Anxious for Nothing
Written by Jared C. Wilson |
Sunday, May 14, 2023
You may not comprehend all that’s happening to you, but you can remind yourself of the purposes of the One working it toward your eventual good. That’s what I’m going to do with my “anxious nothings”—ask God to take them away and believe that, even if He doesn’t, He is still good, still here, still actively working in my life to complete my joy and glorify Himself.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was about forty-five minutes from preaching the closing session of the seminary’s annual student conference. Sitting in my office and scrolling through my phone while listening to the session before mine on the livestream, I suddenly felt something very wrong.
My heart rate began to surge. I had the overwhelming sensation of my body “shutting down.” I felt internally as though I was seizing up and was about to die. Beginning to panic, I decided I needed to exit my office and enter a public area where I might access help. I thought I might be having a heart attack.
Sitting down on a couch in the foyer, I signaled security that I was in distress. EMTs arrived, stretcher in tow. After being examined, I opted not to go to the hospital. My wife came to get me and took me home, and the next day we went to see the doctor.
Blood was drawn. My heart was scanned. My personal and family history was scoured.
It was determined I had not suffered a heart attack. The diagnosis? Anxiety-induced panic attack.
This was not a total surprise to me, as I’ve been experiencing sporadic “flashes” of panic over the last six or seven years, always while driving. I’d never suffered an attack outside that context, and it didn’t feel quite the same. It felt more severe. I’d never felt before that I needed emergency services or that I was about to die. Now I’ve learned that this thing has been building, and it can strike any time.
Part of me wished they had found something else. Something they could go in and take out. Something they could “clean up” or fix. Instead I have . . . anxiety. Even when I don’t feel particularly nervous about anything.
“What were you doing when it happened?” people keep asking.
“Nothing,” I say. “Just sitting there.”
“Were you nervous about speaking?”
“Were you agitated about something?”
“No. I was literally just sitting at my desk, killing time.”
I am literally “anxious for nothing.”
I have had people throw Bible verses my way, none of which have I been unfamiliar with. The top recommendation is of course Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
But it’s not that kind of anxiety.
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The Bad News of Federal HeadshipBy Dale Van Dyke — 2 years ago
There are two immediate ramifications: (1) We can’t excuse our sin, as people commonly do, by appealing to our humanity. “I’m only human” is not a justification; it’s precisely the problem. (2) It brings to a screeching halt every attempt at trying to rescue ourselves by exerting moral effort. Moral improvement cannot alter the core problem of spiritual heredity and federal reality. A “moral” child of Adam is still a child of Adam.
History stands as witness to the tragic fact that the seemingly unimaginable is both possible and even habitual. It is possible for the church to lose the gospel. Core biblical truths can get eroded by incessant cultural pressures and buried under legal tendencies. Such is the case with the truth presented clearly in Romans 5:12–21. In these ten verses, Paul roots the great crisis of fallen man and the astounding cure of the gospel in the realities of federal headship and imputation. These concepts have been largely lost to American evangelicalism.
Sociologist Christian Smith has detailed with painful clarity the ways that Americans think of Christianity in internal, sentimental, and individualistic categories.1 Paul’s gospel, on the other hand, is a federal gospel—a gospel based on the principle of representation—in which the most significant realities are external, objective, and representative. Paul views both the human crisis and the gospel cure in corporate categories. The core human problem is that we are born “in Adam” and are recipients of the imputed guilt, inherited corruption, and inevitable devastation of his sin.2 The gospel solution is for us to be found in a second Adam and to receive the righteousness, holiness, and eternal life rooted in His obedience.
The first thing we need to know is that the “bad news” is far worse than most people imagine. Paul makes it clear that the great crisis of mankind is not merely that we sin individually but that we are corporately “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22) and are caught in the net of his sin, his condemnation, and his death. We have a classification problem, not just a moral condition. Our moral problem is the fruit and evidence of our fatal paternal problem. We are all born “in Adam” and subject to his crime, corruption, and condemnation.
Paul raises the universal reality of human death (Rom. 5:12, 14) as patent evidence of our corporate crisis. Everyone dies.
The Fourth Phase: Persecution?By Peter Jones — 7 months ago
Of course, believers’ humble practice of God-honoring heterosexual marriage, though it may be costly, will also bear witness to the joy men and women have in biblical marriage. And in spite of stubborn resistance from opponents in contemporary culture, God’s powerful love and mercy is irresistible, as is his creative wisdom–in making us male and female—in his image. This we must seek to share in love with those who adopt androgynous sexual expressions. We must continue to express the love of Jesus, who was crushed on the cross for our redemption and for anyone who will receive it.
In a perceptive article on the recent history of Evangelicalism in America (which I recommend), Aaron Renn, a writer for First Things, confirms something I have been thinking for some time: politics has become religious. It is thus difficult to speak out about traditional moral behavior without being “cancelled” or charged with being a Christian nationalist—by people who doubtless plan on making America a pagan nation! In other words, contemporary progressivism and biblical faith now occupy many areas of common ground. How has this come about? Renn describes three recent distinct phases of secular culture as it relates to Evangelicalism and biblical Christianity, moving from general acceptance to general opposition. They are, in Renn’s terminology:
A Positive World (Pre-1994)
In this stage, as Renn puts it, “society at large retains a mostly positive view of Christianity. …Publicly being a Christian is a status-enhancer. Christian moral norms are the basic moral norms of society and violating them can bring negative consequences.”
I cannot resist my oft-repeated phrase: “When I came to America in 1964 I thought I had died and gone to heaven.” As a European, I was surprised that a Christian student movement like Campus Crusade for Christ would try to attract students to the Christian gospel by drawing attention to the much-admired BMOC (Big Man on Campus), who happened to be a Christian. Renn shows that “this period is the last period of generalized Christendom where most in Western culture shared the same moral norms and where Christians could concentrate on sharing the Gospel.”
A Neutral World (1994–2014)
The next stage takes a neutral stance toward Christianity. “Christianity no longer has privileged status but is not disfavored. Christian moral norms retain some residual effect.”
I note that this period immediately follows the appearance in 1990 of a book by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s. This book is presented as a “compelling and compassionate work that never fails to stimulate. After the Ball is required reading for straights interested in understanding a minority that comprises 10% of the population and for gays who are learning that the revolution is far from over.” The authors encouraged gays “to come out of the closet, and they outlined a code of gay ethics calling for mature love relationships and greater moderation in sex.” The book was a massive success, creating general ambiguity in the way people began to think about both homosexuality and Christianity.
A Negative World (2014–Present)
According to Renn, “Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity. …Christian morality is expressly repudiated and seen as a threat to the public good and to the new public moral order.”
Biblical Christianity is now in this third antagonistic phase. Renn sees cultural antagonism in the conflict between progressivism’s re-definition of “the public good and the new public moral order” and that of the biblical moral order. Incisively, Renn dates the transition from the neutral to the negative phase in the year 2014, just before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, which, he notes, “institutionalized Christianity’s new low status.” He does not explain why the new status is low. By granting to homosexuality constitutional status and by recognizing same-sex marriage as a “civil right” (which many “conservative” figures applauded at the time), the US Supreme Court paganized the “profound mystery” of the Christian gospel, expressed in male/female marriage, which reveals God’s love for his people (Eph 5:31–32). Two men copulating cannot represent God’s love for his people, since, throughout history, this was the pagan image of the divine and human relationship. Indeed, as Paul says a few verses previously, sexual immorality and impurity…must not even be named among you (Eph 5:3). In our time, the LGBTQ ideology has been accepted as a perfectly valid lifestyle, but it is an ultimate rejection of biblical faith.
Thus, in the “Negative World” we are opposed by a non-Christian, religiously pagan worldview. This is why we see such hesitation to appeal to the Creator as the source of our human rights. IN POD WE TRUST has become the new humorous statement of faith. It is just what Paul argued so long ago in Romans 1. In verse 25 he describes the basic worship exchange (worshiping the creation rather than the Creator). In the next verse, he argues, “For this reason,” people practice homosexuality. The pagan, religious opposition in the “Negative World” is causing our Christian young people to leave the faith of their youth in droves, either because they are afraid to be unpopular or because they are convinced of the validity and value of the new “public good” and “public moral order” of personal rights.
The place of sexuality is the dividing point between biblical and progressive morality and between the politics of the Left and the Right. For many progressives the “public moral order” is becoming more “free” and now consists of normalizing all pagan sexual expressions, which can be loosely categorized as “androgyny.” This term joins male and female, whereas God created these as distinct. We see androgyny in various forms of non-binary sexuality—homosexuality, bi-sexuality, trans-sexuality and drag culture, all of which claim civil rights, since they believe that there are no ultimate distinctions; all is homo, the same. It is little wonder that antagonism against Christianity is so often connected with issues of sexuality. Christianity affirms one foundational difference, namely the distinction between God and his creation. The male/female distinction is the capstone of all the other distinctions God put into the universe (such as land and sea, night and day, etc.). Yet that very male/female distinction is the target of most current public lawsuits against Christians who want to maintain their right to turn down work that would go against their belief in those creation distinctions. Christian business owners, such as bakers and photographers, want to maintain their public witness regarding sexuality. When Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) retired from the Senate and was chosen as the University of Florida’s next president, no one was particularly surprised, since Sasse had already been a university president earlier in his career. But the University’s Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting in which a large majority railed against the administration’s decision to make Sasse the sole finalist. Sasse’s conservative position on gender caused faculty members to express “no-confidence” in his appointment. Affirming conservative views on sexuality is the best way to get you cancelled!
Dr. Al Mohler’s November 2 “Briefing” was dedicated to showing how thoroughly the medical profession has adopted LGBTQ ideology as normative. “On LGBTQ issues and on a host of other issues,” Mohler said, “it is clear that the medical establishment is taking sides. And overwhelmingly, the medical establishment is taking sides by siding with those who are enthusiastic for the LGBTQ revolution.” Perhaps the clearest example of the power of LGBTQ ideology on culture is the promotion of life-altering techniques—surgery and puberty-blockers that permanently sterilize an individual—on minor children who question their personal fit with the stereotypical sex of their birth. A huge majority of voters (78.7 %) “believe underage minors should be required to wait until they are adults to legally use puberty blockers and undergo permanent sex-change procedures.” Yet Democrat politicians, aware of the vindictiveness of the transsexual movement and fearing to lose the huge campaign contributions of the LGBT lobby, refuse to support the public’s preferences. Large corporations who were once culturally conservative have gone “woke,” progressive, and politically Leftist. Their vast wealth has allowed them to become monopolies, thus freeing them to cast off market theories of fair competition and to align with the newly erected moral icons of the day: targets for “environmental, social and governance” (ESG), and individual sexual freedom.
The future includes the emergence of a “new [Catholic] Church” under pro-homosexual Pope Francis, who is completely at odds with traditional Catholicism as understood by Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Just before becoming Pope in 2005, Ratzinger noted: “Very soon it will no longer be possible to affirm that homosexuality, as the Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.” Perhaps as he saw the compromises of the Vatican and realized that he would not be able to change them, Ratzinger had no option but to resign.
On the Protestant Reformed side, the decisions of Calvin University are disturbing. The school’s board recently chose to allow LGBTQ-affirming faculty to remain as recognized professors, even those who offer statements that they are not in agreement with the church’s confessional beliefs on homosexuality. “The big story here is that a college that has claimed evangelical identity for more than a century, completely owned by a denomination that has raised its affirmation of biblical sexuality to confessional status, is surrendering to the sexual and gender revolution.”
So what cultural time is it? In what phase is our culture now? Emily Rizzo, clinical professional counselor in D.C. with the Counseling Center of Maryland, describes the present as a time in which “we’ve already moved away from the cis, straight world, [so] there is more of a possibility to be open.” Rizzo plies her trade, counseling LGBT+ clients and individuals in non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships since “open relationships just tend to come more naturally to queer people.”
Today’s “time” sees teachers exposing young children in state schools to radical gender and sexual notions. Such instruction is surely part of the normalization of the LGBTQ agenda. Two spokesmen for “Drag pedagogy,” justify “drag queen readings for children. …[W]ithin the historical context of the USA and Western Europe, the institutional management of gender has been used as a way of maintaining racist and capitalist modes of (re)production.” To disrupt this dynamic, the authors propose “drag pedagogy,” as a way of stimulating the “queer imagination,” teaching kids “how to live queerly,” and “bringing queer ways of knowing and being into the education of young children.” The goal is to expose “childhood innocence” as an “oppressive heteropatriarchal illusion,”to make “queer thinking” the future “moral order” of society. Their task, they say, is to disrupt the “binary between womanhood and manhood,” seed the room with “gender-transgressive themes,” and break the “reproductive futurity” of the “nuclear family” and the “sexually monogamous marriage”—all of which are considered mechanisms of heterosexual, capitalist oppression. Powerful politicians support this ideology, in one way or another. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third in line for the presidency, posted a clip of her cameo on the fifth episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7” on Twitter, endorsing drag queens as “what America is all about.” She stated that “it was an honor” to make an appearance on the reality TV show and that she was “inspired by the contestants because they knew their power. Pelosi’s district is the site of a huge, annual public street fair for a sado-masochistic sex celebration, which she endorses.
Another politician, none other than President Biden, recently received in the White House the trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, who publicly presented himself, dressed and speaking as a teenage girl, and discussed transgender issues with the President, who agreed with him that it was “immoral” to deny sex-change surgery to children. John Fetterman, senate candidate for Pennsylvania recently stated that “LGBTQ education should be mandatory in all schools.” Will our future belong to proponents of “queer sex”?
The Human Rights Campaign thinks it will. They show that LGBTQ voters are on track to become one of the fastest-growing voting blocs in the country. They predict that by 2040, one in five Texas voters will be part of the group. “(LGBTQ voters are) emerging as among one of the most influential voting constituencies in the country, whose impact will permanently transform and reshape the American electoral landscape.”
The church is already in Renns’s third culturally “negative period,” and I am taking the liberty to add a fourth stage. As the strength of pagan religious power increases, we will, no doubt, enter a fourth period.
A World of Persecution
The church must be ready to face intense opposition. Already “cancel culture” has arisen from the reasoning of the LGBTQ community, who are convinced that their constitutional status removes any religious rights from Christian believers who might evoke their rights of free speech and free commerce. For the moment, most court cases on these issues take seriously the protections guaranteed by our constitutional religious liberty laws. What will happen when the moral high ground is held by the LGBTQ community? They believe that nature’s norm of heterosexuality has become an unjustified, outmoded definition of normalcy. The natural order has evolved into normative non-binary androgyny of all sorts. One cannot help but think of the Roman culture of Paul’s day.
In view of a possible fourth period, what should be the current stance of the church? To be sure, we must preach clearly the love of God available for all, since all are made in God’s image. But the pulpit must also show God’s created plan for men and women and the connection between worshiping creation and sexual degradation. Both unbelievers and believers, old and young, need encouragement to stand firm. Our younger believers are under immense pressure from the culture and often have no idea how to speak about the sexual issues in relation to the gospel message. They are often tempted to abandon their faith. Recent Barna research shows that “only 50 percent among teens who identify as Christians say Jesus was resurrected; not even half (44%) say Jesus was God in human form. Only 40% open their Bible more than twice a year, and only 9% open it more than once a week. How will they be able to analyze and reject the pagan spirituality that surrounds them? Significantly, Barna did not even bother to ask them their views on sexuality which, as we have demonstrated, is the dominant worldview of our day.
Preaching a blend of gospel declaration and cultural apologetics follows the example of the apostles and of Paul in particular. Though he was not interested in creating a Christian empire, he was committed to training Christians how to represent God before the pagan world. Thus he taught the church, as well as any pagan who might hear him, how to think specifically about honest commerce, the traditional family, marriage and male/female sexuality—doubtless because it got them to think about God the Creator and Redeemer and how to glorify God in their daily living. Our Christian young people especially need wise instruction about the things they are hearing and seeing in their school and social settings. Yet some are deprived of any solid teaching about today’s androgynous, identity-oriented perversions. I beg all Christian pastors and youth leaders to dig deeply in understanding the theological connections with today’s sexual behaviors and then to train your young people to understand the issues and to stand firm, while reaching out to their friends with the gospel.
Of course, believers’ humble practice of God-honoring heterosexual marriage, though it may be costly, will also bear witness to the joy men and women have in biblical marriage. And in spite of stubborn resistance from opponents in contemporary culture, God’s powerful love and mercy is irresistible, as is his creative wisdom–in making us male and female—in his image. This we must seek to share in love with those who adopt androgynous sexual expressions. We must continue to express the love of Jesus, who was crushed on the cross for our redemption and for anyone who will receive it. To announce that love, we must be ready to give our lives, as Luther wrote 500 years ago:
Let goods and kindred go,This mortal life also;The body they may kill:God’s truth abideth still,His Kingdom is forever.
Dr. Peter Jones is scholar in residence at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, Calif. He is director of truthXchange, a communications center aimed at equipping the Christian community to recognize and effectively respond to the rise of paganism. This article is used with permission.
 Aaron M. Renn, “The Three Worlds Of Evangelicalism,” FIRST THINGS, Feb 2022,
 See Amazon presenting page.
 Peter Jones, “Androgyny: The Pagan Sexual Ideal”: https://truthxchange.com/resource-library/articles/androgyny-the-pagan-sexual-ideal/
 Al Mohler, The Briefing, 11/2/2022.
 Albert Mohler, The Great Evangelical Deconstruction, World, (November 4, 2022).
 Christopher F. Rufo Oct 24, 2022.
 H Dyer – “Global Studies of Childhood, 2017,” – journals.sagepub.com
 Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman Agrees “LGBTQ Education” Should Be “Mandatory In All Schools”.
 Nick Hartman, “A Reflection on Barna’s Open Generation Report,” GenZ, October,26, 2022.
To Really Eradicate Social Inequality You Have To Eradicate The FamilyBy Simon Arscott — 2 years ago
The secular vision of equality is fighting against the reality of God’s world. It will be forced to try and smash the family, because that’s the source of inequality and difference. So, as Christians, we have to take the family seriously, now more than ever…Jesus Christ is rebuilding a family, an organic, inter-connected, inter-dependent humanity, where all are welcome, all have a place, and where great glory and honour is to be found, not by merit, but by grace. This is a great opportunity for the church to showcase and invite people into a very different vision of humanity.
In 1516, the Dutch scholar Erasmus wrote a book called The Education of a Christian Prince. He wrote it for the Spanish Prince Charles, advising him about how to rule. It contains this line:
“it is not equality for everyone to have the same rewards, the same rights, the same status; indeed this often results in extreme inequality” p.72, Education of a Christian Prince.
Erasmus’ vision of equality is very different to the vision offered us by secularism today, where statistics of inequality in education, income, and health automatically represent injustice. I think Erasmus’ vision is much closer to the Bible’s.
The Bible’s vision of “equality” is glorious. The doctrine of man taught in Genesis chapter 1 dignifies every human being (Gen 1:27). Many in the Ancient Near East believed that only kings and princes were the “image of God”. But God’s word democratises the concept – from the drunk in the gutter, the embryo in the womb, the enemy in combat, through to the rich and powerful (James 3:9). Jesus’ famous parable of the Good Samaritan taps into this same truth, as he instructs us that even my enemy is included in the list of neighbours I am to love (Luke 10:29ff).
Clearly, the true religion of Israel and the coming of Jesus Christ has unleashed powerful equalising forces into this world. Paul uses the concept of “fairness” to argue for redistributing goods within the Christian church (2 Cor 8:13-14). He argued masters are to treat their slaves “justly” and “fairly” (Col 4:1), profound concepts that still underlie ideas of a minimum wage and workers’ rights today. Jesus causes goods to flow between people in a very different way to both feudal and capitalist economies (Acts 4:32, 34).
There’s no doubt that the secular vision of “equality” draws deeply from these Christian roots. After all, it’s not obvious that being committed to Darwinism and the “survival of the fittest” gives any real grounds for a vision of “equality”. You won’t find equality touted in ancient paganism. But secularism is offering us a distorted, somewhat grotesque, vision of the Bible’s equality. It’s an atomised, statistical version of humanity, as opposed to a corporate and organic vision.
A key thing missing in this vision is family. Between individuals and society there is this mysterious thing called “family”. No two families are equal. Families have histories and exist through time. No two mothers or fathers are the same. They have different grandparents and different great grandparents. Their geography is different – growing up in the countryside is not an equal experience to growing up in a big city. No two children born to those parents are the same. They have different physiology, and DNA, with the specific opportunities and disadvantages those particular bodies create. Childhood experiences differ between families – attitudes towards cooking and diet, health and hygiene are different. No amount of social engineering can erase that family history.
What’s more, families accumulate things over time, and they pass these things on to the next generation. This is called “inheritance”. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see a celebrity like Daniel Craig say “inheritance is distasteful”. In an interview, he’s stated that he doesn’t intend for his children to get his Bond millions. If we’re all inherently independent individuals, then why should one child stand to gain from what an adult has done? Families introduce inequality!