5.8.16

What Christians Winning in the Cultural War Looks Like

Inspired by a recent conversation with my mother and a youtube video, I wanted to address on what grounds and what it means when a Christian is to fight or destroy, and what "winning" looks like in the current Cultural War.

First, the video:




This video takes us right up to the point of "what do I do with the information God has given me?" The video can really only ever go that far, because the Bible does the same exact thing.

The Bible has tons of context, historical, theological, and doctrinal information to explain why the reconciliation with God is necessary, and by what means that reconciliation is afforded to us, but changes tone from specific details to high-level motivations when it comes to behavior once that reconciliation has been accomplished.

So what is someone who is now reconciled supposed to do with that? I can see the specific things I am not supposed to do, but I don't have nearly as clear an image of exactly what I am supposed to do.

Sure, there are recommendations to do things like pray, to read scripture, and to meditate on things which are worthwhile, but even that still doesn't tell you what things specifically you should be meditating on. Can cute kittens be OK? Video games? Heroic actions described in fiction or non-fiction? Political figures? Earning money?

Or perhaps what part of the Bible should I read today? Or perhaps for how long during the day?

The short answer, as in the video, is that nothing should ever take the place of seeking out Jesus as the number one priority. This does not preclude seeking out anything else ever, but without the correct priority, we set ourselves up for failure. Once Jesus has been set as the first priority, the rest will be added to us based on what the calling is of God on our life.


Briefly mocked in the above video, believers do not have permission to sit back and wait for God to do all the work. This isn't to say God isn't already doing most of the work, but God invites us to participate in the process. The final "command" from Jesus, arguably the second highest priority given to all believers, was not "just stay at home, except for going to church every Sunday in the morning, and bask in the blessings of God while watching God make disciples."

The command was (summarized) to "go and make disciples and teach them". How this is actually done relates directly to the ongoing Cultural War we see in Western Civilization.

In the Cultural War, we first need to identify the "sides". The first is that of God. Not Christians or Christianity or even the Bible. People and paper aren't the definition of the faction. They are part of the faction, but the followers of Christ are not what defines Christianity. Jesus is. The church does not define Jesus, Jesus defines the church.

Put differently, God can exist in a vacuum absent of Christians or the Bible. Christians and the Bible cannot exist in a vacuum absent of God.

In this manner, the "other" side is sin. Not non-Christians, and not Satan. The manifestations and members of a faction are not the definition of the faction. Satan denounces God, but Satan is merely the most prominent member of the rebellion against God. Satan is the greatest example of sin, but Satan does not define sin.

Sin could exist in a vacuum absent Satan or non-believers. That said, Satan or non-believers could exist in a vacuum absent sin. Sin is not an intrinsic or necessary state, but it defines the entirety of the rebellion against God.

Why these distinctions? Why tie everything back to God vs. sin? Because it greatly affects what we're talking about when we fight and destroy.

If God's enemy is not flesh and blood, then destroying flesh and blood is not fighting for God.

If God's enemy is sin, then destroying a manifestation of sin does not destroy the reason that sin was able to manifest in the first place.

The "enemy" is immaterial, it is an idea, a contrast to God, and this cannot be ultimately destroyed or fought against effectively by anyone but God. Final "victory" will happen when all that is sinful is permanently set apart from God.

So what is it then that Christians are fighting here and now? What exactly are we destroying?


Look to the parable of the sower. In this parable, the seeds (Gospel) are just being planted, and have not yet started to grow. In all but one circumstance, the growth of the seed is impeded by circumstances. While this parable does not reference servants like that of the wheat and tares, it can provide the context where the servants of God are called into action. Soil is stated to represent the heart, and so making disciples and teaching is thus tending to that soil.

For the seed which fell by the wayside, the seed was snatched away by birds. Christians are called to scare away those birds.

For the seed which fell among the rocks, it thrived for only a time and then withered. Christians are called to remove the rocks from the soil.

For the seed which fell among the weeds, it thrived but was then choked out by weeds. Christians are called to pull weeds from the soil.

How?

Christians are not the ones planting the seeds, not the ones which created the state the soil is found in, nor even the ones who can take credit for the growth of the seeds, but we are invited to participate in the cultivation and refinement of the soil, in addition to the care of the plants which grow from it.

So, again, how? By the power and wisdom of God, because on our own we would not have the strength, persistence, or knowledge to keep up the very difficult work. New birds replace the old. New weeds grow back. Rocks hide just below the surface, bloody our fingers, and some are just too big to handle on our own. The work is never done, so we need people constantly tending to every patch of soil regularly. The culture we live in then defines the nature and rate of occurrence of these circumstances, and we can have influence over culture.

God wants the truth to be planted and to grow in the hearts of all, and we are invited to participate in facilitating that process.

The current state of the Culture War is the result of Christians neglecting their duties, and this neglect was caused by not focusing on Jesus, by focusing on the duties themselves. Seeds are stolen because Christians invite birds in by trying to evangelize a belief they do not understand themselves. Weeds grow up from the materialism and statism that we foster when we support governments and companies who are helmed by people interested only in power. Rocks remain in the hearts of those who seek a relationship and love, but are instead isolated from a moralist Church that seeks to perform charity to alleviate guilt, not to build relationships.

These are not physical battles, they are ideological. They are philosophical. And it is this battle that Christianity has run away from in fear for far too long. It is time to stand up and fight the intellectual battles, to destroy the credibility of lies with truth, and to work with God to restore to us a culture which is influenced by God's grace and mercy and not sin. We do not do this alone, but God's plan doesn't have him doing it all alone either. We should not ignore that God has asked us to work in parallel with God.

We fight against sin by destroying the opportunities for evil to take root through tending the soil and seeking out God's guidance on how best to do that.

To close this already very long post, I'd recommend this sermon about Christians being "In Intellectual Neutral" from William Lane Craig, a Christian philosopher. He addresses the specific battle that Christians have not been fighting, and how we can start fighting back from his perspective:


"The gospel is never heard in isolation. The gospel is always heard against the cultural backdrop in which a person was born and raised. A person who was raised in a culture which is sympathetic to the Christian faith will be open to the gospel in a way that a person who was raised in a secular culture will not. For a person who is thoroughly secularized, you may as well tell him to believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy as in Jesus Christ, it will seem that absurd to him."

Scare the birds, destroy the weeds, and remove the rocks. Tend the soil and cultivate the truth of God in yourself and in those around you! :)