My thesis, which I have argued before, is fairly simple: the culture is in the state it is in largely because of the condition of the church. When the church does poorly, so does the culture. And the terms I have used in my title were chosen carefully:
-Derelict = in a very poor condition as a result of disuse and neglect.
-Moribund = (of a person) at the point of death; (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor.
In many respects the church in the West is in poor shape, through lack of proper use. Its calling to be salt and light has largely been neglected, and its unbalanced obsession with an inward focus instead of an outward one has led to its now derelict state.
By focusing on personal piety and having your best life now, while ignoring its bigger calling to be a witness to the surrounding culture, it has failed in many ways to perform its mission. In a similar way ancient Israel was meant to be a light to the nations, but for the most part never even got close to being that.
And as a result we have a dead – or at least dying – culture. The only hope for the West is the gospel message in all its fulness (not just getting souls into heaven, but being an outpost of God’s presence in a spiritual wasteland). But by neglecting our biblical mandate, culture all around us is in dire straits.
This website has documented often the derelict state of the church and the moribund culture all around us. I am not alone in pointing all this out obviously. Many others have as well, especially including those who have affinity with the Puritan and Reformed theological traditions.
One such author has written and spoken much to these themes. Rev. Dr. Joseph Boot, originally from the UK, is a Canadian pastor, apologist and cultural missionary. His most well-known work would be his important 2014 volume, The Mission of God: A Manifesto of Hope.
Given that he is coming to speak in Melbourne in mid-November (many thanks to my friend John for alerting me to this), it might be worth further introducing my readers to him. And that can be done by simply highlighting several of his recent articles.
A quite new piece by him is well worth starting with: “The progressive march of tyranny through the church.” It was his final paragraph that especially got my attention. What it says was for me one of those “Hmm, that sounds familiar – I can relate!” He said this:
When I began warning people about the emergence and direction of these things in the churches over a decade ago and urged people to respond by pursuing Christian education and defending the truth openly – the pulpit leading the way – I was largely dismissed with the hand-waving of apathetic leaders who claimed a collapse of freedom would never happen here. Now the jackboots can be heard in the halls of power and a complicit media largely pretends these cases don’t exist. We are facing political and judicial imperialism of an increasingly totalitarian kind and instead of waking up, much of the church is now talking about getting ‘woke’ whilst the cultural prophets are stoned as scaremongers. Only a reformation in the church can turn the tide.
Yes and amen. I have been saying similar things for years now – and usually with the same results! But let me get back to his article – and from the beginning. He writes about “Christian legacy of cultural apologetics” which he explains as that
which articulates and defends a total Christian philosophy of life in terms of the Scriptures; a worldview that touches every area of life and thought – and you are asking for trouble. Go to the religious root of the idolatry afflicting our culture and point to its key branches in various social, cultural, legal, political or educational aspects of society, and you will find that cultural prophecy is as unpopular amongst God’s people today as it was in the days of Amos or Jonah. Speak about the full implications of Christ’s Lordship and kingdom declared in the gospel – as well as the need to defend them in the public space – and you will witness the steady whittling away of those people who are willing to be seen with you in public!
I recall well that once I began speaking of the importance of Christ’s Lordship in recovering a decaying education, politics, law, arts and cultural life, suddenly I was ‘hysterical’, ‘extreme’, a ‘dominionist’, and dangerous to invite to speak lest something be said about human identity, sexuality, education, or some other contemporary cultural issue that offends someone!
It is difficult to see how the ‘evangellyfish’ silence regarding scriptural reality and the claims of Christ can continue to hold in the face of the massive cultural change all around us. Consider just a few recent examples:
Last month, something very shocking happened in England – one amongst many incidents of this nature in the last couple of years. A Catholic journalist was interrogated by police at her house after she ‘misgendered’ the child of a transgender campaigner she appeared with on TV. She had the audacity to identify the child based on its biological sex.
In recent weeks in Canada, a Christian activist has been fined by a tribunal an astonishing $55,000 for the ‘hateful’ act of misgendering an adult male claiming to be a woman, running in local elections.
In an utterly terrifying decision made by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in just the last couple of weeks, a father has been accused of ‘family violence’ because he engaged in ‘expressions of rejection’ of his 14-year old daughter’s professed gender identity. According to The Federalist she had been undergoing testosterone injections without parental consent.
In another startling incident of a growing number, a school worker in the UK was dismissed from her job after she shared two Facebook posts that raised concerns about relationships and sex education at another school in the same village – her own child’s Church of England Primary School.
Of course some of those cases I have already documented here. My warnings have usually been ignored, and one suspects his will continue to be as well. But he continues, reminding us of how the Marxists and cultural Marxists have been operating freely in the West because of the sleeping and derelict church. And the results have been predictable:
As such, the popular slogans about freedom, democracy, rights, inclusion and tolerance have no reliable or lasting value. These positive-sounding words have been press-ganged into the service of revolutionaries. They seek to overturn all existing order in the hope that, after demolishing all previous security, a radical and autonomous freedom will emerge where man is no longer troubled by conflict or a deep sense of alienation. Normative human sexuality, marriage, and family are the primary targets, and individuals and organisations supporting them are being viciously targeted in the courts and drumhead trials of today’s human rights tribunals.
Yes quite right. And since the revolution has so very much been about sex, an earlier piece of his is also worth quoting from. In his 2017 article “Revolutionary Sexuality” he begins this way:
It is surely beyond all dispute that we live in an age of revolution. This revolutionary upheaval is revealed most dramatically in the area of human sexuality. On all sides in our culture we are witness to the separating of what God has joined and a joining of what he has separated (Mark 10:9). Thus in the first instance we have no-fault divorce, the celebration of sex outside of marriage and abortion as contraception – with not even a pretended desire for holding together, in a moral union, love, sex and child-rearing in the permanent bond of the creational family. In the latter case, we have the promotion and celebration of homosexuality and even the denial of real, normative distinctions between male and female.
This ‘gender mainstreaming’ regards male and female sex as ‘fictive’ and seeks to reinvent humanity in terms of a gender-blending abstraction. The demagogues of revolution go about this subversion of creational norms in the name of liberation and empowerment, but as G. K. Chesterton warned, end up destroying what they claim to set free:
“You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end.”
The speed with which the demagogues armed with their pagan ideologies have captured our culture, liberating man of his mannishness, is staggering; and it can only be accounted for by the fact that Western society has been rendered morally weak and impotent by its sexual guilt – our resistance to subversion broken down by the sexualisation and pornification of most cultural life. Consequently, speaking of Christian sexual ethics today is not for the faint of heart. To point out the tragic and ruinous dismantling of creational norms in our society is to place yourself at risk of ostracism and exclusion – even among professing Christians.
The contemporary revolution is openly directed against God, and indeed creation itself, which is sustained and upheld by the Word of God. Scripture republishes and explicates that creation Word and is therefore vehemently opposed by the artisans of the new sexual order.
He examines how all this came about in more detail, and then concludes:
This radical identity crisis afflicting our culture reflects the religious crisis of our time. We must be critically aware that lying behind all these ideas are intuitively-held religious presuppositions, very ancient in origin, which are now being dressed in a new pseudo-scientific garb and applied socially in the most radical way. In contrast to Scripture, ancient Greek mythology set male gods like Ouranos and Zeus against female goddesses like fertility Gaia and Olympian Hera. This suggested a struggle basic to sexual relations that is foreign to the Bible.
Philosophically, the influential school of Plato taught a unisex or androgynous perspective because the “soul substance” in philosophical thought was sexless. This is a religious denial of the binary; of the reality of twoness; of distinction; of the ‘male and female’ that God made from the ‘beginning of creation’ (Matt. 19:4).
The positing of original sexless origins and the primitive androgynous emergence of humankind, as well as a denial of the even more fundamental creator-creature distinction itself, is basic to pagan, humanistic thought. As Peter Jones warns, “once the male-female distinction falls, other creational categories also become irrelevant.” If you can destroy the creational norm of marriage and family then you are destroying the image of the eternal holy family, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and this, it seems, lies at the root of today’s idolatrous war on creation.
Yes, exactly. It is always nice to hear others saying much the same sort of thing that you have been saying. It gives you hope, and reminds you that you certainly are not alone in having these concerns and offering these watchmen on the wall sort of words.
If you like what you have read here, you have several options. You can buy his books of course, and/or you can hear him speak when he heads down under later this year. I will keep you posted about those details.