Pessimism: the Not-So-Secret Cardinal Doctrine

“Things are terrible.  This is bad.  That is worse.  Our morals are in the toilet.  Our minds are in the gutter.  Our churches are in retreat.”

Regular sermons, church speak, Christian literature, blogging, social media, and actual face-to-face conversations are flavored with this kind of language on a regular basis.  Funny (and by that I actually mean SAD), but I don’t remember pessimism being a Cardinal Doctrine.

I understand that in a lot of areas of public thought and discussion it seems like some of our cherished values are under assault, and they are, although probably not by the overwhelming majority some of us think.  But there are three major difficulties with this kind of prevailing message.

1) There are now more Christians on the planet than have lived in all of history up to this point.  Current estimates put the number of Christ-followers at around 2.1 billion, a number that is consistently increasing.

2) God is sovereign and that needs no explanation.

3) The Gospel is a message of hope.  It is the Message of Hope.  It is the Good News.

I realize that this blog seems kind of ironic.  It probably comes across like I’m kind of being pessimistic about pessimism (don’t think too hard on that one).  I also understand, that all too often I probably get the “woe-is-me” or “woe-are-we” thing going too.  But first and foremost the Christian message is one of hope and encouragement.

Jesus said it plainly one day in His local synagogue.


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Luke 4:18,19 ESV

Anointing.  Good News.  Liberty.  Recovery.  Favor.

That all sounds a far cry different than a lot of the fearful defeatist drivel we hear, say, and share on a regular basis.  Jesus is the hope of the world.  Trivializing Him to be a rationalization for our political, private, and pessimistic concerns is a sad kind of twisted reverse idolatry.

Anointing cover you.  Good news guide you.  Liberty release you.  Recovery keep you.  Favor find you.

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