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POWDERKEG: HOW MODERN CONDITIONS ARE PRIMING SOCIETY TO EMBRACE THE BEAST SYSTEM, RIGHT UNDER THE NOSE OF A SLEEPING CHURCH…ARTICLE 32, A HARLOT TO THE WORLD ALREADY

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Now that we know what it is we’re comparing ourselves to, the next step is to acknowledge that the outside world is already viewing Christianity as a cult, and an agenda is at work to exacerbate this on a global scale. The faster we collectively are made to look like kooks—never mind that the Remnant Church is a different, living and breathing entity than the apathetic Bride of Spot and Wrinkle—the faster Antichrist can split us up and identify the Remnant’s firm stance on correct interpretation of the Word as “hate speech.”

And don’t misunderstand: This reflection isn’t necessary “because we care what the world thinks.” We don’t, and we shouldn’t…at least not in the context in which these words are casually and commonly used today, like when someone wears pajama pants to the grocery store. Scripture is clear that Christians will be tragically misunderstood, rejected, and even persecuted for our belief in and work for Him (2 Timothy 3:12; Luke 6:22); that we don’t have to feel alone in this because Jesus faced it first (John 15:18); and that these experiences can actually bless us by making our faith stronger (Matthew 5:10–11; 2 Corinthians 12:10). To deny this is to deny Scripture, so there’s no point in wasting time trying to “make the Church popular.”

On the other hand, we must momentarily consider what the increasingly secularized West thinks when it hears “Christianity,” so that we may know the impression the Bride of Spot and Wrinkle (who doesn’t read her own Book) is making on those whose souls may hang in the balance. It is in the interest of the final great harvest of souls that the Remnant Church—the image-bearers of the Creator and the ambassadors of Christ’s Great Commission message, the Church who will still care and be spiritually alive in the end, can commit ourselves all the more to glorifying God by presenting Him accurately to the lost.

Consider The Handmaid’s Tale television series as one obvious example. For those who aren’t familiar with it, this program, based on the book by Margaret Atwood, paints a dystopian future wherein natural human reproduction is threatened by plummeting fertility rates that are a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental contaminants. The American government, now known as Gilead, is run by totalitarian, theonomic dictators who have established a new hierarchy of social classes involving extreme subjugation of women, including their being prohibited to read or write. Inhumane cruelty is commonplace for anyone who steps outside the favor of tyrannical authority, and the worst of all evils is committed by the most fanatically religious devotees. Democracy is dead, and there is only one permissible religion to which everyone in society must submit: a fundamentalist Christian belief system called the “Sons of Jacob.”

At the lowest social rung are the “Handmaids”—ritual fertility/sex slaves modeled after a warped interpretation of Laban’s handmaid, Bilhah, from Genesis 29:29—who are forced to bear surrogate children for the “Commanders” in order to contribute to a streamlined human population. This sexual act, known as “the Ceremony,” takes place with the Commander’s wife’s participation as she sits behind the Handmaid’s head and holds her arms down, symbolically insinuating that the forced act of copulation is consensual between man and wife.

What explanation might there be for this show’s immense popularity? Is it merely a gripping plot? Does our society tune in more than it would have because of a huge advertising budget? Was there a greater buzz about this particular Hulu title than so many other programs due to the awkward, twisted scenes between the male masters and their birth-slave women?

Or, is there perhaps another, more sinister reason that a story based on one of the most banned books in the country for twenty years[i] has become such a regular, contemporary living room companion?

Today’s average Hulu junkies aren’t likely to stop and consider these questions; they simply return to their screens at the release of every new episode, seemingly heedless of the diametric shift our American culture has made in the last few decades from the Brady Bunch entertainment standards of yesteryear. Now, our most crowd-pleasing programming shamelessly involves a man raping his slave in the presence of his accomplice-wife to the reading of God’s Word.

That’s one small step for television, one giant leap for Western culture…

Please understand that we’re not passing judgment on anyone who watches this show, or any other like it. (In fact, some, like Jessica Crooke of the conservative Christian Post, believe an argument could be made for why this particular show might be useful in exposing the extreme societal dangers of widespread acceptance and implementation of misinterpreted Scripture.[ii]) Rather, we are hoping to point out the not-so-gradual desensitization of our responsiveness to perversion as it plays out on screen, especially regarding the distortion of Christianity into a cultic installation of sadistic abusers driven by the hunger for sex and domination. There is no way the Church would have been painted in this light, fictional or otherwise, on the big or the small screen, just a few decades ago. Oh, how fast our culture is changing!

How have we come to a point where we can watch a plot about something so alarming and depraved yet call it a regular Tuesday night? What developments have taken place in our country in recent years that would render us so psychologically anesthetized that we see such evil portrayed as the mainstream Christianity of the future?

You’ve already read about psychological manipulation tactics earlier in this book that answer all of these questions and more regarding how Christianity’s teachings can be labeled “hate speech,” our sacraments called “rape,” and our contribution to society considered “establishing a dictatorial theocracy and reconstructing slavery.”

These are the kind of statements that The Handmaid’s Talewhile supplemented with the rising number of negative reports in the news and media about conservatives and conservativism that have already begun!—has the propensity to contribute. It’s eventually a firm, negative psychological imprinting and resolve about Christians in the minds of unbelievers: Christians can’t be trusted; they’re dangerous and unpredictable; their God, lifestyle, creeds, fanatical adherence to the Word above even science (and so on) are a blight on the community; and it would be better if they took their beliefs and went on to the next town.

We know what at least some readers are thinking right now: It’s just a show! Our society knows that this is fiction. This isn’t really what the world thinks of Christians. Why are you making such a big deal out of this?

Here’s the thing…it’s only one show.

Countless others portray us Christians in an awful light—as crazed cult leaders, pedophiles, hypocrites, and at the very least, bumbling dimwits useful only for comedic relief. Consider Watchmen, The Big Bang Theory, Rise, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Major Crimes, Orange Is the New Black, Scandal, Awkward, The Simpsons, Daytime Divas, South Park, Young Sheldon, and Will & Grace—and don’t get us started on the character Joe Hart, aka “Teen Jesus,” from Glee, whose appearance in the show launched several character-dialogue scenes questioning the integrity and/or sexual orientation of key Bible characters.

This is, of course, in addition to the overnight, bold progression of outright blasphemy across the board that depicts Christianity as largely undeserving of any respect whatsoever. In television alone, we’re being daily mocked, taunted, parodied, and heckled. If our beliefs are at this moment that easily converted into the subject of an entire culture’s amusement, how can we expect to be taken seriously when we’re called to reach the lost…you know, those who are currently sharing a laugh at our expense?

Perhaps you don’t yet realize how out of hand this has become. We’ll give you just a chip from tip of the TV-iceberg here:[iii]

Warning and disclaimer: The following list is shocking. These authors are shaken, appalled, and more outraged than we can describe at the time of this writing to see how our precious Lord’s message is being presented on screen. Far too many Christian books “sanitize” what they have to say to avoid offending their readers, and in the end, the reader is less informed of reality. In the interest of raising awareness, we will simply describe what we have to about what is happening in television right now and move on. However, if you choose to take our word for it that this is extremely disturbing for those who love Jesus, and you don’t feel the need to satisfy your curiosity, feel free to skip past these bullets and onto the sentence starting with “Friends.”

  • Main characters of Will & Grace intermittently make fun of Scripture and Bible characters, they have suggested that the apostles were all gay, and their gay-conversion-camp episode suggested that the entire Christian agenda at this time is to undo homosexuality by sending our youth to getaways where lyrics to well-known Sunday school songs (in this case, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”) are divorced from their original meaning and rewritten to severely indoctrinate homophobia.
  • Rosie O’Donnell’s SMILF (“Single Mother I’d Like to [have adult relations with]”) character, Bridget, laughs about how the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus as a result of rape by one of the apostles.
  • Cameron Monaghan’s Shameless character protests outside a church by yelling crude and obscene urban slang terms for homosexual acts and calling them “Jesus’ love,” and is subsequently heralded as the viral hero “Gay Jesus” as a result of his demonstrations.
  • Fiona Gubelmann’s “hateful, hypocritical,” but Christian Daytime Divas character, Heather, who is mother to a transgender child she declares was made transgender by God, engages in abusive S&M sex with her husband while reading from the Word and getting spanked and bruised with a cross-shaped paddle—an act described later in the episode as a “kinky three-way with God.”
  • IFC’s Brockmire included an episode wherein the lead character, Jim, during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, calls Jesus the “Mayer of Auschwitz” and went on to say something so blasphemous that we can’t bring ourselves to write it verbatim here, but a synonymous—and far less profane—way to state what he said was that “God needs to man up.”
  • Second place for the “most blasphemous” award is the episode of Netflix’s Insatiable involving the enthusiastic “Miss Magic Jesus Pageant,” wherein young teenagers compete to win the “Crown of Thorns” in a choir number, citing the lyrics, “Sweet, sweet Jesus inside me…. Yeah! Oh, Spirit, please ride me.”
  • At the absolute top of the list of offenses we’ve found is an episode of Preacher that begins with a “graphic and gratuitous sex scene portraying Jesus losing his virginity with a married woman the night he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.”[iv]

Friends, as sickening as it is to read all that, there are certainly other examples worthy of mention (some, believe it or not, are actually worse than these); however, they, too, are so shocking that we will refrain—because, by now, we know you get the idea.

In the past, Christians were simply a part of one populace; in the present, we’re being represented as our own pitiable, misguided clique as we gradually migrate away from secularistic culture and legislation that cannot agree with Scripture; in the future, if things continue to go the current direction, we will be a completely polarized faction, considered hostile to the world around us, because there are people in high places—and in all places (influential media personalities, university professors, politicians, etc.)—who have successfully combined foot-in-the-door, door-in-the-face, and other methods of manipulation to paint us as dangerous, cultic, radical fanatics whose beliefs are only worthy of satire.

Okay, now, take every concern that you just read about television alone and apply it to trends we can expect to see (and are already seeing) in movies. That exponentially increases the grooming of society to view Christianity as a cult.

And then, to TV shows and movies, add music…

Don’t forget books, magazines, and newspapers…

Gotta get the radio, video games, podcasts, and Internet sites in there, too…

Cultural identity is positively driven by the machinations of its media. It’s happening outside the Church already.

But it’s not just media. It’s a worldview being perpetuated and embraced by the secularization agenda of Western society…and it’s feeding right into the eschatological scenario described in Revelation.

Think that’s sensational? Perhaps it isn’t…

UP NEXT: Preparing Our Land—and Churches—for Satan’s Arrival

If you would like more information on the topics covered in this article series, see the book Dark Covenant by Donna Howell and Allie Anderson, available below:

[i] “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990–1999,” American Library Association, last accessed March 3, 2020, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/100-most-frequently-challenged-books-1990%E2%80%931999; “Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000–2009,” American Library Association, last accessed March 3, 2020, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/top-100-bannedchallenged-books-2000-2009.

[ii] Jessica Crooke, “Is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Actually an Attack on Christianity?” June 14, 2019, Christian Post, last accessed March 3, 2020, https://www.christianpost.com/voices/is-the-handmaids-tale-actually-an-attack-on-christianity.html.

[iii] The bullet list referenced here involves information taken from the following two sources, which I will list once now, instead of adding an endnote to each item on the list: Hamilton, Amelia, and Alexa Moutevelis, “Easter Top 8: Which Shows Are the Worst to Christians?” March 29, 2018, News Busters, last accessed March 4, 2020, https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/culture/amelia-hamilton/2018/03/29/easter-top-8-which-shows-are-worst-christians; Alexa Moutevelis, “Easter 2019: Top 10 Worst Shows for Christians,” April 19, 2019, News Busters, last accessed March 4, 2020, https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/culture/alexa-moutevelis-coombs/2019/04/19/10-worst-tv-shows-christians.

[iv] See last endnote for citation information regarding that which was said in this bullet list.

 

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