Phil Ashey: How Then Should We Live In Babylon?

While the Jews were in Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzer made an idol ninety feet high and nine feet wide””an idol in the shape of a giant “I” (Daniel 3:1) What an appropriate biblical image for the challenge placed upon us by the new regime: to bow down before the almighty “I” of self. You know the rest of the story in Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not bow down to that idol, and though they were cast by the authorities into the fire, the only thing they lost were the ropes that bound them (Dan. 3:25-27) Like them, we cannot bow down to the almighty “I” of the new regime””however lonely that stance may be. As a church, we must respectfully, lovingly, truthfully but adamantly state that our identity is not in our autonomy or individual choices. Our identity lies in Jesus Christ and in him alone (see Ephesians 1).

With that in mind, how should we then live in Babylon ”“ as Jesus would if he were in our shoes?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality

3 comments on “Phil Ashey: How Then Should We Live In Babylon?

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Well done, Phil.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your basic analysis and recommendations.
    Psalm 137 is especially appropriate right now, or the book of Lamentations, both of which express deep sorrow and angst over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. We need to grieve and work through the agony of the loss of so much that we have held dear.

    However, may I suggest another biblical analogy? One that is also timely and apt, I think. In some ways, our situation is more like that of Israel much earlier than the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. I suggest that perhaps it’s more like the era of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in the time of the prophet Elijah a couple centuries earlier. As you’ll recall, Jezebel was a pagan, a devoted worshiper of the Canaanite fertility god Baal and his wife Asherah. She also funded the false prophets that contended with Elijah on Mount Carmel.

    May I suggest that the American Church in general is caught in the same dilemma in our time. Official leaders have bought into a false religion that glorifies sex as an independent power not subject to the living God. The standing stones that were erected on the hilltops in Ball’s honor were an obvious phallic symbol.

    American Christians desperately need to be challenged to make the momentous, fateful decision that Elijah called on the ancient people of Israel to make. “[i]How long will you go on limping between two opinions? If Baal be God, then follow him. But if the LORD be God, then follow him![/i]” (But be sure that you can’t have it both ways).

    In other words, I suggest that while in one sense we are indeed already living in Babylon, in another sense, the full destruction of Jerusalem (or Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom) hasn’t taken place yet. Instead, we are dealing with rampant apostasy, as important national leaders have fallen into the trap of idolatry, and a false religion with a strong resemblance to ancient Baal worship. In a curious way, the modern pro-gay movement is a sort of bizarre “fertility cult” like Baalism, just without any fertility!

    Lord, have mercy.

    David Handy+

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    P.S. While the reference back to Francis Schaeffer is apt, may I suggest another similar book? There is an important sequet to Schaeffer’s [b]How Shall We Then Live?[/b] that may be even more appropriate, and that is Charles Colson’s 2004 manifesto, [b]How Now Shall We Live?[/b] That may be Colson’s magnum opus, and in that blockbuster book he argues forcefully, and convincingly, that one of the greatest needs in our time is for Christians to develop a clear and coherent biblical worldview, when we are being bombarded 24/7 with a false, alternative worldview that now pervades and dominates western culture. Eleven years after Colson wrote that important book, its message seems more timely and urgent than ever.

    David Handy+

  3. Karen B. says:

    GREAT article. It has a “for such a time as this” feel to it.

    As I was reading, I was struck by the fact that the situation post-Obergefell gives a strong new focus and “raison d’être” for the AAC. It feels like they are in a position to have a strong voice and leadership role in helping Anglicans in the U.S. navigate the stormy seas ahead. Praise God they seem to sense that calling and have been really speaking out.