A change has occurred in our country that has taken me a while to realize. Yesterday while listening to the radio it hit me. God is no longer cool. My revelation came as two local DJs began to talk about the bible and beliefs that christians held. They both began to say that Christians needed to get with the times. God is no longer cool. A little later in the day I heard the same message on TV. The message was simple, Christians are intolerant bigots who need to get with the times. God is no longer cool.
We are now living in a new era for Christianity. In our time, Christianity is no longer given a place of relevance in the every daily cultural dialogue. In this time, many of the millennium old held beliefs and convictions are no longer considered worthwhile. American christianity has become outdated and obscure in the eyes of our country.
I by no means have any authority to speak to our culture as a whole. Any authority I have is as a pastor who is called to speak to the church.
The church (collective christians across our nation) is responding to this new found obscurity in several ways. In some ways it is responding through a healthy gospel centered mission but it is also responding through many unhealthy approaches.
Unhealthy approaches to a post Christian America…
1. We believe that christianity is no longer relevant, so we change our faith to connect with a new era. Many believers and denominations have begun to walk this path. For many they believe that the old school Christian beliefs have had their time but now we must meet the needs of the new world with a new christianity. This is a faith that goes light on sin out of a desire to show the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. With great intentions many churches have accepted things in which scripture condemns.
The problem with this approach is that neither our culture nor any man have the right to decide what is sin and not. Simply, we cannot accept that which put Jesus on the cross.
2. In response to an ever changing world, we retreat into a defensive solitude excluding those who do not believe like us. With the best of intentions in following the great commands of God, this group retreats into its buildings. The people of the church surround themselves with others who think and act just as they do. These actions escalate to such a degree that Christians stop building relationships with “outsiders”, spend all of their time in religious activity and remove themselves from anyone who disagree with them.
The problem with this approach is that God never intended his people to be closed off from the world. His desire was that they would be in the world, but not of the world. God wants his people to be in community with people who believe different than them, with a purpose. The purpose is so that they have the opportunity to lead them to a God who can save.
3. We use any means necessary to confront and wage war against those who do not share out beliefs. Much like a dog backed into a corner, many see the need to escalate a culture war. Hello I’m from the tribe who boycotted Disney. With great intentions this group seeks to remoralize america. People who disagree with this group are seen as enemies and treated with anger and disdain.
The problem with this approach is that God’s great call for our country is not moralization. On top of that, people who think differently are not enemies. In all honesty, we are no better than any other person. All we have as christians is the grace of God. Our aim can never be to defeat those who think differently, instead our aim is to show them the grace and forgiveness that we know.
A healthy alternative…
We stand firm in a gracious humility, loving others and sharing the news of a Savior who died for all sinners, of which we are included. In this we do not compromise our beliefs because God is unchanging and his call is steadfast. We do not dumb down sin, no matter how culturally appropriate it seems, instead we are the first to admit that we are no better than our fellow citizens. We love every person and treat them with dignity because there is no person alive who is not created in the image of God. As we love, we do it with the purpose of sharing and leading men to the good news that Jesus Christ saves all men from their sin and gives them eternal life. We should remain grounded in humility knowing that we are no better than any man, but instead all dependent on the grace of God who saved us despite us.
The mission of the church is to follow in the steps of Jesus.
Funny enough, Jesus was crucified by both the liberal and conservative parties of his time.
The church must stand in God’s grace, uncompromising in His truth, missional in His call and open to everyone.