It is hard to overstate just how important it is to believe and embrace the old adage that the church is not the building but the people. Organized religion seems to be anything but organized today. Pluralism, syncretism, and progressivism have combined to produce a toxic brew of arrogance and narcissism in much of the American church. Religious leaders and academicians assure good Christian folks that they need not worry about the cataclysmic cultural shifts taking place today. “God is driving the change,” they say. “We know the Bible seems to provide clarity about today’s social issues but it really doesn’t. There’s an awful lot of gray area around sexuality, marriage, what belongs to whom, and truth in general. The Spirit is blowing the winds of change and God’s church must accommodate the culture or become completely irrelevant.”
“Did God actually say…?” (Genesis 3:1)
Consequently, battles are raging in almost all Christian denominations as the religious elitists try to bring the ignorant laity into conformity. Confidence in Christian leadership has been seriously eroded. But it hardly seems to matter. Today’s religious leadership precisely mirrors government and culture leaders who believe they know what’s best for everyone.
“You will not surely die…” (Genesis 3:4)
They tell us that Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin was inhospitality as if we are too stupid to comprehend the text. They tell us Paul was fine with homosexuality. It was pederasty that he warned against. They tell us God supports abortion and gender is in the eye of the beholder. They even tell us that the best way to love your neighbor is to stay away from in-person worship.
[Y]our eyes will be opened…” (Genesis 3:5)
With government, culture, and much of the church seemingly on the same page it becomes really tempting to cave and go with the flow. How can so many be so wrong? Maybe it’s just me/us. Our lives would be so much better without the constant stress of being labeled stupid, selfish, and hateful all the time. Maybe they’re right. What have we got to lose?
“[Y]ou will be like God… (Genesis 3:5)
Everything. That’s what we’ve got to lose. Everything. Integrity, freedom, our children’s respect, joy, the overcomer’s reward, and most importantly…being with God.
Don’t buy in to the voices that are coming from all directions telling you how to be like God. We aren’t called to be like God. We are called to be with Him. It is only in being with Him that we shall ever approach being like Him. And we can only be with Him by abiding [living joyfully and faithfully] in His Word (John 8:31).
Stop listening to the voices who incessantly tell you what you don’t have for obeying God and listen to the few who are warning what you will never have if you capitulate and accommodate sin.
We are not alone. Remember when Elijah became despondent as he fought his own culture war seemingly (at least to him) by himself? God pointed out that there were thousands (seven thousand to be precise) that were fighting the good fight just like he was (1 Kings 19:18). The Lord Himself promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). On top of that He sent us the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) and beyond that has instructed the angels of heaven to be prepared to minister to us at a moment’s notice (Hebrews 1:14).
Ultimately, Elijah rode off into heaven in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11). Jezebel, on the other hand, was tossed out a window, stomped on by horses, and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:30-37).
Stay the course. Fight the good fight. Read the Bible…over and over and over. Trust Him even when destruction looks imminent. Remember the three Hebrews who refused to bow down to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar and were warned by the king (with the furnace in plain view) that if they failed to bow to his statue they would be incinerated? They looked at the statue. They looked at the furnace. And they looked at the king and said,
[O]ur God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18).
To those who think they are winning the culture war because more and more politicians, judges, and religious leaders are coming over to their side and making life increasingly difficult for those who actually think the Bible is to be read and believed, I have some bad news…We aren’t going away and we will not disappear. You have been saying for literally centuries that Christianity will fade into obscurity. Yet here we still are. The remnant. When are you going to learn that the words of Jesus Christ cannot be undone:
I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).