Dr. Doug Posey
Imagine living in a place that Jesus identified as being “where Satan’s throne is” (Rev. 2:13). That’s how he referred to the ancient city of Pergamum (or Pergamos) in Asia Minor. We can probably think of some places we might describe the same way today. Not to mention that here in America, every survey seems to indicate that, despite the best efforts of the church, our culture and society are slipping deeper into the pit of paganism. Satan must be comfortable here, too!
Notwithstanding its unsavory reputation, there was actually a church in Pergamum. While idolatry, paganism, occultism and sexual perversion swirled around them, a group of believers gathered to worship the only true God. It wasn’t easy. In fact, Jesus commends them for not letting go of Him despite what must have been severe opposition and downright persecution.
The most recent Harris poll indicates that 32% of Americans either aren’t convinced, or don’t believe there is a God. Does it seem obvious that people who aren’t sure or reject the idea that there’s a God, would not make decisions and choices allowing for the existence of a transcendent, eternal, moral being? In other words, those people would appeal to their own flesh, the crowd, “scientific” data, or personal preferences as the ultimate authorities in their lives. Combine them with those who say they’re sure there’s a God, yet ignore Him altogether, and you see why paganism is pervasive.
So how does a believer keep from slipping when it seems like the world is sliding away? It is by realizing that you are a mighty force of one! What you do as a Christian makes a difference for this generation and and the next, and for eternity. What matters is not where the culture is going, but where you are despite what we might call “the satanic slide.” No matter how bad certain segments of society may seem, you have hope to deliver to them. That hope can make a mighty difference.
For example, in A.D. 793, English scholar, Alcuin wrote, "Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race." He was referring to the fierce marauding of the Norsemen, or Vikings. These pagan Scandinavians attacked Christian settlements for the next 200 years from Ireland to the Mediterranean. But, somehow by 1200, the same countries that produced these merciless evildoers, were entirely Christian.
According to author George Beaverson, much of the change had to do with “day-to-day witnessing by common people” ("The Fury of the Northmen," Christian History, issue 60, no. 4, p.41). In other words, “the mighty force of one” made the difference. Without the commitment of individuals who took a stand for Christ in the face of paganism, today we might all be speaking Swedish and worshipping Thor, the god of thunder, instead of the God of the Bible.
We have a habit of bemoaning the loss of our Christian roots as a nation. We pine for the days when America seemed more godly. We idealize the past and assume people were more committed to Christian belief and practice, “back in the day.” However, had more of them done their job individually; if they hadn’t dropped the ball and sent it bouncing toward the pagan pit, we might truly be able to call ourselves a Christian nation.
Let’s not assume that the right politicians, propositions, laws and/or institutions are going to rescue us from the satanic slide. Yes, you should be involved in influencing those things. When you get a chance, do your duty and vote for programs, propositions and candidates representing righteous causes. But, focus on your influence for Christ as an individual, too.
The Scandinavian countries have again slipped into a general disregard for the things of God. Religion became institutionalized and depersonalized and true commitment to Christ evaporated. Here, your vote and your witness count—so, do both. If someone is going to be unseated, let’s make it the dethroning of Satan, one conversion at-a-time.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” —TITUS 2:11–12