I understand that I am standing at a distance, looking out over the vast sea of the evangelical church, and from this vantage point I may not see things as clearly as I ought. Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned about the direction that some churches are taking. Admittedly, I am not the pristine example of a saint, nor do I hold to some notion that I am better than anyone else. I am not perfect and I do not lay claim to a higher value or more noble virtue than any other person in this world. I, as all men, stood in desperate need of the mercy and grace of Christ Jesus and found in Him a Savior.
However, I am watching a shift happening in churches that once held firmly to the word of God as the sole authority for all faith and practice, and I fear that cultural demands and shifting ethics have wormed their way into the bloodstream of the church. Even as Paul said, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV).
So I ask: Has tolerance and the acceptance of moral relativism become the new form of evangelicalism? Certainly, the church wants to let everyone know that forgiveness and mercy are available to all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For even our Savior said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37 ESV). Does this mean that Jesus will accept and embrace the moral divergences that are occurring in our culture today? Not at all! For Jesus, Himself, said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 ESV).
There are churches today that recognize the changes taking place in the culture and have retreated to a position of acquiescence for reasons that are varied. Most of these churches seem to embrace the identity of acceptance—even agreement—with the culture so that, perhaps, they do not become the next target of the animosity of opposition. I read in the news about a Baptist church in South Carolina that made the transition to a more cultural identification rather than a Biblical one, with one comment mentioned in the article about the “bigoted” Southern Baptist Convention becoming isolated in this new paradigm. This is just one of a myriad of examples that I could weigh you down with, but I will let you discover them for yourself.
In his masterful sermon titled, “We Will Not Bow,” Dr. John MacArthur gives the clear reality to why this transformation is taking place in our culture. Dr. MacArthur states, “The objective is not simply to redefine gender. The objective is not simply to redefine marriage. The objective is to destroy what God has designed.” These “redefinitions” have taken root in the modern world, but should they be taking place in the church? My answer is a resounding: no. The church does not belong to the culture; the church belongs to Christ.
So, then, what can be done?
If you are a Christian, I strongly urge you to participate in the work of Christ. Proclaim the Gospel to this generation, tell people about Jesus, warn them of the coming wrath of God and show them His mercy and grace. If you are a pastor, stand up! Preach the word. The world will gather around those who will tickle their ears (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Do not be one of them. Do not comply with the demands of a fallen culture simply because it is the means of bringing in a larger crowd.
One last warning from our Lord Jesus, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38 ESV).
We live in an adulterous and sinful generation. We live during a time of rampant self-interest where those who pander to the demands of a broken and sinful culture lessen the preaching of God’s word. Let us not be ashamed of God’s word.
I heard it said the sin that one generation tolerates, the next generation accepts, and the next generation exalts. This is the pathway to the wreck and ruin of a society. We are now in an era where the exaltation of fallen behavior is rampant, and the new evangelicalism has embraced the modern cultural identity. Hear the words from the prophet Jeremiah, “Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV).
I will walk upon the ancient path—the true path of God’s word. Who’s coming with me?
©2015 Michael Duncan
If you appreciate this article, you may like the novel: Shadow Remnant found in print and e-book format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009XUQOOY.