by David C. Grabbe
CGG Weekly, April 23, 2004
"The West has finally achieved the rights of man, and even excess, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society has grown dimmer and dimmer."
As the virulent and violent secular humanism spreads throughout Western civilization, the highest ideal has become the all-important "My Identity." Identity is the new sovereign, and it has the final say. Achievement and aptitude are commonly trumped by Identities such as skin color, nation of origin, gender, or even sexual "orientation" (defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition as "a tendency of thought; a general inclination"). The other element of this destructive notion of sovereign Identity is oppression—the Identity Groups deserve different treatment because somehow, at some point in the history of mankind, they have been oppressed, or at least believe they have been oppressed.
This is not to say that oppression is not a reality—man's history is a record full of inhumanity to fellow man. But this line of reasoning, so to speak, quickly devolves into glorification on the basis of being a victim. In fact, a person is indirectly encouraged to maintain a victimization status because of the associated benefits. People are suddenly valued for the wrongs that have been done, not just to themselves, but also to their Identity Group.
Nowhere is this deification of Identity, and its associated oppression, more plainly seen than in the current right-to-sodomy blitzkrieg. This manifestation is especially insidious because the untouchable Identity is self-prescribed. The identifying characteristic is not something biological, but rather a chosen behavior. All they really want, they say, is "acceptance"—an end to the "bigotry" that is ironically brought on by the choices made. But "acceptance" in this case means tacit approval of their Identity—the chosen perversity that sets them apart. Not to approve is not just to disagree; it is to deny their humanity.
The identity-as-truth faction (to borrow from Richard John Neuhaus' book, The Public Square) demands "acceptance and inclusiveness, which means rejection and exclusion of whatever or whoever rejects their identity, meaning their right to believe, speak, and act as they will, for what they will do is what they must do if they are to be who they truly are." They choose their own Identity, and then claim that to reject it is to reject them. Logic, reasoning, and evidence no longer bear any weight. Variance in thought is now seen as a personal assault, and disagreement with that person is perceived as a denial of who he is—or perceives himself to be. No longer can one appeal to the writers of Scripture, historical figures, or learned men of yore for established principles of cause and effect without the retort, correct yet irrelevant, "Yes, but they are not me!"
But consider the final result. With mankind as the pinnacle and the undisputed authority, and one's Identity unassailable, we are left with a whole planet of little sovereigns. Sovereign over what is unclear; the important bit is that nobody can tell a sovereign what to do. A sovereign cannot be called into account. A sovereign cannot be disagreed with because, of course, that denies his Identity, and thus his sovereignty. Everybody is a ruler, but nobody is ruled. The end of this futile experiment is horrific chaos, a taste of which we are beginning to receive. We are descending into nationwide confusion, as ancient Israel did during the time of the Judges: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6; 21:25). In Israel, the time of the Judges was a time of national calamity—over and over again.
As Christians, our identity is extremely important. But it is not sovereign.
We are called by God, forgiven of our sins, given spiritual understanding, given His Holy Spirit, and given countless other instances of His goodness. There are untold blessings, spiritual if not also physical, that come with God giving us a new identity. What is more, the blessings we receive in this life are minuscule compared to what await us. But rather than this identity making us entitled to receive these things on the basis of past oppression, it puts us under tremendous obligation.
We are identified as children of God, but that privilege is accompanied by a remarkable obligation to then begin to resemble our Father in the conduct of our lives. We are identified as being Spirit-begotten, but along with that comes the awesome expectation of using God's Spirit to produce fruit that glorifies Him. We are identified as being sanctified by God, but this also means that we have to finish the course and do our part in the process. We are identified by God as being the firstfruits of His spiritual harvest, but with this comes the responsibility to prepare to teach and govern in His Kingdom.
The secular Western world teaches us to categorize others and ourselves according to scars—real or imagined. It tells us that we should never have to submit to anything we dislike, because then we would not be "true to ourselves." It tells us to live our lives as if we are gods, accountable to nothing.
But the true Sovereign looks beyond our scars—some of which came by His hand—and sees instead what He is creating in us. He tells us to submit to Him, to those in authority, and to one another. He tells us to deny ourselves, and to focus on what we can give, rather than what we can get. If we faithfully submit to these obligations, the graceful result will be beyond human comprehension:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (I John 3:1-3)