Navigation key

The Article Archives
Topic: COMMENTARIES

The Culture War is Over: We Lost!

February 11, 2008
S. Michael Craven
tweet this  share this on facebook  



I have come to face this possibility along with its implications, most recently while reading the new book by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons entitled unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why it Matters. In the book, Jud Wilhite, a pastor in Las Vegas says just that, “In Las Vegas, where I live, the culture war is over. We lost. Let me repeat: WE LOST. Now our calling is to love and accept people one-on-one, caring for them where they are. Our role is subversive as we carry the light and love of Jesus into the casinos, clubs, and streets of our city.” (Kinnaman & Lyons, unChristian, Baker Books, 2007, p. 62)  

A recent conversation on the subject of cloning with my good friend, a philosophy professor, further underscores the moral and cultural defeat of the Church in the West. My friend, who must remain anonymous due to the risk of exposure as a Christian, which would likely cost him tenure, also teaches medical ethics at a major medical school. He points out, radical new frontiers are being explored and old moral and ethical boundaries are being challenged and/or obliterated almost daily within the field of medical science. He argues that modern science is rapidly moving beyond therapy and treatment to “enhancement” and the alteration of human nature itself. He adds that scientific progress into the morally ambiguous areas of human cloning, nanobiotechnology, and neurosciences has achieved such a level that any hope of stopping it at this point is nearly futile.

What he, like the pastor from Las Vegas, argues for is that the current conditions are such that the Church cannot remain in the simple posture of opposition to these issues. The time for preliminary debate has passed and the Christian philosophical contribution was either absent or under-represented. Thus, a new strategy must be considered if we want to have any participation in the discussion from this point forward. Otherwise, we simply will not have a place at the table.   

Clearly, we have seen what seems to be the perpetual erosion of morality and ethics in this culture. Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for more than 30 years now and while abortions are down and opposition to abortion is on the increase, there still seems to be little political or popular will to once-again criminalize abortion. Homosexuality is for the most part widely accepted and if the attitudes of the next generation remain as they are; the present opposition to same-sex marriage will not remain much longer. A higher percentage of children than ever are being born out-of-wedlock in this country and the future of traditional marriage is in grave doubt.

Add to this the growing anti-Christian spirit—much of which emanates from the public battles over these very issues, i.e. the culture wars—and the hope of Christian cultural transformation seems bleak to say the least. More importantly, our present approach to cultural engagement may be hindering the greater mission of Church. Suffice it to say that these factors have caused me to wrestle deeply with my own life and ministry. Am I doing the right thing in the right way? Does what I am doing draw people toward Christ or push them away?

It is not that I am giving up, certainly not! It is merely that I want to understand how best to engage the culture. The world is changing and so much of our current approach may rest on the idea that there still remains a Christian consensus on morality and ethics—that the Christian interpretation of reality is still welcome in the public square. Generally speaking, I am not sure this is the case today. Granted there are “pockets” of Christian consensus but the halls of power and the commanding heights of culture appear generally and emphatically unChristian in their philosophy. If that is true, then we must consider the changing cultural context and adjust our approach to cultural engagement.

I am not suggesting compromise of any kind. I am merely suggesting that the current cultural conditions may be closer to those of the early Church than our grandparents. Our brothers and sisters in the first and second centuries did not labor under a “christianized” culture—quite the contrary—and yet their testimony transformed the world.

They did not mobilize politically, they couldn’t. They had no voice in government. They did not control the educational institutions of their day. Information was strictly controlled by the Roman authorities and any opposing perspectives were quickly and decisively crushed. The moral and ethical consensus was in stark contrast to Christian virtues. Culturally speaking, the Roman world was brutal and completely lacking in compassion. There was nothing socially conducive to the Church and her mission in the world. Sound familiar?

Nonetheless, our first and second century brothers and sisters “lived such good lives” that the unbelieving world could not help but take notice. In the book of Acts we are given some insight into the life and impact of the early Church. What we see is a picture of a “new” people that stood out from the rest of the world and what distinguished them first was their love for one another. They reflected something unprecedented in the Roman world: real and authentic community where people were caring for others and they were of “one heart and soul.” From there this love spread to those outside the faith as the Lord “added to their number day by day.” By contrast, we often appear indifferent, judgmental, radically individualized and intractably divided.

I believe we must continue to speak truth to the culture, especially while we still can. Justin Martyr, the first Christian apologist, labored to commend the Christian faith to the second century Roman authorities, which ultimately cost him his life. However, I also think the present conditions necessitate new ways of thinking if we hope to preserve the opportunity to share the story of Jesus.

In other words, I don’t want to be identified by what I am against but rather what I am for: the kingdom of Christ. I want my apologetic efforts to point people to Christ and not merely the preservation of Christian morality. Preserving Christian morality and ethics will not necessarily lead to Christian conversions but conversion to Christianity will most assuredly lead to true moral perspectives and cultural transformation. I pray I never get this backwards!

© 2008 by S. Michael Craven

Back to Top

Responses
Response from : Doug  

February 11, 2008 1:43 PM
 

You mention, "the halls of power and the commanding heights of culture appear generally and emphatically unChristian in their philosophy"

You are absolutely correct. The real problem is the total vacuum of any culture philosophy that is Christian. This gap has left a huge void for the unChristians to have their way. It is not so much that they took over but that Christians failed to engage society with Godly wisdom. The church by-and-large thought that being salt & light in society was an either/or command. When the church lost its saltiness, society began to trample it under foot as should be expected according to Matthew 5:13. The fact is that the church has NO cultural philosophy nor a medical practice philosophy nor a political philosophy, etc. etc. What we are left with are humanist philosophies and a vacancy for religious philosophies. In the so-called modern world, Great Britain and France are experiencing the filling of that religious vacancy with Islamic mandates. And so far, they have no answer for it and the church there has not responded.

I am leading a men’s small group studying the book “Fit Bodies Fat Minds – Why Evangelicals Don’t Think And What To Do About It”. Though it is out of print, it is available used at such places as Amazon for about $10 including shipping. I recommend this anyone desiring knowledge on how we got into this mess. Contrary to what many assume, it didn’t happen in the 20th century.


 
Response from : Philip Dyck  

February 11, 2008 1:45 PM
 

Amen and amen brother. The church has always been more effective when it is subversive than when it has lead the culture. But we must keep in mind that the Church will prevail against the gates of Hell, because it is His Church. May we be salt and light.


 
Response from : Sgt_Z_Squad  

February 11, 2008 2:03 PM
 

Mike-
Right on. I look at Christ and he was the very antithesis of the society of that day, both religious and secular. Yet you see him butt heads with the leaders, calling them to account and still healing, and reaching out to the weak.

As our society follows that of the Roman Empire, it is my mission to be a light in the dark, a beacon for the lost, a friend to the rejected, and a map to those searching for the answer;through the help of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote Timothy from his prison: " Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:12-15)

May we all run the good race to the end, in Jesus's name.


 
Response from : Wayne  

February 11, 2008 2:04 PM
 

With all due respect, I think you have defined the so-called "culture war" in too limited a fashion and then conceded defeat because a few outposts have been overrun. The big gripe against evangelicals at the turn of the 20th century was they hunkered down and avoided the spheres of influence God placed at their doorstep. It appears you are doing the same by rejecting our call to love others but to also fight institutional wickedness with everything we've got. Having visited Dachau and seen how the townspeople avoided what was plainly in sight, I am motivated to continue the good fight lest it happen again. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pacifist, found himself at the same crossroads and ultimately chose to aid the attempt on Hitler's life. While we are not to that point, the principle remains- we are called to be vigilant as well as loving.


 
Response from : Patrick  

February 11, 2008 2:07 PM
 

There is much to commend about your article. But there also seem to be some potential dangers as well.

First, my fear is that in the name of "reaching the lost," we will in some way lend tacit approval to their moral choices. I believe I already see evidence of this in the post-evangelical and emergent church movements.

Second, there is a justice issue at stake in many of the "culture war" issues, at least if we define culture war broadly, beyond mere politics. I believe that our society really has embraced a culture of death - and that this is not the way to human flourishing, regardless of whether one is a Christian or not. Therefore, I believe we must continue to make the case for a more fully human and humane way of life. This is a cultural issue, not simply a political bean-counting approach.

Therefore, I believe that, in a broad sense, we must continue our culture war, even if we continually lose. It is part of the prophetic mantle of church. Somehow, the early church shamed the pagans into stopping the exposure of infants, and I'm not sure I believe that it was by simply converting a sufficient number of them.


 
Response from : Ken Quick  

February 11, 2008 2:07 PM
 

Michael, you hit the nail on the head when you said that the west today is more like the first century society than our parents'. If it were not for the remaining vestiges of Christian traditions and values (still present only because they're not recognized for their Christian origins), we would be indistinguishable from Roman and Greek 'civilization'. We got here because somewhere in our past Christian men began to fail in their primary calling as husbands and fathers, raising their children (more than 1.2 of them) "in the way they should go". Think about it. If we and (all) our fathers, grandfathers etc. had been faithful, would we have gotten where we are today. However, we, just like the jews of the old testament turned away from God and He is now visiting His judgement upon us. On a cultural level I believe we have lost because we don't stand out from our unbelieving neighbours. But as things get worse (e.g. euthanasia due to inadequate health care funding, infantacide, pedophilia etc.), true Christians will once again stand out as we minister to the sick, the orphans, the widows and each other (i.e. by your love for one another they will know you). As individual Christian men today we should stop neglecting our role as Godly husbands and fathers pursuing our "big callings". Once we transform our families, they will once again transform our societies. God started with the family, we should too.


 
Response from : James Goddard  

February 11, 2008 2:09 PM
 

We Lost!

Hi Michael,

I'm just finishing up UnChristian myself and still trying to reconcile the born-again/evangelical dichotomy, as well as the apparent inability of the Church to distinguish itself from the world. Perhaps "Postmodern Christian" should be added to the categorizing? I sympathize with the emergents- their problem with evangelical business as usual. We seem to think that we will eradicate sin from our culture with or without Jesus, and we're MUCH better at hating the sin than we are at loving the sinner. We're focused on abortion and same-sex issues while virtually ignoring divorce, materialism, gluttony, etc. Fat, divorced, rich Christians are shaking their moralizing fingers at homosexuals, then say something cute like, "I'm not perfect, just saved." I don't always agree, but I get their point. Yet stepping aside for same-sex marriage and abortion so that we not turn off people to Jesus is a repugnant thought to me. Am I wrong? We have a say and, as you pointed out, the early Christians did not. For Christians, perhaps that is not all bad? GK Chesterton was once asked to write an article addressing What's Wrong with the World. If I were asked to write an article on What's Wrong with the Church, I just might respond as he did:

I am.

Sincerely,
JP Goddard


 
Response from : Lisa Fijal  

February 11, 2008 2:14 PM
 

I too am tired of being against practically everything at this point. Besides it's very discouraging and wearisome. I know my children are tired of hearing me judge and complain. Enough time has been spent assessing the situation. The only thing to do is boldly speak the truth and love and serve.
All Christians should be familiar with early church history. I studied and taught it this year teaching in a homeschool co-op and I'm sorry I didn't know it sooner. It's deeply inspiring.
I've also come to believe it's almost impossible to leave our children in public schools these days and expect they'll come through without too much damage. We must thoroughly train up the next generation in the truth so they see clearly and won't allow the line between good and evil to be blurred.


 
Response from : Celie Dean  

February 11, 2008 2:14 PM
 

What a compelling, frightening, truthful article! I recently saw the movie, "Charlie Wilson's War", and came away so unnerved at the whole political process that the thought came to me---"no wonder we, as a nation, can still murder unborn children. It's not one party vs. the other party--it truly is a cultural divide. And I've spent the last several weeks wrestling with "How Then Shall I Live"? in this world. As a follower of Christ; as someone who passionately wants to see people know Him, and love Him, because He first loved us. You're article is like water flowing in the desert. Thank you.


 
Response from : Scott  

February 11, 2008 4:47 PM
 

I agree that our challenge is to witness to those around us showing God's unfailing love. Part of the challenge is the Church has hurt itself over the past 50 years or so with denominational infighting and bad behavior. A friend of mine who seeks truth but is not a Christian told me that his goal is to protect his kids from the "religious right". He points out that those in the Church are quick to judge others and then display sinful behavior at many levels. He even stated to me, "This
world needs what Jesus preached. Love and understanding." I believe what he is looking for is authenticity and commitment in a person's relationship with Christ. That is what the early Church had and what we need to improve on. As I was praying about this, the scriptures came to mind where Jesus rebuked the religious leaders and showed pure compassion to the sinners while telling them to "go and sin no more". In my mind, that is the careful balance we must achieve -- loving everyone and pointing them to God's better path.


 
Response from : Chip Burkitt  

February 11, 2008 4:59 PM
 

"Preserving Christian morality and ethics will not necessarily lead to Christian conversions but conversion to Christianity will most assuredly lead to true moral perspectives and cultural transformation."

I would argue in fact that preserving Christian morality and ethics (as an end in itself) would actually hinder the advance of God's kingdom by producing a fine crop of hypocrites. This was exactly what had happened in Jesus' day: the Pharisees were keeping ritual purity laws but neglecting the mercy, compassion, and justice. No where is the irony more pointed than in the gospel of John where we are told that the Jewish leaders intent on crucifying Jesus were unwilling to defile themselves by entering Pilate's palace.


 
Response from : Bill Newby  

February 11, 2008 5:29 PM
 

Your response to our having lost the culture war is in your usual sensitive style. Thank you for trying to relate to honest questions among those without Christian faith.

The important thing in my mind is that we remember that we cannot save a culture... only a life. Perhaps the reason we have so miserably failed in converting a culture is that we are ill equipped to do that.

The church has always suffered backsliding when prospering materially. When we discovered we might have some political power we immediately started handling such power the way the world does.

Having lost the culture war is sort of embarrassing... but the Gospel is unchanged and if we can get it unhampered with our stuff it works well.

Be encouraged to continue to give good answers to those who have no faith. But don't worry about converting the culture. Jesus is trying to build a church!

http://crownpointechurch.com

 
Response from : Colin Cody  

February 11, 2008 7:07 PM
 

The truth is that we lost the culture war long before I was born in 1934. That happened only a few years after Charles G. Finney's death in 1876. Finney turned this nation and culture upside down for Christ by rediscovering and preaching first century truth about the nature of genuine biblical salvation and the walk of pure motive. The "Spirit of Truth" must have real biblical truth preached in purity of motive before he can bring the kind of bone rattling revival one reads about in "The Memoirs of Charles G. Finney." The "church" today has no clue. That is why our culture rejects us. They intuit that our theologians, our pastors and our evangelists have nothing authentic to say about the fundamental nature of biblical Christian faith. We are in such deep apostasy at all levels that God cannot bless us without fighting against his own truth and his own kingdom--and that he will never do. Until we are willing to get serious about understanding the nature of God, the nature of salvation, the nature of the Christian life and all things related to worship, our downward spiral will continue unabated and our nation will come under increasing judgment from God.


 
Response from : Dave Kuni  

February 11, 2008 7:24 PM
 

Jesus ministered to sinners but not in the context of their sins. He ate with drunkards, etc. but he did not go bar hooping with them. Our real challenge is to be salt and light while maintaining our proper separation from the ills of this world (see Eph 5:11). I don't have to go to Casinos to minister to the people in the casino's. There are many public and morally nuetral ways to do so. Perhaps even at a public water well (John 4). We don't have to pretend to be like them to minister to them.


 
Response from : Carla Himpelmann  

February 11, 2008 7:48 PM
 

Thank you for your honesty. I grew weary of the negativity of our Christian culture in the public forum several years ago and gave up letter writing and phone calls to politicians for the most part about the same time. I was worried that I was struggling with apathy but your comments and reflections mirror my own completely. I have quit worrying about the whole country and limit most of my concerns to those I can personally touch with the love of Christ. May God give you a clear vision of how to minister according to your new revelation. Blessings, Carla


 
Response from : Linda Thompson  

February 11, 2008 8:16 PM
 

I agree with you. As a public school teacher in an elementary school I see first hand the absence of knowledge about God among my second graders. Fewer and fewer each year know anything about church. If they attend church it is usually on some kind of bus ministry, not with their parents. The generations coming up could very well be completely Godless without a change in our attitudes toward the lost. We must either reach out and show the love Jesus showed to others or face a society that leaves the church completely out, somewhat like the Soviet Union did many years ago.


 
Response from :  

February 11, 2008 9:36 PM
 

By contrast, we often appear indifferent, judgmental, radically individualized and intractably divided.
...
In other words, I don't want to be identified by what I am against but rather what I am for: the kingdom of Christ. I want my apologetic efforts to point people to Christ and not merely the preservation of Christian morality. Preserving Christian morality and ethics will not necessarily lead to Christian conversions but conversion to Christianity will most assuredly lead to true moral perspectives and cultural transformation. I pray I never get this backwards!

Lord I ask in your name that you strengthen this man and his team, even his church Jesus, with your world impacting plans, that they will imapct this world-not according the flesh disguised in "light,"but their strategies and their voice wll have true power being Your very own. He asks that he does not get it wrong. Holy Spirit, lead us aright when our minds are being conditioned to the pattern of this world, but thank you God! for transforming our minds and our hearts. We ask and we belive for "greater works than these." In Jesus name


 
Response from : Robert Eustace  

February 11, 2008 11:41 PM
 

Psalm 94:16 asks, "Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?". I agree with your call for new ways of thinking. But there will always be within the believer a cry for justice that emanates from the Son of God Himself within our hearts. Speaking up for the cause of the unborn, the needy, the exploited, the persecuted... is it possible NOT to engage and still be salt and light, and still please Christ? The very fact that the elect engage, even when the fire is heated up seven times hotter" may itself be our witness, when our opinion is no longer welcome. Of course any engagement, subtle or bloody, is most effective when one has spent time speaking to God about men, before speaking to men about God.
Luke 18:1-8. In this passage the widow's pesky perseverance brings justice from a reluctant pagan judge, and Christ promises swift answers to the elect's prayers in the last days. I think He would not disapprove of persistent lobbying for just causes, however politically incorrect. Yes let us not neglect evangelism (by all means and in all seasons), because ultimate justice is won when a soul is delivered from the power of darkness into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. (My prayer is that I would truly practice what I've just written, lest I myself be disqualified from being a true partaker of the Gospel of Christ; I Cor 9:23-27).


 
Response from : Ken Quick  

February 12, 2008 9:20 AM
 

To Colin Cody:

While I agree with your comments about the state of the church today, I must take issue with your views on Charles Finney. He was a heretic and the 'christ' he preached was not the Christ of the Bible. Instead of first century Christianity he preached the 4th century Pelagian heresy. Finney obtained ordination under false pretenses and set about to teach a doctrine devised largely in his own mind. He denied not just traditional reformed views, but basic protestant tenants such as original sin and man's subsequent fallen nature, and "salvation by grace alone through faith alone". You aren't a true Christian if you don't believe those. A good article on this man can be found at http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/finney.htm

Yes he 'turned the nation and culture upside down', but by pointing them to a false christ that appeals to the flesh.


 
Response from : TK  

February 12, 2008 11:36 AM
 

View from the secular seats…
I am saddened to hear that your friend can not identify his philosophy in an educational institution. I am not a Christian, but I do not support any exclusions based on ones belief system. Assuming that a belief system does not in any way hinder the transfer of knowledge.
Why does the secular world dislike religion so much? Religions seems to give the impression they are the creators and owners (or their God is) of morals, ethics, and things such as marriage. The rest of the world has a completely different opinion on this.
Before JFK was elected there was a very careful scrutiny of his philosophy/theology. He had to publicly declare that his religious beliefs would in no way influence is political opinions or presidential agenda. Today of course we have a President who has completely gone the other way. And in my opinion, has done more to harm the perception of the Christian faith than to help it. I honestly believe there will be a serious “cleaning of the house” once Bush is out of office.
When religious belief systems try to influence public policy they will run head first into science, logic and analytical philosophies that not only do not support most religious beliefs but are in direct opposition to them. Faith may be required to believe in religious teachings; it is not required to build a thriving society.
If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion, open up channels of dialog. Ask question when having discussions with those of us in the secular world. Telling someone they are wrong without providing evidence that you are right, is the quickest way of losing an argument. If you believe that marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman or that cloning is unethical, that is your prerogative. When you tell someone else that they must follow your “rule” is where most fail. Give us arguments based on facts, not beliefs, and then I believe the world may be willing to listen.
Peace
TK
If you care to read an article on research into morality…
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?emc=eta1


 
Response from : Thomas Peck  

February 12, 2008 2:49 PM
 

We need to realize that transforming a culture is about that 1:1 change that comes from repentance and salvation.
It is NOT about winning elections, passing laws, nor governing. The worst thing that happened to the church was when it became the offical religion of Rome. Christianity flourishes where it is oppressed the most. God is like that. It is about Him being in control and maybe that is where we need to put our energies and resources.


 
Response from : John Freyler  

February 12, 2008 6:48 PM
 

Michael,
I have come to agree with your assessment of the culture and to agree with your solution to lesson the proclamation and increase the demonstration of our love for people.

This philosophy of ministry has been successfully implemented with hundreds of transformed individuals, congregations, groups, and even villages in over 20 countries over the past 10 yrs. Those that have championed and implemented this wholistic ministry which ministers the whole counsel of God's word by first teaching to all staff a biblical worldview are Darrow Miller of Disciple Nation Alliance www.disciplnations.org and Dr.Bob Moffitt of Harvest Foundation. This means they simultaneously minister to all of the basic needs of people, that is, they minister not only to their spiritual needs but their physical and social needs also. Read Miller's book Discipling Nations or Moffitt's book If Jesus Were Mayor for a complete description of their philosophy and the resulting transforming power of God at work. I think what you are proposing already has been successfully applied off shore and should be aggressively pursued in US churches. We at SES are attempting to promote BWV in US churches and would like to indentify other ministries that share this goal.

John Freyler, Center For The Promotion of Biblical Worldview.
Southern Evangelical Seminary


 
Response from : David Luke  

February 12, 2008 6:49 PM
 

Very well written, your article organizes some thoughts I have had before. I am part of a new church in Irvine Ca called Pacific Pointe that has a basic of "Love God, Love People" and that "Everyone has a Story". By finding out about peoples story first and taking an interest in their lives, Christians can reach out to the people that occupy their everyday lives: the line at the bank, the donut store, the carwash. Instead of holding up signs of "John 3:16" and bragging about being born again, we need to reach out and be part of the solution, not the problem.


 
Response from : Michael Hale  

February 13, 2008 8:39 AM
 

As a growing minister and retired soldier, I have observed and long believed that Christian morals and methodology have become repulsive or "simply inconvenient" to the prevailing culture.

It is well to continue to move with hope, but we must strengthen what we can and strive to reach the hearts we are graced to have audience with through wisdom and witness.

Thank you for your diligence and work.
By His Grace...
mh


 
Response from : David Erik Jones  

February 13, 2008 8:51 AM
 

I agree with this article; we have lost the culture war. But we are not hopeless. We Christains can take advantage of the moral decay around us, if we will live out the commands of Christ. We are called to be loving, pure, honest, giving, and long-suffering. As a pastor, I am heart broken over the condition of our churches, our families, and Christians in general. Our lukewarm hearts are evident because we no longer stand out; in general Christians look just like the rest of our society. We (Christians) need to repent, to cry out to God, and to choose to obey His commands. Until we do, we will not be lights of hope in this dark world. When we are finally broken before Him as individuals and as congregations, we will see revival and a new generation that is set apart. God is looking for people who are broken hearted and willing to follow Him.


 
Response from : John Gould  

February 13, 2008 9:32 AM
 

Thank you for your reminder that we are for Christ, not just against unchristian views. We were never commanded to change the world, but to be faithful and obedient in the power of the Spirit...to live in hope and joy, not grumbling or complaining, but serving. I, too, pray that this will be our conspicuous testimony to those around us. Thanks again and may the grace, mercy and peace of Christ be with you. jg


 
Response from : Alberto Ferrá  

February 13, 2008 9:24 PM
 

Very good article. It describes the times we are living and how the Church most react to it.


 
Response from : Gary Warren  

February 14, 2008 11:21 AM
 

Please read Take The Risk by Dr. Ben Carson and you will see the approach we use to convey our faith can allow us to address the culture.


 
Response from : ROBIN  

February 14, 2008 12:32 PM
 

The early church was noted for their love, often demonstrated by how they took care of each other, met each others needs, prayed for one another, took care of the orphans and widows. Today, much of the church is competing, so to speak, with state and federal govenments to do these things, therefore, many would rather rely on the government than the church. They don't have to change their behavior that way.


 
Response from : Rick  

February 15, 2008 8:57 PM
 

Great article - you've spoken what I've been saying for a couple of years now. Of necessity, we are becoming more like the early church. And your perspective is encouraging: it may be a good thing!


 
Response from : Will  

February 15, 2008 9:00 PM
 

Quite a spate of well-reasoned, intelligent responses to this topic. Most of the posts have covered the ground that I would otherwise have covered, so I'll keep it brief.

First, as several have said, the real issue in the near-eradication of Christianity from the culture at almost every level is that this was caused NOT by a well-organized, militant secularism (though such most definitely exists) but rather by the gross apostasy of the organized professing "church". While the most obvious manifestations of this came with the Baby Boomers after World War II, the truth is that the seeds of what we now call secularism or secular humanism were sown much earlier. In his book "Slouching Towards Gomorrah", Robert Bork argues that the real roots of postmodern, ultraliberal secularism are to be found in mid-19th century philosophers such as John Stuart Mill; I would personally trace the origins back about 50 years earlier to France and to the French Revolution. Darwin, Marx, Hegel, and the Fabian Socialists---that is, the systematic social and philosophical secular revolutionaries who actually planned the particulars of our downfall---came two generations later.

In any event, the point is that the rot which led to our near-total defeat and eviction from the public "arena of ideas" was already well-advanced for more than a century prior to the 1960s.

I take great comfort in knowing that God was not fooled by the generation of churchianity ultraphonies that actively participated in our defeat. No, they didn't start it. But they did finish it. Okay, we get it now. You won. For the time being. You won't get away with it, even if those of us who have suffered no end of grief from a dysfunctional, apostate, and abusive pseudochurch have no comfort in the here and now. But we have the comfort of the martyrs in Revelation who---even in heaven!---cry out to God for vengeance for their shed blood. All those who sold us down the river will get theirs in the end. His justice will prevail.

But I echo my brothers and sisters on this site who cry for a renewed commitment to first century Christianity---which, in fact, was almost completely on the outside looking in when it comes to the corridors of power, public discourse, political policy, and so on. His truth really is marching on, and it is no surprise to Him that things have come to this and that we are the ones who are alive to see it. May we prove faithful to the end as our first fathers were, and may He be glorified in the process.

http://www.williamjpellas.com

 
Response from : Will  

February 15, 2008 9:05 PM
 

PS The title of this article reminds me a great deal of a line from the TV series "Battlestar Galactica". It goes like this: "The war is over. The battle for humanity has just begun."

Quite apropos from where I'm sitting.

Keep up the great work.

http://www.williamjpellas.com

 
Response from : Itamar Pannflek  

February 16, 2008 2:46 PM
 

Dear fellow Christian,

For one part it is certainly true. Here in The Netherlands (Europe) it is worse. What I want to add is that we must unite as Christians with one heart, soul , Spirit and vision.
The enemy used the strategy "Divide and Conquer" on the church and a lot of us are not rising to meet Jesus when he comes back. We are so busy getting distracted with what's happening around us that we don't have time or the will to take it to the Lord in prayer. Our first and second century brethren were a praying church. That kept them in the word and the word in them. WE MUST START FIGHTING THE BATTLE. The real battle is not lost but won by Jesus on the cross let's save all that we can by praying for their salvation. I will keep you in my prayer and please keep me in your.

Your brother in Christ
Itamar Panneflek


 
Response from : sharon harris  

February 16, 2008 2:47 PM
 

Christianity has been practiced in ways that profited man and not GOD, so converting one to christianity doesn't always reflect the mission of JESUS THE CHRIST upon the earth. HIS mission was to preach repentance of personal sin and and for us to live a holy life as HE said, "Be ye holy, for I AM holy." HE accomplished the fruits of repentance by HIS atonement on the cross providing forgiveness of our sin, and the ability to live free of the bondages and death of devasting sin by the power of the Holy Spirit that HE promised to all who believe.So we must preach repentance and deliverance from sin,( not conforming to the world by redefining sin ) so as to escape its ravages upon our lives and upon our childrens lives to the third and fourth generation, and to deliver us from the second death which is eternal.


 
Response from : Robin Monroe  

February 16, 2008 5:30 PM
 

I enjoyed reading your article but I see the problem it is perhaps far worse than being a post Christian Nation. I think that generally speaking most churches in America today are "post Christian" churches. We are no longer a people set apart. The doors have been thrown open wide and the church has generally "gone the way of the world" in hopes of attracting more people to it. There is little that sets most Christians apart today. Our pews are filled with woman having babies out of wedlock - at pretty much the same rate as society as a whole. Just as many Christian women are having abortions because the timing of a baby isn't convenience - or worse - they don't want anyone to know that they are single and sleeping around. No longer do we preach "be ye Holy as I am Holy" or "God HATES divorce." Every week yet another Christian minister or politician is exposed for fraud, corruption or immorality. Even the majority of people sitting in pews on Sunday feel that the majority of believers are hypocrites, it is no surprise that non-believers feel this way. To many people think if they answer an altar call and ask forgiveness of some sin they have committed that they have done their part. What happened to true repentance? The going and "Sin no more." If you know that it is wrong once, it is certainly wrong the twentieth time and at that point it has long sense become learned behavior and the asking of forgiveness has lost its power. Frankly, we need to worry less about preaching a message that feels good, and preach the stark truth and be willing for the chaff to simply blow away. Then and only then will we know the real condition of the church.


 
Response from : Andy Gerhary  

February 18, 2008 1:14 PM
 

What a radical idea - being light and salt, yeast in the leaven and a small seed that grows into a big tree. You know,it just might work. :) Thanks for reminding us of the way of our Lord.


 
Response from : Joe Killian  

February 19, 2008 9:28 AM
 

I guess i can understand your discouragement, but as you said the first century Christians changed the world. Who knows what the Lord has in store for this lost country. Regardless, we must perservere and trust that He is in control!


 
Response from : Fred Walker  

February 21, 2008 9:39 AM
 

You make it sound so bleak. Almost as if, possibly God had not prepared for this very situation. If nothing else echos that we're right on track...well this does. God is not surprised, so don't you be surprised...it's right on schedule I don't mean to insult you in any way..I really don't know you, but what I do know is this matches "Last Days" word for word in the New Testament...to coin a phrase "By George, I think he got it!" Please tell the rest of the story. If you don't, our future, the future of all mankind seems dark. The bible says, When we hear or wars and rumors of war not to fear...behold our, yes our redemption draws near. Simply put it's called conformation...but that's for non believers. You are a believer, aren't you?


 
Response from : Jean  

February 21, 2008 8:24 PM
 

Jesus Christ spoke of love as the greatest command for a good life. If we love and care for one another all other issues are in God's hands.

I know so many people who have turned away from God and Church because of the exlusiveness of self righteous Christian elitists. Today more than ever, people need to be heard, to be loved, to be cared about. The humane equation is void in our daily lives.

God is in control And He has a plan. Abortion and homosexuality are within God's domain to repair. It is our job to offer care and understanding to those who feel abortion is their only option. We must love and care about our homosexual children, brothers and sisters.
No one Wants to have an abortion. Great pain is carried with that decision. No one wants to be gay. It is the most hated lifestyle in our culture.
It is our job to hold our hand out to those who need to be loved.


 
Response from : Rosa  

February 21, 2008 10:26 PM
 

Many ministers and churches seem to be giving up the truth that Christ has commanded HIS bride to be holy. We are to point the WAY to God, thru Christ Jesus,in a LOVING but truthfilled way. Simply show a person what the WORD says, not your own words. Let the Word of God touch their hearts as the Holy Spirit opens their eyes. We are to present the truth and love souls. We don't have to love the sin that they may be in, but love the person and they will desire to come to Christ to get that love for their own lives! God bless you!


 
Response from : richard deane  

February 22, 2008 10:35 AM
 

thank you for the article i have my self been questioning how far have we come from the first century model of chrisitanity and how it has affected or community or witness

thank you and best regards


 

Return to topics Return to articles
Back to Top

Respond to This Article

Form Authentication: 

Refresh the page if  
image does not appear  

Please enter the form validation code
you see displayed above.



Your Information:
You must include your full name. Submissions that do not include both first and last names will not be posted.

Name:

 

Email Address:

URL:

Respond to This Article:

Your comments will be reviewed and either approved or denied publication.

 

Back to Top

Navigation Key

 Return to topics
 Return to articles 
 Read article with responses 
 Respond to this article