Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Introduction

Dr. Albert Mohler recently interviewed Dr. Robert Putnam, political scientist and professor of public policy at Harvard University, regarding his book entitled American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us.  This interview shed some like on sociological issues regarding Christian activity in politics and public life.[1] After the interview, Dr. Mohler summarized the interview. 

I have taken the liberty to do my own summary of Dr. Mohler’s summary.  While this blog is not dedicated to politics, it should be noted that Christianity speaks to every area of life and culture – spiritual, social, cultural, and yes, political and economic.  We should not be ignorant of how the Bible speaks to all these issues and areas of life.  That being said…

Shock, Aftershock, and Aftershock

Prior to the 1960s, the U.S. culture was strongly influenced by Christianity and Christian values.  But everything changed in the 1960s with the rebellion against traditional Christian values.  Christians responded to the secularization of the 60s (what Putnam calls the first aftershock) with a strong clarion call that resulted in Christian conservatism and the formation of entities such as the Christian Right.  But then, in turn, secularists responded to the rise of evangelical momentum.  This second aftershock took place in the 1990s. 

Putnam suggests that the growth of evangelical momentum also ended in the early 90s.  While secularization has been growing, Christianity has been in retreat.  But it’s not as cut and dry as to say that secularization has now supplanted religion. 

The Moral Divide

Premarital Sex: This is an issue that has shifted since the 60s, and it is more profound than we think.  The issues that have more attention are abortion, homosexuality, etc.  But the issue of premarital sex may be the driving factor of these other issues.    

The Religious Predictor: Saying a prayer at meal time or bedtime didn’t indicate much else 50 years ago than that a family was seeking to bring their faith into their family practices.  But nowadays, a great deal can be revealed about those who say grace before a meal, including their political and cultural views.  Those who pray and those who do not clearly divide along political and economic lines, not just spiritual ones. 

Niceness of the Religious: The study done by Putnam also revealed that religious people are nicer than non-religious ones.  The media and other sources let on that this is not the case, accusing religious people (namely Christians) of being intolerate, unkind, homophobic, sexist, racist and bigoted.  But these sociological studies have shown that it is the secular person who, more often than not, is neither kind nor tolerant.

Political influence on theology: When an individual has a political view on the one hand and a spiritual/religious view on the other that is incommensurate, this sociological study has found that it is the political positions that drives a change in the religious worldview, and not vice versa.  This is very disturbing.  Those who are liberal or lean liberal in some or all of their political views will be more likely to become liberal in their theology.  This applies to conservatives as well.  But that’s not good news for conservatives.  They are equally likely to sell out their religious beliefs to in favor of political demagogues who tout their values, whether these figures are orthodox or not.  (This seems to be the case with men of faith and politics like David Barton who have no objection yoking themselves with conservative demagogues like Glenn Beck without seeing the glaring theological incompatibility of such companionship).


[1] The interview can be downloaded from Dr. Albert Mohler’s podcast entitled “Thinking in Public” found at http://www.albertmohler.com/category/podcast/.

Read Full Post »

I am posting a link to what I think to be a well-done scientific documentary called The Great Global Warming Swindle.  Why the topic of global warming on a site like ours?  Because we need to be well-informed of those subjects that are not clearly spiritual at first glance but have both moral and spiritual ramifications.  This topic is pervasive in our culture and in our churches, and we need to be informed.

I challenge you to watch this documentary at your leisure, and I also invite you to leave comments on this post.  All comments are welcome, so long as they are courteous and civil. 

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TqqWJugXzs

Read Full Post »

The Claremont School of Theology is “the first truly multi-faith American seminary” that “will add clerical training for Muslims and Jews to its curriculum.” They hope to also add “clerical programs for Buddhists and Hindus.”

Just when you thought apostasy could go no lower! You can read the complete article here.

Read Full Post »

Last week, Christian artist Jennifer Knapp “came out,” confirming rumors about her homosexual lifestyle.  In this article, we will be looking at an interview by Christianity Today that shows several things about her situation that are revealing and troubling.

The opening line of the article reads, “Veteran artist returns after seven-year hiatus with a feisty new album, Letting Go, while also revealing that she’s gay.”

 Jennifer Knapp has decided to return to the Christian music industry after taking a seven year leave.  Upon returning, she has stated unapologetically that she is a practicing lesbian and presently in a same-sex relationship, and she has been traveling with her lesbian partner all over Europe and the United States during her musical hiatus.  Now she’s back, writing Christian music and performing, all the while investing in a long-term relationship with her female sex partner. Regarding her relationship, Knapp says:

I’m certainly in a same-sex relationship now, but when I suspended my work, that wasn’t even really a factor.

 Her immoral relationship was not even a factor as to why she took time off from her “ministry.” Knapp says later:

…if you remove the social problem that homosexuality brings to the church—and the debate as to whether or not it should be called a “struggle,” because there are proponents on both sides—you remove the notion that I am living my life with a great deal of joy. It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.” The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people. I’ve struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself.

 That’s quite a revealing statement.  In Jennifer’s mind, homosexuality is nothing more than a social problem to the church, a debate with “proponents on both sides.” To Knapp, homosexuality does not even register as a sin. 

Therefore she does not consider it a “struggle,” most likely referring to an internal struggle against sin since, after all, it is not sin to her.  No, her struggle is with other people who do see it as a sin.  She goes on to identify some of these people, among them, “conservative evangelicals”:

The Bible has literally saved my life. I find myself between a rock and a hard place—between the conservative evangelical who uses what most people refer to as the “clobber verses” to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they’re eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics, and various other Scriptures we could argue about.

 Now I cannot say with any certainty how kind or meanly evangelical Christians have treated Jennifer.  I personally do not know her, but I can relate to her because of our common humanity.  But notice a few things here.  First, Jennifer, like so many professing Christians, shop around for Bible verses that meet their “perceived needs.” But like any shopper, they are free to pick and choose – take some, leave the others. 

Knapp says the Bible literally saved her life.  What part of the Bible is she referring to?  Certainly, salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ.

But this same word of God also saves from judgment by warning of God’s impending judgment on children of disobedience, those who are, among other things, sexually immoral and homosexual (1 Cor. 6:9; Eph. 5:5).  Knapp seems to be altogether disregarding these verses and other verses stating God’s warnings to be holy (1 Pet. 1:15-17; Heb. 12:14).  But I suppose Jennifer would see all of these warnings as “clobber verses.”

Knapp goes on:

I’m not capable of getting into the theological argument as to whether or not we should or shouldn’t allow homosexuals within our church. There’s a spirit that overrides that for me, and what I’ve been gravitating to in Christ and why I became a Christian in the first place.”

 Do you see how warped the mind of a natural man or woman can become?  Homosexuality is not only contrary to God’s word, but even to nature itself.  But if it can be relegated, like so many other things, to being nothing more than a “theological argument,” then it can be shelved for the theologians to wrestle with.  But in categorizing unrighteousness in such a way, she no longer feels the need to search her heart, examining Scripture and herself in fear to see if she is truly among the saved. 

But there’s “a spirit that overrides” that for her, a spirit that she’s been gravitating to in Christ.  But that Jesus Jennifer is gravitating to is a figment of her own imagination.  Christ is both lover of the Church, His bride, and also Judge of the world in righteousness.  Yes, He embraces sinners, but He condemns the ungodly to eternal punishment.  Jennifer, like so many other professing believers have fallen into the snare of making for themselves an imaginary Jesus, an idol of their own creation, that imposes no perfect standard and makes no demands of righteousness upon anyone but loves them just as they are.  But that’s not the Jesus of the Bible!  Yes, we must come to Him as we are, but Christ Jesus never leaves us there.  Being grounded in Christ always, always leads to fruit – works of righteousness and increasing holiness.  If there is no fruit, there is no root!

She responds to another question saying that she is not attending a church these days, but says in another place, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”  Something about goats (unregenerate people) –they’re quite uncomfortable among the sheep (the true people of God).  And inversely, those who belong to Christ also love the communion of saints.  There’s no other place we’d rather be than among our siblings in the Lord.

Knapp says:

It’s not on my agenda to convert the world to a religion, but to convert the world to compassion and grace. I’ve experienced that in my life through Christianity…I aspired to be a Christian in my private life, and I think it’s a wonderful side effect that can happen with music…For me, it’s the journey that I’m on, trying to figure things about as best I can.

 Again, this Christianity she embraces is a Christianity of her own making.  She aspires to be a private Christian, having broken free from the body of Christ.  But Jennifer needs to know that you can’t break free from the body without also being severed from the Head.  You can’t have one without the other.  And her rebellion against Christ is perhaps most evident in this statement:

I’m not going to let go of my faith and I’m not going to let go of the passion to do music the way I want, in case there are other people telling me I can do neither because of personal decisions I’ve made.

 That has the same tone as Frank Sinatra, who boasted toward the end of his life, “I did it my way.” It’s the rebellious attitude only an unregenerate person can make, or at the very least a wayward Christian who is on the verge of apostasy from the gospel.  She’s not letting go of her faith or of doing music the way she wants.  But any true child of God bows the knee to Christ, knowing we are governed not by what we want but by what Jesus commands.  That’s what Lord means.

Jennifer said, “I wrote ‘Inside’ in complete and utter fear to voices in my head that told me that I couldn’t be a person of faith,” and I want to say this with the uttermost sensitivity, but I wonder if these voices in her head are her guilty conscience because she knows what she is doing is wrong.  I truly pray they are, for they are the only signs of hope that I have seen thus far.  These voices serve to guide her back to what is right and true, and therefore they are blessings.  God often uses our consciences to show us that we are in sinful rebellion against Him.  The Spirit of Truth convicts us unless our consciences are seared.  The more Jennifer refuses to obey that voice, the more she refuses to turn her back on her sinful practice, the less she will hear that voice.  If she wants to silence it, all she has to do if ignore it long enough and it will go away.  I pray she does not.  I pray this voice of conscience drive her back to the cross, to the throne of grace.  I pray she repent before it’s too late and she’s too far gone.  I do pray for her and ask you to pray for her as well, that God would pour down grace and repentance on this wayward sister until she comes into the light.

Read Full Post »