So, I was reading an article by Michael Brown this morning over at Charisma News.
He is remarking over what seems to be a trend toward immorality (or attitudes/actions contrary to a Biblical worldview) in our country. Citing statistics from a recent Gallup poll, Michael makes an interesting case when you consider attitudes toward such things as gay/lesbian relations (ie: sex), polygamy, sex between unmarried men and women, children born outside of marriage, etc., are rising in acceptance among Americans.
These changing attitudes have much to do with a change in understanding about the word “tolerance”.
Back in the day, it meant you might hold opposing views about religion, moral views, etc., but you still maintained respect for the individual with whom you disagreed. That definition has been (subtly) changed over the last twenty years. Now, using the word “tolerance” means you must agree with every religious, moral, or social belief as being “right” or “true”—and to hold onto anything which smacks of dissension toward the popular moral/social view of said “true belief” is considered “intolerant” and “hateful”.
This is translating into a (growing) opinion of disdain and repudiation for those who maintain what is fast becoming the non-standard (IE: Biblical) worldview.
Which is perhaps why another article I read this morning (referencing how Christians leave a lot unspoken about their faith outside of Sunday church meetings) seemed rather poignant. Let’s face it. It’s easier to be “not too religious” or “spiritual but not religious” with friends, coworkers, or family with whom we may not agree when it comes to topics of popular morality, faith, or belief. Reading these two (separate) articles, it’s easy to see the correlation.
When people are unwilling to take a stand or speak their (Bible based) opinion in their personal sphere of influence for fear of disapproval or finger pointing accusations, the majority opinion is the one which (ultimately) becomes the rule. In fact, it’s easy to see how a Christian may be persuaded, perhaps, to alter their understanding of the issues as “outdated”, needing to bend to the will of society.
The problem is not what’s going on in culture. Not really.
We cannot expect people who hold no value to the word of God to conduct their lives according to His purpose if they’ve not yielded their lives to Him. We who honor scripture cannot hold those who do not know or claim Him as Lord to the same standard of righteousness or morality as a brother or sister in Christ. Well, we shouldn’t anyway. We must share the truth. Point to the sin in this world which we all share and the solution God provides through Jesus Christ. But we should not judge those outside the church with the same standard as those within the church.
No. What I see as the problem is how this slide toward ” immorality” in our culture is becoming accepted as normal by those who call themselves Christian or claim to be the church. How what scripture has to say about these issues is being “re-interpreted” or ignored altogether by people who want society’s approval rather than bow to God’s holy standard.
As a result, we are seeing Christians are unwilling to hold other Christians accountable for cheating on their spouses. Couples living with their partner before marriage. Divorce is higher among couples in the church than among secular couples. Television, books, and movies are doing more to inform the minds and hearts of Christians than scripture in many instances.
True, it can be difficult to stand alone.
There have been more times than I can remember I’ve held my tongue rather than risk “offending” someone with what the Bible says when it comes to a “hot button issue”. It’s so difficult to be the one in a group (whether a family, work, or myriad other social situations) who has the dissenting (and unpopular) view.
—Try bringing up Fifty Shades of Gray in a large group of (Christian) women and point out how this type of pornography (yes, it is) is detrimental to a marriage relationship. I’m just sayin—
Yet, if we are going to profess to follow Jesus Christ, well, we have to be willing to trust God, and His word, over what our contemporaries have to say. We have to be willing to be unpopular when we are talking about what is the truth. Personally, I’m still working with that one myself. Even so, the reality for me as a Christian remains. Who’s approval do I seek? If the answer is anything other than God, I have some serious thinking to do about whom I (truly) serve.
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT