Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are We Involved in a Culture War?

I hear it constantly, especially in the media. I'm sure you do, too.

We hear about how we in the West are involved in "a culture war." If you are in the US, especially, you know that our current President is often seen as unfriendly, even hostile, to the Christian community. Some are even speculating that he is "the Anti-Christ" and that his signature health care initiative is heralding the "Mark of the Beast" and the ushering in of The New World Order and "a one world government." Really?

Many Christians seem to be focused on two moral issues as defining evidence as proof that we are involved in what they deem as culture war against our decadent, pagan world. These two issues are abortion and homosexuality. To speak of them more positively, the focus lies on the sanctity of all human life and on marriage as being between a man and a woman. Yes, I get it. Yes, I agree with those of you, brothers and sisters in Jesus; the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, have spoken clearly on both of these. Abortion is never mentioned in Scripture, but it is clear that God sees us as people from the time we are conceived. This is clear in the Old Testament Psalm 139 and in the Gospel story of Jesus' mother Mary and cousin Elizabeth, when they met and Jesus' cousin "leapt for joy in the womb" at meeting his divine Cousin-Savior in utero. It was clear when Elizabeth called her pregnant cousin Mary "the mother of my Lord." God clearly speaks against homosexuality both in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus, in answering a question by the Pharisees, affirmed that "From the beginning, God made marriage between male and female." The homosexual lifestyle is not commended, but is condemned in the Bible. Yes, both "abortion rights" and "GBLT rights" are widely accepted in out culture and any Christian who denounces them, even in love, is considered "hateful" and "judgmental." So where does this leave those of us who really believe we are in a culture war?

We need to bear in mind that we live in a culture where most people have worldviews and value systems far different from ours. I guess that is where the term "culture war" comes from. But should we focus on fighting some culture war? It is true that we are commanded to not love the world system and its ways because love for culture is incompatible with loving God. Yet in "fighting the culture wars," many Christians seem to believe that filling Washington with politicians of "the right party" will "reclaim our country and take it in the right direction." While we Christians are to be in the world but not of it and to be a part of all parts of culture, is looking to Washington the answer to "reclaiming America for Christ?" The Great Commission that Jesus gives us calls us to go to, teach and disciple individuals. I know that it is easy to believe that legislation and the election of "the right political leaders" does help, to a point. We can sign petitions and create them, write to politicians and even lobby them, and elect those we want to power. These help but only in a limited way. They do not change hearts. Only prayer and the power of God working in individual lives in answer to prayer, can do that. Has it occurred to us that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world cannot even afford to think in terms of "fighting a culture war"? In the absence of freedom, they focus on dependence on God and each other, prayer, and giving their all to Him no matter what the price to themselves. They know that the battle belongs to God, not to us!

I do not want to give the wrong idea to those Christians who call themselves "progressive Christians." I'm talking to those who value tolerance and diversity very much and who may think Christians may be able to be both Christian and homosexual, or who may even condone "abortion rights" in the name of women's equal rights. If I'm to be true to God and the Scriptures, then I must say that you cannot condone the homosexual lifestyle or abortion and call yourself a Christ-follower. I can understand why you would accept these two sins as "alternate values" but God has a higher standard for our behavior than we do. No, we are not to obsess on fighting some culture war but neither are we to let it the world so shape our worldview that we are more like culture than like Christ. No, we are to wholeheartedly follow Christ Who has overcome the world.

Praise God, if we know and follow Christ, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us!

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