I recently listened to a lecture by Tim Keller on YouTube. Pastor Keller’s topic was, “Evangelism in a Post-Modern World.” He was asserting the truth that Western civilization that was once a Christian culture with cathedrals on in every village has now become an ex-Christian culture as liberal post-modern thought has prevailed. He then used a striking phrase that captured my attention. Tim says that as we have moved away from our Christian roots and values, we have become a “Christ-haunted” culture. Meaning of course that we have a cultural “memory” of Christ that is long and deep, but not deep enough to change us or transform us.
The Haunting Moves South and to the Middle
This change in culture took place years ago in New England and the West coast of the United States. Think of it, our pilgrim fathers fled Europe seeking religious freedom. When they landed here on this new continent they brought Jesus with them. Christ was King in the American colonies. The founding of those early universities like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale were all Christian Universities. In fact they were “preacher factories,” that trained the clergy of American Protestantism. Those universities are no longer Christ centered schools, they are not even “haunted” by His presence. Jesus has been booted out by post-modern professors-long ago. It’s the Bible-belt of Middle America and the South that are in the “haunting” stage now.
For example, major college campuses here in Texas that began as Christian schools, like Baylor (Baptist), SMU (Methodist) and TCU (Christian church) all still have Christian activities, gatherings and such, but the intelligentsia and academia that lead those campuses are progressively moving toward a post-modern worldview. That worldview is dominate, and the Biblical world view is downplayed, degraded, and even defamed in some cases. Christ is there, but is he still a dominate cultural force or is he is only a haunting, a hang around ghost of a distant past. What are some evidences of this ghosting? You will find it anywhere you find those who call themselves “Christians,’ but they are in conflict with biblical truth and ethics as compared to their endorsement of post-modern situational ethics. For example, we now have a clear endorsement of homosexual marriage and lifestyle even to the extreme of having homosexual churches, and clergy.
Watter’s World Interview
Just do a Watter’s world interview with students on any college campus asking them their views on LGBT agendas and you will see what I mean. The majority of students will have a “live and let live” philosophy about gays. This is not a biblical attitude towards homosexual lifestyle. God calls it an abomination. He calls us as Christ followers to love the person, but hate his sin that separates him from God’s love and forgiveness. However, students today have been so saturated by secular humanism in the classroom, in the culture, and marketplace that they don’t even realize they have moved away from Christian values. This what I mean by a Christ-haunted people. They are Christian enough to be kind and gentle with those who are outside the faith, but not Christian enough to stand on biblical values.
Another example is the current cultural attitude towards sexual freedom. Just this week, Tim Tebow, the ex-Heisman trophy winner and Christian athlete was criticized by the liberal press for not being willing to have sex (outside of marriage) with his beauty queen girlfriend. Tebow is a rare exception among “Christian” singles I know. So rare that the biblical admonitions to “flee fornication” or “do not defile the marriage bed” are seen as “old school” ethics among Christian young people today. Most pastors I talk to will tell me that 90% of those couples who come to them to perform wedding ceremonies are already co-habitating, or are sexually active. Yet they come to the church for a “Christian” wedding. This is what I mean by a Christ-haunted people. They want God’s blessing but are not willing to live in the path of the blessing. God does not bless sin. He forgives sin-but he does not bless it just because the culture calls it OK. We cannot condone what God condemns.
Haunting vs. Inhabiting
All of this is to say that there is a cultural war going on in the world today and the Church of Jesus Christ is in the cross fire. If we do not fight for our values, our beliefs and our very culture, it will be taken from us. Europe is already lost. Those once vital, living Cathedrals are now museums. If the post-modernists have their way, then our “way” will be history too. Our call from Christ is to not just have him as a cultural memory, a ghost of Christmas past, but a living presence in each of us. He wants us not haunted but possessed by His Spirit. Not haunted but inhabited. He in us, ruled by His spirit, can take back our culture. I’m in-how about you? |