Ministers of the gospel in this age need to be ready and willing to lose their place in polite society to boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God and defend the witness of the church towards the good news of salvation in Christ alone, and the biblical holiness without which no man will see the Lord.
A term that has grown in popularity among counselors and in psychological textbooks is gaslighting. One hears it on TV, reads it in print, and sees it used in any number of contexts.
Gaslighting is the attempt to create a false reality which forces another person to accept or do something that they under normal psychological circumstances would never do. This term originates from a mid-20th century film (itself based on an earlier stage play) where the protagonist successfully convinces his wife, and others, that she is crazy by slowly dimming the lights and then denying it is happening, eventually leading to her being committed to a mental institution.
Gaslighting is wicked and destructive.
Yet, this is the way much discourse in the church and society at-large operates. Sometimes this shows up in passive aggressive attempts to motivate decision makers to move in the direction desired by the instigator, but usually it is a reactive action of a party trying to appease the ghosts of societal influence and boogie-men who neither care about nor desire appeasement. The hope is if one gives on this debatable point, which the gaslighted think is the actual lightning rod of grievance, that the gaslighters will then leave them alone to do whatever it is they have decided is more important. We’ve seen this cowardice in regards to historical monuments in the South. Many have thought that was enough, but the mollifiers were soon forced to give up even more. The people who engage in this kind of manipulative behavior really aren’t concerned about the particulars. That is not the goal or purpose of their behavior.
They want power, and fearful men give it to them by their weakness.
When it comes to the body of Christ and the mission given to her, the witness to these attempts at gaslighting are undeniably in the Book of Acts and they are the main tool of Satan and his minions throughout the book of Revelation. Whether it was Jewish or Roman authorities there are multiple attempts, either through bribery and threats or the enticements of men’s words, to move the disciples away from the hard edges of gospel truth into soft, weak accommodationists. This is of course the method of theological liberalism. Take away the mean words of Paul and Moses and leave the red words of Christ, yet the culture is not satisfied. We’ll take Jesus, but not too much. Just get rid of that supernatural stuff, or the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality, open-marriage, sexual intercourse at any time of life, etc… There is always an attempt by this line of thought to try and make Jesus safe for the world. If we only give in on this issue they will listen about Christianity. However, this is not possible.
The Lion of Judah is voracious and powerful. There is no bargaining with Jehovah.