Becoming a willing fool for Christ’s sake

By Scott Lively

“We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the modern world.” – Justice Antonin Scalia

Meeting Justice Scalia very briefly at a public policy conference years ago was to me like meeting the Apostle Paul, whom I have attempted to model spiritually in my long career as a pro-family activist. It was Paul who wrote sarcastically to world-conforming Christians who had mocked him for his zealotry:

“We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored. To this very hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are vilified, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer gently. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.” (1 Corinthians 4:10-14)

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What I have most in common with Paul (and Scalia) is the boldness to speak plain truth from the biblical worldview in the face of intense mockery. I credit this boldness to the “refiner’s fire” of persecution – when one faces it with the determination never to compromise one’s faith to avoid death, real or reputational (Revelation 12:11). I learned in that process that true freedom in Christ includes freedom from being constrained by the opinions of men. It was this liberation that allowed me to run twice for governor of Massachusetts even while being characterized by the media as the state’s most deplorable pariah.

So today, like Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the most essential point being His literal resurrection from the grave. And if I can confidently assert that ultimate defiance of worldly “wisdom,” I can certainly assert other beliefs about God’s sovereignty and truths from His Word without embarrassment.

This attitude and perspective was the hallmark of Christianity in America at its founding, encapsulated in the then-ubiquitous term “providence” – shorthand for the belief in God’s direct, active, supernatural real-time involvement in the lives of men, even in the minutiae (e.g., His providential destruction by wind and storm of the “invincible” Spanish Armada in 1588 that miraculously saved the British Empire). Perhaps more than any other change, the loss of that doctrine as a presupposition of both church AND state has enfeebled Christianity and empowered the heathen in the modern world.

Compare this short excerpt from George Washington’s first Inaugural Address to the sad reality of our secularized state and church today: “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.”

This week my column on (one of the very few Christian news venues in America that still holds a providential perspective of world affairs) featured a personal testimony about what I believe was a supernatural manifestation of God’s hand in a natural disaster. I was strongly criticized for it by believers and unbelievers alike. My article today uses that criticism as a springboard to an even greater challenge to their unbiblical, anti-providential perspective.

The year after God personally tore down a “gay pride” flag in our mission field of Springfield, Massachusetts, I was driving through downtown on my way home when I passed one of the several strip clubs that peppered the urban core. Over that past year, I had been studying the biblical phenomenon of “imprecatory prayers,” which are actually curses against the enemies of God and His people (most commonly found in the Psalms of David), such as “may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them” (Psalm 35:6). Tempering this tool with the Christ-mandated elevation of the law to “love your enemies,” I concluded that a modern, biblically justifiable version would be to curse the institutions and property of the wicked, while praying for the deliverance and salvation of the people themselves.

My usual route home took me past the the strip bar called Scores, and I had offered imprecatory prayer against it several times over the preceding months. On this particular day I repeated my prayer and then asked God why He had never answered any of my imprecatory prayers against this and other targets.

I received no immediate answer, but less than 24 hours later Scores was completely destroyed in a natural gas explosion – and I mean completely destroyed, as in Christ’s prophecy about the Temple in Matthew 24:2, “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” I walked the site a few weeks later, selecting a single brick as a memento, and surveyed the damage to all the surrounding buildings facing the blast: like an awestruck visitor to post-brimstone Sodom. Just after the blast, I sent out an email to my supporters reporting on this event, which a media mole on my email list used to write a mocking article, falsely and maliciously accusing me of celebrating that people were wounded in the blast (while I had actually praised God that no lives were lost, just as I had prayed).

As a flawed man, I sometimes fall prey to envy when I see others in my field of ministry reaping great rewards of fame and fortune in the world (and/or the church), but I always quickly repent of that and remember to be content with being a fool for Christ like those, such as Paul and Justice Scalia, I most admire.

And, since “fools” rush in where even angels fear to tread, I will tomorrow launch a month-long Pride Month push-back against the most vicious Christian-hating coalition of humankind, covering it with this prayer: “By your omnipotent power, Almighty God, I pray destruction upon all the institutions and property advancing the LGBT political and cultural agenda in American and around the world, but deliverance, salvation and a new zealotry for your truth Lord God, for every single person ensnared in same-sex attraction disorder and transgender insanity and those who enable them in their delusions.”

I urge every reader to join me in that prayer, and to get on my email list to receive the upcoming 30 articles I plan to post.

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