Monday, June 26, 2017

Evangelical Alzheimers

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In his new book, "The American Spirit," best-selling author David McCullough notes, "We are raising a generation of young Americans who are by and large historically illiterate."

Sadly, we have also raised a generation who are by and large suffering from evangelical Alzheimers.

And if we don't know where we came from, it's quite certain we have no idea where we're going.

Peggy Noonan, a former speech writer for President Reagan and current columnist, wrote a review of McCullough's new book in the Wall Street Journal.

In her review, she notes McCullough's description of a "bright Missouri college student who thanked him for coming to campus," because, she explained "until now I never understood that the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast."

While it's tempting to laugh, this is not an isolated incident among college students today.

John Stonestreet, President of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, says' "If we think church history began with Billy Graham, we've probably forgotten something important."

In his article, "Are You Suffering from Evangelical Alzheimers," he says, "We evangelicals need to take our history more seriously."

He notes that Mark Noll says in his book "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind," "American evangelicals display many virtues and do many things well, but built in barriers to careful and constructive thinking remain substantial."

Stonestreet lists the barriers:

First we must look at our own history. Evangelicalism, he reminds us, began as a tiny reform movement away from larger institutions such as the state-supported Catholic and Anglican churches.

"Early evangelical leaders," Stonestreet says, "stressed things like individual conversion, small groups, and the evangelizing of young people, Native Americans, and slaves. And Evangelicalism innovated means to grow in faith that were outside of established channels."

Billy Graham has personified Evangelicalism in his life and ministry.

Noll and Stonestreet say we have "neglected deeper, more historically rooted education in the Christian faith and the development of a public theology that we can speak broadly to the culture."

Evangelical Alzheimers.

We didn't invent the gospel or the church, and the Bible is not merely a collection of maxims or principles isolated from history.

The Bible is certainly God's Word. But, Stonestreet says, the Bible also "contains the overarching story of God's interaction with humanity..."

A great deal of confusion exits in our country today because recent generations do not adequately understand what the Bible actually teaches on the sanctity of life, marriage, family and even personal responsibility.

Not knowing or understanding the past has created a cultural vacuum in which confusion has thrived.

This vacuum has given opportunity to the Religious Left to rise, twisting Scripture to support beliefs contrary to actual Scriptural teaching.

For example. Jim Wallis, Tony Compolo and other Religious Left leaders have consistently mis- represented Scriptural teaching regarding social justice---which has translated to several millions of Americans who claim to be Christians, also supporting socialism, ever increasing government sponsored welfare and a borderless country.

Wallis, Compolo and other Religious Left leaders have "evolved," along with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other influencials on the Religious Left to now embrace so-called "same sex marriage"---finding Scripture to "support" their anti-biblical beliefs---while leading millions of others to do so as well.

An article written by Dr. Michael Brown a few days ago underscores how deception manifests itself.

In his article, "There is no 'Slippery Slope' Anymore," he notes that legalizing "same-sex marriage" was once thought to be a slippery slope to legalizing polygamy, and then polyamorous or group "marriages."

Dr. Brown says, "In 2016, same-sex 'marriage' was legalized in Columbia. One year later the courts have now recognized a polyamorous 'family' of three men. There is no more slippery slope."

He notes the Associated Press is reporting that in America, "More courts are allowing 3 parents of 1 child." An example would be when 2 lesbians have a child with the help of another man, all three become legal parents.

When we are uninformed regarding the past, we are uninformed as to the future and to the consequences of the decisions we make today.

The dustbin of history is littered with failed civilizations that were uninformed as to the past.

American Founding Father Patrick Henry, a devout Christian and wise thinker, said, "I know of no way of judging the future, but by the past."

His knowledge of the past also led Henry to say, "The eternal difference between right and wrong does not fluctuate, it is immutable."

Stonestreet says, "An understanding of history shows how God has situated His people while breaking into history in such a way as to bring about its conclusion and consummation."

Two-thousand years of church history has given us believers like Polycarp, Augustine, Francis, Teresa, Carey, Wilberforce, Chesterton, Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Ten Boom, Billy Graham and Chuck Colson."

This generation will once again produce those who will understand their times and will stand in the gap on behalf of God's unchanging Word.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Prayerful.