Courageous Christians In Today’s Culture
Family Smarts Series
Memorial Day Weekend, May 24, 2015
Wise words on this Memorial Day weekend from President Reagan. It’s important for us to remember the sacrifices of those who have made it possible for us to live, work, and worship in this country.
Things have certainly changed since Reagan’s day haven’t they? Our culture has changed drastically since the 1980s, but the mission of the church has not. The moral standards of today have changed drastically, but the way of wisdom we have been studying in Proverbs has not.
I want to speak for a few minutes from my heart and on behalf of your Pastoral Leadership Team about how we as followers of Jesus should think about and respond to the fast-paced, dramatic worldview and moral changes going on in our culture.
We, as a church, have a tradition of not discussing politics for good reasons: as believers, our citizenship is in heaven first, then in this great nation and there are laws against churches commenting on candidates for office. But, perhaps, our wise avoidance of politics has brought with it a not-so-wise side effect of not engaging enough with our culture and wrestling with what it means to live as Christians in it.
Our nation is torn by racial tension and the riots and violence associated with it. The unborn continue to be unprotected. The number of children growing up with absentee parents is staggering. Truth has been redefined and is now individually determined. Disagreement over immigration, economics and the national debt. Sex trafficking, soft and hard porn, and abuse of children. Anything is tolerated except for any claim to higher principles and ultimate authority. Believe what you want but don’t tell me I’m wrong. And keep your faith to yourself.
And do not be surprised when the Supreme Court, as most are predicting, next month redefines marriage. The culture no longer considers it a covenant before God between a man and a woman for life. It is merely a social construct not to be defined by anything but personal freedom and preference. The recent firestorm over the RFRA in our state demonstrates how much has changed in just two years, since the last Supreme Court ruling on DOMA.
Os Guinness, one of the sharpest Christian apologists of our day, says we live in an “ABC Moment” – Anything But Christianity. He points out “Cultures in decline tend to turn against their old faith, whatever made them what they were.”
There is a level of animosity toward faith, biblical truth, and a commitment to live for God with which we, as followers of Jesus, must come to terms.
What should the church do when things get darker spiritually? Be the church. Be salt and light. In each of the fields in which God has planted us, be salty and live bright.
It seems to me the church has two options when the culture disagrees with it. The first is to circle the wagons, dig in, hunker down, be a fortress, protect the truth against the attacks of the pagans outside the walls. The second is to be a lighthouse for God’s better way. We have the Good News. We who have chosen the Jesus way have a mission. And that mission isn’t well-served by doom and gloom, fear, or fortress mentality. We are called to be a lighthouse. A lighthouse serves to warn ships – don’t go there, you’ll wreck and regret it – AND to help ships find their way back on course safely. We are a lighthouse when we live in such a compelling way that Jesus can’t be ignored, when our love for Him and for people who need Him is expressed and acted on.
One wise Christian has called the church to three action verbs:
1) Engage the culture, be in it not of it.
2) Discern the culture, where is our world good and beneficial for the kingdom? Where is it seductive and dangerous?
3) Be courageous, say “no” to whatever in our culture stands against the kingdom of God.
So, how should we respond when things happen in our culture that don’t match up with our commitment to God’s Word? How do we stand for biblical truth when it is labeled antiquated, bigoted, or naïve? Here are a few thoughts – take them for what they’re worth please . . .