Monday, July 30, 2012

Culture Wars

This whole thing with Dan Cathey, Chic-fil-a and his statement that he believes in the biblical traditional model of marriage has convinced me that we, indeed are in a cultural war in this country.  Two sides are distinctly drawn, it seems.

What has me most concerned is not so much that there are so many who now believe in a different definition of marriage, and that anyone who disagrees with them is somehow a bigot or hater, but that so many who profess allegiance to Christian values see more conservative believers as bigoted.

I confess.  Over the years I have "softened" my understanding of many things I once felt strongly about, mostly because I recognize more and more my own limited knowledge.   At the same time I hold to a very high view of Scripture, treating it as the very Word of God.  I also have a high respect for the two centuries of orthodox faith, meaning that it would be virtually impossible to conceive that the body of faithful Christianity, including it's greatest thinkers, apologists and theologians have "gotten it wrong" all this time.

Really?  Would the Holy Spirit allow that to happen without constant generational correction?  God is patient, as He demonstrated with Israel in the Old Testament.  But God also had limits to His patience, finding ways to bring them back to Him when they strayed.  Certainly He cares no less for the Church in this era of grace.

There are those who point out that Christians indeed, "got it wrong" in this country in the past, using slavery as an example.  And they are right.  But, they did so in defiance of Scripture and by contorting it to agree with their wrong conclusions.

But marriage has been the same since Adam gave Eve her first kiss as his bride, with God officiating the ceremony.  (Yes, I'm using allegory.)  "Male and female" was the Divine design, and that was before the Mosaic writings condemning homosexuality among the Jews BC and the Pauline words AD to the Roman and Corinthian churches that homosexual behavior had no place in the life of a Christian. 

So, what has me perplexed is the seeming growing number of professing Christians - most I will admit are millennials - who see no problem with what has been regarded for two thousand years as not just wrong but really wrong.  Has the church, in an effort to win a generation by failing to teach every part of the Bible, even the hard parts (and there are many) or by dodging the counter-cultural in Scripture, turned a generation who says they love Jesus into one that thinks He's great, but His Word is irrelevant?

I've been pastor of the same church for 21 and a half years, so I've seen an entire generation come and go.  Longer than that, I've been either a pastor or a theological student (hopefully I'm still both) for the better part of four decades.  Longer than that (!) I've been a reborn Christian for close to half a century.  And all that time I've been an observer both of culture and of the church.  Often I'm a critic of both.

My observations are driving me to believe that if the church does not see we are in a war for the souls of our children and grandchildren and realize we must now stand in the gap and "fight back" by grounding the church in "sound doctrine", those generations will have no grasp of the differences, whether subtle or stark in the worldviews that are captivating them.  It will take more than creative tweeting or posting.  It will take a prophetic voice.

And we all know what happened to the prophets.


Anne Fischer said...

I appreciate that you stand up for what you believe in. I live in Oklahoma and started out following Nathan's blog but if I ever make it to North Carolina, I would be honored to visit your church.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,
Once again, you've confirmed a couple of things about yourself:
1) You're really old (just kiddin' brother...I'm going to be 60 next week myself)!
2) You have the integrity to stand by what the Bible says, no matter how tough things get.
Keep on keepin' on! Looking forward to visiting again in October.