Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The Church is Bleeding
After the death of his leader, Moses, Joshua needed an infusion of courage. He was about to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, and he had to live up to the example of Moses. How would he do this? His Lord provided him with the answer:
• Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:7-8)
This counsel would not only serve Joshua as his roadmap, it also became the prescription for all Israel:
• Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
The remedy for the “counsel of the wicked” is to “delight is in the law of the LORD” and to meditate upon it “day and night.” However, this isn’t happening. According to the recent Pew “U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey”:
• “Atheists know more about religion…followed by Jews Mormons, and then evangelical Protestants…In some areas, Americans are startlingly ignorant about their own religions. Fewer than half of Catholics are able to name Genesis as the first book of the Bible. Only 28 percent of white evangelicals Protestants know that Protestantism teaches salvation through faith alone, and only a slim majority of Catholics can identity their church’s doctrine on communion. Seventy percent of Jews know that Martin Luther inspired the Reformation, but less than half of Protestants do.” (World, 10/23/2010, 10)
What are the consequences of this appalling deficit? Many! If we don’t know enough to talk intelligently and confidently about our faith, we won’t talk. Jesus instructed His disciples that they had to be a light (Matthew 5:13-16), but how can we be a light if we have no light ourselves? We are instructed to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3), but how can we do this if we don’t know what the faith is? We are supposed to be able to make a defense for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), but we can’t even begin to do this if we fail to understand what our hope is all about.
According to some studies, the university has become so corrosive towards the Christian faith that 80-90% of the regularly church-going youth cease going by the end of their senior year in college. Clearly, we have thrown them into the front lines of battle against an unseen enemy without any armor. And those few who are able to survive the onslaught, limp back on crutches with a severely compromised faith.
The atheist and the evolutionist know that this is their mission field where they have been able to harvest tender minds almost at will. And it’s not only in the colleges; it’s also in grade schools. I’ve heard atheists boast that – and I do a lot of blogging, so I am in earshot – the church may have the youth for one hour a week, but we have them for 30 hours. And this is not to mention the powerful effect of the secular media!
While the schools say that it is only a matter of imparting impartial facts, others realize that the indoctrination process goes far beyond mere “facts.” Evolutionist and philosopher Michael Ruse is refreshingly candid about this:
• “Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity…an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality... Evolution is a religion.”
Indeed, Darwin is highly corrosive towards the Biblical faith. Christian and scientist Karl Giberson writes about how Darwin impacted his own faith:
• “Acid is an appropriate metaphor for the erosion of my fundamentalism, as I slowly lost confidence in the Genesis story of creation and the scientific creationism that placed this ancient story within the framework of modern science….[Darwin’s] acid dissolved Adam and Eve; it ate through the Garden of Eden; it destroyed the historicity of the events of creation week. It etched holes in those parts of Christianity connected to the stories—the fall, “Christ as the second Adam,” the origins of sin, and nearly everything else that I counted sacred.” (Saving Darwin, 9-10)
Nevertheless, Giberson confidently writes that this doctrinal amputation is thoroughly OK, and that he still retains the “essentials” of the faith. I have blogged against many evolutionists who identify themselves as “Christian.” Although they claim that there is no problem in wearing both hats, once I scratch the surface just a bit, it becomes apparent that considerable damage has been done. It’s not just a matter of relegating the first three chapters of Genesis to the figurative and non-historical. Theistic evolution also requires that all of the New Testament quotations of Genesis 1-3 have to also be reinterpreted in a non-historical sense. At best, they are in utter confusion about the Bible and what it teaches.
Darwin and Jesus are utterly irreconcilable, and the vast majority of atheists know this and delight in this fact. It means that one must atrophy. Atheist and evolutionist Jerry A. Coyne and I have little in common, except for one thing. We both respect the power of the theory of evolution to undermine the Biblical faith:
• “Among countries of the world, there is a strong negative relationship between their religiosity and their acceptance of evolution. Countries like Denmark and Sweden, with low belief in God, have high acceptance of evolution, while religious countries are evolution-intolerant.” (USA Today, 10/11/2010)
Where Darwin reigns, the Bible cowers in its presence. This is exactly the correlation we find in Western Europe. Darwin, therefore, has become the pride of atheism. He is their bunker-penetrating nuclear warhead. According to Richard Dawkins, Darwin made atheism respectable.
Some Christians walk around shell-shocked, not knowing what has hit them. They might defiantly assert that, “I just know that I believe in God’s Word, and I don’t care what they have to say.” However, they fail to understand that to “protect” their faith, they had to reject their God-given mind and the painful doubts it is now thrusting at them. Consequently, they have sacrificed a robust and confident Christianity for defensiveness.
However, Darwin isn’t the only religion to which our unprepared youth have become imprisoned. Many churches have lapsed into a postmodern “faith” which says, “We thinking people can’t really know for certain. Therefore, we can’t judge the beliefs of others!” However, these “thinking people” fail to see that they are judging! They judge anyone who claims certainty.
Weeds inevitably grow in the absence of an able gardener. In the absence of meditating on the Word “day and night,” many false religions have popped up in the church, undetectable to the untrained eye.
I used to have a dug-well from which we’d draw our drinking water. We’d cover it with a lid in order to keep out the rodents. However, in the darkness germs and decay would proliferate. We subsequently found that it was preferable to risk the occasional rodent than to deprive our well of the sanitizing rays of the sun. Likewise, our church needs the light of the Word, regardless of the possible costs.