Christians: Culture Warts or Faithful Servants? (Part I)
According to recent polls, most young people “have graded Christianity, and so far, the grades aren’t looking good.” Young believers do not want the name “Christian” because of “the baggage that accompanies the label.”
We all have baggage, but there is something very fishy going on here. Why is the most ethical, humane movement in two thousand years of Western history now covered in abject shame? Christianity has become “unchristian.”
Much of the malaise of the young is due to the culture’s intimidating opposition to the biblical world and life view, which sees Christianity as the great obstacle to a better human future. This pressure produces various reactions:
- Silence is a virtue: Campus ministries, mission organizations, large sections of the Evangelical church are hospitals for the hurting, but their mouths are closed;
- Deeds not creeds: avoid hot button issues. Christians invent a non-offensive Gospel, limiting their witness to “missional” socio-economic and environmental issues;
- Cultural approval: Opposition will disappear if the church down-plays law, sin, the Cross, and personal salvation;
- The Right Label: Jesus followers, not “Christians”;
- Cultural adaptation: absorb the culture’s good, life-enhancing, progressive agenda; stop trying to save souls.
In the meantime, while our hearts may be warm, we are losing our voice, which is just what the godless culture ordered!
Liberals have been saying this for years. Lloyd Geering, an apostate Presbyterian of the last generation, states:
Christianity…needs to be seen not as something eternally fixed but as an ever-changing and developing process. The modern secular world is all part of that evolving process.
Main-line churches, faced with a dramatic loss of members and funds, in the words of one journalist, have undertaken “a great experiment to redefine [themselves] through an intense engagement with the surrounding secular world…to blur the boundaries between religion and the broader society.”
Why is Christianity so unpopular now?
The most satisfactory answer, in my opinion, is the documented fact that influential segments of the culture have recently converted in one form or another to religious paganism and have thus abandoned the fundamental worldview notions of orthodox Christianity. The younger Christian generation faces the enormous danger of allowing the culture to throw out our baby with their “baggage.”
It is crucial to understand the deeply anti-Christian origins of the present culture.
Among the first signs of this pagan conversion was the New Age movement (1960s–90s), which has matured into today’s progressive “New Spirituality.” Now the old hippies are joined by millions of ordinary, middle-class citizens in saying, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” This common phrase needs to be decoded.
- Spiritual means “I define my own god whom I conveniently find within” (One-ism). It is authentic, and clearly good.
- Religious is a code word for the religion based on divine revelation from the outside (Two-ism). It is an external imposition and clearly bad.
The once-marginal New Age has gone mainstream under our noses.
The catalyst for our present situation is the radical, marginal movement that occurred in the Sixties—the “Cultural Revolution.” Dr. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was a radical feminist, Marxist American Historian, who taught at Harvard. In 1998, after her conversion to Roman Catholicism, and near the end of her life, she observed about the Sixties cultural revolution in which she was an enthusiastic participant: “within a remarkably brief period …has occurred a cataclysmic transformation of the very nature of our society.” As a historian, with a front row seat, she recognized that there was nothing “normal” about the Sixties cataclysmic transformation. In other words, the “new normal” is not normal.
The rising generation may not know the historical details, but the soul of this “progressive” view of life and the culture it spawned are profoundly opposed to historic Christianity. It is foolhardy to expect our culture to approve the Christian faith, when it was created with the very intention to eliminate that faith. More often than not, when the culture “approves” of a Christian action, that action is probably “unChristian.”
If you want to know the thinkers who mentored the “influential segments of the Sixties culture” you will have to wait for the next Inside/Out!
Suffice it to say for now that the origins of the present culture plunge deep into the occult, while its future projects include the silencing of Two-ist Christianity altogether. It can only be countered by courageous Christian believers from this rising generation who are willing to engage the revolutionary intellectual “strongholds,” the “arguments and “lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God,” in order to “take every thought captive to obey Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) with “transformed minds” (Romans 12:2) by understanding and imitating “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Just do it!