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Innocence Lost

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Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:42 AM
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Dr. John Neihof President of Wesley Biblical Seminary - Guest Blogger MORE

We live in a culture where human life is disposable. Just look at the news headlines. Reputations are destroyed by accusation and innuendo. A lifetime of good work is torn down in a few hours of character assassination. Unborn babies are ripped from their mother's wombs by militant executioners seeking the bounty of warfare amidst unholy rules of engagement. The elderly are marginalized in warehouses. Legislatures and courts legitimize euthanasia. The specter of death dons its executioner's hood and cloak, brandishing the scepter of its sword, imposing its sentence of morte. 

Innocence lost. 

We live in a world where reputations are built in a lifetime and destroyed in moments. Suspicion, recrimination, and revenge rule the day. Corporate leaders, entertainers, politicians, and preachers build a body of work. They are known by their resume. Then a salacious report is published. Whether the report is true or not is never the issue. Media accusations are issued.  In a blinding rush to judgment, the "now this" talking heads proclaim the "late breaking" speculation as truth. The public is informed that it has reached a decision. Pretentious journalists, pundits, and revenge-seekers pound the gavel in a quest for their "pound of flesh." 

"The people have spoken." 

A non-jury of non-peers issues the socially declared non-decree of a death sentence. The mob assembles the hastily constructed noose, tosses it over the limb of socially constructed justice, and completes the vile task, proclaiming its victory. 

And that much more so if the "collective cultural conscience" dislikes the accused. 

Innocence lost. 

Ever since Watergate scandalized the political and social discourse, mistrust and contempt of authority have accelerated toward the yawning abyss of chaotic absurdity. From our earliest years, we are taught the mistrust of authority. 

Nearly 20 years ago, our family was vacationing in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. While there, we encountered a protestor who was contending with the U.S. Department of the Interior's policies and procedures on management in the parklands. The bumper of his old Chevy Blazer was adorned appropriately with a bumper sticker that read, "Question Authority." 

Innocence lost. 

Our culture of death is voracious in its appetite to consume. "Old people cost too much to keep around," the sword-wielding specter of culture proclaims. 

"Let them die with dignity!" 

Interpretation: "Kill them." 

"They eat too much. They cost too much in medical care. They fill up too much space and suck in too much air. They are disposable." 

So the culture of death marches on to advance its agenda. 

Innocence lost. 

The truly innocent, the unborn child, is the easiest prey for the all-consuming killers. Sixty million babies have been aborted since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973. The genocide of two entire generations now stretches into its third. The culture of death has slaughtered the next Beethoven, Washington, Roosevelt, Franklin, and Curie. 

Innocence lost. 

I recoil in horror at the social agenda bent on death and destruction. I recoil at the injustice of character assassination, elder abuse, and abortion. But the culture of death does not stop its relentless stampede of encroachment into our lives. We consume other people through fornication, divorce, and abandonment of our children. We treat our star athletes as heroes and then watch them die tragic deaths of dementia and Parkinson's disease brought on by our Sunday afternoon entertainment. We consume the latest would-be bachelors and bachelorettes, proclaiming their pornographic presentations as our "guilty pleasures," forgetting that these people are real people, pitiful people, broken people, whom we objectify for our pleasure. And once we conclude our playtime, we dispose of them carelessly. 

Innocence lost. 

The church of Jesus Christ must be different. Disciples of Jesus Christ must be different. There are no disposable people. We must believe that. We must live that truth. 

In the early church, the believers were known to rescue live infants who had been disposed of by temple prostitutes and others upon the trash heaps of city dumps throughout the Mediterranean world of the first century. The church rescued these "undesirable" babies. Believers raised them as their own. The church discipled these children as followers of Jesus Christ. Those of us who claim to be people of the cross of Jesus Christ follow in their train of grace. We are called to love others with the self-giving love of the innocent Christ who gave Himself for all, that we might be saved. 

Innocence lost. 

Will you resist an all-pervasive culture of death? Choose life.

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