Monday, July 27, 2009

Conflicting Moral Beliefs in the Church and Culture

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REFERENDUM 71 UPDATE: I'm certain you have read the report that we were able to deliver over 138,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office Saturday afternoon. We are grateful to all of you who worked so hard and to God for His help.

I was honored to carry the petitions up the steps of the Capitol beside Larry Stickney, Representative Matt Shea, Senator Val Stevens, Rick Wilson and all of you who were there Saturday on behalf of people of faith all across the state.

I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of positive comments of appreciation and encouragement sent to us since Saturday afternoon, for our willingness to continue to stand in the gap for righteousness. Thank you. You may never know how much that means at this particular time.

The next step is to simply wait for the Secretary's office to certify that there are at least 120,577 valid signatures on the Referendum petitions. It will likely take most, if not all of this week. Maybe longer.

We will keep you updated.

I have a sense that we will be facing an intense challenge or assault on this effort in the near future. Please be in prayer regarding these matters.

To view slideshow from Saturday, click here.

Conflicting Moral Beliefs in the Church and Culture

As we carried the more than 138,000 signatures into the Secretary's office Saturday, we were greeted by 6 or 8 clergy, mostly, if not all Episcopal, standing in silent protest of what we believe and what we were doing.

This, once again, highlights the different views held within the Christian community. The differences between the positions of evangelical conservatives and those of many of the mainline denominations have been widely discussed for more than 40 years.

More recently, we have become aware of differences of positions among evangelicals regarding some of the most important social issues.

How do people who claim the same faith have such divergent views on such important cultural issues?

In some ways it is complicated by personalities, egos, and political pressures within various organizations and denominations, yet there is a single, less complicated belief that is driving the actions of many who are actively trying to influence our culture.

Recently President Obama told a group of homosexual activists, meeting with him in the oval office, that there are those still holding to, "Worn arguments and old attitudes," regarding homosexual behavior.

This cuts to the heart of the matter. And it is tearing the fabric of the American cultural, some Christian denominations, and even some local congregations and communities.

Moral relativism is the belief that there are no absolutes. No right or wrong. Each person decides what is right and what is wrong. Chuck Colson, in his book, "How Now Shall We Live," says this belief---postmodernism, "rejects any notion of a universal, overarching truth and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender and ethnicity."

Here's how the thought process works.

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of National Review Online and a member of the USA Today's board of contributors, wrote a column in USA Today last August out of his concern regarding some of the comments candidate Barack Obama was making.

My focus is not President Obama, however, he gives us a clear example of the differences of worldview among those who claim Christian faith.

Goldberg references an earlier Obama interview, which was one we have previously commented on. It is a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun Times in which she asks Obama to define sin. He responded that sin is, "being out of alignment with my beliefs."

Therein is the heart of the matter. Christianity has traditionally held that the Bible is God's word and is the basis of a Christian's beliefs. Sin then is being out of alignment with God's beliefs---not our beliefs.

Here's how that difference is responsible for tearing our culture, our churches and sometimes our personal relationships.

Goldberg remembers the explosive fad of postmodernism in the 1980's. I remember that it started much earlier than the 80's and was accelerated when what was then called, "Values Clarification," was introduced into the textbooks of our public education system. "VC" as it was called, essentially advanced the idea that there are no absolutes. It put a new face on an old belief. Relativism. Which is essentially a rebellion against God.

Goldberg says this movement, "Was and is an enormous intellectual hustle in which left wing intellectuals take crow bars and pick axes to anything having to do with the civilizational Mount Rushmore of Dead White European Males."

In the mind of the postmodernist our traditional biblical beliefs of absolutes---right and wrong, true and false, are really just ways for those, in the words of Goldberg, "Pernicious Pale Patriarchs to keep the coalition of the oppressed in their place."

To the postmodernist, truth and reality are socially constructed. So the postmodernist seeks to tear down and remove traditional beliefs, because they privilege the powerful over the powerless, and replace them with new truths more to their liking. More in line with their personal perspective.

This belief claims to liberate society from fixed meanings and rigid categories---like biblical principles. However, they always replace traditional values with new "socially constructed" ones in the form of political correctness.

These beliefs are not liberating, they induce bondage. Patrick Henry once said when people forget God and His principles, tyrants are forging their chains.

The secularization of society is necessary to the success of postmodernism or relativism. This is why we at Faith and Freedom and others are committed to preserving and advancing Judeo-Christian values. They do not oppress, they liberate.

Postmodernism and relativism is really not about others. It is about "me". Why should I conform to "your" beliefs, says the postmodernist to the Christian.

The more society is moved away from eternal biblical truths and the Judeo-Christian values and principles that our Founding Fathers held, the more "new" and "progressive" truths can be introduced.

Truth has then become a matter of perspective.

When the Constitution of the United States does not support a certain social belief , it is declared a "living document" and can mean what ever best serves your agenda.

Once adrift on this sea of "change" we can be "Christian" and still claim that there are many pathways to God, as Obama did in the Falsani interview. We can also accommodate and even celebrate behaviors that are clearly condemned in biblical teaching.

You can claim Christianity, yet deny the absolutes of the Bible on the basis of cultural change and the agent of political correctness which calls for a new "fairness" in our views toward homosexuality, abortion and other important personal and cultural issues.

If you hold to traditional values you will be scorned as someone holding to "worn arguments and old ideas."

Many mainline Christian denominations have been moved away from the beliefs that gave them rise and are now in disarray and decline. This is why.

Biblical Christianity stands on the promises of forgiveness, deliverance, restoration and newness of life in Jesus Christ and eternal salvation, not some kind of so-called love that accommodates postmodernism and relativism.

If we do not communicate this message to our culture, who will? Are we not our brother's keeper?

Evangelicalism has typically held to the fundamental beliefs of biblical Christianity, however as evangelicals pursue new and innovative ways to identify with or not offend certain people groups under the guise of "reaching" them, I think we must be very careful that we ourselves are not "reached" with a view that moves one away from conflict and biblical declarations toward more personal comfort and acceptance by a political correct community.

May God guide His people in these perilous times.

Gary Randall
Faith & Freedom

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