True democracies began and continue to be guided by a consensus of the will of its people. That is the definition of democracy. What the people think and believe becomes the basis for what is done. Every day, however, Christianity becomes less of a factor in forming the consensus of thought in Western societies. Western culture has slipped its moral moorings and begun to drift on the ocean of relativity, where there is no absolute truth.
6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
In reality, we have given up without a fight. We have been slow and weak in our response to evil. We have laid down and let Satan run over us. It is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain signing the Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938 at great and tragic cost. Winston Churchill’s comments on that pact are apropos.
The people should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war…they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history…and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: ‘Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ And do not suppose this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden times.”
If you change but a few words, Churchill’s statement applies to the status of Christianity today. We too have sustained a defeat without a war. We too have passed an awful milestone in our history. The followers of Christ have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. And, I fear that the reckoning has only begun…a bitter cup proffered to us by those controlled by Satan. The only answer is REVIVAL…a recovery of moral health and martial vigor that causes us to arise again and take our stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied (so applicable today):
13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,
turning our backs on our God,
fomenting oppression and revolt,
uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The LORD looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
- A growing love of show and luxury (affluence)
- A widening gap between the very rich and the very poor
- An obsession with sex
- Freakishness in the arts masquerading as originality and creativity
- An increased desire to live off the state
Sound familiar? You’ll have to agree that, as a culture, we are traveling down the long, but well-worn road to Rome.
Francis Schaeffer, in his book, How Should We Then Live? (1976. Fleming H. Revell Company) wrote, “As the more Christian-dominated consensus weakened, the majority of people adopted two impoverished values: personal peace and affluence.” He further explained,
Personal peace means just to be left alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people, whether across the world or across the city – to live one’s life with minimal possibilities of being personally disturbed. Personal peace means wanting to have my personal life pattern undisturbed in my lifetime, regardless of what the result will be in the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren. Affluence means an overwhelming and ever-increasing prosperity – a life made up of things, things, and more things – a success judged by an ever-higher level of material abundance (p. 205).
What Schaeffer calls “personal peace” I call isolationism. How well do we know our neighbors? How much are we willing to become involved in their problems and troubles? How uncomfortable are we willing to become on the behalf of others? When it comes to possessions, when will we have enough? Will it be the best of everything in ever increasing quantities? In these two areas, it is easy to get swept up in the culture in which we live. I’ve been sucked-in and most likely so have you.
But we are Christians. To say that will become increasingly unpopular and provocative. To be a Christian in this culture means that we will become more and more different from our neighbors. But what differences? What will people see…what should they discern as they observe our Christian lifestyle? In subsequent articles, I want to call us back to a few things that distinguish us from those in the world. And, if they don’t, they should! These are characteristics that we must not relinquish, but must embrace with an ever increasing vigor, commitment and sense of purpose. Stay tuned.