reluctant to denounce, much less forcibly resist, even the not-so peaceful protesters. Revolutionary radical groups operated freely and the media often gave them very favorable press.
The disdain of authority was not limited to politics, either. The “sexual revolution,” hyped for years by Hugh Hefner, advocated immorality as the new normal and chastity as the peculiar deviancy to be ridiculed. (It was only the harsh reality of AIDS and the explosion of STDs a few years later that brought that movement within some bounds.) Still, the normalizing, then the embracing of other forms of deviancy continued.
When my father began Chalcedon in Los Angeles his primary audience was among two groups. One was disillusioned conservatives who saw the “Great Society” of Lyndon Baines Johnson as a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. The second group was of disaffected church goers who saw their churches as complicit in the revolutionary fever. My father tried to bring both groups back to the need for a more fundamental analysis of the self-destructiveness of the culture.
His was not an easy fix. In fact, by saying Christian Reconstruction in terms of a self-conscious submission to an application of the Law of God was the only way, my father guaranteed that he would not be the leader of a mass, popular movement. Many Christians wanted answers in the short term. My father’s talk of rebuilding Christian culture and civilization did not answer their desire to see the revolutionaries stopped immediately, before they could do more damage.
But, the damage did continue because forces of humanism continued to control public policy, education, entertainment, and the media. What we see today is another wave of the same anarchy that occurred in the 1960s.
What you believe about God and His work in history will dictate your perspective on current events. In the 1970s it was very common to hear churchmen exclaim, “Isn’t it wonderful how bad things are? It means Jesus if coming back soon!”
If, however, you believe Jesus is now Lord of Heaven and Earth and that all enemies will be placed under Him, then you have reason to be optimistic. If Satan himself has lost the cosmic battle to Jesus Christ (Rev. 12), then the lessor conflicts of history pose no threat to Him or to His Kingdom. It will emerge alone ascendant because it cannot but succeed (Is. 9:7).
The path forward may not be obvious to us, but the work of the Holy Spirit is efficacious in all that it does, in us, in our families, in our churches, and in history. We are with Christ, so we are on the winning side of time and eternity.