Christians and the Cancel Culture (no.2)
(Continuation from previous issue).Truth welcomes honest and open investigation (Isaiah 1:18-20; 41:21). The cancel culture casts aside the truth with little regard for the opposition. For the cancel culture, freedom to speak only goes one way. Whether one is on the political left or right, mob rule and violent assault against communities, businesses, and even the U.S. Capitol, cannot be tolerated. God commanded Israel not to follow a mob to do evil and pervert justice (Exodus 23:2). Christians do not respond with evil against evil (Romans 12:17-21; 13:8, 10).
Cancel Culture: “Destroy God’s Word”
King Jehoiakim exemplifies the cancel culture. He cut and burned the scroll of God’s word when it was read to him, commanding that Jeremiah and Baruch be arrested (Jeremiah 36:20-26).
We already hear calls to destroy books and ban others from publication. Simon & Schuster cancelled U.S. Senator Josh Hawley’s book’s publication in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot. Another publisher picked it up, but the cancel culture had an impact. Christians who write gospel material will face threats of censorship, too. Why wouldn’t we?
The cancel culture tries to silence God’s word on moral issues. For instance, The Queen James Bible (a “Gay Bible… based on The King James Bible, edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation”) changes (cancels) every negative reference to the sin of homosexuality. Preaching against homosexuality is legally ruled against as hate speech in Sweden. Canada has adopted laws that head in the same direction. America does not seem to be far behind.
Christians will “contend earnestly for the faith” in the face of the cancel culture (Jude 1:3). Censoring the truth of God does not make it go away (Acts 4:17-20; 5:27-32, 40-42). We will either stand with faithful saints or with faithless secularists. We cannot serve two Masters. We must not be ashamed of Christ and His words in this cancel culture age (Mark 8:38).
Cancel Culture: “Demonize the Opposition”The cancel culture demonizes its opposition in at least three ways.
1) The cancel culture uses misrepresentations and lies against its target. Jesus and Stephen were “cancelled” this way (Luke 23:1-2; Acts 6:10-14). Expect similar treatment when you speak the truth of the gospel (John 15:18-20).
2) The cancel culture marginalizes opponents. Paul, for example, was “cancelled” by Tertullus as an extremist (“ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes,” Acts 24:5). Such treatment intends to shame a person into silence or convict him as guilty without the right to be heard (cf. Acts 21:33-22:1).
3) The cancel culture demands conformity. The cancel culture comforts itself in the strength of numbers. The Roman Empire identified the nonconformists (Christians) and persecuted them unto death (Revelation 13:16-17). Yet, the Rome Empire fell. Those who imitate its culture of cancellation will also fail (Revelation 13:18).
Through Peter, the Holy Spirit said, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). We muzzle (render “speechless,” Matthew 22:12) those who foolishly speak without knowledge and reason.
Despite the cancel culture, God’s word remains powerful, God’s people persevere, and God’s purposes prevail (Romans 8:28-39; 1 Peter 1:22-25). We must speak up without shame because we are of God, and our God is greater than “he who is in the world” (Romans 1:15-16; 1 John 4:4-5).