Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Reality of the Culture War

I heard something on the radio this week that I believe is true: we (Christians) have lost the culture war. Now that doesn't mean we roll over and adopt values that are counter to the life Christ would have us live, but I think it's important to acknowledge the reality of our environment.Understanding the issues allow us to work on resolving them. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, and that truth combined with persistence to seek and live in truth has resulted in my being symptom free for over a year. 

So if we lost a "culture war", what is the truth with respect to how we contributed to the loss and what are the implications for those of us who live in America and are committed to following Jesus? First, I think we need to acknowledge that the "culture" was never the correct strategic objective. The culture changes when the attitude, values and prevailing mores of the people are morphed over a period of time. We called to create disciples rather than change a culture, and we were called to make disciples of Christ, not church or doctrinal converts.

We need to get a better understanding of the issues and a clearer perspective of the truth. Truth is absolute, despite the relativistic perspective of our culture. Some things are clearer than others, and some things are admittedly for God alone to know, but our inability to understand truth doesn't negate it's reality. 

We need to get better at explaining truth in a winsome and clear way, separating things that our society has lumped together in a convincing rhetoric that makes truth-bearers appear to be a "haters". 

For example: the sin and the sinner are separate. We can judge a behavior and determine it's unhealthy to a person or community. We hate the lie or the sin that brings death and yet we love the sinner with compassion, seeking to understand the wounds that have contributed to their current state in hopes that Christ can use us as instruments of His healing. Any of our arguments for truth need to be presented in ways that refuse to attack people with opposing viewpoints, regardless of rhetorical tools they may employ against us, respecting the person who publicly disrespects us.

In short, we need to speak the truth in love, and knowing that we are likely to repeatedly fall short, we resolve to get up, apologize when we realize our mistakes and stand firm in the truth that God is not surprised by current trends and continues to work all things together for good for all of us called according to His purposes. (Rom 8:28) 

Love without truth destroys as surely as truth without love. My concern is that acknowledgement of how the church has beat people over the head with a Bible (truth without love) will result in encouraging sin rather than appear "unloving" (love without truth). 

Resolve with me to speak the truth in love, trusting in God for the outcome.