It’s time for the Church to take a stand and live radically different lives and exemplify Christ in all things. The Church must remain the beacon of hope to the many people who will eventually realize and experience the emptiness of living apart from God. However, the Church must look different. If it looks the same as society, with little discernible difference in worldviews, what could the lost hope to find inside the Church that they hadn’t already pursued in the world?
Why are fewer Americans turning to God for salvation, hope, and comfort?
This is a question that has been asked for decades. The answer, although elusive to many, seems to be staring us in the face. The Church has accepted a position of cultural accommodation. In other words, the Church has decided to emulate society and its norms, tolerate anti-Christ ideals, and has become generally accepting of the world’s standards. Yet this is not how Christ has called us to live.
1 John 2:15-17 specifically states that we are not to love the world, and the Father is not in them who do. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Our faith and culture should run counter to the world’s humanist, post-modern views.
A recent article highlighted Christian millennials’ acceptance of cohabitation (https://www.theaquilareport.com/is-christian-cohabitation-the-new-norm/), something that runs in direct opposition to the Bible. Furthermore, research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University (https://www.arizonachristian.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CRC_AWVI2021_Release03_Digital_01_20210512-.pdf) outlines the alarming trend of millennials, an astounding 43%, who “don’t know, care, or believe that God exists”.
These reports are concerning and indicative of a Church that has allowed the world to seep into its teachings, standards, expectations, and morals. It also exemplifies decades of liberal education that has chipped away at the foundational belief of a sovereign Creator who has both created and actively loves you.
The ancient Church survived and expanded exponentially, not because they succumbed to the pressures of Roman society, rather because they lived radically different lives. They refused to accept pagan rituals, to worship the emperor, to pray to unknown gods, or accept lifestyles abhorrent to the teachings of the Bible. They were counterculture.
Should we not pursue the same radical, counterculture approach today? We must avoid cultural accommodation. We must not love the world.
In a society enamored with pop-culture icons, viral videos, and social media fame-seekers, we can clearly see the underlying grip of narcissism and egoism. The culture is now rife with cancellation, historical ignorance, and a belief in overriding self-importance. In Robert Webber’s 2008 book, Who Gets to Narrate the World?, his prescient comments, more than a decade ago, highlight our current culture. Webber wrote that when “the past is lost, as it is now in our Western world, there is nothing left to focus on except the self”.
Webber’s comments, the obvious trend of millennials to turn from belief in a higher authority, and the acceptance of Christian millennials to live counter to biblical teaching, all point to a self-centered worldview. Their focus has shifted from God to self.
It’s time for the Church to take a stand and live radically different lives and exemplify Christ in all things. The Church must remain the beacon of hope to the many people who will eventually realize and experience the emptiness of living apart from God.
However, the Church must look different. If it looks the same as society, with little discernible difference in worldviews, what could the lost hope to find inside the Church that they hadn’t already pursued in the world?
Jason D. Bland is a Doctoral student at Regent University, specializing in Strategic Leadership. His writing focuses on Christian leadership as well as social and political commentary from a Christian worldview. Jason currently leads business operations for a construction company and also serves as an independent coach and consultant. He lives in Pasadena, MD.