The Bird Cage

God built into all of His creation the survival instinct. Nature employs distinctive self-defense measures when threatened. This self-protection became necessary, particularly after the fall in the Garden of Eden, when sin entered the world and death resulted. Man, the creature God gave the ability to reason, has throughout the centuries devised ingenious defensive methodologies.

For example, before the days of electronic sensors, coal miners took canaries into the mines with them to signal when the air became filled with poisonous gas. The respiratory system of a canary is more sensitive than that of a human, so they knew that if the bird stopped singing or suddenly dropped dead, it was time to rush to the nearest exit.

Throughout the Church Age, Christians have acted as moral canaries. When society has become contaminated with high levels of sin, Church leaders have stood up and warned the nation to turn away from these various toxins.

In recent years, however, something strange has happened. Continual exposure to the deadly evils that poison society has caused the Christian “canaries” to build up resistance. They have slowly developed immunity to the toxins that permeate society. Because apathy is so prevalent, it is no longer safe to use the views of the average Christian as a gauge of morality. As humanity heads down the road to perdition, we must use Scripture to determine the danger level.

Below are nine common societal toxins that we believe illustrate the extent of depravity in our culture today. Listed with them are Scriptural references that provide positive proof of their hazardous nature.

Toxin #1 – Michael Jackson Pedophilia Jokes

Singer Michael Jackson’s bizarre lifestyle has made him the butt of jokes by the late night comedians. When Jackson became embroiled in allegations of child sexual abuse, the late night troupe started poking fun at the abominable activity. Making light of such a horrendous act is a terrible reflection on our society. We have, as a society, spiraled downward to the cesspool level since pedophilia is now considered fodder for entertainment.

We searched several archive sites to show you folks a few examples of the debauched nature of the public airways and cable programs. The jokes, though funny, are an indication of how toxic our society has become:

“After turning himself in yesterday, Michael Jackson was placed in handcuffs. I think he helped his case when he asked ‘These are neat, do they come in smaller sizes?” – Jay Leno

The saddest part of this Michael Jackson scandal is that all of this could have been avoided if he just stuck to grabbing his own crotch.” – Craig Kilborn

“I guess they got Michael on that new law “3 tykes and you’re out.” – Jay Leno

“Michael Jackson was arrested yesterday. According to the Santa Barbara Police, Michael Jackson is 5’11 and only weighs 120 pounds. Michael is able to keep his weight down because he only orders off the children’s menu.” – Conan O’Brien

Scriptural Canary:
“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Eph. 4:19).

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:11).

Toxin #2 – Radio Shock Jocks

Radio personalities that are commonly known as “shock jocks” have for some time now been cheerleaders of moral decay. They make their living by pushing the limits of acceptable behavior and appealing to juvenile-minded audiences.

These programs are extremely popular. When we consider they are mostly based on outrageous sex-oriented banter, it speaks volumes about the debased tastes of today’s society.

For many years men like Howard Stern have been playing cat-and-mouse games with the Federal Communications Commission, the agency whose job is to enforce broadcast decency standards. Stern claims his show is protected by the First Amendment through the freedoms of speech and press.

The FCC has mostly been a toothless lion. Although the commission has fined Stern for violating its guidelines, the penalties have been only a few thousand dollars. Considering that talk radio is a multi-billion dollar industry, these token fines do little to influence the behavior of shock jocks.

Scriptural Canary:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4).

Toxin #3 – Prosperity Preachers

Television, radio, and the internet are wonderful tools that can be used to reach millions of people with the Gospel message. It can also be used by some unscrupulous preachers for personal enrichment.

At one time, it was considered shameful for a minister to own a home that could be categorized as a mansion. The act of joining the clergy implied an abandonment of earthly wealth. Today, it is considered a sin within the prosperity give-to-get movement not to seek affluence. The wealth of some preachers can be measured by how many mansions they own. The NBC program “Dateline” once reported on one well-known preacher who had homes in Florida, Texas, and California.

There is one network that specializes in the gospel of money. You can flip to it anytime of the day and find someone talking about the Bible as a source of prosperity. Agreed, the Bible does not say we should take a vow of poverty. When we realize that many prosperity preachers spend 100 percent of their time on the subject of money, however, we Christians should discern that error has crept into their message.

Scriptural Canary:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Toxin #4 – Gay Marriage

There are a lot of sins that the Bible does not mention. We know they are included in God’s Word, however, because they are covered by more general guidelines. When it comes to homosexuality there can be no mistake: the Word of God repeatedly condemns this sin as a wicked act.

God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has long been a standard for gauging the toxicity of homosexuality. Once a civilization decides to accept so-called alternative lifestyles, we can pretty much write that society or culture off as doomed. In America’s case, we seem to have taken the extra step of embracing homosexuality.

Several mainline denominations have reached the point of openly endorsing the practice of gay marriage. The fact that they are able to ignore such clear guidance on the subject is a solemn indication of how these so-called Christian organizations have shifted off of their moral foundations.

Scriptural Canary:
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Lev. 18:22).

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is praised forever amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Rom. 1:24-27).

Toxin #5 – Girls Gone Wild

At one time the only way for people to get their hands on pornographic video tapes was to buy them at adult bookstores or order them through sleazy catalogs. Today a porn video called “Girls Gone Wild” is being advertised on prime time TV.

The people peddling this smut use a subtle approach to market this video. They present it as a film showing examples of girls just having a good time. The nudity is but a byproduct of the merriment.

Terry had a sales call from these peddlers. “We will send you videos of naked girls having fun,” the salesman told him. “Wouldn’t you like to see that–for free?”

Terry grabbed the chance to share the saving message of Christ; he told the salesman he should know Jesus. The young man said he did know Jesus, to which Terry said: “You don’t act like you know Him, when you offer pornography.” The salesman ended the conversation by asking Terry to pray for him, which Terry, of course, has continued to do since.

Point is: Christians must confront Satan’s subtle–and not so subtle– attempts to force feed people the toxic sins of this fallen world. We must sound the alarm whenever possible.

Scriptural Canary:
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb. 13:4).

Toxin #6 – “Plain Old Vanilla Sex”

Pornography has always been in violation of many laws that set the moral code for society. If it weren’t for the court system’s unwillingness to enforce clear legal guidelines, we would not have a $10 billion-a-year porn industry.

Over the years many smut peddlers have gained a strong foothold in the general culture. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire is widely regarded as being as wholesome as apple pie. The typical biography of Hefner shows the narrator commenting about how enviable it is for a gray-haired, 73-year-old man to be constantly pawed over in a Beverly Hills mansion by an endless stream of nude or semi-nude models.

Larry Flynt, who founded Hustler magazine, recently noted how his operation has become tame by current standards. He said in an interview, “We deal in plain old vanilla sex. Nothing really outrageous.” As long the taxes are paid and the “talent” is over 18, Flynt doesn’t expect any trouble from the feds.

Scriptural Canary:
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

Toxin #7 – Apostasy in the Church

The Bible indicates that one of the major signs of the end times will be apostasy in the church. It is doubtful that the spiritual darkness will be confined to one region of the world. Because Europe appears to be in a more advanced state of apostasy, it seems beneficial to the rest of the world to be mindful of what has happened to the European church.

As it currently stands, the number of people in Europe who actually practice their faith has declined to the lower single digits. The dismal statistic shows up in the number of people who visit Rapture Ready. Great Britain has a population 15 times the size of Australia, and yet there are more people who visit the site from Australia than from the United Kingdom.

The fact that so few American Christians are concerned about the state of the Church in Europe is one sign that we in the U.S. are not too far behind that ever-darkening area of the world out of which our nation sprang.

Scriptural Canary:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (2 Thess. 2:3).

Toxin #8 -Anti-Semitism Infects World

Anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially in Great Britain and Germany. This is not simply inferred from news accounts. We have recent, first-hand accounts from people who are citizens of and live in England, and have reason to observe the growing hatred for Jews. The sources of our information are, themselves, Jews.

Jesus came in the flesh – Jewish flesh. He was, is, and will forever be the God-man out of the Jewish people. There is a great movement to deny the Jews are the chosen people. Even evangelical churches are preaching and teaching that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s great plan for humanity.

Prophecy says anti-Semitism infection will spread, until all the world turns against Israel. Antichrist will be the ultimate persecutor of the Jews.

Scriptural Canary:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:1-3).

Toxin #9 – Prophetic Fulfillment

Most evangelical Christians have always had a positive view of Bible prophecy. The common belief is that the nearer we draw to the tribulation hour, the closer we are to the day we will be raptured into the presence of the Lord.

What gets lost in the optimistic view of the end times is the fact that the fulfillment of prophecy is actually a deadly thing for the people who remain unsaved. These people will obviously be left behind, and will face near-certain doom when the wrath of God is revealed.

As it becomes more manifest that time is short, Christian should be doubling their efforts to reach out to people who remain in spiritual darkness.

Scriptural Canary:
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isa. 13:9).

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).