Are we on the path to elimination? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My last blog post was about the culture wars. Someone in the comments on my Facebook pointed out that we should be concerned also about statistics about people not believing Christian doctrine even in the church. If anything, we should be more concerned. I heartily agree. If all we keep doing is responding to the world, then we are always going to be on the defensive.
It should be the opposite. Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t stand up against the church. Gates are defensive measures. If we were going to church accurately, we wouldn’t wear our Sunday best. We would wear battle gear and realize we are undergoing training for the mission of the Kingdom.
Many of us have seen the statistics such as people in the church who believe there are more ways to God than Jesus Christ, who question the deity of Christ, who believe in reincarnation, have no problem with sex outside of marriage, accept homosexual behavior, etc.
Is it any wonder that if this is what people within the church believe that we are losing the culture war? How can soldiers who don’t know basic training manage to handle conflict on the outside? How is it that we are losing this battle?
Part of it is that we unfortunately, took a stance of retreat. In the 19th century, you had higher criticism, the teaching of evolution, and situations like this that led to questioning of Scripture. Instead of engaging the culture, the church went into retreat. Soon, the church became a private sphere. The church dealt with the internal and the personal and the outside world, namely science, dealt with the external and the factual. Is it any wonder so many people, even Christians, believe there is a war between science and religion?
The church is always better off when it engages with the culture and faces challenges head on, but when the church withdraws from the academy, expect the academy to fall. Keep in mind, the Ivy League schools had been established for the good of Christianity. Now they are for the good of the hook-up culture. How far we have fallen!
Today, normally strong believers that we have in the church are not strong believers because of a deep study of theology or apologetics. It is because of a deep emotional commitment. How many of our churches are full of preachers who don’t have any higher education whatsoever?
Now some will counter and say “Well, the disciples of Jesus didn’t go to seminary did they?” Consider what the person is asking. The disciples of Jesus. What did that mean? They were His students. The apostles were constant students of Jesus Himself and I think all of us would happily change our seminary education to sit at the feet of the greatest rabbi ever like they did. Jesus personally taught and invested in these men.
As for Paul, who didn’t have that experience, who would question that he was greatly educated? He got invited to speak on Mars Hill, which is not a place where idiots went to. His epistles show someone who is extremely educated.
Also, ask many of the people in the church to explain the Trinity and likely, they will become Arians or Modalists. I have heard evangelists say the Trinity is like a man who is a husband, a father, and a son. Such a person should not be doing evangelism if they cannot give a proper illustration of the Trinity without falling into heresy.
We wonder with all of this why our young people are struggling in the area of sexuality. More of us get our sexual ethics from pop culture than we do from Scripture. As has been said before, if a young man and woman are on a couch together, it will take more than a few verses from Paul to stop them. They need a whole worldview of sex to know how it fits in. (Something most secular people don’t have either.)
Our people need to know not just what they believe, but why they should believe it. They should be having discussions of great books and know what the people around them believe. If you’re going to become a Christian in the Middle East, you need to know not only why you believe in Jesus, but why you don’t believe in Islam.
The problem with the culture starts with us. We watch the news and ask what has happened to the world. It is better to ask what has not happened to it. We have not happened to it. We have not been salt and light to the world.
What’s the solution? We have to learn what we believe and why we believe it and know how to interact with the world. That also means knowing more than just the Bible. We need the best education we can get in history, the sciences, economics, psychology, etc. Christians should be the most educated people of all, but in reality, we are usually the dumbest.
Many experts on marriage will tell you you change your marriage best by changing yourself first. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. If the culture is going insane, and it is, the best we can do is work on our own sanity.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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