As we look forward into this new year, perhaps the one thing we have gained in our culture right now is clarity.
Yes, I know that sounds a bit crazy; but what I mean is that we are now able to see more clearly where people stand than in the past.
Because, people are more outspoken these days. Leaving no question about what they think. Even if what they think is outrageous or crazy, at least many are crystal clear in expressing their positions.
And there is actually some value in that.
Because, in contrast, one of the things I find most annoying in dealing with my Christian brothers and sisters is that they often avoid taking clear positions on important spiritual matters.
I’m speaking here more about spiritual things. About where people stand on biblical, doctrinal beliefs.
Most Christians today are just unwilling to clearly stand upon what they profess to believe. And this is particularly true among leaders and pastors that take fuzzy positions on doctrinal beliefs. Because they are unwilling to offend or upset the people in their congregations.
It has become fashionable in Christian preaching, writing and other media to denigrate truth and faithfulness to the word of God; such as when they characterize the emphasis on correct doctrine as a secondary or even a disruptive thing. As something that often interferes with “showing love toward others”.
How to Avoid a Ruckus
For example, I was listening recently to a podcast that played an interview with a famous Evangelical pastor (a metro-church pastor). He was asked a question about what the Bible says about homosexuality. And he refused to give a straight answer to the question.
He danced all around the issue. And he never did answer whether the Bible says if it is a sin or not.
He knew what the Bible says; but he was unwilling to state what it says. Because he was afraid of offending the homosexual seekers at his church. And of offending the larger audience that might watch the podcast.
So what did he do?
The New Default Position
He did the popular thing to do today. He avoided talking about the specific sin of homosexuality by claiming that we all have sins in our lives. And that God hates all sins. And therefore, we should not single out specific sins.
How clever. How diplomatic. How seemingly loving and tolerant this appears toward those who are in bondage to homosexuality.
What a bunch of nonsense!
Yet, I see this all the time.
This is the new default method for avoiding talk about sins; to avoid causing a ruckus in the church. Or to avoid talking about doctrines (in detail) that might jeopardize the ecumenical spirit that is so pervasive in our churches.
This is not some minor issue in the church. The denigration of truth has become a very common practice in Evangelical circles. Love and evangelism have taken precedence over truth. With the deep and continuous emphasis on doctrinal teaching being increasingly characterized as unnecessary or “not helpful”.
A Faith to Defend
The interview mentioned above is just one example of our leaders avoiding the offense of the cross. Of not submitting to the authority of the word. And of trying to preserve their ministries by avoiding clarity.
As if the Bible does not clearly state what is right and what is wrong. Pretending, with a false humility, that they are not wise enough or informed enough to give a clear answer. Or that their theological pay grade does not give them the right to answer these questions.
As if, it is wrong to be so sure of what one believes. As if it is arrogant to be so absolute in this Post-Modern culture.
So then, what do we do with the following biblical command?
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)
Doesn’t such a command establish the existence of an obvious and clear faith to defend? A faith which is based on the scriptures that tells us what is right and what is wrong?
OR, are we to be perpetually stuck in some fuzzy place where we can only speak vaguely and hesitantly about our convictions? And not with boldness and authority?
To Be Continued . . .