LCN Article
Are We Courageous?

July / August 2023

Gerald E. Weston

The moral landscape of our world has changed drastically in the last few years. It is not that mankind has ever been morally upright, but our world—especially in the Israelite-descended nations—has ceased to exhibit any pretense of biblically defined moral integrity.

Most in God’s Church are good and decent people who try to live according to the higher standards of God’s law, and we are not totally alone. There are people, albeit deceived by false Christianity, who are good neighbors and who strive to live by most of the Ten Commandments. But how diligently do we strive? The question for all of us is, “Do we display courage in this corrupt world?”

Western nations have been taken over today by radical social engineers who are at war with God and biblical values. They seek to create a world unfettered by moral restraint, and they use vicious tactics. Make no mistake: What we see in our world is a well-conceived agenda, planned by Satan-inspired leaders, to obliterate biblical values. Society casting off all cords of restraint was foretold millennia ago. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:1–3). The remainder of the psalm clearly indicates that this is referring to the end-time.

And is this not an accurate description of modern man? “By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed” (Hosea 4:2). As mankind sets aside the law of God, the result is boundless misery: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18, American Standard Version).

A Bulge in a High Wall

Please forgive me if I again quote from Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, where Bill asks Mike, “How did you go bankrupt?” Mike replies, “Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.” The prophet Isaiah attests that the gradually-then-suddenly principle applies to the way the Israelite nations will suddenly be broken. “Therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant” (Isaiah 30:13).

The battle against the Bible has been going on for decades, gradually progressing, but for many it arrived suddenly about five years ago. Indecent behaviors and “lifestyles” that took decades to legalize and find popular acceptance became a part of daily media. Once homosexuality was accepted as normal, so-called “same-sex marriage” immediately followed. The floodgates were opened. Before we knew it, the “trans” movement had begun. How bad it will become before complete disaster strikes is difficult to imagine, but this article challenges you to be courageous in the face of this moral cesspool. Here is why—and how.

Much of the Western world, as you well know, has been taken over by radicals who are no longer hiding out in academic buildings on liberal university campuses. These social engineers are now everywhere. They seek to transform our world into a society unfettered by godly restraints. They have taken over academia, the mainstream media, social media, corporations, Hollywood, sports teams, and political parties. We see this in the LGBTQIA+ movement. We see it in the drive for abortion. We see it, especially now in Canada and the Netherlands, in the drive to lessen restrictions on so-called “assisted suicide.” And all of this is aided by a culture that constantly attempts to silence those who oppose its agendas. The “woke” movement, as it is so often labeled, has even infiltrated military services, where social engineering appears to be more important than defending one’s country.

Anyone with eyes to see can recognize the direction our world is heading, and it is becoming more difficult to survive in the corporate world. Even hockey player Ivan Provorov, defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, found himself at the center of controversy when he refused to don a pride-themed jersey and carry a hockey stick wrapped in rainbow tape during a pre-game warmup for the team’s annual “Pride Night” celebration. One wonders: Was he the only one with moral standards and the courage to take a stand? Did all those other players support the pride movement, or were those tough men too timid to resist their employers and the mob? What would you do under the same circumstances?

Many of you already face such decisions under equally stressful circumstances, but with less national publicity. We know of Church members being forced out of work over their religious convictions. Others have chosen to find a new job rather than face the daily hassle of a hostile work environment, and this is understandable. This is a reason why our young people must carefully consider their future career options. Even if one survives the indoctrination and peer pressure of university life, surviving future employment may be equally difficult. Corporate culture is turning decidedly against godly values as human resource departments are increasingly filled with personnel who have allied themselves with the anti-God agenda.

This battle against the Bible—using dishonest discourse, suppression of truth, and intimidation—was expressly predicted by the prophet Isaiah. “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey” (Isaiah 59:14–15). Yes, it takes courage to stand for justice, equity, and truth against anti-God bullies. Former UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman points out how hypocritical these social engineers are:

Yes, the university, and my department, were committed to the principles of diversity and multiculturalism. This commitment was plastered all over our policy statements. But somehow, through the years, I got the sense that the diversity that I represented wasn’t the same type to which they were so profoundly commited [sic] (Grossman, Unprotected, p. xix).

Kirsten Powers, a self-proclaimed liberal, describes this intolerant bullying in The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, and rightly separates liberal from illiberal.

The illiberal left… believes that people who express ideological, philosophical, or political views that don’t line up with their preferences should be completely silenced. Instead of using persuasion and rhetoric to make a positive case for their causes and views, they work to delegitimize the person making the argument through character assassination, demonization and dehumanizing tactics. These are the self-appointed overlords—activists, university administrators, journalists, and politicians—who have determined what views are acceptable to express. So, shut up—or else (p. 4).

Quite true, and “or else” is no idle threat. So, the question is: What to do about it? 

If you haven’t already been confronted by these social forces, be prepared, as they will come knocking at your proverbial door. We do not seek confrontation, but it is becoming more difficult to avoid confrontation. Those who consider us enemies are our teachers and university professors. They are human resource departments, supervisors, employers, and coworkers. They may even be our neighbors or relatives. Even though we strive to live peaceably with all, being confronted with evil is becoming unavoidable. This requires wisdom and courage. This storm is not what we want, but it will be what we face!

Courage to Stand Alone

In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the former President, spoke the following words to young people in South Africa: “Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence” (“Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966,” And Dennis Prager, in his commentary on the book of Exodus, makes this observation: “Courage is the rarest of all the good traits. There are far more kind and honest people than there are courageous people” (The Rational BibleExodus, p. 14).

Moses’ brother Aaron seems to be in the category of kind and generally righteous, but he occasionally came up short on courage. Take, for example, the golden calf incident. When Moses saw the calf and the people dancing around it, he understood that this was out of character for Aaron, who had given in to pressure from the people. And Aaron was only too quick to place the blame on them.

“What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?” So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out” (Exodus 32:21–24).

The idea of the golden calf jumping out of the fire put Aaron in the most-of-the-time-honest category. He must have winced upon hearing his own ridiculous explanation come tumbling out of his mouth! But Aaron was probably little different from the rest of us under normal circumstances. And who among us would be comfortable standing against several million carnal Israelites?

The Bible tells us of another man who gave in to the mob. God chose Saul to be king over Israel. We read of him being a head taller than the average man (1 Samuel 10:23). He was also a strong fighter who led the armies of Israel into battle. Three times we are told that “Saul has slain his thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7; 21:11; 29:5). However, he possessed a critical flaw—he feared people more than God. “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice’” (1 Samuel 15:24).

Fear of God Is the Key to Courage

Any student of the Bible knows of Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. The story begins with these young men as captives in Babylon, but it is easy to overlook the years prior to this time. Biblical history shows that Judah had fallen into idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, and sexual immorality (2 Chronicles 36:14–16; Ezekiel 16). Consider what that means—the peer pressure and influences on young people. Perhaps the best way to understand their culture is to understand ours. Yes, they dressed differently and ate differently, their language was different, and some of the games they played were likely different, but the conditions of their culture, the moral degradation surrounding them, and the peer pressure were sadly the same as they are today. It is with this background that we begin their story.

These were strong young men of character. This is why King Nebuchadnezzar had chosen them. Note his requirements for those whom he chose to work in his palace: “Young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans” (Daniel 1:4). We see their strength and character right away in their polite request for a different diet, lest they be defiled with the king’s food. The picture that emerges is one of young men who feared God.

When we read of the three thrown into a fiery furnace and of Daniel thrown into a lion’s den, it is easy to think we would be as brave—but we know the end of the story. They did not! When Nebuchadnezzar challenged the three with the question, “And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?,” they responded, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:15–18). If today we cannot stand up to a professor or a corporate boss, how can we think we would be able to stand up to Nebuchadnezzar?

Courage and cowardice often show up unexpectedly for a variety of reasons. We read of Elijah taking on the prophets of Baal but then running away from Jezebel. And we read of Peter denying Christ three times but then boldly standing before the Sanhedrin. Courage is not always static. It ebbs and flows for reasons we may not always understand. However, there is a powerful key to courage that we must all strive to possess, and one that Daniel and his three friends possessed: the fear of God.

Jesus tells us that He must come first in our lives—above the closest family relationships, above friends, and above our own lives as well (Luke 14:26). Unless we are willing to put Him first, we might as well hang it up. It is that simple.

Overcoming Powerful People

Dennis Prager understands the Bible from his Jewish perspective—which can be seductive, coming from someone of his persuasive ability, so we must be careful not to accept everything he says. However, in reference to the midwives who refused Pharaoh’s command to drown Israelite babies, he makes this astute comment:

People fear those who are more powerful than they are. Therefore, the only way not to fear powerful people is to fear God. Thus, in the instance recorded here, those who feared God saved Hebrew babies, while those who feared Pharaoh helped drown Hebrew babies…. It was the midwives’ fear of God that liberated them from fear of the Egyptian tyrant. This point is often overlooked: Fear of God is a liberating emotion, freeing one from a disabling fear of evil, powerful people (The Rational Bible: Exodus, p. 14).

We will all be tested as to whom we fear the most—man or God. There was a time, decades ago, when it was difficult to understand how those of us who know and practice the truth could be persecuted. Would someone tell us to eat pork or die? Hardly. Yes, we might lose a job over the Sabbath or Holy Days, and some of us have, but what we face today is different from anything we could imagine even a decade ago.

Many of us passed a major test when we left our former fellowship because we could see that it had left God. Essentially, we launched into space, not always knowing where we would land. For some of us, our jobs were on the line. For others, family, friends—even spouses—were on the line. It is good that we were tested in this matter, but there are many tests ahead. Difficult decisions must be made—and, when the time comes, what we value the most will determine what we do. Robert Townsend, the late CEO of Avis Car Rental, gave us this insightful thought: “Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night.”

Courage in the face of danger is a hallmark of true Christianity. No one ought to imagine that Daniel or his friends had no fear of Nebuchadnezzar; for good reason we all fear fire and lions. But the greater fear of God shone through the fog and took away any doubt as to what they needed to do. When we value God and His commandments, many decisions in life become clear. They may not be easy to carry out, but when we fear God above all else, it diminishes our fear of powerful—and not so powerful—men and women.