Christ or Chaos and My Recent Move to Moscow

Abraham Kuyper once said, “The conflict has always been and will be until the end, Christianity or Paganism; the idols or the living God.” Abraham was right. And his rightness is manifest in our times. Indeed, herein lies the central point that Christians all across this great nation must get deep down in their bones: You will have Christ as Lord of all, or you will have Pharaoh’s tyranny. In the main, our problem is that we want Pharaoh’s melons, leeks, and onions, but we do not want his chains (Numbers 11:5). Pharaoh’s offer, however, is a package deal. And we must say no to all of it.

The good book says, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; And stay on horses, And trust in chariots, because they are many; And in horsemen, because they are very strong; But they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, Neither seek the LORD” (Isaiah 31:1)! But this secular faith—faith in chariots—is what marks far too much of our evangelical world. We trust the process rather than trusting God. We try to work God toward our ends rather than work the process toward His. We do all of this without recognizing that we are doing it. We do not see it because, as Israel in the time of the judges, we have been Canaanized

A New Religion

As I have written elsewhere, a new religion is afoot in America. Many decent folk see and disdain our social upheaval. They reject outright despotic COVID measures, Critical Social Justice, and all of its offspring. But several of these same people do not see what is below the surface. There is a root down there, and that root is a pagan faith commitment. By pagan, I do not mean super bad, although super bad it is. By pagan, I refer to the very thing Paul meant when he spoke of those, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25). This creature worship is the genesis of all our woes. King David warned us of this, “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god” (Psalm 16:4).

So it is Christ or chaos all over and in every place. It is Christ or chaos over every square inch. It is Christ or chaos in your heart, in your living room, in your office, classrooms, playgrounds, and courthouses. The evangelical community must realize that we have sown chaos, and now we reap Black Lives Matter. We adopted chaos as our worldview and permitted it in our education and institutions, and now we do not like living at the intersection of all of those victim statuses. We are discovering that ideas have consequences. For a detailed example of this pattern, read Carl Truman’s very fine book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He explains why so many Americans, while not entirely approving, permit the transgender notion that one could be a woman trapped in a man’s body. How could that be? Well, America has raised a generation or two to believe they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. Is it unreasonable then for your son to say, “Dad, I choose to be a girl?” You may not like the particular application, but it is a fitting implementation of the very principle you taught—”Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Courage in Chaos

The need of the hour is courage. And that courage, by and large, is not presently found among our evangelical leadership. Too much of Egypt remains in that leadership for it to exercise that fortitude which is the order of the day. As Spurgeon once said, “Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day?” We are in a Mount Carmel situation. There stands Elijah, the children of Israel, Ahab, and the prophets of Baal—”And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). Some of the people did, however, text Elijah privately to reassure him that they were totally with him. Others texted their friends Elijah’s post, seeing how apt it was while ensuring not to share it on social media. Still more murmured about Elijah being spot on about the situation, but they simply could not defend his tone publicly, being that he said Baal was on the John. 

The real reason for our leadership’s silence is that they are much like the chief rulers—”Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the Big Eva conference circuit” (John 12:42).[1] John goes on to say that these men loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. This is the end of the matter: You cannot worship the creature and maintain courage. You cannot be with chaos and with Christ. As we labor to reform our situation, let us not stop at surface-level measures lest we fall into the error Lewis told us about—”In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

My Move to Moscow

Let me insert a word of thanks and exhortation to Christians far and wide regarding my recent move to Moscow. First, a big thank you to all of you who have supplied bucketloads of prayer and encouragement. It really has come from all directions and we are grateful. Second, I gather there are some evangelical leaders and up-and-coming leaders who are paying attention. These people see the fruit and controversy associated with the faithful ministry I have come from, Founders Ministries. They also see the fruit and controversy associated with the faithful work out here in Moscow. I could multiply examples of such controversy, but here are just a couple. While at Founders, we were subject to the outrageous accusation that we radicalized a man who murdered several people in Georgia. Interestingly enough, Vice magazine recently published similar slander against Christ Church here in Moscow.

What are we to make of such controversy? Am I simply a Wild West gunslinger who likes running with people who can’t help but ride into a peaceful town and cause a ruckus? Not at all. The town in which we all find ourselves is anything but peaceful. We mean to minister faithfully in these tumultuous days, wrestling against principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world. All of the flak is but an abundance of evidence that we are right over the target.

So my exhortation to Christian pastors and leaders is this. Given the present climate, many verses in the Bible, and a general survey of the book of Acts, you must prepare to suffer false charges for faithfulness to Christ and His gospel. They hung our Lord on a tree. You need not fear what chaos will say about you for that cross has already testified very publicly that you are a sinner. And at the very same time, it is by the blood of that cross that you have been justified, you have been washed clean. Now you must go to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach—”If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household” (Matthew 10:25)? Chaos will make no peace with Christ and His people. So make no peace with chaos and fret not what she might say.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword… And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34, 38).

[1] The text of course reads “synagogue,” but you get the gist.