Back in the good old days, words were attempts to linguistically depict and label reality. For example, “sky” indicated the expanse overhead, “land” indicated ground beneath, and “river,” “ocean,” and “sea” described the unfrozen watery expanses underneath “sky” that were not “land.”
“Male” and “female” – once upon a time – described animals, humans, and plants with certain physical characteristics that differentiated them from each other into two separate classes.
“Ethnicity” was a categorical word with lots of sub-category labels that attempted to summarize people groups exhibiting similar physical features.
“Unborn children” used to be considered alive, people, and worthy of healthy provision and protection from the time that biologists unequivocally observe distinctive human life to begin – at the moment of conception.
“Marriage” used to describe the relationship of a natural-born man (historically called “male”) and natural-born woman (historically called “female”) who committed themselves to one another in the sight of God.
For millennia, “facts” described objective things, and “opinions” depicted subjective things. However, the times in which we are conducting our lives and ministries, they continue to change.
For some, “male,” “female,” “ethnicity,” “marriage,” and even “life” are no longer defined by physical characteristics, objective facts and standards, but by feelings and opinions. And since those can change, ethnicity, gender, marriage, and life are no longer considered absolutes.
If a human life-form is allowed to survive until birth, we can finally say, “It’s a baby!”, but we can no longer say with certainty, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”
Rather, we must wait to see what the child feels like before we assign a gender, and then only cling to that lightly, since a person may feel differently later.
In this type environment, “boy” and “girl,” “he” and “she,” “male” and “female,” “husband” and “wife,” even “baby” and “child” and “family” are weighty words fraught with potential angst and insensitivity.
At issue is the very nature of reality relative to people’s view of scripture and Jesus Christ.
Once reality is loosed from the moors of objectivity and set adrift on the seas of opinion to be tossed about by the currents, winds, and whims of subjectivity, everything is questionable. Everything.
Nothing is sacred, and no one is safe. The strongest pirate, the highest elected official, the court majority, the loudest voice, wields power, until the victor is trumped.
Just like in the biblical times of the judges, everyone does as they each see fit, and others are supposed to accept it. The fact that neither scripture nor the nature of reality have actually changed is helpful for those of us who aim to stand firmly upon biblical truth.
But, our struggle is intensified because we are surrounded by arrogance, capriciousness, confusion, derision, pride, and the promotion of evil as good and demotion of good as evil.
Those who cling to “God” and “the Bible,” who believe in creation, an actual worldwide flood, in angels, in a prince of darkness called “Satan,” in sin, in a literal heaven and hell, in an eternal second life or death, in atonement, in a divine/human savior named Jesus Christ, in a real Holy Spirit, in prayer, are mocked as kooks and extremists.
Those who believe that “love” does not always equate to “nice” – since people in temporal and eternal danger should be warned and offered assistance, even if it hurts their feelings – are called “mean,” “phobic,” and “unchristian.”
For many of us, this shift has happened in our lifetime. We remember when these beliefs were commonly accepted, even promoted by our leaders and upheld by our institutions of business, education, and government.
We know that other societies in history have been far more averse to and intolerant of biblical views than ours, but we are saddened, angry, and unsettled because we thought our nation was different – a light for the world, a city on a hill, a model worthy of emulation and respect.
However, that America has been hijacked.
Although God’s universe, without our assistance or permission, is a wonderfully and intricately designed marvel in which we have the privilege of living, we have watched as more and more people continue to reject this reality, substitute their own, and attempt to leverage their opinions by force, intimidation, law, and scorn.
Many attempt to extract and twist God’s own Word to bolster their anti-biblical case (“Do not judge!”), and God’s own gifts, signs and covenants have been stolen for ungodly purposes (i.e. grace, mercy, marriage, rainbow, sexuality).
Unfortunately, this undermining of reality and scriptural authority has resulted – in part – from weak, inconsistent, and acquiescent religious and spiritual leadership from both clergy and laity. We have contributed to our own malaise.
When Christians do not live what we say we believe; when we substitute our opinions for God’s Word; when we compromise God’s integrity by not condemning (even our own) hypocrisy and sins and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with God and those whom we have wronged; when we reject the biblical Jesus in favor of our own personally designed savior who conforms to what we would prefer god to be; when individuals, groups, churches, denominations, and theologians who claim to follow Jesus Christ engage in linguistic calisthenics and argue about what the Bible clearly says consistently – we offer the world a namby-pamby, wishy washy religion that is neither authentic nor respectable.
When we who claim to be believers are apathetic, disobedient, hypocritical, lazy, uncommitted, unholy, unprepared, or woefully untrained, we give Jesus a bad name and help weaken families and communities.
That is why we need ministries that aim to nurture strong faith and trust in Jesus Christ, provide a deep and wide foundation of knowledge of His Word, and train lay and professional Christian leaders for proactive, productive action.
Strong Biblical preaching and communities rooted in living lives according to God’s Word helped shape the fabric of a once great America, but the decline of both have diminished our populace and our nation.
The importance of this task continues to become more and more clear amidst our growing individual, community, and governmental crises of reality.
Why? Because, even if others do not understand or appreciate our beliefs and accordant and derivative actions – all of society is strengthened when Christians are rock solid in faith, knowledge of God’s Word, and holy living.
Although we may be surrounded by persons who do not believe, who do not live according to our values, who ridicule and even punish us for believing and living as we do, their lives may be improved, and even eventually saved, because of our actions, words, and witness. Even if not, we are still called to stand up, stand out, stand forth, and stand strong in and for the Lord.
God is still training and sending out soldiers to fight spiritual battles, to defeat evil, to win souls, to offer healing and hope to sinners and saints, and to point to Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Reality and scripture are not yet completely abandoned or forgotten.
But, for many, they are unappealing constraints delightfully relinquished under the auspices of “equality,” “freedom,” “rights,” and “the pursuit of happiness.”
In the midst of cultural drift, rift, and turmoil, Christians should continue to stand firm on the Rock of God’s Word – without waver, without compromise, and without complaining about our circumstances.
Waves will come and go, and winds will quiet and blow, but Jesus Christ is still Lord, His Word is eternal truth, and we are His servants.
Published in Meat and Potatoes for the Soul 2, © 2015 by K. Lynn Lewis.