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When celebration is abomination

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Celebration when there should be lamentation becomes abomination.

Stark examples are recent fests in Dublin, New York, and other cities where people have danced in the streets, shouted and sung because of official sanction of the killing of babies.

One doubts they were dancing, shouting, or singing unto the Lord.

Exodus 32 comes to mind.

“There is the sound of war in the camp,” Joshua said to Moses that day they brought down the Tablets of the Law from Sinai’s crest.

“It is not the sound of the cry of triumph, nor is it the sound of defeat; but the sound of singing,” Moses replied. (Exodus 32:17-18)

And when they came down the craggy slope, there were the people celebrating before the golden calf that had become their object of passion.

A “golden calf” of contemporary left progressivism is abortion and its expansion, all the way to the point of infanticide, as both New York and Virginia show at the moment. 

Crowds today are not partying at the foot of Mount Sinai, but before the great towers and institutions of government that issue laws in violation of the foundational principles for civilization that God gave humanity through Moses. One of the Commandments inscribed in the stone Moses held tight to his chest was, “You shall not murder”.

Thus, instead of celebration, the concrete canyons of modern cities ought to be echoing with lamentation and repentance because of the abomination.

There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, writes Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3. That chapter is about propriety, an “appropriate time” for something. There is purpose for all God-given phenomena in the cosmos, and propriety is functional alignment with that purpose, according to the Grand Design of the Creator, who is absolute holiness.

Impropriety is therefore the celebration of evil rather than good. Impropriety is using the voice that was made to be the instrument of praising God and the announcement of His good news to hail with glee that which is abominable.

“Scenes of joy as Ireland votes to repeal abortion law”, read an Al-Jazeera headline on May 26, 2018, picked up also by MSN and other media. The celebrants in Irish cities were overjoyed that two-thirds of voters had cast their ballots to repeal the Irish law banning abortion.

To the leader of the movement to get rid of the law the victory was like “an out-of-body experience, an indication that Ireland had utterly changed.”

A standing ovation in New York’s state Senate erupted from both legislators and their audience when they gave legal sanction for abortion “all the way up to birth, for any reason,” reported USA Today on January 30, 2019.

Yet violence against abortion providers and the people who celebrate their brutal deeds is not the answer. To commit acts of violence against the people dancing in the streets is to do the very thing we resist—the harming of human beings made in the image of God, even if it has been defiled by sin.

Physical violence against abortion’s proponents and celebrants also denies the reality that infanticide is demonic, and therefore is fundamentally a spiritual issue.

We don’t struggle against “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)   

“Having done everything... stand firm,” writes Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. (Ephesians 6:13) How do we “stand firm” against the abominations of our age’s version of golden calf worship?

The dire state of a society that can legally “execute” a newborn—to borrow President Trump’s word in his State of the Union message—requires radical spiritual actions, like these (among many):

  • Proclaiming the Kingdom of Christ, and what it means to be a Kingdom man or woman in today’s world
  • Praying intensely and constantly, especially for revival
  • Making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, who understand and embrace biblical ethics and worldview and how to live it in secular society
  • Raising up a redemptive generation by educating the young regarding the nation’s spiritual roots and history, including the periods when the nation has turned away from God (as in the age of slavery) and the outcomes of that rebellion
  • Filling the cities with the word and praises of God
  • Ministering God’s love and grace to those hurting because they have experienced abortion or provided it
  • Continuing to expose the works of darkness
  • Announcing prophetic truth about the evil, but tempered with grace and hope

The battle is the Lord’s. In our day that means the lead must be taken, not by government or political parties, but by the church in whatever form or denomination that worships the Lord’s transcendent holiness, proclaims God’s Kingdom of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17), burns with revival, is Jesus-centered, Spirit-energized, Word-anchored, and Kingdom-envisioning.

I say this as one who has worked in both the White House and Congress: Only the “remnant” of the Lord, the authentic church within every nation, has the “keys” of authority to overcome the abomination.


Wallace Henley, a former White House and congressional aide, is senior associate pastor of Houston’s Second Baptist Church. He is founder of Belhaven University’s Master of Ministry Leadership degree. Henley’s newest book is “Call Down Lightning”, an analysis of the Welsh Revival of 1904-5, and its implications for our time.

Wallace Henley is senior associate pastor at Houston's Second Baptist Church, and Chair of Belhaven University's Master of Ministry Leadership degree. He is a former White House and Congressional aide, and co-author of "God and Churchill", with Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys.

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