January 6, 2006
It’s so subtle and is happening so slowly and smoothly that it’s hardly noticeable to some people—the faint shift from day to day to the acceptance of immorality. Think for a moment about the church growth “movement” of the last decade or two. Consider the shift from Christ centered to man centered theology and from Biblical principles to marketing strategies for growth. Then take into account the music that fills the minds and the airwaves… no longer Christcentric but egocentric. Consider the shift from Bible study to “focus-groups” that address “felt needs” or personal interests or individual crisis. And then mull over the ramifications of the “AIDS crisis” over the last twenty-five years. Very gradually we’ve been “indoctrinated” to accept people where they’re at—to not condemn or judge behaviour and certainly not attribute to sin the consequences of certain behaviours. So that’s been engrained steadily over time by advertisers and the massive machine of Hollywood—the pseudo social and political experts, the change agents and shapers of cultural norms–the destroyers of family and morality. Hollywood’s been very cleverly working to redirect the thinking… the subtle washing, the crafty work of emotionally moving videos. I reflect on two movies I’ve seen this year… the characters which command acceptance. The lifestyles that demand tolerance—so cunning is the inclusion of two women as parents of a boy in Kicking and Screaming… Two men as a couple in The Family Stone… and in another movie which we did not/will not see was the assaulting of the sensibilities by a pair of cowboys. Over the years, homosexuality has been slowly creeping into movies and television so that it’s like the proverbial frog in the pot… slowly, as the heat is increased, the frog boils to death—never jumping out of the pot because of the slow acclamation to the heat.
So all this has happened and the church nods off. All this is happening and the church is busy building bigger barns and catering to felt needs. Reading paraphrases of paraphrases of the Bible. Singing inane songs with sensual tones and repetitive lines of few words. And then, taking into consideration the enormity of church “attendance” and the extraordinary availability of Biblical information, helps, guides, studies, buildings, buildings, buildings, seminaries, and Bible schools, it is deplorable that there’s isn’t notable Christian influence and appearance in this nation. There really ought to be a difference… there ought to be distinctively different look and action of Christian individuals… individuals who are not their own—individuals who’ve been bought with a price, redeemed from the curse of the Law.
I’ve been thinking of some different letters I’ve received concerning movies, the sales of clothing with clearly anti-Christian symbols, the legislature and other topics where there is clearly an open antagonistic and sometimes hostile view of Christians—not so much of religion per se, not anti-God, but anti-Christ. It’s actually kind of chic to be religious–not Jesus-religious, but yoga religious, christian-science religious, new-age religious, mystic religious, and the whole gamut of sorcery sort of religious—anything but Jesus. It’s very common for people to accept talk of God—but totally bristle at the mention of the Lord Jesus—which is totally bizarre —considering the awesomeness of the LORD God—not the pseudo-god who is known as the “higher power” in the world of Emmet Fox, Norman-Vincent Peale or Robert Schuller or all the people currently influenced by them—but God, the God of the Bible, the God of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it amazingly ironic—the God is so cavalierly held in mind, esteemed so common as to be used as a household expletive. So, God is acceptable—sort of the universally accepted -word- but not the God of the Bible.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” John 15.18-21
Our lives ought to be–-must be—different because of the terrific price paid on our behalf: Titus 2.14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” But, sadly, our lives are often not all that much different at all. Our behaviour, words and appearance really ought to outwardly reflect the inward change of our lives. I was thinking back on a situation recently where we were attending a program and I distinctly recall watching the men watching the women in attendance. The “holiday” attire was alluring and the line of distinction between modest and immodest was blurred. But what saddened me the most was the tightly packed row of teenagers immediately in front of us. Throughout the evening there seemed to be a constant preoccupation with the pants and the tops–so involved in making sure the tops were meeting but not covering the top of the pants, the victoria’secret tag in view, and then when sitting down, it was painfully obvious that the pants were too low. I was embarrassed for the young ladies; I found myself feeling sorry for them as they were more concerned with their view of their appearance than with the statement their appearance was really making. I felt sorry for the obvious distraction they were to the young men who kept glancing and then looking away. I felt sorry for the lack of understanding of modesty—not just in appearance, but in behaviour. I was sorry for the parents who were not in proximity to the young people and weren’t watching the situation. And seemingly hadn’t been part of the purchasing process, either.
So, when I think of all the anti-Christian rhetoric and the slurs and insulting music, movies and merchandise, I guess I consider the Word and what the LORD has said would happen, I consider the state of the church today–its message, in many places, so anemic. I pray… come, Lord Jesus—for He is the only One who can save— Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.