Amazingly, it’s the beginning of a New Year, 2014. It seems that with each passing day, week, month, and year, the old adage, going to hell in a handbasket, rings with an ever-increasing element of truth. Thinking back to my grandparents, a civil and right society was one of proper dress, attending church on Sundays, and working hard throughout the week (maybe I’ve been watching too much Leave It to Beaver). When their culture began to be threatened, and the way one dressed became less modest, and church became less a part of life and more of a seasonal event, and to have a good work ethic was a thing of the past, my grandparents most certainly said that our society was going to hell in a handbasket. And as I think back to my parents, I see how my generation has challenged (or better yet, ignored) their value system, and what was once sacred is no more. Alcohol and drugs were very much a part of my culture growing up, as was our more liberal view on sex, co-habitation, and gender roles. For my generation, it just seemed right to push these boundaries because we had moved further away from ‘truth’ as we cloaked ourselves in the pluralistic mindset that all paths lead to God. I must admit, I am guilty on nearly all fronts.
Perhaps it is because I am older and wiser, or more likely, because I am now the father of four young children that I am acutely aware of the world we live in. I don’t think of myself as a doomsday person. Though I love our liberty and freedom provided by this wonderful country of ours, my allegiance is to God and not a government. I could say, right along with my grandparents and parents that our world is going to hell in a handbasket, but the truth is this has been our reality since Genesis 3 and the Fall of Adam and Eve. Nothing is truly that different. In fact, Ecclesiastes says that there is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). Our world is not any more wicked than it was in the day of Noah, or in the city of Nineveh, Rome, or the city of Corinth. The truth of the matter is that this world has been temporarily handed over to the god of this world, but his reign will not be without restraint, nor will it last. Paul speaks clearly to the struggle we endure, a struggle that is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). We are at war, but it is a war well beyond that of borders, power, society, and culture. John Piper says it is a war that “is being fought first along the line between good and evil in every human heart, especially the hearts of Christians where Christ has staked His claim, and where He means to be totally triumphant. The ‘war’ is being fought along the line between sin and righteousness in every family. It is being fought along the line between truth and falsehood in every school… between justice and injustice in every legislature… between integrity and corruption in every office… between love and hate in every ethnic group… between pride and humility in every sport… between the beautiful and the ugly in every art… between right doctrine and wrong doctrine in every church… and between sloth and diligence between coffee breaks. It is not a waste to fight the battle for truth and faith and love on any of these fronts.”[i]
Over the course of the ensuing months, it is my intention to devote some time to reflect upon the challenge we face today as it relates to that of family, manhood, womanhood, and childrearing. Though our world is under great conflict, we who are in Christ are to live and be a people of hope. We know the One in whom we have believed and are convinced that He is able to guard what we have entrusted to Him, our very lives, such that this will be our new reality:
Eric Basye, January 2014
[i]Piper, John, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 131-132.