Digging New Wells in Cancel Culture
Cancel culture has resulted in the removal of dissenting voices from social media. And if it finds its way through Congress to the President's desk, the Equality Act will give this cultural mentality legislative teeth. Christians may soon find themselves criminalized for expressing Biblical beliefs on abortion, trans-genderism, and homosexuality.
Should it come to pass, expect to see online church services vanish with the Equality Act as fast as they appeared with Covid. Your church could be locked out of Facebook or forbidden from Twitter. Due to liability concerns, the company that owns the servers where your church website is parked may take it down, and you will have no voice or legal recourse in the matter.
What about people like me who use the internet to write about Biblical topics or people like you who like to use the digital domain to share the gospel and inform your faith? We've enjoyed a long era of religious freedom on an exciting and emerging technology. Those days may soon come to an end. What are we to do?
Let's do what Isaac did. Dig new wells. God will bless it.
As the culture seeks to cancel us in the name of equality, what God did for Isaac in Genesis 26 should encourage us. Here's the story.
Issac and the Ancient Cancel Culture
As God blessed Abraham, so he has blessed his son Isaac (Gen. 26:12). In response to his growing influence and power, the Philistine King, Abimelech, orders Isaac out (Gen. 26:16). The people of God have a long history in the world of becoming unwelcome.
As Isaac returns to areas where his father once sojourned, he finds that the wells his father dug are closed. So Isaac works to recover them (Gen. 12:18). When the water begins to flow again, it causes a quarrel with the herdsmen in the area (Gen. 12:20). This sequence becomes a cycle. Everywhere Isaac dug, the water flowed. Everywhere the water flowed, it caused another quarrel, and Isaac moved on.
Isaac dealt with cancel culture long before our current quarrels over today's digital wells.
Eventually, Isaac digs a well "and they did not quarrel over it (Gen. 26:22)." Isaac names the well Rehoboth. The word Rehoboth describes a place with plenty of space. Isaac says of it, "For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land (Gen. 26:22b)."
The History of the Church in Cancel Culture
The church has a long history of being pressed out of the public square. There are few nations whose histories can be written without the blood of the persecuted people of God. We may be distressed over recent prospects of being canceled in the name of equality, but this is not new. We've been here before, and we'll be here again. We will dig wells and enjoy them. A quarrel will arise, and the world will cover them.
After the herdsmen cancel him, Isaac does what the people of God have always done. He just moves, digs, and the water flows. Why? Because Isaac realizes he has what the world cannot deny, and he cannot disobey. He has the blessing and command of God to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 26:24-25). So do we (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
The world fears us because the gospel is powerful and influential. Culture rejects it, but people respond. So they persecute us and cover our wells, but the church just scatters and multiplies. Wherever, whenever, however, we dig wells, God blesses, and the water flows.
The Next Rehoboth?
What will be our next Rehoboth? Perhaps it will be a revival of the analog methods we read about in the Book of Acts when the gospel first flourished. This person disciples these people and they disciple those . . . and so forth and so on. And the water flows. From those wells, we have Acts, the Epistles, and a global gospel movement that continues to this day. Many are currently uncovering those wells of intentional discipleship, and it is working.
Maybe our churches become deeper wells. There may be less attendance but more intensity. If anything, Covid has helped us realize that pre-pandemic, our churches were more like massive puddles than deep wells. During this past year, nothing has been like it was. Please, God, do not let us return to the way we were.
It's time to dig deep wells.
God will bless, and the water will flow.
There is a Rehoboth out there right now that just looks like dry dirt, but if you dare to dig, God will provide a deep well.
Get out your shovel.