As religious liberty erodes in the United States, we will find ourselves increasingly at odds with an overweening state. There is a great conflict descending on Christians, and Doug Wilson says that pastors have a responsibility to prepare their congregations accordingly. If you think this concern is just alarmism, then you aren’t paying attention, and you may be part of the problem.. Wilson writes:
Our nation is a nation just like all the others, and we can spiral into spiritual apostasy just like all the others. We are now more than halfway down the line of statues in the royal hall of Charn, where the look of our earlier nobility has vanished and we are just three elections away from the coldest forms of despair…
This is why pastors have a particular and pressing duty here. If this despotic modern state is the idol of our age — and it is — then pastors have a pressing duty to prepare their parishioners to resist it. We have a duty to prepare our people to refuse to bow down when they hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer (Dan. 3:5). Those instruments seem odd to us today, and so does Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, but you may depend upon it — at the time, bowing down to that statue to that music at that time was about as mainstream as you could possibly get, and the only people left standing were the extremists and weirdos.
John warns Christians as little children, telling them to keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21). This will be a pressing danger when the idolatry is mainstream, when paying your mortgage depends on conforming, when all the networks are asking what the big deal is, when we can’t buy or sell without offering that pinch of incense to the emperor, and the music has been playing for a good minute and a half now. People are starting to look. You see an official in the back writing down your name.
It is quite true that idolatry can exist as a matter of heart motive. Paul does says that greed is idolatry, for example (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). But the idolatrous state doesn’t care if you are an idolater in your heart only — they will at some point insist that you register. We sometimes have a rarefied view of idolatry, thinking that such a sin could only be determined when we appear before God at the great judgment seat. We will appear there in order to answer His series of trick questions, and when He asks us which is more important, being American or Christian, we need to say, “Christian! Of course!”
But the trick questions aren’t there — they are all here. Pastors don’t need to be preparing men to not deny Christ before the Father. They need to teach them how to not deny Him before men (Matt. 10:33).
Read the rest here.