Living in This Dark Realm

I think the whole Epstein thing, taken in conjunction with the Weinstein thing, the Hastert thing from a few years back, the continuing Vatican scandals, and the total silence from pretty much everyone on both sides of the aisle regarding the rampant and pervasive perversity at all levels, shows why electing the “right” person or the “right” party will not solve the problems our nation and world face. The problem is much deeper. The Prince of This World runs things – regardless of which party is in power. The church fighting for political supremacy is like trying to fight an out of control wildfire – the best you can hope for is not getting surrounded and consumed yourself.

The church spends her time best when she spends it in prayer, centered around the Holy Word of God, preaching, teaching, absolving, showing love to her neighbor, and rejoicing when she is counted worthy of suffering for The Name. The powers of this dark realm will not be converted – they will only be overcome on the last day. The theology of glory tries to win political victories. The theology of the cross seeks to take up the cross daily and follow Jesus in your own calling, living according to the Ten Commandments in faith toward God and love toward your neighbor.

This does not mean we despair – we know who has already won the victory. Nor does it mean we pull the switch on the “Benedict Option” – withdrawing from society and creating our own parallel structure or utopian vision. The Evangelicals tried it in the 80’s with “Christian phone books” and it didn’t work then either. We are to be in the world, without being of the world. This is a high and difficult calling. It is why the church must be in prayer together even as we live and work in the world. It is why the church becomes even more – important as its influence wanes, and as she (almost certainly) enters a period of open persecution. Those who think they and their families can stand against the forces of this world on their own, without the benefit of regular and active church attendance have been deceived. That is why pastors grieve so deeply the loss of even one member: they know what the outcome will be – not only eternally, but even in this world. It ends in pain and regret for those who cast aside the gift of the Gospel, which is only a foreshadow of what is to come.

All of this to say, I think the church needs to get out of the politics business. Entirely. Preach and teach. Let members act as faithful citizens (and officials – including electors), pray for kings and others in authority, and leave it at that. And if you are a member of the church – hold tight to Her. Recognize that hearing the Word is a precious gift, and treat it with the respect and honor it deserves. Those two things are the key to the future. It won’t be easy by any stretch – the church will be picking up the pieces of our broken society for centuries (unless our Lord returns first – may it ever be!) But it is the only way to make it through, and we already know the Rest of the Story – The Serpent is a wounded animal. His time is ending. For now he thrashes about causing destruction. We need to be careful not to get caught up in the death throes.

But the victory has already been won by our Lord Jesus Christ.

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3 Responses to Living in This Dark Realm

  1. Rev. Darrell Debowey says:

    Lincoln, I don’t think you understand the “Benedict option” correctly. Rob Dreher isn’t calling on the Christian to retreat from the world, but to do just as you suggest–retreat to the Word of God; become more faithful to Christ and His Church to better sustain the attacks of the culture and to better show Christ’s love to the culture. Dreher is calling Christians to live out their vocations faithfully where God has put them (home, school, work, business, government, etc), and all the while being being ready to die for Christ for doing so.
    In answer to the question: “Do you really think you can just run away from the world and live off in a compound somewhere? Dreher told the interviewer: “No, I don’t think that at all. While I wouldn’t necessarily fault people who sought geographical isolation, that will be neither possible nor desirable for most of us. The early Church lived in cities, and formed its distinct life there. Most of the Ben Op communities that come to mind today are not radically isolated, in geography or otherwise, from the broader community. It’s simply nonsense to say that Ben Oppers want to hide from the world and live in some sort of fundamentalist enclave. Some do, and it’s not hard to find examples of how this sort of thing has gone bad. But that is not what we should aim for. In fact, I think it’s all too easy for people to paint the Benedict Option as utopian escapism so they can safely wall it off and not have to think about it.”

    You can read more here:

  2. Country Preacher says:

    Darrell, that may be. But I have seen people invoke the “Benedict option” to support setting up parallel structures – similar to the old evangelical phone books. If he were really just espousing being faithful in our callings in the world where God has placed us, that’s not a different option than what we are doing now. He might as well have called it “The Lutheran Option”, but it wouldn’t have sold as many books.
    It’s always interesting to me how the teacher will have an idea that they insist is not X, but the students understand that the logical conclusions of the idea are exactly X. So, Arius potentially wasn’t actually Arian (as but one among many potential examples).
    I’m seeing many people lurch in one breath from “Elect the right people to save us!” to “Establish our own parallel/utopian society to save us!” Avoid calling that the Benedict option if you wish, but rightly or wrongly I’ve seen people invoke Dreher in calling for it, and whatever you call it, it is wrong.

  3. Carl Vehse says:

    The so-called “Benedict Option” is incongruent with the Lutheran doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. Citizens of the Kingdom of the Right are at the same time the government (We the People) in the Kingdom of the Left, who ordained and established our Constitutional form of government, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

    When elected and appointed representatives and their supporters attempt to seditiously subvert and betray our Constitutional form of government in order to take away our union, tranquility, liberties, welfare, and defense for their own gain, it is We the People who have the responsibility, through our constitutional system, to bring such betrayers to justice and punishment.

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