Cancel culture involves a series of "unbiblical" beliefs that mirror what Jesus said would foreshadow the end times, author and pastor David Jeremiah says.
Jeremiah, the pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon., Calif., made the remarks in a sermon Sunday about cancel culture, saying its goal of punishing and ostracizing is in conflict with Jesus' commands to love God and love others. The message was part of a sermon series about current events that will be summarized in an upcoming book, "Where Do We Go from Here? How Tomorrow's Prophecies Foreshadow Today's Problems." It is scheduled to be released in October.
"Cancel culture is laser-focused on judgment and accusation and punishment," Jeremiah said. "And the goal of those who cancel others is to broadcast their sins from pillar to post, and never allow them to be removed or forgotten. Christ's goal, on the other hand, is love, mercy and grace."
Jesus "spent a lot of time with people in His day who had been canceled, so to speak," Jeremiah said, mentioning the woman at the well and lepers.
"It would be nice to think that cancel culture is a temporary phase that our world is going through," Jeremiah said. "But society is becoming more intolerant and polarized by the day. And I'm not sure we'll see a reversal of all these trends. The more insidious elements of cancel culture are a malignant form of the spitefulness and self-importance common to human nature.
"What we're seeing today reminds me of what Jesus described in Matthew 24," Jeremiah said, referencing Jesus' comments on the signs of the end. "... Leading up to this great tribulation, Jesus predicted a series of signs that will foreshadow the end of history."
Jeremiah read Matthew 24:10, which says, "many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another."
"There are several terms in those verses that represent the ethos of cancel culture," he said.
Cancel culture, Jeremiah said, is a "culture of disdain."
"Jesus talked about how easily people would be offended in the days leading up to the tribulation," he said. "Boy, is that ever true? Have you ever noticed how easy people get offended these days? None of us wants to be offensive. But doesn't it seem like people everywhere are too easily offended? How long before someone sees us reading a Bible on the airplane and feels uncomfortable? When will someone take offense when we wear a t-shirt with the slogan John 3:16 on it? What about the cross around your neck that could get you in trouble?"
Jesus said society leading up to the end times would be "marked by people who actively root up, expose and betray everybody around them. Wouldn't you say that kind of betrayal is commonplace in our world today? … We all have mistakes from our past we'd like to forget. All of us have made choices we regret and decisions we would correct or redo if we had the chance. But in a world fueled by cancel culture, those mistakes are not allowed to remain in the past."
Cancel culture, Jeremiah said, also is defined by deception and disconnection.
"Shockingly, a recent study revealed that nearly half of Americans have not made a new friend in the past five years," Jeremiah said. "... The culture leading up to the tribulation and the end of history will be characterized by coldness in our feelings for one another. … Shame will drive people inward. Bullying will drive them downward. Hatred will drive them backward."
Jeremiah urged Christians to embrace four "un-cancellable concepts" in a world marked by cancel culture: wisdom, courage, forgiveness and love.
"It's not easy to live as members of God's Kingdom in a world that is increasingly hostile to his values," Jeremiah said. "This is the shared experience of every generation of Christians since the first generation. So we've had 2,000 years to prepare for these days. One thing we know: The rewards of following Jesus Christ are always worth it."
Photo courtesy: ©Turning Point with David Jeremiah Facebook
Video courtesy: ©Shadow Mountian Community Church
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.