Friday, 25 January 2013

One-way traffic

One of the world's present ploys to undermine Christianity is, to brandish everything that they disagree with as mean, bigotted, narrow.

Not many people like being called nasty names, so there's the temptation to soft-pedal, down-play, compromise.

However, this traffic is one-way. When Christians critique contemporary society, the world feels little to no pressure to conform in the other direction. That's to be expected - it's the power of the Spirit of God bringing new life which brings true positive change, not words only. Unaccompanied words without the Spirit's blessing won't have a long-term effect in being salt and light in a corrupt society, much less in winning over the slaves of sin.

The long-term upshot of that is that Christians need to know where they stand, and hold the line. The rise of feminism has caused many evangelicals to be mealy-mouthed about the Bible's teaching on the role relationships of men and women, and especially male leadership. What did they get in return for their soft-pedalling? The world rewarded them by stepping up the ante to a new level - demanding that, since (allegedly) there are no differences between men and women, we must now be called nasty names unless we down-play the iniquity and unnaturalness of homosexuality. Many have trimmed their sails to this new wind, and speak only in terms of "not God's best" or using the language of psychological condition instead of human rebellion against God's holy law. Many no longer speak at all, in order to appear more winsome.

The compromise started much further back, when the world demanded that the speculations based on philosophical assumptions of naturalism should be received as "science", and that Christians should abandon their doctrine of creation. If we didn't, then they'd call us those rude names again (fundamentalist! Anti-science!). Very many agreed to do this, in order to keep up the general level of nice-ness. Didn't work; won't work; will never work. Well, it's apparently working for the world, because many churches which previously gave a clear voice now don't. It's working for them, not for us. When will we realise the rules of the game, and play with understanding? You can't win authentic disciples by equivocating the truth, because the content of authentic discipleship is necessarily and unalterably fixed by the word of God. You can't build the temple of God with the perishing materials of the present age's whims, because God has promised to bless the things the world calls foolishness.

So, which is it to be? Be mealy-mouthed so that the world gives you some empty praise for a few minutes before moving on to the next doctrine on which it demands you cave in? Or be faithful to Christ so that one day you will hear him say "Well done, good and faithful servant" and enter into the enjoyment of his everlasting glory?

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