The early Christian churches captured and transformed the Roman Empire with the Gospel! Famous historian Will Durant wrote, “Caesar and Christ had met in the arena and Christ had won.” That would not be an accurate statement of contemporary Christianity in view of the major mischief of the U.S. Supreme Court recently, the Congress, and the President. It appears that Churches have lost their power, Christians have lost their purity, and the culture is in the pits. Christians have caved to the confused, corrupt culture and the reason is massive pulpit failure.
Many loosey-goosey preachers teach that Christians should be deeply involved with the culture: sing all the popular songs, attend all the vile Hollywood movies, watch the most popular television shows, wear the newest clothes (however seductive, ugly, and revealing they may be), and be able to “jive” with the most ungodly people even if normal listeners have no comprehension of what is said.
However, that is not the way it is supposed to be. Christians are not to be moved by the culture; they are to move the culture. That is not happening today. Professing Christians, even members of Bible-preaching churches, are among the most worldly, weird, even wicked people in town! Most show no shame at their ungodly life and even defend it!
The prophet asked in Jeremiah 6:15, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” As years have passed, I have been surprised then shocked and stunned at what I have observed in good churches: the general worldly attitude, the aping of the world’s dress standards, the use of four letter words, the loose handling of the opposite sex even in public. I wonder if parents have tried to instill in their children any kind of character. When reproved, they usually are offended and hardly ever are ashamed. Is shame passé like guilt, gratitude, and grace?
Those who declare that “It’s always been this way” are wrong. While there have always been some people without character, it has not been general until recent years. Early Christians influenced society by treating slaves, children, and women compassionately. Christians picked up abandoned babies left on the street to die and raised them as their own even when it was illegal to do so! Christ placed women on a high pedestal and Paul continued to move the culture of his day. The early Christians “turned the world upside down!” Pagan religions had the Empire by the throat and Christians broke that hold and destroyed the pagan religions with the truth. Christ’s birth even designates the date.
Christ established the Good Samaritan ethic to sacrifice so as to help others who were suffering. He also told us to treat others the way we want to be treated. He taught His followers to be gracious and generous to the less fortunate. Moreover, He taught us to pray for our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us. Such teachings changed the culture and set the tone for two thousand years. The emphasis on doing one’s best, striving for success, developed into the university system of the Middle Ages; and the major left leaning, anti-Christian, socialist, anything-goes American universities were begun by the sacrificial giving of Bible believing Christians. Such institutions today are without shame, spirituality, and little scholarship.
High standards of justice going back to the Old Testament and continuing into the New were unknown in Egypt, Ur, Nineveh, Greece, and Rome. Our world has been influenced far more by Jerusalem than Rome or Athens. But today the influence is Hollywood, New York, and Paris. Few Christians choose to be numbered as a “peculiar” people so they are just odd instead.
Jim Daly of Focus on the Family told the media it would be “foolhardy not to recognize that the culture is moving more” in the direction of support for same-sex marriage. He also signaled a willingness to work with abortion-rights groups to find common ground on adoption. Such is the successor of Dr. James Dodson who was forced out of Focus for being too confrontational with the culture. Daly doesn’t understand that Christians are supposed to challenge, confront, and change the culture!
Recently the head of Exodus International apologized for his stand against homosexuality and their attempt to help sodomites become normal, decent people. He and his board closed down their work and faded into the corrupt culture. One reason given for the shutdown is that the culture is changing. Sure it is because of people like him who have no anchor and no chart to guide them.
Most Christians are mental zombies gorging junk food in front of a television set. Seeking liberty, such carnal Christians bounce from liberty to license to licentiousness.
H. L. Hastings, in 1844, visited the Fiji Islands and was shocked to find that a human could be bought for $7.00 (or a musket), less than the price of a cow! Moreover, the purchased human could be beaten, worked to death then eaten. Then, the Gospel came to the islands and about 1200 churches were established and no human could be bought for any price. The true Gospel changes the culture.
During World War II, on a remote Pacific island, an American soldier met an English-speaking native carrying a Bible. The G.I. pointed to the Bible and sneered, “We educated people don’t put much faith in that Book anymore.” The islander grinned, patted his own belly saying, “Well, it’s a good thing for you that we do, or else you’d be in here by now.” Christ changes the culture but modern Christians have been moved by the culture into a corrupt, cowardly, compromising life.
Christians should not only be right when the world is right but be right when the world is wrong. We don’t want or need a church that moves with the world but a church that moves the world. There is movement today but movement is not always progress. All movement seems to be in the wrong direction. At least, in the USA.