The Old Question- In but not Of?

Here’s an article by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, about the press of homosexuality on our culture. A lot of it’s pretty undeniable these days. Christians ought to be aware that there are political figures out there who would outlaw the practice of our religion today, and that it has occurred in some places. This article points out cases where Christians are practically forbidden from freely and completely expressing their Christianity within certain spheres. I wrote earlier about another such example.

But Mohler’s proposed remedy is to construct an “alternative culture” before we’ve lost more fronts in the “culture war”. If our object is to avoid persecution, it seems like an “alternative culture” is a losing battle. If the country at large decides to persecute Christians, or to continue to movie in that direction, an “alternative culture” will make it even easier for them to do so. Christians would be more easily identifiable and more easily cast as the ‘alien’ and thus more easily subjected to discriminatory treatment. Ask whether the Jews in the 1930’s were protected from persecution because they had an ‘alternative culture’. Or the Armenians in 1915.

Even more importantly, Christians ought to know that the loss of so much of the culture war in this country, and the current attack on the values of the church, are not the result of some alien force that attacked us from the outside. The church itself has been the source of most of the degradation of the culture. It was the church that first promoted the use of the state to regulate and manipulate family life for ideological ends. It was the church that stopped teaching the infallibility of Scripture, opening the door to question so many things that once seemed unquestionable, such as whether homosexuality was a valid lifestyle choice. And it was the church, for over two hundred years, that taught a completely individualistic, man-centered, feelings-oriented version of Christianity in which the individual’s happiness was the goal of religion. All modern America has done is finish the job the church started, taking the name ‘Christ’ away from what was already Christian only in name. The church sowed, and the country reaped.

The ‘culture war’ is not the problem. It’s only the symptom. The churches are the problem. So many churches in this country tell people that their religion’s purpose is to make them happy, satisfy their needs. Modern versions of Christianity in this country put man at the center of his own religion, and are then surprised when man lives out the practical implication of that teaching by redesigning Christianity to fit his desires. They conduct market studies of local demographics to find out what their worship services ought to be like and are then surprised when their churches are full of people with consumerist mindsets, that go to church not to glorify and worship God, but to serve their own needs. It’s a short jump from there to reading and interpreting the Bible to fit one’s own theology, reinterpreting what you can reinterpret, and ignoring what you can’t. And it’s just another short jump from there to regarding the Bible itself as unnecessary. And that’s where we are.

To quote James White’s The Potter’s Freedom, man will accept and love God anywhere except on His throne. The whole issue before us today is just that- are we going to rule over our own lives, and make our own decisions about what is right and wrong, or are we going to acknowledge God as the undisputed ruler of the universe? That struggle has to be won in the church before we are to have any hope of taking that message to society.

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