Monday, February 26, 2024

"They Do Listen!"

One of the issues that affects the church at all times and in every place, is the influence that society has upon it. We often speak of the influence that the church should have on society, but we seldom stop to think about how much the church is being changed and, at times even molded in the image of the unbelieving world around it. It is important to remember, as well, that Christians did not just appear out of nothing and drop into the church. We all come from a particular environment, and that environment, like it or not, has had, and to a certain extent continues to have, an influence on us.

Some, like the author of the book and those who agree with the premises of the Benedict Option, have concluded that the best thing the church could do is to practically remove itself from society and build its own utopia. This utopia would essentially be a "mega convent" where Christians could simply withdraw from society and live in the way that they choose to (presumably as Christians--what a concept!).

There are others who not only want to continue to be engaged with society, but are of the mind that Christians need to work to bring about a sort of kingdom of God on earth in the form of a "Christian" form of government. They believe that the church has a responsibility to ensure that the institutions of man, particularly the government, follow Christian teachings and also impose those teachings on society as a whole (to be fair, to my knowledge no Christian group is calling for this to be done violently).

Nevertheless, perhaps the greatest influence on the church comes from the liberal side of the ledger. These influences range from the idea that God is "what you make of Him," to those who may be sincere but are completely deceived into thinking that their particular view of Christianity is the "compassionate" one. We may just want to stick our heads in the sand and say that "who cares, no one listens to such nonsense anyway." The problem is that, as the title of this article suggests, they do listen and they listen a lot more than we think. If we were to dig deeper into the psyche of many within solid, orthodox churches, we would find that some of the ideas that they hold are amazingly similar to those ideas peddled by liberalism. This tendency is especially true among many of the younger members of our congregations.

That tendency is why there are so many illiterate Christians in our country today. They have been listening to preachers who tell them that the ultimate end of Christianity is to make them feel good and  grant them all kinds of goodies. That message resonates with the younger generation, because many of them were raised by parents who have led them to believe that what they want and feeling good is what counts, often at the exclusion of any proper discipline and guidance. In the end, however, everyone who indulges such teaching will be disappointed. And they will be disappointed because they have believed a counterfeit Christianity that does not save and that certainly does not transform.

It is essential for the true Christian to battle such influences. Our homes (via the internet), our workplaces, and even some of our churches are awash in such aberrant teaching. Pray to the Lord so He will not only liberate those who are slaves to such thinking but also that He will protect us from such influences. If are to be salt and light, we cannot loose our savor or hide the light!

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