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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Culture Shock?

A righteous [ man ] who falters before the wicked [ is like ] a murky spring and a polluted well.
Proverbs 25:26 

I doubt if there's anyone who could pinpoint exactly when & where it all began, but, as far as the good ole U.S. of A. goes, we might pin it on the birth of rock & roll in the 50s, with those crazy hip-gyrations & such, or the 'free-love' 60s, The British Invasion which came in the same era probably didn't help much either! Most Christians would happily attribute it to 'the Fall' & say glibly that the main reason our culture is in the shape it's in is because of our fallen nature. Whatever reason, true or false, that one blames the degradation of society on, one thing's for sure, with scourges like the infamous Roe V. Wade decision which opened the floodgates of legalized abortion ( child murder ), the burgeoning porn industry & endless war, along with plenty of innocent blood on our hands, it's abundantly clear that America, especially her 'Christian' majority, is under the judgment of Almighty God!

We've covered this ground before, but like Israel of old, the Church is tasked with leading the culture around Her into the blessings of the Kingdom! To some extent, through Divine Intervention, the nations were influenced in a positive way through Israel's ministry, though in the end, Israel herself suffered loss as a result of her own disobedience. Although we are not under law ( as were they ) but under Grace, Christians in America are tasked with the same ministry, that of leading the culture around them into the City of God. The Church has enjoyed & still enjoys some degree of success when it comes down to it, but in the past several decades, especially, Her failure to positively influence society is becoming more & more blatant!

Many Christian leaders, from everywhere on the spectrum ( of denominationalism ), are denouncing ( 'I'm outraged!' ) what is fast becoming the 'cultural norm'; homosexual marriage, easy divorce, the porn industry & legalized abortion. Part of the problem is that modern Christianity expects an ungodly civil government, through politics, to regulate what She herself has been called to moderate! This is not to say that the civil government should be under the control of any certain religious institution; history, with all the blood shed in the Crusades, the Inquisition, John Calvin's Geneva & such, shows us how well that works. No, it is the principles that Christ gave to His Church that should govern the Body of Christ & thus, the culture around Her!

Jesus told His disciples that, along with loving God, they were to love their neighbor as themselves & furthermore, that they should love their enemies & treat others as they themselves would like to be treated! Studies show that 'Christians' are right up there with the rest of the nation when it comes to devouring porn, murdering their children for their own selfish means & divorce among 'Christians' is almost as common-place as it is in non-Christian circles. ( To be fair, I must acknowledge that this does NOT apply to ALL Christians! ) When it comes to wars & rumors of wars; 'Christians' are pretty much on the front lines there as well, mostly because they have a false eschatology!

According to the majority of Christians, the world is going to hell in a handbasket! This mistaken view is doubtless much to blame for the institutional church's failure to bolster that positive influence which the culture around us had enjoyed up until 50 or so years ago. Because 'this world is not our home, we're just passing through', many Christians, both individually & corporately, have simply retreated into their respective bunkers. Thankfully & we must give the glory to the Creator of Heaven & Earth for this, there are those ( Christians ) who have not yielded to the demands of ungodlines & are doing their part to transform society rather than conforming to the culture around them & contributing to its degradation!

Christians, both individually & as the Body of Christ, are given the task of ruling with God! We are to lead, beginning with our families & radiating out from there, the culture into a Godly society. Rather than retreating from what most Christians view as a world that is perishing, we, as the Light of the World, are to transform that world by shining the Light of Christ into every dark corner, illuminating the evil that men do for what it is & showing them how to love!

We can continue to be outraged at the depths of degradation that the culture around us has fallen to, or we can Live in the Light & show the culture around us how to live in the blessedness of our Heavenly Father's Kingdom! As Christians, we can 'hunker in the bunker' & wait for some false messiah to rescue us, or we can buckle down & start showing the culture around us how to really party; not with drunken debauchery & sexual immorality, but with the Blessed Communion of the Saints in the Kingdom of God.

Which Christian will you be?

Charles Haddon Shank

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