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The Culture War

All of history has been a conflict between faith in God and faith in man. The Western World was once solidly Christian. There were struggles for power within both church and state and much theological controversy but prior to the 20th century there was little question in the minds of most people about God. God was the Sovereign Creator of the universe and everything in it. This life was followed by either heaven or hell and God judged man by his obedience to His law.

This began to change in the 19th century which saw a substantial shift in teaching, first in Europe and later America. New theologies that were pessimistic regarding future prospects for the growth of the faith were introduced and widely accepted by the churches. These theologies held that the Christian faith, and with it the church, would not grow to cover the earth as earlier Christians believed. The new views held that it would always be a remnant, a small body and would not dominate the culture until Christ returned and took control. The remainder of this age, they taught, would be a time of hardship and persecution for true believers.

By the middle of the 20th century, this belief thoroughly dominated the teaching in the great majority of the conservative churches, the churches that most true believers attended. As a consequence, in America the thrust of the Christian effort was reduced to evangelism. The general culture was viewed as outside the kingdom of Christ and the responsibility of Christians. Christianization of the world at large was deemed to be impossible, first of all because (according to these teachers) God’s word said so and secondly because the enemy (Satan and humanism) was too powerful. This left the entire culture: state, school, media, medicine, science, etc. in the hands of unbelievers.

Now in 21st century America, we see: a) our national culture sliding deeper and deeper into moral depravity, b) the number of young people affirming the Christian faith drastically declining and c) the depth of understanding of the faith itself, on the part of Christians, at a low ebb. J. C. Ryle a century or more ago said that Christianity in England is a wide lake but it is only inches deep. Today that lake is a dry and arid desert. Christianity in America is following that same track and needs to change soon if it is to avert coming to the same end.

Consider the course we are following:

  1. We have given up control of the state and allowed our opponents freedom to change the nation’s laws. These laws now support and encourage pornography, homosexuality, women’s liberation and every other form of anti-Christian activity. They disparage the family, Christian worship, the Bible, the Ten Commandments and many more pillars of the faith. The nation as a nation is steadily moving away from its Christian roots and into a modern form of paganism.
  2. We have relinquished all monitoring and regulation of the news and entertainment that comes into our living rooms. The networks now do their own assessment of what is news and what constitutes proper entertainment. They rate the shows PG, PG-14, R, etc. and the content at each level grows steadily more immoral year by year. Yes, they claim they have the popular support to do so and this is the case. Why? Because the Christian majority is silent! They have been taught and believe that God has abandoned the world to the Devil and that it’s off limits for them. All they can do is support the missionaries, tell people about Jesus and win as many to Christ as possible, before it’s too late.
  3. We have placed the education of children in the hands of unbelievers. Yes, our children, perhaps most of them, are in Christian or home schools. But are they really so isolated from children that attend the atheistic public schools? Are they so well grounded in the faith that they are able to resist the arguments of the atheists that teach in the universities? If so, why do so many students from Christian families deny the faith after one or two years at college?

Haven’t we done just about everything we possibly can to insure the eventual destruction of the Christian faith? Can’t we see that to ignore the culture and limit our efforts to evangelism is suicidal? How can history conclude from this anything other than that we were bent on suicide? How could we, as sincere Christians seeking to obey our God and do His will, have been so foolish?

The answer is that, instead of taking the time and effort to study and get a good grip on what the Bible teaches, we have taken the word of faithless or ignorant men (or women) that call themselves pastors. We that have been born again by the grace of God should feel an obligation to obey Him. How can we obey Him without a real understanding of what it is that He requires of us? He tells us to study to be approved of Him (2 Tim. 2:15). This is not just for full time pastors ordained by some agency. All the redeemed must, to the extent they are able, know the word and be able to judge and teach others. The men of Beria did this and, even though it was his teaching that was under scrutiny, they were approved by the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:11).

When we fail to obey God in this, we become the tools of charlatans of every stripe. Some are sincere but still lead in the wrong direction; others are simply wolves that are exploiting the flock for their own gain (Acts 20:29). All are, to one degree or another, instruments of Satan whose purpose is to destroy the Christian faith altogether. We have been lazy and disobedient; we have permitted these false teachers to become our masters and lead us astray. We need to repent, ask God’s forgiveness for our foolishness and get busy repairing the all the damage that has been done.

There is a huge army of Christians in America today; it is far greater in both numbers and weapons than its puny enemy; but it’s not engaged in the battle. It has surrendered most of the land to its far weaker opponent. It has retired to its church-citadels and is fighting a defensive war, a strategy that can never win. It is being led by officers that are either grossly incompetent or else in the pay of the enemy. This great army needs to wake up to the reality of the situation. It needs to stop following officers that are bent on losing the war and replace them with competent, victory-oriented leaders.

How, though, can this be done? Who is there to assume this enormous responsibility? The individual Christian tends to feel that it’s far too great a task for anyone to undertake. But it’s not too great a task for the Holy Spirit as He leads God’s people, the Body of Christ, through the intricate process of true reformation. Our responsibility is simply to yield ourselves to His will. To do this, we must first study to understand and then to get out and do what He has commanded us to do (John 3:17; Matt. 28: 18-20). We have a part in it; we are His tools; He has given us our marching orders and we need to obey. Until we do so, we will continue to experience failure. He will not do for us what He has commanded us to do!