Our country kills millions of babies. Several states, including large ones, legalize homosexual marriage. Those two headline, but we also have rampant nudity, foul language, illicit sex, rebellious children, confused roles, and rising atheism. What's happened and is happening? Maybe things aren't as bad as ever, but I think they are. I haven't heard anyone who doesn't agree with that. Is it the Bible and prayer removed from the public school? Is it the POTUS? Is it the Democrat Party? Naw. Uh-uh.
Church leaders are the problem. I see three reasons why we've gotten where we are. Church leadership could have staunched a lot of the sewage. If I were to make the three reasons one reason, which could be worth it, I would say it's self-interest, related to a lack of courage. The leaders don't want to be unpopular. They don't want to be marginalized. They want to get big, the way success is judged. Rather than, like Paul, who in 1 Corinthians 4 said I don't care if you judge me and then in 2 Corinthians 5 said I labor to be accepted of God, their selves are too big to lose. Pragmatism. Coalitions. Spheres of influence. Self-interest. But let's get to the three reasons that relate to that one.
Creation of Uncertainty On Truth
Uncertainty diminishes and then negates authority. You can't tell people they're wrong without a reason. You've got no reason if you have no basis for it. Homosexual marriage is wrong. The Bible says it's wrong. The Bible, huh?
The leaders caused doubt about the words, then the meaning, then the teaching. If you aren't sure you have the words, then how could you know what the words mean? And if you don't know what the words mean, how could you ever apply them? This is where we're at with the people leading our people. Everyone gets to choose the Bible they like, the meaning they want, and then the application that suits them. This was created by evangelicals and fundamentalists. They've provided no certainty for the people in the pew. And if the people in the pew don't have certainty, they won't give any to the ones outside the building.
Evangelicals and fundamentalists might say that this is just the reality. Well, then the problem is faithlessness, a staggering in unbelief, that led to the doubt. They attack people with certainty. They hate those with certainty. I know it.
Satan attacks truth at the word level, then the meaning level, and finally the application level. He'll get rid of truth any way that he can, whichever one that will work. He'll gladly customize. In the end, the truth won't be believed or practiced, and Satan will have his way. Some of these evangelicals and fundamentalists are concerned about truth. They don't want to lose it, but they are the biggest contributors to its loss.
In the name fundamentalist, you read ranking. The fundamentals are ranked above other truth. So the other truth becomes expendable. They say, "No," but it's "yes." Evangelicals are generally worse. They have the gospel or just "Jesus," and everything else is sublimated to a non-essential. Almost anything can be called a non-essential. If you talk about something else to almost any extent, you'll be said to be minimizing what's important.
This is not a biblical idea -- ranking -- as an evangelical or fundamentalist might explain it. If an evangelical or fundamentalist can make something God said to be non-essential, then anything can be reduced to meaningless. Marriage between a man and woman are a casualty. It can be unclear or less important, so not something to emphasize. Leave it out of the conversation. You don't want to preach on it. You'll offend visitors, who need the one truth, the gospel.
Ranking fosters disobedience to God. It's where we're at now. Jesus is the chief cornerstone, so He guides the north, south, east, and west of the building, but the cornerstone is now a memento, like a moon rock. His guidance can't relate to anything uncomfortable.
You whittle everything down to what will keep us together. Finally, all that matters is keeping together. Keeping together becomes the one essential doctrine. We're close to that right now.
I read Grace Awakening when it first came out, and in that initial edition, Chuck Swindoll asked why we can't see God in a pair of bermuda shorts. What I'm reading about the grace of God now is that God's grace and mercy are wide, wide enough for homosexual marriage. Andy Stanley writes, Deep and Wide, the title a play on the children's song, and he's making note of that. I'm sure it isn't too deep and mainly wide. A mile wide and an inch deep. Grace has become a garbage can for almost everything.
People don't want to be judged. So what gets judged more than anything is judging. You'll get judged for judging, except where it doesn't matter. And there you can judge away. Have an opinion. Have many opinions about things that don't matter, but don't judge in an area that matters. If you do, you'll be judged. This is where grace is at today.
Sentimentalism has replaced love. Capitulation is the new love. And this flows from that wide and shallow stream of "grace."
We're in the shape we're in because of these three. At least. It won't stop unless we recognize it, admit it, and turn from it. The goodness of God should lead you. God is good. His truth is good. His grace is good. All of it.
What's ironic about my warning is that people would have to judge what I'm saying is true, but that would require truth. That truth has been uninstalled from the hard drive. What will be recognized instead is that I don't have the cache to merit consideration. If anything that I've written means anything to me, that can't matter. So I push the "publish" button. Again.