We live in a world where there are words one is not allowed to say, and preferences one is not allowed to have. How remarkable that we have become so obsessed with offending no one that we manage to offend everyone at some point. What’s more, as our society has focused on avoiding hurting anyone’s feelings, we offend God at almost every twist and turn.
One should not expect much from a world that has elevated man to the position only God Almighty rightly holds. It is in the church that this phenomenon is most disturbing. While it is true that we all begin our lives as sinners, it is not true that all people are the same. There is a difference. There are two kinds of sinners: those trying to honor God and obey His law, and those who are in open rebellion against Him. When preachers repeat the misleading statement that we are all sinners and none is better than the next, it groups all people (whether redeemed or not) into the same category. However, this is simply not true!
The redeemed in Christ are a new creation; old things are passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). This means that the person who made a practice of stealing steals no longer. It means that the person who regularly used other people as sexual objects no longer thinks, speaks, or behaves in that manner. It means that those focused on their own selfish desires, now defer to serving others (in family and community) as their living sacrifice unto their Savior and Redeemer. Those who are striving for holiness by means of God’s Word are the people we should prefer (Gal. 6:10); these are the faithful people we should discriminate in favor of.
R.J. Rushdoony notes,
To accept every act as holy is to deny emphatically the principle of discrimination in terms of good and evil. Faithfulness is adherence to an absolute law, and to persons and causes in terms of that absolute law and the sovereign God of that law. As against faithfulness, the way or walk is made a systematic unfaithfulness as man’s life, joy, and pleasure …
Because there is no principle of discrimination between good and evil, man and animals, persons do not count.1
Exercising discrimination and judging righteous judgments are the marks of one who is covenantally faithful to God. The evidence of being born again should be an obvious transformation in the lives of those who were dead in their sin and made alive in Christ. Yet modern Christianity makes allowances for all sorts of besetting sins and condemns those who judge them according to the law-word of God. In short, what is promoted as love and care is actually an intolerance to God Himself.
We cannot use our feelings and experience as a test or standard. We readily develop a tolerance for many things. Our tolerance for pornography, national corruption, profanity, and sin in general has greatly increased in the past generation. Things once held to be intolerable are now hardly noticed. What was once shocking on television, for example, is now tame fare, and what once destroyed a politician’s career is today no problem.
In brief, our level of tolerance is a false standard. This is why Isaiah declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). We cannot use our thoughts and feelings as a standard: only God’s Word is the test. We ourselves readily develop a tolerance towards sin and evil: God’s Word remains the unceasingly clear and uncompromising Word.
The result of becoming tolerant towards sin is that we become intolerant towards God and His Word.2
Waking Up from Our Daydreams
The world of statist planners determines for us what our likes and dislikes should be, all in the name of liberty and freedom. However, lest we forget, true liberty is the freedom to obey God. Moreover, God is the ultimate discriminator. He discriminates between the faithful and the unfaithful, the godly and the ungodly, the repentant and the defiant. Are we to be holier than God when it comes to making selections of friends, education, employment, words we choose to vocalize, or thoughts we have? Christians have bought into the idea that if we show preferences (discriminate) to those who abide by God’s law, openly and deliberately, we have somehow proven ourselves unworthy. Quite the contrary. Rather than living in the dream world of humanism, we are called to live and work in the real world of God’s enscriptured Word. The acquiescence to humanistic political correctness and hindered speech merely places us on the road to hell. As Rushdoony notes,
There is neither dreaming nor daydreaming in heaven, but only in hell. To dream or to daydream is to imagine what might be, or what might have been, and the redeemed of the Lord live in an eternal day which surpasses all imagination.
It is, however, the essence of the fool and the sinner to prefer dreams and illusions to reality.3
Thus, every false restriction on speech or attitudes because they might offend social planners is to agree with a supposed reality that is impossible to attain.
Those who live in terms of their daydreams soon despise reality and its opportunities. Possibilities lie not in the dream world, but in reality, in the world around us … Our thinking about what might be or what might have been is needless, and also wrong. It is our obedience to the Lord that best reckons with tomorrow’s problems.4
The Issue Is One of Faithfulness
Life, as Jesus noted, has enough troubles on a daily basis (Matt. 6:34), and no humanistic program, legislation, or mandate that ignores God’s law will ever right those troubles or wrongs. We must come to grip with the reality that most of life is mundane and routine without much excitement. When we strive for a utopia apart from God, we sin in failing to meet each day’s challenges undergirded by the law-word of God.
The main concern of the Christian is the responsibility of faithfulness in everyday living, duties, and problems. Those who want excitement in their marriage, their church life, or their daily living are saying that they do not want responsibility, nor do they want maturity.
Paul, speaking against the hunger for continual “higher experiences,” said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Now, Paul said, I meet life’s responsibilities as a mature man in Christ, with faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:11–13). This is God’s requirement for all of us. Just as the valleys of California are more productive than our mountaintops, so too are the daily duties of the Christian walk more productive than the mountaintop experiences.5
As we embrace the callings and situations God has placed us in, the greatest of which is the commission to disciple the nations, our concern should not be governed by a fear of accusations of racism, sexism, ageism, genderism, sizeism, or the multitudes of “isms” waiting to be claimed. Rather, we should be about our Father’s business and making every effort to judge, by judging righteous judgments. And, if we are wondering how we will become equipped to make such judgments, the answer lies in learning and applying God’s law to every area of our lives and our thoughts!
1. R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973), p. 446.
2. R. J. Rushdoony, “Tolerance,” A Word in Season, vol. 1 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2012), pp. 31–32.
3. R. J. Rushdoony, “Daydreams,” A Word in Season, vol. 4 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2012), pp. 62–63.
5. R. J. Rushdoony, “Mountain-Bottom Life,” A Word in Season, vol. 4 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2012), pp. 58–59.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].