The United States of America is in a massive cultural transition. The way Boomers and Millennials approach life and process information couldn’t be any more different. Unfortunately, as culture shifts, so do the ethics and values that guide said culture. Sometimes this is for better; usually, it’s for worse.
As values shift, the church should remain committed to engaging in ways that connect the gospel to the people of this nation. In other words, America has become the mission field, which means all followers of Christ are called to be missionaries. Becoming a missionary in our society requires us to be committed to understanding the various nuances of the culture. This is the same thing one would do if they were entering the mission field in another country.
If you were being called to the mission field in another world area, the first thing you would do is learn the language and customs. For example, imagine being called to serve in an area known for having tribes that are cannibals or headhunters. I assume you’d want to understand those sorts of things before relocating.
Recognizing The Shift
Since America is our mission field, it would serve us well to recognize that the sand is shifting. First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: The United States isn’t a Christian nation. It is a nation with many professing Christians living in it, but our current value system does not reflect the Kingdom of God. Let me emphasize the word “professing” as used in the former sentence—because professing to be something and being it are two very different things.
While it is not our job to say “who’s in” and “who’s out,” our responsibility is to practice spiritual discernment using the metrics God has provided, namely, the Bible. Scripture serves as a map. God’s Word guides us on the mission and helps us navigate the spiritual terrain of this world.
The reality is that Christian values are being dismantled before our eyes with little resistance. Opposition continues to increase against the biblical principles that have long served as a foundation for this country. Things such as the traditional family, marriage, gender roles, and the sanctity of human life are being reimagined.
Please hear me. This isn’t a political statement; this isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. No! This is spiritual warfare at a level we’ve never experienced. Babylon has moved in, and biblical Christianity doesn’t have favor with the powers that be. From the classroom to the courthouse, from entertainment to healthcare, the enemy has worked his way into every nook and cranny of American society.
Maybe Christianity needs to find a way to distinguish itself from the assortment of religiosity currently on the market. With that said, it seems that anyone identifying as a Christian would understand their faith through the lens of scripture. However, you’d be surprised to know that many professing Christians don’t believe the Bible to be much more than simply “another book.” They certainly don’t consider it authoritative in matters of faith and practice.
Could it be that Christianity has become so generic that people assume being an American and attending church automatically makes one a Christian? If so, then “generic” is the right word. Make no mistake, progressive Christianity is calling the church to move away from the “whole counsel of God,” particularly in areas of sexuality. In other words, many within the church are promoting a more generic version of the Christian faith. We are being instructed to be more affirming and inclusive of all lifestyles (be generic). We are being asked to reject what we have known as truth or at least redefine it (make it generic).
The modern church seems to spend more time listening to its own conscience than it does discerning the voice of the Lord. Political correctness rules large segments of what we call the church, which is based on fear. Everyone is worried about offending someone or getting “canceled.” We are being asked to widen the road. How do we stand at the broad gate yet invite people to take the narrow path simultaneously?
Take Up The Cross
Personally, I am broken over the state of our country. I carry a deep sense of concern for those being deceived in this paradigm shift. People are confused, divided, and wounded, including children. The enemy is wreaking havoc on peoples’ lives. Yet, at the same time, right in the middle of the noise and chaos, Jesus is inviting people to follow Him. And it’s our job to help them hear His voice.
Our churches should be spiritual hospitals that help people escape the pain and perplexity of this world. They should be sanctuaries that expose people to the gospel and offer truth as a means of healing. We are called to accept people with open arms, love them right where they are just like they are, invite them to make Jesus the Lord of their life, and teach them to follow Him through our witness.
As you journey with the Lord, remember that much of the modern church is already yielding to progressive cultural narrative. This is especially true in matters of family, sexuality, and the unborn. Numerous evangelical and holiness congregations are becoming open to progressive theological ideas; many have already embraced them. Developing the ability to discern without becoming fear-mongers or conspiracy theorists is imperative.
The call of Christ hasn’t changed: “Take up your cross and follow me….” The problem is that people are trying to find a cross that isn’t so heavy. They want a religion that doesn’t cost anything, one that’s not so radical, something not so infringing on their way of life. I’m sorry to inform you, but that version of Christianity doesn’t exist. Jesus is an all-or-nothing kind of guy, and He never said or did anything that would cause us to think otherwise.
(Sources: “We Will Not Be Silenced” by Erwin Lutzer & “Live Not By Lies” by Rod Dreher; “A Toxic New Religion” by Scott Allen & Darrow Miller)