Sunday, October 18, 2009

The So-Called "Culture War"

is Humanisn

In conservative circles that include sections of evangelicalism there is a react style of debate. This is not a "go into all the world and preach the gospel" type of evangelicalism; this centers around moral issues and it can be generally broken down into liberal vs. conservative people and views. Many call it a “culture war” because some desire a more progressive approach to the culture while others demand a return to the morals of yesteryear. The culture war moniker suggests a battle for control of the culture.

Culture: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic. (Merriam-Webster)

So in essence a culture war is an attempt by different factions to control and form the accepted practices of a certain society. In America there are many such factions that vie for control, or at least be accepted in the culture at large. Only a blind man could suggest that the way of Jesus has been a major part of American culture. The reason that some long for a return to the “good ‘ol days” is because they have an unbiblical perspective of what a Christian society would look like.

There is nothing about a capitalist society that has the way of Jesus stamped upon its culture. They believe that America was built upon Judeo-Christian standards, whatever those are. Think about that for a moment. Just what are Judeo-Christian principles? Almost all nations have some form of government that condemns stealing, violence, and other generally illegal behaviors. So what specific principles are we speaking of when we say Judeo-Christian? Many people visualize a return to the 1950’s Norman Rockwell image when they say “culture wars”. That too is a mirage and a misrepresentation.

The 1950’s were an age of hedonism and self interest, to say nothing of profound racism and anti-Semitism. They were a projection of white anglo-saxon protestanism that even made John F. Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism an issue in 1960. The society was decidedly sexist and presented a Leave it to Beaver ambiance, and preached a prosperity message called the “America Dream” which at that time was an exclusive club. There was nothing there that represented the way of Jesus.

But let us examine the deeper implications of desiring and attempting to manipulate your cultural circumstances. What you are saying is that you are uncomfortable with your present circumstances, and instead of praying, you will complain, criticize, and generally express your desire that you are discontented with the circumstances God has you in. And from high atop some throne of condemnation you inventory all the things that are wrong with your culture and you inadvertently indict your own powerless situation when you suggest this cultural demise continues to cascade downward. Many times you are just stating the obvious as you curse the darkness. How observant and erudite are you, but you are hating the very fields of white that Jesus came to save..

In essence, the so called culture war is no more than complaining, camouflaged as spiritual editorializing. Look at the promiscuity! Look at the gays! Look at Hollywood! Look at teen pregnancies! Look at the Muslims! On and on goes the discerning (complaining). And these culture war proponents are very adroit and resourceful in their ability to seek out examples of cultural demise and decay. They have much empirical evidence of such societal decomposition that cannot be denied. But what they do not have is redemption, and without Jesus and His redemption all you have is a ministry of cataloguing the sins of others. It is of little value and requires miniscule talent to re-report instances of cultural demise that comes fresh to you through many news sources. A computer does most of the work for you. And their symbiotic relationship with secular and anitchrist news sources is most distrurbing and revealing.

What does take courage and spiritual character is exhibiting the love of Jesus Christ in the midst of this glorious mission field. You feel you deserve better than the South African missionaries who minister to the spiritual and physical needs of African AIDs sufferers at substantial risk to their own health? Missionaries who minister to the gay community are regularly persecuted and berated, and yet they continue to be moved with love and compassion while you comfortably shriek your hatred, yes I said hatred, for the gay community. The cultural war soldiers are nothing more than cowards that use other people’s sins to elevate their own spiritual and moral standing in the eyes of men. Many times this cultural war is a product of national idolatry.

But I would like to get at the heart of the matter. Attempting to change the culture by voting, writing, legislating, speaking, and organizing is humanism, plain and simple. What you are saying is that God has called us to change the culture in which we live by carnal weapons, and that God’s will is for us to lead lives free from the inconvenience of sinners in our midst. And if we shout enough, write our senators enough, protest enough, or by the strength of our numbers we can right this cultural ship. That is humanism and void of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

On the surface it appears to scold sin and come against the forces of evil, but its deception is much more savage than that. This type of deception is motivated by self righteousness, and it views sinners as enemies, especially when they are committing sins that you seem to avoid. This cultural war receives self gratification from condemning others and using demeaning and caustic language against those who are on the other side of this contrived war. This kind of moral conflict rejects the gospel and takes up vicious weaponry meant to remove sinners from our environment and arrive at a more pleasant ambiance.

This cultural war moniker is part of the health and wealth movement, even though many would outwardly eschew such teachings. But it is part of the larger attempt to provide living arraignments that would reduce suffering and agitation, brought upon us by sinners in need of a Savior. It contains aspects of dominion theology as well, since the Bible clearly states that things will get worse and that we should rejoice rather than complain! The same people who they castigate for humanistic efforts without Christ, can see that these culture war people are employing the very same Christless methods.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to love sinners and through grace and love share with them the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. When Jesus ate with sinners, He was not criticized by other sinners. He was condemned by the smug, religious crowd. Some might ask what are we to do about the continuing downward spiral in the culture where we live. We are to live and share Jesus and His gospel. It is infinitely more difficult to love a sinner than it is to condemn him. Jesus said He did not come to condemn the world, so do we suggest they He has sent us to do what He did not? If we have a light worth shining, it should only get brighter as the darkness escalates.

So the next time you read someone’s blog and they are berating some sinner; and when you read someone bemoaning illegal aliens; and when you read someone castigating the gay people; or when you read the words “culture war” on someone’s blog, take note. That blog is humanistic and has left the gospel of Jesus Christ even though they may claim they believe it. In these last days, with the times becoming worse and worse, we must decide which Jesus we will represent. Will it be the political Jesus that fights for national freedom and magnifies the sins of others and complains about the cultural surroundings? Or will it be the Jesus that loves sinners, shows them love and grace, and offers them eternal life through His blood?

You who shout about the sin and culture around you, read this and see if your circumstance competes with that horror. Around the world people suffer unmercifully, 5000 Africans die every day with AIDs, children in India starve regularly, and all the atrocities worldwide could never be fully reported. But you western culture warriors, you go ahead and lead your battle against whatever and whoever goes against your moral fabric. You keep castigating sinners, but be advised, Jesus is not with you and He never will be. Why? Because you preach humanism and Jesus has commanded us to lift up Him.

Jesus died to bring sinners to Himself and He has never been concerned with your cultural surroundings. It is that distinction that some seem to miss completely, and in that,they have missed the Savior completely as well. We have not been called to change the culture. We have been called to lift up Jesus and see sinners changed by His grace and power.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick, WHat are your thoughts on how Christians in Germany should have handled the Holocaust? Do you think there was room for breaking laws?