Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Jesus is the way to God, the truth of and about God, and the very life that can only be found in God. The only God, who is at the right hand of the Father, Jesus has made Him known. (John 1:18) If you are interested in knowing the truth about God, then you will find it only in Jesus Christ. Moreover, it is that truth about God expressed through God the Son, Jesus Christ, that has been handed down to the Church by way of the apostolic tradition. This tradition has been set down in Scripture itself. I do not mean to say that the Scriptures contain the apostolic tradition. I mean to say that Scripture and apostolic tradition are one and the same. It is in that sense that I use the term. Jude tells his audience, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3) Jesus is the embodiment of God, the expression of God in human form. He is the exclusive way to God. He reveals the exclusive truth about God. He imparts the exclusive life of and from God. That truth comes to us by way of the propositions of Scripture or, the apostolic tradition. It is the work and business of the Holy Spirit to regenerate our being by means of a spiritual and supernatural work in us using this truth as his tool to awaken our dead, sinful person. There is no other way to God, no other truth about God, and no other life from God. This is the message given to the Christian Church in the beginning. It is a message that is unchanging and unchangeable. Men and women from all nations and people groups have died believing, proclaiming, and defending this message.
From the fourth century onward, the Christian Church has had to contend with the seductive nature of pagan politics. Just as each sinful man has his own sinful proclivities, sinful men also have a natural tendency to cluster. We gravitate toward those with whom we share commonalities. It’s just the way we are wired. That wiring is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But, because of sin, it now tends to be a bad thing very often. We are attracted to those who share our theological beliefs, our political views, our values, our cultural background, and for many, the level of melanin in our DNA. Political power is attractive to us because it creates an opportunity for us to increase ourselves. We want others to adopt our values, beliefs, opinions, etc. We like ourselves. We want to duplicate ourselves. We want an environment that consists of people like us. Politics gives us an opportunity to create such an environment. Because the Church is filled with people who still have a sin nature, the seductive nature of political power is just as enticing to us. This political seduction of Christianity began with Constantine and it has proven itself, if nothing else, to be relentless in its pursuit of the Christian’s heart ever since. This can be observed nowhere more clearly than in modern, American evangelicalism. What is happening in our Churches as they sit heavily under the influence of American culture and the pressures of American society, is in my view best described as a crisis at this point.
We live in a culture that has butchered 60,000,000 babies over the last 45 years. We call it a woman’s health issue. It used to be called a woman’s rights issue. We live in a culture where two men can have sex with one another and it is called love. It used to be called a psychological disorder. We used to call it perverted and unnatural. Now, people who call it perverted and unnatural are ignorant bigots. We live in a culture where a little boy can decide, on his own, that he is in fact, a little girl. And if you dare to challenge that child, again, you are an ignorant, heartless bigot. In fact, the state of Delaware is considering legislation that would allow children to self-identify sexually and racially without their parents’ consent. This is full-blown communism sweeping through the country right before our eyes. If I were not a Christian, I would be calling for a revolution. But since I am, I do not. Such a call would be entirely inconsistent with Christian principles.
In our culture, if you disagree with cultural norms on most of these issues, you are immediately castigated, demeaned, and even dehumanized. You are misogynist if you oppose abortion. You are a bigot if you disagree with homosexuality. You are cold, harsh, and unloving as well as unenlightened if you reject gender self-identification. You are a racist if you dare challenge such things as Critical Race Theory or point out that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not exactly an example of moral excellence. And because most Americans are weak-minded individuals whose self-esteem is indelibly linked to being accepted by the culture, we willingly compromise and exchange our values for the sake of being liked by this pagan culture and accepted.
How is this showing up in the church? A better question is, how are Christian leaders helping their local communities, their congregations, think about and respond to these shifts in a way that is biblically and spiritually healthy? The short answer is that for the most part, most of them, with few exceptions, are not. One of the biggest contributors to this problem is that American Christians don’t seem to care much about just how American they are in their thinking or their values. Few stop to ever think about it. And their pastors know it. Why is that? For one thing, most of them are not interacting with, studying, and engaging the Scripture. For another, most of them are not actively engaging the culture with the demands and message of the gospel. They don’t read. They don’t think. They don’t share the gospel. They work. They pour themselves into their children’s sports or dance, or whatever else they can fund. They are after their next promotion. And they watch a LOT of television. Not only are most leaders NOT seriously pointing these things out on a regular basis, they have still not addressed the lack of structured discipleship and learning in their respective churches. From my perspective, it seems that most leaders think that if they just lightly hit these issues once in a while in a 30-45-minute sermon or Sunday school lesson, they have done their job. Far from it!
The truth is that most of them don’t even hit these issues at all. And when they do, as Voddie Baucham pointed out, the sermon or lesson usually die the death of 1000 qualifications. You see, if the problem is prizing the cultural opinion, then it isn’t limited to the Christian. Our leaders, for the most part, also prize the cultural opinion. And therein lies the problem. You either will prize God’s opinion or the opinion of men. If you prize the opinion of men, pagan men, then you clearly do not prize the opinion of God. If you do not prize the opinion of God, you should resign your leadership position. This is why I recently tweeted, be hated or be gone.
Years of neglect in the areas of Learning and Discipleship are now taking their toll on the Church. Leaders are concerned with their image first and foremost. They want to be respected. The opinion of at least certain portions of the culture matters to them. Additionally, I have already said that the opinion of the culture matters to Christians; you know, the ones who employ the leaders. So, if you have a bunch of shallow Christians and false converts who value the opinion of the world more than God and you have a leader who values his job, his career, and the opinions of his congregation more than God, what you have is a recipe for disaster. And it is a disaster that we are witnessing right in front of us. The Church is at the end of the process of losing its identity. Because the Church has looked everywhere but Scripture and because her leaders have neglected to train and disciple their respective churches, Christians have lost their identity.
One group focuses on changing the laws on abortion and insists that this is the single greatest mission of the Church. We must pursue justice for the defenseless. That is the gospel. That is the mission of the Church. Another group thinks it is to end poverty. Still, another believes it is to bring quality healthcare to impoverished nations. Some people think that the Church has a moral duty to be a politically active machine, strong-arming the government and making sure that legislation and policies reflect Christian values and principles. Many in the Church think it’s our job to elect the right president and the right representative who will stand up for us. We must protect religious freedom at all costs. Some think that immigration is the most important issue facing the church. And then there is the Black Liberation theologies that are coming into the Church under the guise of racial reconciliation, informing the Church that racial equality is the very heartbeat of the gospel. One prominent professor at one prominent institution has written a new commentary on the books of Galatians. And if his philosophy and comments elsewhere are any indication, he argues that the big problem in the churches of Galatia was racial segregation and disharmony. It is so bad, and people have so lost their minds that they are repenting for being white for heaven’s sake.
None of this should come as a surprise. After all, this is a culture that has completely refused to do any critical thinking now for at least a generation, and maybe two. The noetic effects of sin have hardly been more visible since the flood. Billy Graham, a man who thundered the gospel when he was young, but for all intents and purposes, abandoned it years ago has received the highest praise from men who would vilify anyone else for saying the very same things Graham did from his middle years onward. Martin Luther King Jr. is lauded as a great man of God even though he was an open heretic and obviously carried on a licentious lifestyle. Graham was the people’s man, and no one dare speak poorly of him. Fine. Give him his day. Respect his family. But do you have to praise him as if he were Paul’s immediate successor? I don’t think so. The behavior is embarrassing. It is obvious that integrity isn’t very high on these men’s list. And why should it be? It isn’t because we don’t insist on it. We stopped insisting on integrity in our leaders, years ago. Why does Martin Luther King, Jr. get a pass? Why do people hold him up as some dazzling example of character and godliness? How dare you say anything whatsoever that is critical of Martin Luther King, Jr. If you do, you must be a racist. The situation is dire. We are in a full-on crisis.
Add to this the acceptance of the Charismatic extremes as normal, orthodox Christian practice and it seems to me that the Church has completely and totally lost its mind. One popular apologist, James White, has continued to pal around with, and even commend Dr. Michael Brown. Not only is Brown’s theology extremely problematic, his teachings on worship are blasphemous. Not only that, he himself commends dozens of open heretics at just about every turn. White’s refusal to address the Brown relationship in a more straightforward manner gives one reason to question his integrity. White can thunder stinging rebukes of others, Ergun Caner as just one example, but then he gives Brown a complete whitewash, pun totally intended. Why? I am afraid I have no explanation.
Christian soldier, you are in a war. God has not called you into a paradise. Not yet. Paradise is coming, but in the meantime, there will be hell to pay. So let’s step up for the truth, for the gospel for our Sovereign Lord and Master, and let’s pay it. Let’s love everyone enough to share the demands of the gospel with them. We are NOT merely presenting God as their best offer. Their best hope. They are not just inadequate in themselves. They are desperately wicked, dead, worthless, wallowing in evil desires as were we all at one time. But God is merciful. God is patient. Are you willing to love Jesus and your neighbor enough to be hated? If not, then you should ask yourself if you really do know Him!
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.