After the Google Memo and the subsequent firing of its author, it has become all the more apparent that we are living in a progressive theocracy. The progressive goddess of egalitarianism was profaned by someone who seemed to be an erstwhile worshiper at one of her holiest of holies—the campus of Google, at the heart of Silicon Valley. This senior software engineer, James Damore, holds a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, and he used documented scientific research (one of the apparently lesser prog deities) to point out biological differences between men and women as it pertains to aptitudes for programming and corporate leadership. He was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” If a Harvard Ph.D. in biology cannot have a discussion about egalitarianism, even when it is based solely on scientific evidence, what hope do any of us have?
It is with this vicious, rampaging, militant progressivism—one that has taken hold of nearly every conceivable institution—that I wrote about “the Boniface Option” earlier this summer. These people will be coming for us. We need to get ready now.
In order to be ready, the church today needs to train more Bonifaces. What are Bonifaces? Disciplined men who have seriously counted the cost of faithfully believing in Jesus Christ and are ready to hold whatever that cost is in contempt in comparison to the glory of knowing and serving Jesus Christ. They are men who are expecting the cost to come due and made the decision long ago they will pay it, no matter what it is. What will those costs be for us in the early 21st Century West? While the odds of a jihadist singling you out for execution are considerably low and state-sponsored persecution of Christians like the kind that took place under Josef Stalin is not currently taking place (but is less absurd to at least fathom happening), it is easy to conceive the kind of consequences Christians will face for faithfulness to Jesus over the next forty years.
Chief among them: being fired from your job for membership in a group that is guilty of hate speech, i.e. a biblically orthodox Christian church (“orthodox” here absolutely including biblical sexuality). We need to be making decisions now about what we will do. Are you ready to lose your job for being a Christian? Are you prepared to lose your job for being a Christian? The kind of people targeted for membership in “hate groups” will be high-earning professionals in careers where it took them a long time to establish themselves. They won’t go after experienced plumbers, welders, or skilled carpenters, at least not right away, if ever. They will first go after attorneys, physicians, executives, and any other targets with an awful lot to lose. Those Christian men who are in such positions have to decide right now if they are willing to lose their careers and status for the cause of Christ.
Men who profess their love of Christ today and their willingness to pick up their cross and die for Him need to know that Satan is not going to attack what you love second or third most. Satan knows that most Americans (including and especially American Christians) would rather die than lose their access to Mammon. Look at how many men kill themselves when their careers come crashing down and how much more because their careers never got started. Many men would literally rather die than lose their comfortable lifestyles. Christians are not immune to this spirit of the age. Martyrdom for modern, Western Christians is not death. It is being reduced from a 747 pilot to pumping septic tanks. It is going from being the C-something-O of a Fortune 500 tech company to repairing MacBooks for just above minimum wage. It is going from partner track at your law firm, to installing track lighting in rundown apartments. Martyrdom in the affluent, post-Christian West is having your class and status reduced for the sake of Christ and suffering this gladly. When these things start to happen, the world will take notice. This is the modern equivalent of being fed to wild beasts in the Coliseum. How many will recant? Once the first few heads start to roll for hate speech guilt-by-association, how many will leave their churches? If we start preparing our people for what seems like the inevitable, we’ll be ready to suffer financially and socially when that day comes.
But how do we prepare for that day? We have to have strong communities centered around renewing the covenant on the Lord’s Day. This is what books like Dreher’s The Benedict Option and Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes only begin to touch on (the latter I recommend highly—if only for Esolen’s fantastic prose!). The kind of communities that Dreher and Esolen want to establish are full of serious Christians, and this is great, but there must be something around which these communities cohere.
For Dreher and Esolen, who are Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, respectively, their books are for a “mere Christian” audience so they cannot delve too deeply into specifics about this, but my intended audience is much more narrow—Reformed and evangelical Christians. We need to be building communities that consciously understand what Lord’s Day worship is—that we are not gathering together to sing nice songs to God and hear some inspiring words every week, but re-establishing our covenant with God, being called by Him into His presence, being told by Him that He has forgiven our sins, being taught by His Word, being fed by Him, being commissioned by Him to go out into the world and disciple and teach the nations all that He has commanded. This must be the foundation for the kind of serious Christian community that will not only weather the violent tempest ahead but will rebuke the wind and waves in the name of Jesus Christ. That is the point of the covenant that it has a goal, an endpoint, a telos. No community can hold up unless it has a direction it is going.
If the communities we hope to build are just walled compounds to keep the waves of brain-eating zombies out, they won’t last, even if we are reading Civitas Dei, the Summa Theologica, and Institutes of the Christian Religion safely behind that compound’s walls. Teleology matters. Eschatology matters. Either the cultural decline in the West is the beginning of the end of time or one of a series of challenges the church has had to face throughout her history. How we answer that question will define everything we do, from our most mundane daily tasks to what we do with the totality of our lives and what direction we will lead our families in. And let me be perfectly clear, the world is not coming to an end. The church is facing a furnace of affliction. On the other side of it, she will be a bride all the more spotless and pure. Our Lord will deliver us through what is coming. We can trust His promise that He has not abandoned us, but is with us. It is He who has all power and dominion over all the nations of the earth, and He will defend His bride. It is our job to remain faithful, to persevere, and to trust He will deliver. That should be the foundation of how we live in light of what is coming. Trust Jesus and prepare for the fight.