WHAT CAN WE DO? Part 2
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We have seen how another method of gaining knowledge, other than the revealed knowledge that comes from God, crept in through Thomas Aquinas and over the centuries was built upon by other following philosophers until we now have come to the place in the 21st century to where we call good evil and evil good.
The question that begs for an answer is: What can we do? First, we need to recognize that this is a battle for the mind. One of the greatest needs is what the Apostle Paul spoke about here in Romans 12: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
In 2001, researcher George Barna gave a speech and said that historians would look back and say that this year of 2001 was about the time when moral and spiritual anarchy began. He went on to say: “Of all the changes likely to occur in the next few years, moral chaos will have the most devastating impact on American culture.” Looking at the moral breakdown that has come with lightning speed in the last decade alone, one would agree with his assessment.
In the past I have written about the need for a Biblical mindset – having a Biblical worldview. A worldview is the screening of everything that comes our way and how we interpret things in everyday life. Because of the men that have been presented over the past few weeks we see that much of our interpretation of things that come our way is not Biblical, but secular; not God’s perspective, but man’s, and like I said before: Man makes a bad god.
In Barna’s book BOILING POINT, he says that while most Americans claim to be Christians, commitment is becoming less and less meaningful. He brings out the following statistics. Consider this: “85 percent of all adults claim that religious faith is very important in their lives. Also, 85 percent claim to be Christians. More than four out of five adults claim to know the basic teachings of the Bible and nine of ten own at least one Bible — good. Yet, just one in four adults and only one teenager in ten believe in absolute moral truth. In fact, less than half of those who call themselves “born-again” Christians believe that anything is ‘absolutely true.’”
The question comes: Why the disconnect when there are so many that believe the value of the Bible’s content and believe that Jesus is The Truth? Barna suggests that it is because of changing values, or rather, evolving values. These men that have been mentioned in previous weekly letters brought this change of values when our Western culture embraced relativism and abandoned traditional values like loyalty, morality, accountability, and sacrifice.
Now we find values that best go along with relativism like independence, personal happiness, tolerance, comfort, instant gratification, the right to make one’s own choices — all of which center on the individual. Christ said long ago: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Because God is not the center of our lives, self has become the center, and because of this self interest – spiritual and moral anarchy follow.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:15: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Christ died and rose again that He might deliver us from public enemy number one: SELF. We also read that Christ died and rose again that He might be Lord over all. “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” Romans 14:9
Unless we, God’s people, come back to our foundation, our society will have enormous difficulties in coping with the changes that are coming.
In his book BOILING POINT Barna goes on to say: “Most distressing, the church sometimes seems right in line with today’s evolving values, and also note that people’s church preferences often align precisely with their relativistic approach to life.”
Instead of looking for a church with doctrinal purity Americans seem to attend churches based on how far they have to drive, or the worship that is taking place and whether or not they can get an emotional boost from the sermon, etc. Not that these are bad things in themselves, but convenience, comfort and emotion tend to be the values that drive today’s spirituality.
Paul said that we should not only be transformed by the renewing of our mind, but also not to be conformed to the patterns of this world. The research that Barna conducted in 1999 among sixty-five common values and traits – did reveal that the values of born again Christians were not substantially different.
When leading the Children of Israel in the desert Moses said to the Lord: “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
In closing Barna went on to say: “Can such a church expect to change the world? If we have any hope of renewing the culture, we’ll need to rediscover what Jesus meant when He called us to be in the world but not of it.”