CHRISTIANITY UNDER SEIGE
by Danny Ching
THE NATURE OF THE ATTACK
Today Christians are under attack in the political arena. Satan is attacking us from two areas, from the left, and more problematically in more recent times, from the right. In military doctrine, this is called a flanking maneuver. Traditionally this involves attacking an enemy on one side, where their response is strongest, and following up with an attack on another side, where it is unexpected, and thus with minimal or no resistance.
This tactic from the devil is quite concerning because we often only see an attack from the liberal-left side of the political spectrum and respond strongly along that front, but are often quite oblivious to the one coming from what we perceive to be our own side, the conservative-right. But do not be deceived, a more destructive attack is coming from that side as well.
The first attack involves an increase in the intensity of the “persecution” from the left, be it anti-conservative legislation in government, or by ostracizing and vilifying Christians in social media and on other traditional media outlets. This also involves attracting and reshaping the youth’s value system through pop culture. But this attack is not something new, neither is it overall end goal, it is only a means to an end.
The second attack comes from the general direction of right, where the real damage is done.
When reacting to attacks from the left, we are enticed (by forwarded messages and articles from right wing groups) to respond in a way that (1) ruins our testimony (by sharing/forwarding misinformation) and (2) makes us hate others instead of “Loving our neighbors as ourselves” (demonizing those who do not share our values, pushing conspiracies).
The devil does not care if Christians are in power or persecuted, all he cares about is that we stop being a good/credible witness to a world that is increasingly in need of a Saviour. And the best way to do this is to ruin our testimony and to cause us to distance ourselves from those who need the gospel the most.
Clearly the strategy is working, because the response from many in the Evangelical community has been “ugly”. Not only has it distracted us from our real purpose as Christians (making disciples of all the nations), but it also makes us look like Pharisees (“haters” in the parlance or today’s youth), or buffoons (for sharing debunked hoaxes) in the eyes of the youth. Make no mistake Satan is playing the long game with this two-pronged attack. He is going after our CHILDREN, and we are making it easier by playing into the devils hands and reacting out of FEAR.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Be careful about the messages and articles you read on social media and your chat apps. If a message is alarmist in tone and makes you want to “share/forward” the info, it’s probably best to hold off on doing so. It’s the same tactic employed by those in sales when they say that an offer is only good for the next hour. Causing a false sense of urgency is one of the oldest tricks in the book. When confronted with a problem, the believer’s first reaction should not be to share or forward, but to pray, to go to God and seek His will and His peace.
The desire to immediately “share and forward” makes the solution all about you and your effort, instead of being about God. Sharing false information, no matter how pure your intentions are, ruins the Christian’s credibility, specially when sharing about Christ.
The same goes for messaging that tends to demonize and vilify the people/organizations on the left. If anything, Christians who have experienced being on the receiving end of such vitriol, anger, and hate by those on the left should be the first to avoid inflicting the same pain on those we seek to bring to the Lord.
THE METHODS OF SOWING FEAR AND HATE
Fear and hate is now the weapon of choice for marketers in politics. But why is there a disproportionate number of misinformation being shared by Christians as compared to non-believers? Are we simply more gullible? No. We are just being targeted.
Marketing people know that fear is very effective in making messages go “viral”. People automatically share “warnings” out of an abundance of genuine (but misplaced) concern for their friends and loved ones. Statistics have shown that misinformation is shared and travels six times faster than facts.
As for hate… nothing creates “loyalty” more than hate for the other guy. Expect multiple messages from our “allies” on the right on the evils of the leftist/communist movement. It is a marketing campaign designed to appeal to our biases against left, specifically targeted at evangelical voters who grew up during the Cold War era. And despite the fact that Russia and China have both embraced market capitalism, and are more facist-dictatorial than communist today, we still see them as “cold war communists”. They provide a convenient “boogie man” to use as an object of hate.
A lot of the misinformation being peddled to evangelicals are wrapped in layers of conspiracy theories. Making an organization (or some specific person) a member of a worldwide pedophile ring makes for interesting reading and give us someone to blame for the evils that are happening around the world. Christians are so ready to ingest these sorts of narratives due to their disdain for anything that is “evil”.
Though it makes for better drama to claim that these marketers are part of some satanic cult out to get christians to humiliate themselves around the world, they are NOT. To them it’s all just a pay-check, a job to get some politician elected. Unfortunately, the side effect is that they unwittingly help the devil’s agenda progress
Machine learning and AI is now used in crafting messages to appeal specifically to the Evangelical community (because they make up the majority of the “Battle ground States” in the USA). The success of these campaigns are quite evident not only in the evangelical community in the USA, but around the world, due to the efficiency of social networking and the internet. It is also known that many of these data analytics firms sell their services to politicians around the world. Which is why their messaging will sound eerily familiar in many countries. I’m sure you’ve heard of these, “Our candidate is not perfect but he is the lesser evil.” or “We are not electing a saint.”
We need to remember that Satan’s goal is to ruin Christian testimony worldwide. Targeting evangelicals was intentional on his part. The result is horrifying.
It’s as if the evangelical community thinks that the only way we can be saved from the “coming persecution” is by compromising and “choosing the lesser evil”. Much like Joshua’s challenge to the Commander of the Lord’s army “Are you for us or against us?”, this is false choice! The Commander of the Lord’s Army promptly answers, “Neither. I am for the Lord.” A reply which all Christians should internalize, specially in today’s environment.
We must always remember, we are on GOD’s side! And our choices must reflect this! Casting an empty ballot is completely acceptable. In fact doing so is the best statement a believer can make to say, “my hope is not in compromises or worldly systems, but in God.” A believer is NEVER out of options, he can always turn to GOD.
Does it really matter which party is in power? Christians have survived and flourished under greater persecution from the Roman Empire. No matter what happens, God is in always in control. Christians do not have to chose a “lesser evil” for we are NEVER tasked by God to choose ANY evil. The truth is that politics and world governments have always been in the hands of God. It is foolhardy for the believer to think that it is in theirs. And I cannot be more comforted in the knowledge that He will take care of His children, no matter what.
As Christians, we are not called to win, we are called to obey. And in this case, we are called to fulfill the Great Commission.
Can any believer say that by “cancelling” those on the left, by the choices they make in politics, by compromising, or by sharing misinformation (even unintentionally) we are helping along the goal of “making disciples of all nations?” Or that by supporting certain policies such as the death penalty, abortion or divorce, you are able to show and share God’s love? How can we convince the drug addict that God loves them when all they hear from “God’s people” is that they want them dead?
Just like Peter when he tried to walk on water, we have been distracted by the storm that currently surrounds us. Will all the noise, the bickering, the hate, and sorting out what is true and what is fake in our social media timelines, we have lost sight, and lost focus on the One who could truly save us, Jesus. We have stopped moving ourselves and others towards Him.
But just as it was 2000 years ago Jesus is still stretching out His hands to save us from “drowning” and still admonishes us “You of little faith why did you doubt?”. Instead of a spirit of fear, let our actions be guided by a Spirit of Love.