The third thing that we need to ask ourselves in regards to our culture: Is the church making an impact in our culture today? Who is in control in our culture? Is it God or is it Satan? When we turn on TV what do we see: programs that honor God or Satan? When we listen to modern music what do we hear: music that honors God or Satan? When we look at art, films, etc. what are we confronted with: something that honors God or Satan?
Chuck Colson was speaking to a group of pastors about engaging our current culture. He said that one of the pastors came up and asked a question: “But won’t engaging the culture this way interfere with fulfilling the Great Commission? Isn’t our job to win people to Christ?”
Chuck’s response to this was: “Of course we’re called to fulfill the Great Commission, but we are also called to fulfill the cultural commission.” Christians are agents of God’s saving grace – bringing others to Christ, but we are also agents of His common grace: We are to sustain and renew His creation, defend the created institutions of family and society, and critique false worldviews.”
I was reading a book on the Nazi conscience. I was wondering how could a nation that had such a Christian heritage turn in such a way that millions would be killed.
We all have a conscience, but the question is: What is the conscience set on? For example, I think of some of the different religions in the world, Hinduism for example. They have what is known as Sati (wife burning). When the husband dies they throw the wife (alive) on the burning pyre so that she might be with him in the next life in reincarnation. Their conscience does not seem to bother them. My conscience would. What makes the difference? It depends on what their conscience is set on.
For me it is set on the Bible – I have a biblical worldview. This makes a difference. The Hindu has a Hindu worldview. It is a difference of belief. So it would seem that what we believe is very important. What is remarkable to me is how a nation that supposedly is a Christian nation (nominally) can have a Christian belief and still do what they did during the war? How was a nation’s conscience cauterized to allow something like that to happen? Also where was the church in the midst of it all?
Then I think of the USA with over fifty million of our babies that have been aborted. Where is the church? What happened to bring us to this point? Where is the church in the midst of it all?
While reading this book several things stood out for me. First, we see that it was a time of lax moral codes in the country. It seems that everything was okay to do. No morals, no truth. It was a time when the moral people (probably the churched people) felt that something needed to be done. But what and by whom? It seemed that there was a sense of impotence. It was at this time that a man – Hitler – rose who seemed at first to be a man of morals giving voice to what many felt. He was a good speaker and a charismatic character. He was sharing what many people felt and through his charisma many fell for his propaganda.
Next we find that Hitler had a tremendous propaganda mill and through this he began to pour out the poison. In one sense what he was doing through his propaganda mill was to engage the major issues of the day and give an answer. What the preachers should have been doing we find Hitler doing. We now know the rest of the story. Biblical preaching is engaging the major issues of the day and giving a Biblical response.
Through the constant barrage of propaganda, people’s thinking and belief began to change – which in turn affected their conscience and setting the barriers for their conscience. Once that happened it was easy to lead them to other things as well. This is what we see today in our own culture.
Later when Hitler took more and more power then it was even more difficult for any opposition to be raised. It seemed that he also used thugs to help bring about his message by fomenting fear in the hearts of anyone who did not agree with the propaganda.
What do we encounter today when we speak out against a homosexual lifestyle? So where was the church when they were “coming out” as they say? Did the church see? Did they understand the dynamics that were taking place? Perhaps some did and they did speak out to their own detriment. I think of Bonhoeffer who was eventually put into prison and later hanged.
Looking at our culture in the West today makes me want to CRY OUT for reformation!