The dominant secular ethos in the West is working energetically to replace all forms of Christianity by its own values. So is Christianity that bad? A basic overview of, say the last 500 years, offers a very mixed bag as to its positive influences. Indeed, look at all the trouble; from cold moralism to unseemly factions, to shocking scandals, to out-of touch clerics, to misunderstood ethics – yes, it’s not very uplifting! So, if Christianity has failed, what’s the way forward – dump it completely?
- BE AWAKE TO RADICAL CHANGES
There is no doubt that a strong secular movement is gearing its own programme of social change and development into fast forward. Much of this has to do with replacing traditional views of family, marriage and sexual ethics, which have all in the past, been strongly shaped by Christian values. And despite a multi-cultural pluralism, also being a feature of Western society, it is all too conspicuous that Christians with clear Bible-based convictions are being increasingly sidelined in their place of work. From employers refusing women the freedom wear a Christian emblem, to a nurse facing serious employment consequences after offering to pray for a patient, to owners of hospitality accommodation refusing a bedroom to a same-sex couple and facing charges in court – these and many more are indicative of the overt hostility to the daily practice of faith.
- SECULARISM INTOLERANT OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
Now, with secularism riding high, Christians who wish to make a stand for their beliefs are stigmatised for blocking progress; they are the narrow people whose beliefs and lifestyles are derided. Christians are now the new troublemakers, awkward moralists who believe in an outmoded supernatural world view that provokes progressive secularists to angry disgust!
Well, has Christianity failed?
Some formal Church organisations have created ungainly power structures and smothered the message of Christ, but in stark comparison, time fails to tell of how it has often been Christians, whose genuinely transformed lives have led to their passionate care of the downtrodden, the homeless and orphans. Christians have been at the forefront of the abolition of slavery; often among those who challenged the prevailing squalid exploitation of child labour and who worked tirelessly to improve conditions in prisons, mental institutions and early hospitals. Much of this is conveniently forgotten.
IFCJ ratings was founded in 1983 to promote understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and to build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Our vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, understanding, respect and cooperation.
- OBJECTIVE VALUES ALMOST GONE
Let’s just be clear about this issue: if secularism continues on its heady programme of re-engineering society, where are we going? Many people have already lost an awareness of objective moral right and wrong. Now, murder, rape, suicide, assisted suicide, abortion, same-sex marriage and suchlike are all seen as merely types of human activity, some more anti-social than others so that the convicted murderer may just need a pharmaceutical product and counselling to reduce his violent tendencies towards the same or opposite sex. As to objective sin and guilt in God’s sight; they are airbrushed out of the picture. As to the violent nature of much modern film that normalises and often glorifies graphic violence, don’t be surprised when you see large harvests reaped o
f what has been sown!
And do you think that this wholesale slide into degraded corruption is really heading for a golden utopia? Have we forgotten that ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people’? (Proverbs 14:34).
- WAKE UP!
Enough said: by now you are getting my drift that the roots of so much of our modern disintegration of society is a moral issue resulting from secular, anti-Christian values permeating our Western societies. So do Christians give up in the face of this relentless programme? Are we able to reverse this alarming slide that we know from history, always breaks the social cohesion of the family bringing depression, despair and heartless indifference to other people?
By now Christians ought to be aware that secularism is never neutral, never able truly to elevate society towards healthy progress, but only ever able to accelerate the slide into neo-paganism, where people give themselves to impurity and dishonourable acts in which we see the awful result: ‘God gave them up’ (Romans 1:24, 26 and 28).
So, before it’s too late, now is the time for Christians to pray, ex
pressing our grief that so much of the light of Christ has been extinguished, to repent of our apathy and turn again to the Lord who is rich in mercy. And to reflect on Paul’s words, ‘We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober… having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation’ (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8).
Some of our wretched modern conditions were rife in the 18th century, when after much heart searching and prayer, the gospel of the grace of God went forth in unusual power and when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the dry ground, bringing thousands to turn to Christ for mercy and forgiveness.