Where Did We Go So Wrong? (And Other Questions in a Post-Christian Age)
Television host, writer and commentator Lauren Chen retweeted a tweet in which the original poster, stated: 'Pro-life question from young man for Beto O'Rourke at College of Charleston tonight: 'I was born September 8. Did my life have no value September 7?'
Beto: 'That's a decision that neither you nor I, not the U.S. government should be making. That's a decision for the woman to make."
To this, Chen tweeted: 'Beto says abortion literally the day before birth is a 'decision for the woman to make.' Huge cheers. Where did we go so wrong?
This is not a political post.
However, in an age in which morality has been politicized, the post intersects with politics. Politicians and social engineers and activists redefined everything from marriage to gender to the very question of 'what is life?' not to mention certain long-standing definitions of what words meant. Everything is politicized.
Control the language and the meaning of words and control the dialogue, and, then, the mind and from there.....well, here we are. Equality and tolerance and love are examples of words that now have been either subtly changed from their historic meaning, or radically changed.
The church and most American Christians were silent. There were many reasons for this silence of course. For most Christians, the 'unthinkable' things being bantered about as being wholly possible one day, seemed quite absurd. Alarmist.
'That would never happen here.'
For others, the silence was born out of syncretism. Syncretism is blending one or more belief systems. We see this all over the world in mission work. Someone may say they became a Christian and yet still practice some of their superstitious folk religion 'just to be safe.'
In the West, our syncretism was a strange mix of Christianity, consumerism, individualism, and a soft relativism and we also helped make false distinctions between the sacred and secular by creating our own evangelical sub-culture.
So, for many such Christians, when the tide was turning, the attitude could be summed up as follows: 'Well, I'm a Christian and I certainly don't support this or that, but who am I to tell others what to believe?'
Actually, we are to be about the business of making disciples and leading people into Truth, but we left such matters to politicians and activists while focusing on our own little worlds and so on .
Where did we go wrong, Chen asks?
As a culture, we went wrong when we bought the lies that we not only didn't need God, that we ourselves could play the role of god.
Without God, there are no absolutes. Nothing is sacred if everything is secular.
Without absolute truths, there are only choices and preferences.
The 21st century in America is much like 1st century Rome.
We look back at their spectacles and think, 'how could the masses gather to watch people and animals be gruesomely slaughtered for no other purpose than entertainment?'
No, our MMA or football culture is not the same. Walking those ancient steps in the Roman Colliseum and seeing the elaborate staging and intricate attention to detail to please the crowds with death is a sobering experience.
So is a crowed of people cheering an American politician calling Infanticide a 'choice.'
The ancient Romans would dump their unwanted babies and small children over the city walls to die. We are moritifed by this.
In America, we are doing much worse, only ours is out of sight and sanitized, death administered by doctors who made an oath to 'do no harm.'
How did we get here?
If there is no God then all things are permissible. Everything is changing and there is no indication the change is slowing down any time soon.
While the culture wrestles with the question 'how did we get here?' the church must wrestle with it as well.
And that starts by taking a long look in the mirror. We were silent for too long .We feared man and not God so we didn't make disciples. We bought into the parts of the Scriptures we liked and ignored the parts we didn't (if we bothered to read them at all), and we were prayerless. We turned church into an entertainment center where the primary concerns seemed to be experiencing certain spiritual emotions and a sense of safety and fun, of course, consuming potlucks while clucking our tongues and shaking our heads about 'those people out there.'
We must look at ourselves. How did WE get here?
One compromise at a time. Majoring in minors, elevating the traditions of men over the Word of God. Thinking that Christianity was somehow an invitation to experience our 'best life now.'
So many reasons.
But here we are, so what must we do? I humbly suggest:
1) Repentance and prayer. Crying out for mercy.....on our churches. On us, first.
2) Praying God would Awaken this land once more.
3)Count the costs. You will not always be liked by people who don't know Jesus. We need to rediscover the biblical theology of persecution.
4) Stop using the church and plug in and invest and build up and serve. We all need one another. Lone-rangerism in such times is spiritually perilous. Strong communities are built by people committed to loving one another, persevering with one another and pursuing Christ and the Truth of His Word. Our churches must be training grounds-and that means old patterns have to stop, ancient and good ones must be rediscovered.
5) Stand. Speak. Speak the Truth in love. Share the Gospel. Talk about Truth. Do all of this graciously.
Do you not know that the early Christians in Rome were persecuted profoundly at various times, but were known for their charity, their clarity on Truth, their care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the neglected? This is more than posting on Facebook, this is investing in some way. Each of us can.
Over time, what Rome once considered 'normal,' was seen for what it was: barbaric, inhumane.
When people discover that all are image bearers, that all of us have inherent value because of this, that life is sacred, that Christ is Lord, that absolute truth exists, that we are called to live lives of love and virtue, everything changes.
This will take time. It may be costly at times.
May God have mercy on us if we remain silent, preferring our personal preferences for comfort over the life Christ has called us to.
Grace to You,