Four Points of Eerie Silence

February 15, 2012 | Viewpoints | Number 4
Phil Wagler |

I am beginning to wonder why there is an increasingly eerie silence on four points:

First, violence against the unborn. Persevering to end violence in all forms is a work of the Kingdom. Yet, though many protest paying taxes or donning Jets jerseys because of militarism, I have yet to see any as passionately decrying state-sanctioned violence against the unborn or questioning the ethics of political parties that unreservedly endorse it. This is a sensitive topic to be sure, but it seems we, who cherish life and seek even the good of our enemies, seem hesitant to declare that a society that will not protect its most vulnerable is a society adrift. We are called to steward all of creation, but we are shamefully silent on the cries of the unborn, the arguments that have made the topic taboo, the renewed social debate that is stirring, and the wounds of women and men who carry the pain of having made that choice.

Second, the topic of hell. Jesus never scared anyone into the Kingdom and hell is not hammer. At the same time Jesus said a lot about life beyond apart from God that we almost completely avoid. Jesus said there are sheep and goats. Jesus said there would be those who opt out and those who are cast out. Have we begun clinging to universalism and on what grounds? Why do we not wrestle over these Scriptures in the same way we wrestle over other things?  

Third, the war for the human heart. Humanity has an unwavering love affair with religion. A war for the spiritual centre is raging in our culture between monotheism and deistic or atheistic secularism. That’s why you find Christians, Muslims, and other theists chatting as never before. The desperate look for allies. Every theist position is being challenged by a religious secularism that is working like leaven through dough. Its humanistic tenets, often met with blank shrugs, are thoughtlessly embraced by many and winning the allegiance of a new generation. This raises huge questions about the future of society and ethics. Henry Van Til said, “Culture is religion externalized.” If he’s right then the culture we see developing—for good and ill—is the product of who has won the heart. This battle for the heart and mind must be engaged with Christian compassion and conviction; not silently ignored while we sing our songs of sixpence.

Fourth, the uniqueness of Christ. This is perhaps where our silence screams most hauntingly. We have become those hiding a lamp under a bushel; happy to talk about “God” but almost ashamed to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. Our faith rises and falls on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, God with us, who has risen from the dead. Have we become more concerned about championing our uniqueness than his? While we joy-ride with the next social fad are we downplaying the uniqueness of Jesus whose truth cannot be buried, stands every test thrown his way, loves lavishly and offers forgiveness to every humble sinner, has something to say about our political quandaries, and has sent us to break the chains the bind in his name?

What fears have caused these eerie silences?  

Phil Wagler is pondering his own eerie silences.  He lives in Surrey, B.C. where he is a pastor, father, husband, and friend (

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