For todays message I would like to share an article from the Beyond Today maganize. Article first posted April 19, 2022.
The Conspiracy to Cancel God
The word “cancel” is derived from the Latin term cancellare meaning “to cross out”—to expunge or delete—such as when terminating an airline reservation or a cell phone contract. However, in recent years, “cancel” has been used of declaring people and organizations unacceptable or even detestable. Such “canceling” is employed via mass media and social media in many Western countries, and it’s growing.
So pervasive is this practice of public rejection or boycotting of various individuals, groups or institutions as punishment for social, moral or politically objectionable viewpoints or actions that it’s given rise to the coined phrase “cancel culture.”
Cancel culture advocates delineate which views are “acceptable”—which are almost always those that are pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ, anti-God and anti-Bible. Anyone violating these ideological criteria may be threatened with loss of job, loss of reputation, expulsion from social media or worse.
Christianity under siege
Biblical moral principles and values are often especially targeted by this onslaught. An American Thinker article describes the situation this way: “A vigorous new secularism in recent years . . . has propelled ridicule of Christianity into the mainstream of acceptable behavior. Today, Bible-bashing and Christian-mocking are a favorite pastime on television, in movies, and on social media.
“The attack on the free exercise of religion now moves beyond prayer at football games and commencement ceremonies to legal battles over wedding cakes. A relatively small group of atheistic and radical activist organizations . . . have succeeded in banning prayer from schools and Christian symbols from public buildings. At the same time . . . Christianity is extricated from the common way of life. This is the culture war, plain and simple. The effect is cascading beyond America” (Jeff Lukens, “Christianity Is Under Siege in America,” June 12, 2019).
Canceling Christian values is not just a contemporary phenomenon, as Christianity has always had its detractors. Indeed, a diabolical campaign has been ongoing throughout the ages to oust God and His influence from people’s lives.
Nevertheless, respect and honor toward God and the Bible formed the bedrock of Western culture and provided major benefits to society for many generations. As a report by the Heritage Foundation explains: “The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage. Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
“Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment. Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce. The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression, more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness” (Patrick Fagan, “Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability,” Jan. 25, 1996).
Antagonism toward Christianity continues to grow
Western civilization has benefited from Jesus Christ’s teachings by ending or greatly reducing such horrific practices as human sacrifice, infanticide and slavery. Also, Christian principles have had a positive influence in society regarding the sanctity of marriage, child-rearing and family life.
These teachings also successfully elevated the status of women by condemning sex outside of marriage, marital infidelity, divorce, incest, pornography and prostitution. Furthermore, history is filled with examples of adherents of Christianity who made vital contributions to human progress in health care, literature, government, business, law, philanthropy and the sciences.
While worshipping God and keeping His commandments have brought tremendous blessings to people over the ages, antagonism against divine values has mounted steadily, especially over the past two generations in the United States. Part of the reason for this is that individuals and institutions have been subjected to increasing government restrictions on teaching and learning about God and His righteous way of life.
Consider that in 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. The following year it declared that public schools could no longer allow the Bible to be read in classrooms.
In 1973 the Supreme Court legalized abortion—the murder of unborn babies—nationwide. Later in 1980 the court decided it was a violation of the Constitution to post copies of the Ten Commandments in public schools.
More recently, the Supreme Court in 2015 struck down any laws prohibiting homosexual marriage. And in 2020 it ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 be reinterpreted far beyond its original intent as supposedly including sexual orientation and transgender rights. Issuing these and other appalling decisions to obstruct the teaching of and adherence to righteous moral standards have effectively helped to cancel God and His influence in American society. (See “America’s Christian Founding Under Assault” on page 7.)
Consequences of destructive conduct
The intensifying hostility toward religion—particularly Christian principles—is due not only to radical elements in society but also to weak or intolerant politicians, government bureaucrats, school and university officials, teachers and the mainstream media.
Efforts to denigrate biblical values have severely eroded the very foundation of a sound, upright society. It should therefore not be surprising that many negative consequences arise as people engage in such destructive conduct as uninhibited sex, pornography, cohabitation and divorce—leading to fatherless homes, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, and many other evils.
An article in The Christian Post adds emphasis to this point, stating: “From the prohibition of prayer in school, to prohibitions of public displays of the Ten Commandments and Christian symbols, to lawsuits against Christian photographers for refusing to provide the photography for gay weddings, the war against Christian presence in America becomes increasingly open and aggressive.
“And what has happened over the last half century while this has been going on? The institutions and behavior that provide the glue holding together a faithful, civil, and virtuous society have collapsed. The traditional American family is in shambles. Forty three percent of our babies are now born to unwed mothers compared to 5 percent a half century ago . . .
“It was not by accident that America’s first president George Washington warned the young nation, in his farewell address, that religion and morality are ‘indispensable’ . . . and he cautioned against ‘the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion’” (Star Parker, “The Ongoing War Against Christianity,” April 3, 2015).
Attacks by atheistic, amoral secularists against biblical principles are intentionally designed to disparage righteous, godly morality. Government officials, judges, Supreme Court justices, journalists, teachers and many others allowed themselves to be perniciously influenced by so-called “progressive” voices. Also, most appallingly, many traditional Christian churches—which should have stood up unwaveringly in opposition to such damaging influence—capitulated to it.
Their response to secular pressure was often to water down eternal truths and key moral values. By refusing to staunchly oppose moral laxity such as sex before marriage, cohabitation, same-sex “marriage” and transgenderism, many churches simply became a reflection of secular, worldly values.
Rather than leading their flocks in rock-solid, biblically grounded morality, ministers and church officials deserted their responsibility to the sheep—revealing them to be spineless, false shepherds (John 10:12-13).
This is clearly evident by the number of people who have entirely jettisoned organized religion. A Gallup poll published on March 29, 2021, found that membership in religious organizations in the United States plummeted to just 47 percent—down from 70 percent in 1999.
Also, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, out of those who identify as Christian, few bother to attend church services. In the United Kingdom only 18 percent go to church on a regular basis. In Canada it’s a mere 13 percent. In the United States it’s 19 percent. In Australia it’s 17 percent, and in New Zealand just 15 percent.
Prophetic warnings about perilous times
In light of the ever-increasing erosion of society’s moral foundation, what does the Bible make known about what’s ahead?
In a stunning prophecy about the turbulent and dangerous period shortly before His second coming, Jesus Christ warned that “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). The consequences of the relentless secular drumbeat to cancel God and His commandments include escalating incidents of violence, corruption, dishonesty and crime. The more society rejects God, the more it suffers from the evils of murder, assault, rape, robbery and abduction, as well as brutal, merciless acts of terrorism and war.
The apostle Paul penned this ominous prophecy: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4, emphasis added throughout).
As people cancel God and His perfect divine guidance from their lives, they are constrained to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. But what is the outcome of trying to usurp a role to which the Eternal Creator has exclusive claim?
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 warn that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Also, in Hosea 4:6 God tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The knowledge rejected includes God’s eternal, spiritual laws expressed in the Ten Commandments and His many other flawless statutes cataloged in the Bible. God established these so all people could experience ideal joy, peace and prosperity.
While human beings have discovered countless scientific laws regulating the physical universe, they refuse to acknowledge that there are spiritual laws governing human interactions with other people and God Himself. These laws, made plain through divine revelation, are summed up in the great principles of love toward God and love toward one’s neighbors (Luke 10:27).
When they’re out of step with God’s commandments, people invariably bring harm on themselves and others. This is because God’s laws operate with natural enforcement, bringing rewards or penalties for acting according to or against them respectively, just as does the physical law of gravity.
The devil’s ceaseless, clandestine evil work
The Almighty wants people to be fully confident that He will always carefully guide them if they willingly submit to Him. He tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Sadly, the vast majority persist in thinking they know better about how to live. This profoundly foolish concept originated long ago—in the Garden of Eden where God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, and gave them the breath of life (Genesis 2:7; 15-17; 21-22).
But Satan the devil was there in the Garden too. And what did he do? He canceled God in their eyes—insinuating that the One who instructed them about what was good and evil was actually a liar (Genesis 3:1-5). Although Eve was deceived by the devil, Adam was not. And yet—in clear disobedience to God—he still ate the forbidden fruit along with his wife (verses 6-7).
So the devil’s venomous strategy to deceive and damage humanity worked from the beginning. Since then, this utterly corrupt spirit being has striven to convince all people that they should determine for themselves what is right and wrong—yet under his malevolent influence and not to decide to follow God’s ways.
Satan works ceaselessly and clandestinely through unwitting human agents to convince people that it’s not good enough to simply accept God’s word on any subject. This master manipulator has thus brought—and continues to bring—deep darkness and horrendous evil on humanity (Ephesians 2:2; 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5:8).
When people cancel God by forsaking His ways, they cut themselves off from Him as the only source of true values. Without the Creator’s flawless, revealed knowledge, they flail about in ignorance—causing themselves and others terrible physical, mental and emotional anguish and suffering.
The prophet Isaiah summarized this sad quandary when he wrote: “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths” (Isaiah 59:7).
Of course, not everything human beings do is mistaken, misguided or wrong. Where people’s efforts are in harmony with God’s laws, good outcomes can occur. However, where a combination of truth and error exists or where error prevails and lawlessness rules, human efforts simply cannot produce satisfactory results. Because people cancel God in their lives and make faulty choices, the world is filled with one intractable problem after another. Rejecting the Creator’s perfect instructions and wisdom is the precise reason society is in constant turmoil and filled with anxiety.
So then, humanity finds itself in this terrible dilemma. Except for Jesus, all people from the beginning of history until now—no matter how good they may act or appear from a human perspective—have participated in lawlessness, meaning they have sinned. As 1 John 3:4 declares, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
But why do people sin? Because they have a corrupted nature opposed to obeying God’s commandments (Romans 8:6-7). It is such an ingrained condition—and one that comes to us so naturally from an early age—that people often see no need to resist its negative pulls. Our human nature is influenced behind the scenes by the devil, resulting in sin. And sin is a roadblock to God and the righteousness He intends and desires for us.
The delusional exercise of canceling God
God was fully aware of this human condition when He chose the tribes of Israel and offered the people His Ten Commandments along with His statutes and judgments. He told them that if they looked to Him in reverence and awe and obeyed His perfect laws, they would have a flourishing and bountiful society and be a superb example to all the nations around them (Deuteronomy 4:5-6; 6:17).
Sadly, God’s chosen people didn’t choose to follow Him and His ways. Even though God continually reminded them through His judges and prophets to be obedient for their own good, they turned inexorably to disobedience—thus reaping a terrible harvest of painful consequences (Isaiah 1:2).
And, even when God the Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to teach them more fully about salvation and the coming Kingdom of God, they rejected, persecuted, betrayed and murdered Him (Luke 17:25; 23:18; John 5:43; Acts 7:51-54).
Today we live in a God-denying, God-defying world with a great many people canceling Him from their lives —from individuals to governments to society at large. But they are destined to learn that this wholly delusional exercise can only result in suffering and ruin for themselves and their families and communities.
Although God is merciful and has given people freedom to choose, He will ultimately not be denied. All people need to understand that dismissing God and His laws is simply living a lie. Let’s be clear: God is Supreme. He cannot be canceled.
What should you do?
Considering all this, what should you and I do? The answer is to turn to God in deep and sincere repentance and to humbly and obediently seek Him.
God promises to then respond with overwhelming favor and mercy: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
This is just one of many promises God expresses in the Bible that have been emphasized repeatedly by His human servants throughout the ages. To be sure, He has always had spokesmen on earth, declaring that honoring Him and keeping His laws are essential to virtuous living. Sometimes it was a solitary individual, such as the patriarch Noah. Today it is the Church of God, which faithfully teaches the truth of the Bible (Matthew 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:15).
A vital part of this truth God’s Church announces is the soon-coming, marvelous period that will dawn for all humanity at Jesus Christ’s second coming. At that time He will have the devil and his demons incarcerated for 1,000 years so they can no longer deceitfully lead humankind into destruction and death. And, most importantly, Jesus will restore righteous government—the Kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 11:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
In that amazing time, humanity will end its long legacy of failed attempts in determining right from wrong. Wonderful peace, joy and prosperity will be the result of true knowledge being carefully taught and applied under Christ’s righteous rule (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:1-9).
Moreover, God will give His Holy Spirit to all who are willing to repent and obey Him, starting with the people of Israel. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10, quoting Jeremiah 31:33).
The insidious campaign going on right now to cancel God, His commandments and His righteous values from people’s lives will ultimately fail, yet not before it has done enormous damage to the world and people’s lives.
But you don’t need to be part of that. The exhilarating good news is that Jesus Christ will return to the earth and establish His right way of life everywhere, bringing wondrous peace and prosperity to all humanity. At that time, as Habakkuk 2:14 tells us, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Therefore, let’s turn to God in deep repentance and obedience while looking forward to that magnificent coming time when “canceling God” will itself be canceled!
America’s Christian Founding Under Assault
In a powerful defense of religious values, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr addressed the Notre Dame Law School on Oct. 11, 2019. He expressed how America’s Founding Fathers, in establishing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, clearly understood that religious standards are essential in upholding the workings of representative democracy. He also pointed out how secularists are engineering powerful assaults on those striving to uphold moral principles. He stated in part:
“From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States . . . In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people—a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.
“As John Adams put it: ‘. . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’ . . .
“Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct. They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.
“By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society . . . Religion helps promote moral discipline within society . . . It does not do this primarily by formal laws—that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules—its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages. In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.
“I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack. On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square. On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.
“By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim. Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground. In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, . . . it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent. Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic . . .
“Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy . . . But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? . . . The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion . . .
“One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns . . . We must be vigilant to resist efforts by the forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon the free exercise of our faith.”
- John LaBissoniere – John serves as a remote-employee for the Media and Communications Services department as Media Buying Agent. He also serves as Circulation Manager and is a Senior Writer for Beyond Today magazine.He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1973. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology at Ambassador College, Pasadena, California in 1978. John was ordained an elder in 1994 and serves in the Cincinnati, Ohio congregations.
From the Beyond Today magazine, May – June 2022
Have a restful and peaceful sabbath