31 January 2006

The devil in designer jeans

by Phil Johnson

I appreciated James Spurgeon's series of posts that culminated in his poignant reminder about the importance of the local church. It reminded me of something I was going to post a couple of weeks ago.

(OK, this is really only peripherally related to James's point, but here you see how my mind works):

Several interesting news stories were circulating at the end of December about a Swedish guy who has designed blue jeans embroidered with overtly satanic emblems. The fellow said he did it deliberately to make "an active statement against Christianity."

One of his most telling comments is found in this article from American Chronicle, about halfway down: "I don't oppose people believing in God privately but I hate congregations," Atldax said.

How fitting his jeans design, then! Because Satan likewise has no problem with private "Christianity" or with the individual pursuit of "spirituality." But the old serpent absolutely hates the church (Revelation 12:17).

The other part of the devil-jeans story that intrigued me was this paragraph:

The designer plans to create logos mocking, and critical of, other religions. "I plan to make something anti-Hindu because I think its caste system is awful. I am not considering any anti-Islamic work now because there are already a lot of anti-Islamic sentiments," he said.

Right. One might think Sweden's (and the rest of Europe's) most troubling social ills all stemmed from too many Christian zealots packing the churches over there.

But seriously, make a mental list of the profound evils that plague European (and American) society today, and ask yourself: do these problems really stem from our Christian heritage, or are they the inevitable result of the church's decline in the face of marauding humanism?

Phil's signature


MTG said...

How about the decline of the church as she buys into the marauding humanism?

Mike Perrigoue said...

Soooo...I won't find those jeans at Wal-Mart?

Colin Maxwell said...

Is it hereditary if it's in the jeans?

A Birdy said...

The Swedish Guy won’t make any anti-Islamic logos because he is a coward. If he does his life would be in danger. Christians are an easy target – they won’t blow him up.

I wonder if he knows anything about true Christianity anyway? Less than 5% of people in Sweden attend church. So I don’t know what he is really threatened by.

Phil - On the topic of the importance of the local church - What do you do if there are no decent local churches to attend?. I go to church sometimes but the quality of what is taught is appalling.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I feel like I've been slapped on the hand! Bad Christian! Stop that! No-no!
History is being rewritten with the heroes as the bad guys. It's sickening.

bluhaze said...

Oh Phil you are funny.

I can't imagine any Christian wanting to wear satanic symbols.

I can imagine one accidently wearing a tag out or shoes that don't match.

I can also imagine being laughed out of a pew for it.

But so go evil imaginations.

Momo said...

Phil, you bring up an excellent point which I had yet to consider in this series. Satan certainly does hate the Church. It is worthwhile to note that Jesus did not console the apostles with the promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against them as individuals fighting alone. But he did state that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. I assume that Jesus knew what the focal point of Satan's assault would be.

Jim Crigler said...

What happens when a church (vis-a-vis the Church) defines itself as the sum of its members and their actions, i.e., when a church defines itself as fragments meeting together.

Note to the Pyroids:

In a group blog like this one, it would be most kind to your readers if all five of you followed Phil's example here and put your names at the top of your posts. Or is this something that should be solved by revising the template?

DJP said...

Right on, Phil.

I think the Devil's first preference would be that we don't share any of God's opinions. Failing that, his second would be that we don't actually do anything about them.

Community -- that is, the local church, visible and assembled -- is where we do what we say we believe. See how the apostle's call to walk worthily of our calling (Ephesians 4:1) immediately is applied in community (vv. 2ff.).

It's all very easy to love in theory. Easy, and meaningless. I can love my brother really well, as I'm hip-deep in a Sierra lake, fly-fishing, alone. It's when there's a loud know-it-all telling me how it is, two inches from my nose, that we find out if I know anything about matching theory to practice.

I can submit beautifully to that pastor on tape, disk, or TV. He's dead! Or at least, he's far away, and doesn't know me from Adam. But it's yielding to the guy who's looking me in the eyeballs (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17) -- that is going to show whether I've learned anything about submission beyond the meaning of the Greek word.

It isn't the son who says "I will" who does the father's will; it's the one who goes and works in His field (Matthew 21:28-32).

Maybe that's why the Devil so hates the local church.

Momo said...

Jim, Phil fixed that yesterday and it will show up in all future postings.

Keep working on him about the Gothard and Blackaby thing.


FX Turk said...


You question is interesting becuase I find myself with two different kinds of answers to it:

(1) I would propose to you that there are no decent churches to attend. That is to say, every church I have ever seen has real significant problems in it. Not every pastor is Phil Johnson, and not even Phil Johnson always bats 1.000 (though I hear he bats .975, which is pretty sharp). Even if your pastor bats .300 at the pulpit, you should find ways to encourage him and pray for him and help him build up the church. Even if he's a rank Wesleyan.

(2) Confessionally, I can admit to you that I am not actually a very decent Christian. Should my church repudiate me because, for example, I have only attended 3 services in the last 8 weeks? If the churcch should not repudiate me because I have been sick and have had a death in the family -- which resulted in me doing things which are frankly wrong -- then I should not repudiate the church when it does things because it is sick and does things that are frankly wrong.

Be subject to one another for the sake of Christ. It turns out that this is not a command that always results in a group hug and a warm fuzzy but a command that results in us learning someting about being holy and set apart for the sake of the Gospel. It's hard -- as hard as marriage. But it is the same principle.

donsands said...

The first wicked thing that came to my mind was abortion. Humanism says, I have choice with who I am, as long as I don't interfere with your choices. That's impossible, but they don't see it because they are blind and callous.
The Church, God's people, have been extreme with both ends of this. We either go for the full confrontation through the political process, or we back off any simply pray and believe.
I don't have the answer, but that's what came to my mind.
p.s. Satan is a mastermind of deception. But he's a defeated foe, with a crushed head, form the Savior's holy heel!

Brian Sporer said...

Good post.

The jean designer will not make jeans trashing muslims because they already have enough anti-islamic sentiments to deal with. What about Christians? There is plenty of any anti-Christian sentiment around the world, and yet he does it anyway. It just shows the true nature of what he is trying to do.

quicklikerodly said...

It will take allot more than fancy pants with skulls and crosses to take us down.
Biased God hater's are finally being forced to admit their bias as more and more people are realizing that truth is not relative. When the ugly truth starts to show is when people start drawing lines in the sand. You can see it in America's political climate right now. The church will only continue to decline if she chooses to stay personally satisfying yet socially irrelevant.

Gordon said...

Satan hates Christ. The church's first priority is to exalt Christ. Therefore, we must expect all of Satan's fury to be directed against the church. I love James Spurgeon's observation about the gates of hell. There is no greater thrill to me than to be a part of a Bible-believing local church.

Jim Crigler said...

James ---

Oops! (bows head in shame) Of course Phil fixed the template. I just didn't look any farther down than the top post. Duh!

Phil ---

James told me to, so I have to: What about Gothard, Blackaby and private revelation in general?

MSC said...

It concerns me when people say they can't find a good local church. Unfortunately, I think often times people move to a particular locale because the priority in their lives is job or career related and finding a good local church is only secondary. I would never move anywhere if I didn't know there was at least a nominally Biblical church. Furthermore, if there was no good church, I would move to find one.

I realize this does not fit the case for everyone, nonetheless it shows what truly shapes our lives and its not the Church.

chamblee54 said...

1-It would be interesting to see another translation of what the designer said. It wouldn't surprise me if he were misquoted/mistranslated by someone with an ax to grind. This person could have been either a jesus worshiping writer with a deadline, or a publicist working on behalf of the designer. Remember, there is no bad publicity, and Mr. Johnson has done his part to help.
2- With regards to Gavin..."The Swedish Guy won’t make any anti-Islamic logos because he is a coward. If he does his life would be in danger.” I can't speak for "the swedish guy", but I know what my personal experience is with muslims and jesus worshippers. The muslims I have known have been great people, and I have been shouted down and humiliated countless times by jesus worshippers It should be noted that is my one to one experience with individual believers, and is not concerned with reprehensible acts of war and terror.

Char said...

'jesus-worshippers'? Why not just call them Christians like everyone else? Shouldn't you also be saying 'allah worshippers' to even it out?

Sorry that just struck me as funny.

And the jeans. The google image search for them came up with-surprise-many pictures of skinny jeans. I'm upset (for my eyes that is) though not surprised that Satan's army continues to make such apallingly bad fashion choices. I'd be willing to bet there is also a legging line in the works. No wonder they're doomed to lose, dressing like that.