For the last
few weeks, Americans have been confronted with an event of seminal
proportions. Not that the events surrounding Chief Justice Roy
Moore’s attempt to have the Reader’s Digest version
of the Ten Words of Yahweh enshrined in the Alabama Supreme Court
building is in any way a new event-but it is illustrative of the
situation in which modern evangelical New Testament American Christians
(MENTACs) find themselves.
I am not particularly
concerned about the reactions of the culture as a whole-they are
predictable, only the various reactions of God’s people.
I won’t bother to discuss these reactions in depth. It is,
however, interesting that they seem to be variations on several
boosterism of Judge Moore
that must be asked are crucial. Is God’s Law relevant today?
Are we (Christians) to quietly submit to the culture? The answer
to all of these questions is indeed the heart of the Gospel. Every
culture has a god which will be acknowledged.
The god of post-modern American/Western culture is no longer Yahweh
but Demos (the common people; the populace1
). Viewing the current disposition of each of the Ten Words is
I am Yahweh, your god, who has brought you out of the land of
Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Were you to have asked the average person the origin and meaning
of these words 50 years ago, I suspect that almost all Americans
could have given an answer which would have had a modicum of accuracy.
Today I suspect that it would be difficult to find a majority
of confessing Christians who understand the impact of these words.
of these words has been neutered because our culture no longer
recognizes the God of the Hebrews as our Law giver. They are irrelevant.
Here is the really stunning thing-If the things I say are irrelevant,
then I am irrelevant. We have declared Go to be an irrelevancy.
Even Christians have been taught to despise God’s Law and
see it as something “dangerous” or “shameful”.
Clearly these first three words have no place in our current culture.
we live in a world that encourages us to live compartmentalized
lives and that allows each of us to have several spheres in which
we operate. We are modern western men & women-not savages
and have no need to be cautioned against idolatry-do we?
We have no
idea to what the Third Word refers-we think it means not to use
profanity-we are Biblically ignorant disciples taught all too
often by those whose first concern is not offending anyone within
earshot-a direct violation of the First Word!
IV. With the
passage of the first three words, we find ourselves in a 24/7
culture-never stopping to rest, think or worship. This is quite
interesting in light of the tenth word. We have become slaves
of that which we worship.
V. The state
increasingly has taken the place of parents and parents increasingly
regard their children as an afterthought. Your daughter may obtain
an abortion without your consent and if you discipline your child
with the rod, you are in danger of having your son or daughter
taken from you. Students are not required to show respect to teachers
or others in authority. Do Christians teach our children to rise
when an adult enters the room?
VI. Our culture
practices the wholesale slaughter of the unborn to the tune of
1.5 million abortions a year and those who oppose this are referred
to as “Neanderthal reactionaries” or worse.
is no longer even frowned upon in many circles much less prohibited
very government practices the theft of the increase of your hands
by confiscatory taxation.
IX. We live
in a culture that wonders what “is is” and in which
you are increasingly at risk of lawsuit for speaking the truth.
Political correctness is the coin of the realm not veracity.
X. Our entire
economy is predicated upon covetousness.
I have reframed
from listing each of the commandments for a specific reason. How
many Christians can actually identify the Second Commandment without
referring to a Bible? Do we write God’s Word on our hearts,
church has bought into this culture with a frightening totality.
We are its slave. Why should the culture do anything but sneer
at us and see us as anything other than mindless fanatics and
whiners practicing irrelevancy or impotent fools too weak to stand
for anything as they see us in the store on Sunday after we have
attended our entertainment oriented seeker friendly non-worship
has literally become a joke to the culture-a lost and dying generation
and we, the Church, have its blood upon our hands2
. If we as God’s people have no respect for the One to whom
we belong and for His Laws, why should anyone else?
Word is quite complex and woven together as a beautiful tapestry.
It is unrivaled in its beauty and incisiveness. It, indeed, cuts
to the innermost parts of our being and leaves us standing with
heads bowed without excuse before the One to whom we owe our entire
devotion and substance. How, then, has the Church allowed herself
to become so marginalized and impotent within a culture founded
upon this very foundation? There have been volumes written on
this subject, but I believe the answer is actually quite simple.
Word is, indeed, complex, it is also rather simple and focused.
Christ, himself the “Word”, stated in Matthew 18:11
that “..the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”
This theme runs through His entire ministry. The entire theme
of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation is essentially the
same-“I will be your God and you will be My People.”
We are called
as the Church to a ministry of militancy-not militancy of the
sword or of the courts/civil government-but
a militancy of the Word of God which is “sharper than a
two edged sword.3 ” The early Church
fathers appeared to understand that our first calling was the
clear teaching/preaching of God’s Word. Now, however, we
have bought into one of several truncated views of Scripture each
of which ultimately asserts that the Church of Jesus Christ must
ultimately fail and that increasing failure, disappointment and
persecution must be our lot until Christ intervenes. We hold dearly
to this in spite of the clear teaching of Scripture to the contrary
that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against [the Church].”
that within the first century after the resurrection, the entire
known world was becoming Christianized. The watching world was
amazed by the love and devotion manifested by those who called
themselves by the Name of Christ.
we sing hymns that compare the Church to a “mighty army”,
acknowledge that “this is my Father’s world”,
and the entire hymn “Joy to the World” is a paean
to the idea of the triumph of the Second Adam through the Bride
filled by His Spirit faithfully propounding and living out His
Word within the World which He has purchased by His own blood!
Commission tells us that “All authority has been given to
Me (Jesus) in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations (bring all nations under the discipline of
God’s Word), baptizing them in the Name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all
things that I have commanded you….” 4
It is not a suggestion to hand out a few copies of the Four
Spiritual Laws. This is something much more. No one cares
for your Four Laws if they don’t recognize Yahweh’s
What Does This Look Like
How does God
tell us to conquer the world? “’Not by might or by
power, but by My Spirit’, says the Lord of Hosts.”5
We will not
conquer the world ( and we are clearly called to do so) by strong
arming it through the legal system or the political system. We
will not conquer the world by demonstrations and civil disobedience.
These are the world’s tactics. Certainly as we are called,
we should serve our communities in governmental and other capacities,
but we will not change the culture at the ballot box.
What is God’s
formula? Christ tells His people that they are a city set on a
hill-the City of God, not made with human hands. We are the light
of the world. We are to be salt and light. Only Christians have
the water of life! This is the Word of God preached from our pulpits-let
the Spirit and the Bride (the Church) say “Come!”
His sheep will hear his voice!
part of this equation is our quality of life. Not that we drive
better cars or live in bigger houses-this is the way the world
sees. To really understand, we need to look at a little regarded
passage in Deuteronomy 4. Look what God says to His people through
I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my
God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the
land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe
them; for this is your wisdom and your
understanding in the sight of the peoples who hear all these
statutes and say, ‘Surely this is a wise and understanding
great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord
our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him.”
You see, if
I really want this culture to change, I must begin to incorporate
those things which God has delivered to me into my own life-the
picture is that as I obey, the world will see the quality of my
life and want what I have! I won’t have to force it on them-they
will seek me out and beg for it!
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published
by the Houghton Mifflin Company