Biblical Christians know that in the end Jesus Christ triumphs, his church comes through victorious, and all God’s enemies are finally put in their place. But in the meantime a mighty battle is taking place for the souls, minds and hearts of men – and of cultures.
While final victory is assured, at the moment the church in the West at least is not doing so well. Certainly when it comes to the culture wars, the church has for the most part been experiencing one defeat after another, one failure after another, and one collapse after another.
Of course there are some wins here and there, and there are some individual churches and denominations which are standing strong, but by and large, the church has been doing quite badly. Of course much of this can be put down to the aggressive and militant nature of those who have declared war against the church, its beliefs, and its values.
That I have documented hundreds of times here. But what is perhaps even more concerning is how the church itself is allowing compromise, carnality, unbelief and worldliness to creep in and contaminate things. We are often our own worst enemy here, and things seem only to be getting worse.
We are not able to withstand all the rot the world is throwing our way for the simple reason that we are in fact embracing it and accepting it. Instead of resisting the world and being salt and light to the world, we are becoming like the world and accommodating ourselves to its agenda.
As Francis Schaeffer said in A Christian Manifesto back in 1981, “Our culture, society, government, and law are in the condition they are in, not because of a conspiracy, but because the church has forsaken its duty to be the salt of the culture.”
The issue of homosexuality is a perfect example of all this. Instead of holding on to biblical truth here and being salt and light in our culture, many churches are capitulating, compromising and selling their soul to be at ease with the world and please men. It has bought the world’s values and thinking on this issue, and has become just a useless, hollow shell as a result.
Albert Mohler has just penned a piece on this topic, and is worth citing here. He begins, “The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle.
“Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident–with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.
“The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change through political action and cultural pressure.”
He then makes this very alarming statement: “Can we count on evangelicals to remain steadfastly biblical on this issue? Not hardly.” Tragically, I think he is 100 per cent right. We are especially losing the young on this issue. So what can we do?
“Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality–and taught to esteem marriage as God’s intention for human sexual relatedness.
“The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.
“Courage is far too rare in many Christian circles. This explains the surrender of so many denominations, seminaries, and churches to the homosexual agenda. But no surrender on this issue would have been possible, if the authority of Scripture had not already been undermined.”
He goes on to say that we need courage and compassion – truth and love. And of course this compassion and love must be biblical – not worldly. “Liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands.
“They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction. Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception.
“True compassion demands speaking the truth in love–and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion. In far too many cases, the options seem reduced to these–liberal churches preaching love without truth, and conservative churches preaching truth without love.”
He concludes, “We sin if we call homosexuality something other than sin. We also sin if we act as if this sin cannot be forgiven. We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis.
“The genuine Body of Christ will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage. We will see this realized only when men and women freed by God’s grace from bondage to homosexuality feel free to stand up in our churches and declare their testimony–and when we are ready to welcome them as fellow disciples. Millions of hurting people are waiting to see if we mean what we preach.”
The church must once again become the church. It must return to its biblical roots and once again champion truth and love. It must again be salt and light to a dying culture. As Francis Schaeffer wrote in The Great Evangelical Disaster (1984):
“Most of the evangelical world has not been active in the battle, or even been able to see that we are in a battle. And when it comes to the issues of the day the evangelical world most often has said nothing; or worse has said nothing different from what the world would say. Here is the great evangelical disaster – the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this – namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.”
It is not accommodation that will save us, but confrontation. Yes it must be loving confrontation, based on truth. But it must be confrontation nonetheless.