Tag Archives: Christianity

Words of Wisdom From Francis Schaeffer on his Centennial Birthday

It came to my attention that Francis Schaeffer was born exactly 100 years ago today. Here is a very timely quotation from this influential figure in Christianity:

We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God’s absolutes. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle? Do we really believe that the part we play in the battle has consequences for whether or not men and women will spend eternity in hell? Or whether or not in this life people will live with meaning or meaninglessness? Or whether or not those who do live will live in a climate of moral perversion and degradation? Sadly, we must say that very few in the evangelical world have acted as if these things are true. Rather than trumpet our accomplishments and revel in our growing numbers, it would be closer to the truth to admit that our response has been a disaster.

-Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1984), pp. 31-32

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Should Gospel Singers Preach at People?

This half of the week is going to be very busy for me this semester, so I’ve decided to write something today that will hopefully generate good discussion for a little while. The topic is preaching from the stage. Is it a good thing or not?

Well, certain churches amazingly take the latter view. As most southern gospel fans are aware of by now, Scott Fowler can tell you from personal experience that he’s been forbidden even to speak the name of Jesus from a church platform. On one occasion, the Booth Brothers were told not to sing the song “Under God,” because the unapologetic message of our country’s disregard for the very thing it needs most (God’s providence), might be offensive.

Also, one can observe different philosophies among the Southern Gospel artist community about what approach to take. Some, like Fowler or Booth, or Gerald Wolfe for that matter, are strident and unapologetic about presenting a comprehensive gospel message night after night. Others choose to stick with the gospel in the music in order to be less polarizing. They avoid “preaching.”

By now you may have guessed that I’m a firm believer in “preaching.” I understand the considerations that may lead certain gospel singers to be be less in-depth and specific about the gospel than, say, Michael Booth. At the same time, I find Booth’s approach (and the approach of others like him), to be incredibly appealing, and in fact necessary in today’s culture.

Let me explain why I say this: Either a concert-goer is saved or unsaved. If he is saved, his heart will rejoice to hear the gospel stridently proclaimed. If he is unsaved, he will or will not encounter the gospel at some point in his life. If he does not encounter the gospel in the course of his life, he will die in his sins without knowing the grace of Jesus. If he does encounter the gospel in the course of his life, he will either embrace it or reject it. If he rejects it, he will die in his sins without knowing the grace of Jesus. If he embraces it, he will know the grace of Jesus and live forever with Him.

Following that logic, it becomes apparent that gospel singers have nothing to lose by preaching gospel truth from the stage. In fact, they have everything to gain—souls for Christ. Consider this: The logic behind the “don’t preach” approach is that people will be offended and pushed away from Christianity. I offer this question in response: If they are repulsed by the gospel as preached at a Booth Brothers concert or a Legacy Five concert, but later they find a way to “become Christians” without accepting what they found repulsive there, what exactly have they become? What Jesus have they found? What gospel have they accepted? I tell you now that it is not that same Jesus whom we read of in the pages of Holy Scripture, and it is not that same gospel that was delivered to the apostles and has been passed down through generations of saints. Mankind, through the fall, through his fundamentally sinful human nature, IS offended by the gospel. It is only the very simple or the very young who hear it and accept it immediately with no hint of pride or discomfort.

So I say the response of the gospel singer when they encounter people who have been offended by their presentation of the gospel should be “Good! That means you were listening.” And their reaction to those who express satisfaction that they weren’t preached at should be, “What are we doing wrong?”

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How I Wish I’d Responded to Jefferson Bethke

Yesterday I wrote a hastily worded response to Jefferson Bethke’s viral video on Jesus and religion. Now I realize that had I taken more time over my thoughts, I probably would have written that response differently.

It might have looked a little bit like this:

“If you want a real discussion of Christianity, don’t look on the Internet. Go read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Or the Summa. The whole thing. In Latin.”

WORD!

LYRICS

Religion is . . .

So misunderstood but what’s the world without some mystery?
People on the internet revising all of history.

By now you’ve heard the claim, “Jesus hates religion,”
Despite his founding one called Christianity. Now listen —

Glad the guy found Jesus, but he should have been more subtle.
Gave us false dichotomies, I give you my rebuttal.

I’m a big believer in the license of a poet:
Alexander Pope’s ironic couplets were heroic.

But still you have to note that when he wrote about Belinda,
He didn’t redefine his words to suit his own agenda.

I say we consult a standard definition
Of this murky word that’s thrown around — I mean “religion.”

Oxford English Dictionary says it with acumen:
“Belief in or acknowledgment of powers superhuman

Which typically is manifest in reverence and worship.”
Not about publicity, not entrepreneurship.

The problem with the Pharisees was not that they’re religious,
But that they were self-righteous: their pride was prodigious.

The thing about the Son of God is that he had a Father
Who gave a Law to Israel. Now let us briefly ponder:

Why would God institute religion for his people —
Observances, rituals — if all of that were evil?

Jesus didn’t come to curse what is external.
He came to heal our eyes when we were blind to what’s eternal.

And part of what’s eternal is our eyes, our bodies.
Let me catch my . . . breath . . . alrighty.

The essence of our nature is to be body and soul.
Inner faith and outer works are never gonna cancel.

Antinomianism is a leech that will bleed ya.
(If you don’t know the meaning, look it up on Wikipedia.)

Jesus didn’t come to take away the Law, or kill it.
He honored the Old Testament, came to fulfill it.

Gnosticism reappears in every generation,
Misreading Paul, and preaching segregation

Between outer works and inward salvation,
Between the God of grace and the Demiurge of creation,

Saying, “Hey, I’m spiritual, but no, I’m not religious.”
Man, without a creed, it’s only superstitious.

Faith without works is perfume on a casket.
Obedience is love, so how could it mask it?

You call the Church a hospital? Then it must have a structure.
Doctors and their medicine, food for our hunger.

We are Christ’s body even though we’re broken,
And saying we’re a body is no metaphoric token.

Bodies have blood, and bodies have a skeleton.
The way these people talk it’s like the Church is only gelatin.

I lost my mind reading Martin Luther,
But John Henry Newman saved me from my stupor.

The Church must be visible; pietism’s risible;
Unity in Christ should never be divisible.

Think for a minute of a faith without religion:
Say goodbye to Christmas, say goodbye to mission,

Sunday morning worship, common prayer and baptism.
Ritual is not a slope that slips into fascism.

Of course, it’s true that going through the motions
Can cover up a heart that lacks true devotion.

But what a non-sequitur to criticize the motions —
The saints have been religious with a love as big as oceans.

God is a lover, he wants to romance you.
Religion is the rhythm that a fervent heart can dance to.

Worldwide communion — how is that monotonous?
Go read St. Augustine on the Donatists.

The Church is corrupted, lots going wrong there,
All of which tells me that, in fact, I belong there.

I’m a sinner, too, I fail to live out
The calling I believe in, the words that I spout.

Who am I to instigate a detrimental schism,
To leave in the worst form of judgmentalism?

No, as for me, I’ll stay where the grace is —
That’s in the Church, and what the Church embraces:

Sacraments and love, charity and missions,
Doctrine and prayer, Scripture and Tradition.

The bottom line is false religion can’t negate the true one:
Relationship with Christ is religious communion.

***

Now THAT’S some good writing. :D

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Devotional Thought: “I Like You”

Some kids are tough to raise because they don’t particularly care whether they’re pleasing their parents or not. They do what they want when they want. Who cares whether Mommy and Daddy are happy with me? I’m happy with me, and that’s all that matters!

I wasn’t one of those little kids. I wanted to please people. Oh, my sin nature was quite robust, don’t get me wrong. But deep down my desire to be liked would always win out. It shamed me to know that Mommy and Daddy weren’t happy with me. I would do anything to get back into their good graces. And when all was made right, I couldn’t be happier.

That desire has never really left me. It’s a part of who I am. And as my experience has widened, that desire to be liked has expanded from Mommy and Daddy to close friends, to teachers, to just about anybody I really look up to. With anybody who has my respect and admiration, I can be almost painfully diffident. And I am not a diffident person by nature. Oh no. If you’re a jerk, or a moron, or you have styrofoam packing peanuts for brains, I’ll tell you. But a favorite songwriter? A favorite pastor? A much-loved singer? Gulp, gulp, timid whisper: “Um, excuse me…” That was me asking Steve Green for his autograph.

As I’ve become involved in blogging and the world of the Internet, I’ve discovered that making contact with your favorite singers or writers is much easier than I used to think. So one of the things I’ve tried to do is get involved in whatever Internet community they’ve built around themselves, leaving comments, expressing appreciation for what they write, thinking it’s an easy, painless way to make contact with them. “Just think, so-and-so is actually going to READ this comment! And he might even respond! How cool is that??”

Actually, I’ve learned it might not be so cool. In one case that was actually probably the least painful of my experiences in this area, I mingled a bit with an online community that was later revealed to be “for church leaders only.” (This after I had already been commenting for several months, because I posted something they disagreed with.) I got involved because their worship leader is one of my favorite singers, and I noticed that he would regularly post great stuff on the church’s blog. So I offered comments until I apparently wasn’t welcome anymore, and I was literally told, “If you are on a church team, we’re so sorry for the mistake and we’ll get things fixed. But if you aren’t, go away, you’re not part of the club.” Not in so many words, but that was basically it.

I never actually had contact with the worship leader himself, but the guy who wrote me was a close friend of his who was obviously speaking for him. So I left, not really broken-hearted but a bit saddened. Still, I kid you not, that very night I had a dream that I actually went to the worship leader’s church and got to meet him. He looked me in the eye, shook my hand firmly, called me by name, and simply said, “I know you, and I like you.” I said “You do?” He said, “Yes.” Eerily enough, a very similar scene played itself out nearly word-for-word between me and Michael Booth just a few weeks ago, with the happy difference that it was quite real and not a dream at all.

But as I said, that particular experience is just one pretty mild example. In other cases, I really have gotten my heart broken, because I’ve discovered what every crusty old lady under the sun could have told me: People can be jerks. People can be irrational. People can be arrogant. People can be manipulative. And sometimes they’re the very people you most wanted to please.

And you know what? It isn’t worth it. It isn’t worth it to seek out that approval and get yourself all worked up and excited only to get a nasty cold shock.

Have good role models. Have people you admire. And don’t feel shy about connecting with them, because it can prove to be very fruitful and rewarding. It has for me. Dianne Wilkinson, Terry Franklin, Ernie Haase, Michael Booth… connecting with people like these has borne wonderful fruit.

But at the same time, don’t invest yourself in those connections—your time, your energy, your emotion. Invest yourself in the people directly around you—your family, your friends. Invest yourself in your relationship with God. Do you want to please somebody? Seek to please Him.

I say this conscious of the fact that I have many miles to go myself in this area. Still, I’m offering it for what it’s worth because I know it’s the truth. Ladies, this is for you in particular. Guys… well, here’s a comedy routine just for you. (2:35 to 3:00 is especially pertinent.)

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A Thought On Steve Jobs and Abortion

In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, people reflecting on his vast legacy have been pointing out that he was adopted. His biological father was a Syrian immigrant who met his mother when they were both students. She became pregnant out of wedlock, and he wanted them to get married and keep the child, but her parents didn’t want her to marry a Muslim. So they split up, she had the baby alone, and he was placed for adoption by prior agreement between both his biological parents.

Now at the time, abortion was illegal, so it was not comparable to a situation today, where it is the widely preferred option. Nevertheless, people have speculated about what could have been and about what would have been lost. We wouldn’t have i-anything. We might not even have laptops or mouses. Aren’t we glad Steve’s mother put him up for adoption?

Yes, we are. But I think we should be careful here. Because I see this argument a lot: Just think of all the diseases that might have been cured, or the new inventions made, or this or that, if all the babies aborted in the last 30 years had been allowed to live. And there is truth to that argument. But should it be the only or even the main reason why we oppose abortion?

I don’t think so. I think we should oppose abortion simply because every unborn child is intrinsically valuable. It shouldn’t matter whether they grow up and, in the words of Saving Private Ryan, “cure some disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb, or something…” or not. It doesn’t matter if they’re disabled or healthy, retarded or mentally sound. It doesn’t matter if they invent the ipod or spend the rest of their life in the care of their parents because they’re never able to feed and dress themselves.

It isn’t wrong to speculate about what good millions of aborted infants may have done for the world. But it is worth recognizing that the loss of their lives should be considered enough of a loss all by itself.

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A Word On Gay Christians in Ministry, or Music Ministry, or Gospel Music Ministry

A lot of discussion has been had about this particular topic recently. There is much to say about it, but instead of saying everything that could be said, let me offer just a word or two.

First, the annoying thing about gossip is that it’s unfailingly vague. So when some know-it-all comes around talking about what his sources have told him about how umpty bagillion people in SG are gay, it’s never clarified what exactly they mean by “gay.” People can be proudly gay and act out on their impulses, or they can feel shame and try to fight them. The know-it-alls never make distinctions like that.

Second, there seems to be this false dichotomy about what a singer or minister in that situation can do. A friend said to me recently that if you’re gay, and you’re working in gospel music, maybe you shouldn’t be there… but then again, in this genre, with the fanbase it has, “coming out” carries a high cost with it. So, the argument runs, it’s difficult to blame singers/writers who aren’t proud of their orientation but are choosing to stay quietly in the closet. (Obviously we have no sympathy for so-called “Christians” who saunter out of the closet and flaunt their orientation to push their agenda. Nor should we feel sympathy for those who are coldly and calculatedly choosing to live a sinful double life.)

But for those who feel guilty and convicted, I think there’s a third option nobody’s ever really considered: disappearing quietly. If you sincerely recognize your desires as sinful, and you feel that they disqualify you from ministry, the best thing you can do for yourself, the industry, and the fans is to find some other line of work and keep your private desires to yourself. Obviously you should feel much more guilt if you have acted out on those desires, but I think even in that situation the silent exit is best.

The truth is we live in a “tell-all” society where people are expected to blab every private detail of their lives. Secretly living in sin (or with powerful sinful desires) while staying in the ministry is not the right way. But telling the whole world about it isn’t the right way either. Instead, disqualify yourself with dignity. Turn in your resignation and tell the good people who have supported you that God is calling you somewhere else. It will be the absolute truth. Then leave the ministry and bear your cross alone.

That sounds harsh. But I believe it’s what Jesus would say. You’ll remember he had his own cross to bear.

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Ox, Nor His NQC Ticket

What does it mean to covet? I’ve always had a general idea of “coveting” as “wishing you could have or enjoy something someone else has or enjoys.” But I think that general notion can be separated into two very different things.

Let’s imagine your friend Joe gets a ticket to go to NQC for the first time, and you can’t go because you can’t afford it. When he joyfully informs you of his good fortune, let’s say your first reaction is, “Hey man congrats! Wish I could go too, but I can’t make it this year. :-(“

Now, are you coveting Joe’s ticket? You’re wishing you could have something he has, but I think true covetousness would manifest itself a little differently. This is best illustrated with the old story about a Russian peasant who rubs a bottle and encounters a genie. Said genie offers him a wish, and when he launches into a rant about how unfair it is that his friend Ivan has a goat and he doesn’t, the genie says, “Ah! Then is your wish that I should give you a goat?” “No!” replies the peasant. “I want Ivan’s goat to die!”

True covetousness means you want Ivan’s goat to die. It would be like “accidentally” tripping your friend so that he falls and breaks his leg on the week before NQC. “Whoops! So sorry about that Joe. Guess you’re not going to NQC this year after all.” Or even if you don’t break his leg directly, hoping he breaks his leg so that he can give away his ticket to someone who would really appreciate it (cough, cough). Or hoping that happens even if he gives it away to someone else, because then at least Joe wouldn’t get to go to NQC, which is the most important thing.

The point is, don’t feel guilty if you have a wistful twinge next time someone else gets to go to NQC and you don’t, or someone else gets a raise and you don’t, or… [fill-in-the-blank with your own scenario]. That’s natural and innocent. What’s not innocent is building up resentment towards that other person, or constantly obsessing over the fact that you’re not able to have what they have, to the point where you’d do anything just in order for him not to have it… even if nothing changed for you.

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September 11th Was Not a Tragedy

Everybody else will probably be asking “Where were you?” so I’ve decided I’ll do something a little different for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Anybody who knows me knows that I have a passion for language—specifically, its proper use. One of the things that I absolutely cannot stand is when people use the word “tragedy” for something that is not a tragedy. Let me explain.

A 4-year-old dies of leukemia. A young mother is paralyzed in a car accident. A teenager mistakenly runs over his little sister with the family van. These are tragedies.

Murder is not a tragedy. When I see people refer to something like, say, abortion as a “tragedy,” I have an overwhelming urge to say “What a lot of crud.” Abortion is a deliberate act of evil. It is not something terrible that just “happened,” through illness, accident, or what have you.

The same is true of the September 11th attacks. I am sure all of you have seen them described as a “tragedy” many times, in many places. I even saw Peggy Noonan doing this the other day. But were they a tragedy? No. The planes didn’t fly into the buildings because their engines malfunctioned. The pilots didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. They were Muslim terrorists who knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going, and they coldly chose to murder thousands of innocent lives as an act of war against the country they hate so much. The correct word here is “murder.” Not “tragedy.”

I would be willing to bet that there are many Americans who, when they stopped to think it through, would agree with me. But why are so many lapsing into this sloppy, mistaken use of the word “tragedy” in the first place? I think perhaps it’s because with the rise of relativism, our society has developed an instinctive shying away from words like “evil” and “murder.” So replacement words like “tragedy” have become so widespread that people use them unthinkingly, even when they really mean “murder.” (In this specific case, another factor is that people are timid about directly ascribing evil to minority groups like Muslims, and the worse a minority behaves, the more excuses are made for them. Unfortunate, but true.)

My challenge to you, my fellow Christians, is this:  Be clear, precise, and unflinching in your condemnation of evil actions, be they aborting a child or flying a plane into the World Trade Center. Let us call them what they are: not “tragic,” but “evil.”

By the way, if you are looking for something profound and inspiring to read today, this piece should fit the bill more than adequately.

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Watch Your Mouth

In the Church today, it’s apparently becoming narrow-minded to watch your mouth. I’ve seen Christians who look down on other Christians for thinking that language still matters. Some try to claim it’s all “a heart issue,” and the actual words aren’t as important as the spirit in which they are said.

I beg to differ.

I realize it can be taken to the other extreme. For example, I’ve known wonderful, godly people who think it’s a sin to say the word “darn.” My family once even had to sit through a skit on the subject by some very earnest teenage girls. In the opening scene, they sit down to eat lunch, and one exclaims, “Darn, I forgot my sandwich!” Another says in shock, “You shouldn’t say that word.” We had a running joke for some time afterwards that perhaps the profane word in question was “sandwich.”

Nevertheless, I do take our use of language seriously, because I think language is too beautiful to be turned into something ugly. Moreover, when it profanes something that’s been ordained by God as sacred, I believe it’s a form of blasphemy. That includes the relationship between a man and a woman.

This is something that I think a lot of Christians are losing a sense of. For example, there are Christian singers who stand out in their chosen secular genre in some ways because of their faith, but to an extent they still blend in when it comes to songs with suggestive content. This is true of artists like Josh Turner and Brad Paisley.

Another trend I’ve observed is that Christians in the Church are picking up suggestive turns of phrase without really stopping to think about it. For example, Christian guys will refer to their “smokin’ hot wives,” or Christian girls will titter over the latest “hottie” they saw on TV. Several years ago, I even heard a motivational speaker on Focus on Family recall the moment when she first saw her future husband in a group at church by saying, “And then four of the yummiest guys I had ever seen walked in.” The other girls in her audience were very appreciative, naturally. I wasn’t. I fully believed that she was a godly lady, but I wanted to do a facepalm.

It makes you want to ask some of these people, “Brother in Christ… sister in Christ… do you understand that sex is sacred?” And they might look at you and say, “Well, yeah, it means you’re supposed to be faithful to your spouse and stuff like that.” Okay, that’s a start. But sometimes I think Christians still don’t really understand what it means for sex to be sacred. Simply, it means that when you treat sex lightly, as a thing to be joked about or sung about in suggestive songs, you’re profaning God. I don’t even appreciate it when Christians take the f-bomb and replace it with some euphemism  (freakin’, flippin’, frickin’, etc.) What’s the idea—that we’re supposed to fall all over ourselves and be so very grateful that you didn’t actually say the f-bomb? How restrained. Yes, I realize everybody does it. That’s the problem. By the way, what’s wrong with “stinkin’?” Brad Stine manages to make do with it.

My point is, think before you imitate. Think before you toss off an expression. No, I’m not saying you should become obsessive and insufferable (“Did I just hear you say that tuba was cute? Watch your mouth”).  I’m just saying, be discerning. Be thoughtful. Guys, is it really necessary to tell the world that your wife is “hot”? Try telling the world that she’s beautiful. It sounds a lot better, doesn’t it? Girls, “yummy”? Come on. He’s not a cheeseburger you know. Be like my little sister, who likes Michael W. Smith because he’s “haaaaandsome.”

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Groveling to the World (or The Wishy-Washiness of Willow Creek)

I recently came across this message from Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels. Apparently Willow Creek wanted to invite Starbucks president Howard Schultz to come speak for a leadership seminar, but the constituency of Starbucks had other plans. Believing the church to be “anti-gay,” over seven hundred angry petitioners came together in protest, threatening to boycott Starbucks unless Schultz declined the invitation. So he did.

At this point, Willow Creek had a choice as to how they could respond. You would like to think they would have said, “Well yes, as a matter of fact we are ‘anti-gay,’ and very proud of it too. Gee, isn’t it nice to be hated by the right people?” Unfortunately, Hybels’ response was a little different:

Where to begin? We could start by the fact that at the end he’s citing Matthew 18 (??) as their basis for trying to “meet with” the petitioners in order to “seek a better understanding” and perhaps come to a point of “mutual respect.” The petitioners, who are (we presume) not even remotely Christian and not associated with the church in any way, shape or form. That sounds like a private grievance with a Christian brother, not. But Matthew 18 seems to be the go-to thing these days… no matter what the situation, Matthew 18 must apply, somehow.

So that’s just weird, right there. But of course there’s a big picture problem here, namely that Hybels is somehow trying to have it both ways. Notice that he does say at one point that the church “challenge(s) homosexuals and heterosexuals to live out the sexual ethics of the Scriptures,” and he even elicits some applause. However, he immediately continues with some fluff about “grace-filled spirits” and “honoring everybody’s journey,” whatever the deuce that means.

Official stance aside, what is getting repeated over and over here? It’s this all-inclusive “welcome” message. “The mat on every door at this campus [campus--don't you love that?] has always read ‘welcome’. ” No, the church is not anti-gay. In fact, the church is not anti-anybody. (One would like to ask, “Does that include the world, the flesh, and the devil?” But moving right along…) That’s what he’s harping on, and harping on. Now granted, in a church that size, there wouldn’t really be much you could do to actively prevent somebody gay from walking in on Sunday. But it’s pretty obvious that there wouldn’t be much of an attempt to exercise church discipline on an immoral member, or to communicate a pointedly, explicitly anti-gay message from the pulpit that might “offend” [Edit: In fairness, I just read an article which quoted a 2007 sermon that did contain anti-gay messages. Whether Hybels would preach something similar today is another question.] The clear take-home message here is, “It’s all right, it’s okay.” Make no mistake, Hybels is trying to walk an impossibly fine line, and something has to give. We’re seeing a serious disconnect between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. It may take a few years, maybe even a decade or two, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see even the official policy quietly disappear one day.

But until that happens, the angry petitioners still won’t be satisfied. I can see it now: Church sets up the meeting (if the petitioners are willing to meet at all), and Hybels goes and spouts the liberal line, saying nothing at all about the church policy if he can help it. But sooner or later they drag it out of him, and then it’s all over because as long as the letter is there, they will fight it.

I see this as just one more part of an emerging trend: Christian entities (churches, organizations, etc.) are becoming more and more eager to invite completely secular speakers for secular purposes, in an effort to “find common ground.” Compare with Focus on the Family and Blake Mycoskie. The Church is actively extending these kinds of invitations: “Hey, let’s forget about our differences and have you come and talk about leadership, or giving shoes to poor children, or anti-AIDS charity, or [insert something else generic]?” When those secular leaders yield to pressure from their base to refuse the invitation because of the officially conservative values of the Christian entities extending it, said Christians react by saying, “Oh, we’re so sorry. We’re good little liberals, honest! Er, yes, well, we do officially have standard Christian principles of morality, but can’t we w0rk something out anyway? Pleaseohpleaseohplease? All together now: WE ARE NOT EXCLUSIVE.” Instead of which they should realize, “You know, maybe that’s what we get for trying to work with somebody who doesn’t particularly share our values, at least not enough to stand up to a vocally complaining left-wing base. Let’s invite x solidly Christian speaker next time instead.”

The Church wasn’t built to grovel to the world. She was built to overcome the world. And if taking a stand for what’s right means that we are reviled and scorned… well, somebody kind of important once said that we should count that as a blessing.

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