Over the last year, we have seen the tyranny of the offended. Students rally against Cecil Rhodes the imperialist, get threatened by sermons on love, and demand “safe-spaces” on campus, where no one would dare challenge their own personal fiction that they are good, beautiful, and of course, above average.Many have progressed beyond thin skin, to dispensing with skin altogether. And now, sensitive to even “micro-aggression,” it hurts even when the wind blows.
We are just beginning Baxter’s Directory, and his first words are to those who do not know God, but want to. Now Baxter is assuming that his non-Christian reader cares enough to actually read his advice to them. Or perhaps he is assuming that his Christian readers will take it in and apply it in their conversations and relationships with unbelieving friends. In any case, Baxter gives Directions to those who desire to be saved. His first can be summarized below:
Direction I: If you really want to be a child of God, work hard to cure your ignorance regarding matters of salvation by seeking to understand the Word of God.
He then goes to talk about how reluctant, and foolish, we are to avoid hearing from God on our spiritual condition. Some make the excuse of not being “book types.” But even the “book types” have excuses–and this touches on the subject of micro-aggression. Their excuse is that hell is a rude topic, and it is even more unmannerly to suggest that anyone as refined as they might go there.
“These honorable, miserable men, will bear no contradiction or reproof: who dare be so unmannerly, disobedient, or bold, as to tell them that they are out of the way to heaven, and strangers to it (that I say not, enemies); and to presume to stop them in the way to hell, or to hinder them from damning themselves, and as many others as they can? They think this talk of Christ, and grace, and life eternal, if it be but serious, (and not like their own, in form, or levity, or scorn) is but the troublesome preciseness of hypocritical, humorous crack-brained fellows…” (C.D. 22.214.171.124); pp. 12-13.
Satan is subtle. Following his logic, it is rude to jar people awake with a fire alarm–much more considerate to let them burn in their beds. It’s rude to point out the bridge is out, and polite to let people enjoy their Sunday drive unmolested. It is cranky to suggest their is something funky in the kool aid, and kind to allow people to enjoy a refreshing beverage as the bodies pile up in Jonestown.
To be saved, we must not only not resent the fire alarm. We must listen for it.