Wednesday, July 1, 2015

We Lost the Cultural War – Now What?


We Lost the Cultural War – Now What?

by Al Menconi, with input from David Blyth
The Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage last week hit me with the kind of impact that I have not experienced since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  And just as 9/11 made us understand that a group of people we didn’t know hated us and treated us as their enemy, the gay marriage decision shows that a segment of our own society hates Christian values and wants to destroy them.  Both instances unalterably changed our lives.

You may think that I’m overreacting, but consider this.  Jesus in Matthew (19:4+5) gives a very clear description of marriage when He states, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the creator made them male and female?  And God said, ‘Because of this a man should leave his father and mother and be joined together with his wife, and the two will be one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh...”  

Marriage was ordained by God at the creation of Adam and Eve (Gen.2:24).  But in recent decades the homosexual community has made marriage a political “civil right,” and now, after we have lived for 5,000 years with God’s definition of marriage, the Supreme Court has changed it to fit its belief system and chose to overrule God!  What hubris!

I will not take time to argue the definition of marriage or debate the homosexuality issue in this paper.  That is for another time and place.  Either you believe God or you don’t.  It’s your choice.  In the meantime, the majority of Americans agree with the President and the Supreme Court.  Polls show most Christians are in the minority on this issue. 

Frankly, I believe this proves that we have lost the cultural war.  The days of Christians living in a society that supports our basic beliefs is over, and they won’t be restored until Jesus Christ returns for His bride. We may not be thrown to the lions, burnt at the stake, or (as we have seen recently) have our heads cut off by radical Muslims, but difficult times will come.  

What will “difficult times” look like for most Americans?  I’m guessing that the changes will probably appear in small increments. 

·      Perhaps a fine for refusing to bake a cake or photograph a gay wedding.

·      Being forced to pay for medical procedures that are contrary to biblical values. 

·      Labeling churches and other religious organizations as racist or homophobic for only hiring Christian employees who hold biblical truths. 

·      But how long will it be before these “homophobe” organizations lose their tax-exempt status or worse for following and teaching the Truth of Scripture?

It can never happen?  Consider how quickly our nation has done a one eighty on the gay issue.  When I was in college in the 60’s, homosexuality was considered an aberrant behavior in my secular college psych textbooks.  Today it is not only considered normal but honored with its own definition of marriage. 

This is all happening with less than 4% of the population identifying as homosexual.  Can you imagine how that percentage will increase in the next few years when this lifestyle is given open honor and respect with equal marriage status?

So what should be the Christian response? To quote Francis Shaffer, “How then shall we live?”  To me it’s the same as it has always been - just follow Jesus.  Or to be more precise:

1.     Remember that God is in control.

2.     Stay faithful.

3.     Remember that this is a spiritual battle, not an earthly one.

Let’s consider each of these in greater detail.

God is in control:

Do you think the Supreme Court decision surprised God?  Of course not.

We are not alone. Just as God has not abandoned the Christians around the world who experience prison, beating, rape, and beheading, God has not abandoned us.  God cares.  We may have lost the battle for the hearts and minds of this world, but we must realize that this isn’t a political battle, and thus the Christian’s response should not be political.  God calls us to do His work, not the government.  God is in control, not the government, not terrorists from a false religion, and not some political action committee.

Stay faithful:

Do you remember the context in which Daniel lived his entire life?  Rather than being a resident of Jerusalem, where the majority believed like him, he was taken to a land where the majority hated him.  Yet the king trusted him enough to make him a leader.  His enemies had him thrown to the lions, but God rescued him.  Daniel was faithful to his God and his king.

God does not promise that the Christian walk would be easy.  Remember three of Daniel’s contemporaries were thrown into a fiery furnace when they refused to bow down to false idols (As with Daniel, God chose to rescue them).  They were ready to accept the consequences of following God in our fallen world as should we. 

Thousands of Christians are being brutally murdered by radical Muslims, even today, yet they bravely stay true to their faith.  We must not forget, to follow Christ is to swim upstream.  “Going with the flow” will always lead to heartache and regret.

This is a spiritual war:

We live in a fallen world that is ruled by the god of this age.  Therefore every effort to obey Christ has been and always will be opposed by Lucifer.  Yet we must respond as Christ commanded: let the world know we are His disciples by our love (John 13:34+35).

It all sounded so easy just a week ago.  We’ve read that verse a thousand times, nodded our head and said “Amen.”

But in fighting a cultural battle, are we apt to lose the spiritual battle?  Are we showing others a true image of Christ, or have we been giving others a distorted image of Him by our lives?   How are we preparing our children to grow up in this new hostile environment?  Will they succeed if they follow your example? 

Jesus advised that the world should know we are Christians by our love, not by our “righteousness.” WWJD is more than four letters on a wristband.  “What Would Jesus Do?” demands a vigorous, self-confident response!         

So what did Jesus do in the Gospels? Consider His treatment of the woman at the well, or Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus, tax collectors, and all the other sinners.  Jesus went out of His way to show them love and respect without validating their behavior.  Are we to do less with the homosexual community?

The Supreme Court decision has given us a great opportunity to reveal to the world the same love that God showed us.  As Martin Luther King said many times, hate will never defeat hate.  Only love will overcome hatred. 

Have we really been showing “the world” love? Really?  Could I suggest that we begin by cleaning up our own houses – removing the planks from our own eyes – before we ask others to clean up theirs?  The church is far from perfect.  Christians may be despised because we may not have been showing a true image of Jesus to the world by our love for others. 

“Oh, I hate the sin but love the sinner.”  You do?  How does the “sinner” feel when he hears those stinging words?  Remember, we no longer live in a Christian society.  We are not addressing Christians when we say that; we are talking to a society that only hears “I hate you” because they so seldom see us really love the sinner unconditionally. 

“They shall know we are Christians by our love” – not by our judgment.  We are to love sinners – and that includes gays and lesbians and even Bruce Jenner – without judging them.

“But how do I love someone whose actions I despise?”

Simple.  Do what Jesus did – He socialized with them and he partied with them!  Is it really against our religion to bake a cake or photograph a gay wedding?  If you wish to emulate His response in the Gospels, bake the best cake you know how and take the best photos.  Welcome the new couple to your church; introduce them to others who will also show them love; worship God together.  Who knows? Your love for them may be breaking down their walls of resistance to the Gospel.  And the Holy Spirit may work a miracle in their lives just like he did in yours. 

God does not ask us to approve of or support gay marriage, but He COMMANDS us to accept and love the homosexual community.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is still in effect when your neighbor is gay.

Admittedly, the New Testament principle is quite exacting, but when we fail, we must not quit. Remember Paul’s words in II Tim 4:7,  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”  We must remember to faithfully show others the love of Christ at all times. 

To summarize, I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court decision for a number of reasons. But we have a higher calling, and we should never sacrifice the eternal for a temporal victory. My mother used to sing, “This world is not my home; I’m only passing through.”  I’m beginning to understand what those words really mean. 

“They shall know you are Christians by your love.” We must always ask ourselves, Will winning this temporal political or cultural battle hinder us from sharing the love of Jesus with a dying world? 

When you love someone, only two things can occur.  Either the sinner will want to know more about Jesus, or just like Daniel, he may just want to throw you to the lions.

It’s a win-win situation.  For me to live is Christ.  To die is gain.  

3 comments:

  1. So true, Al. We need to treat lovingly those we wish to win to Christ regardless of their behavior or beliefs.

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    1. Thank you for reading and understanding the purpose of my editorial. We must let the world see Jesus in us. What would Jesus do? He saw a lot of sin when he was on earth and never condemned. He came to seek and save and to show the world that GOD IS LOVE.

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    2. Hey Al,
      So you're saying that we can all go see Madonna in concert now ? ;-)

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