Luke 12:16-20 tells the story of a rich man with a great crop. He makes plans to build bigger barns and be merry, not knowing he wouldn’t survive the night. I think the Church in the United States, and probably Western Europe as well, is like this man. There was a foundation of Biblical teachings and this country was a Christian nation, founded by Christians escaping persecution from the Church of England. Christian traditions and values were American traditions and values, the two became intertwined. It was part of church culture, it was part of American culture. Then the times changed.
Now we are living in a time when church values are not societal values. The culture does no reflect the teachings of orthodox Christian teachings, and we have seen some denominations and churches begin to shift their values to match the culture. The culture has decided it’s going to make the rules apart from Biblical teachings. The problem is, during the times of great days and plentiful harvest for the church, traditions of Christianity were taken by the culture. Now things that once belonged to the church are being over run by the secular idealism and humanism that is prevalent today.
This time of year is a prime example. Christmas was a holiday of the Church, celebrating the birth of Christ. As a Holy Day, it belonged to the Church. As the culture began to separate from the Church, it took Christmas with it. The culture now lumps Christmas with other holidays celebrated around the same time, and Christians get upset when we are greeting with Happy Holidays. The secular culture has taken the parts it likes about Christmas and the Church feels robbed. It’s become a point of major contention, and the battle between ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ will continue this year.
Another great example is the institution of Marriage. Once belonging to the Church, it has now become a function of the State. Getting a state license of marriage, having benefits and legal status as a married couple has put it in the hands of the culture. Culture then desires to define or redefine this institution as it sees fit. The values of the culture do not match Christian values. The message to the Church is “conform or face the consequences”. There has been some conforming among the ranks of churches in America. The battle rages because what was once ours, they have taken as theirs. Who gets to define marriage? Apparently the courts now have that power, it’s no longer the Church.
Social welfare, once a function of the Church is now something that is run by the government. While churches still attempt to aid those in need, it was once something that the Church took care of. Now, churches struggle to keep the light bills paid, the cost to run a church is so high that the duty to care for the widow and orphan has been passed to Uncle Sam. This is also true with Education, which was once so much of function of Church is now a child of state. The list goes on and on of things that the Church controlled in a Christian Nation, but we have now lost is Post Christian America. What are we to do?
In many cases, we have taken up the battle and fought for our principles. This is not a bad thing, is cases we must stand for a fight for those things which keep people from truth and which hurt the new and young believer. We MUST fight for the rights of the unborn, for the children who are aborted, we must be their voice. Regardless of what culture says, they have value and they must be championed. We are rapidly losing ground on the marriage debate, but we should keep the dialogue going. Same Gender Marriage is probably here to stay, but we must champion the family. Mom, dad and kids is a foundational building block in this country, it’s the foundation of community, which builds everything. We must continue to fight against the total secularization of public schools. Events like See You At the Pole, and organizations like FCA and CEF must be championed.
In the same way, some things we need to be gracious about. Having a store clerk say Happy Holidays is not something we should lose our grace over. We must be kind, patient and seasoned in the Holiday greeting wars. We know the culture has become secular, and we must be gracious when they speak and act in a secular way. It has been said by many that we are living in a day much like the Apostles, they lived in a Pre-Christian world, we live in a Post-Christian world. Our focus must be on evangelism first and foremost, defending the faith second. We must not focus on winning the culture battle,but on winning souls for the Kingdom. We all know we need another Great Awakening, so let’s continue to pray, work and seek that goal. Then we can see the culture begin to change.