CULTURE WARS. James Orr said “It need not further be denied that between this view of the world involved in Christianity, and what is sometimes called 'the modern view of the world' there exists a deep and radical antagonism." Mr. Orr said this a long time ago, but it is still true.
The reason it is still true is that Christianity insists on maintaining that it is true permanently and universally. Jesus was not a postmodernist. He did not talk about “his truth” or “a truth”. He said he was THE TRUTH. He said he was the only way to the Father. He said he was the Alpha and Omega, meaning he is permanent and unchanging.
Culture changes while Christ remains the same. So the clash is on. As the culture changes, it accuses the Church of holding it back. That is an accurate charge. The church is conservative. It conserves the truth of Christ over the millennia until Christ comes back to prove the point.
Sometimes, however, parts of the Church want to accommodate the culture. Opposing abortion or homosexuality does not play well in the Big City. It is hard to resist the beauty contest. Even church people want to stand on the runway wearing the tiara and listening to the applause of the world. Listen closely and you can hear it.
Loyola College, a Catholic college, is planning to stand on the runway. Loyola invited Rudy Giuliani to speak at commencement. It even plans to give him an honorary degree. What a coup this is in terms of publicity and popularity! Giuliani is one of the most popular politicians in America. He is even Catholic. What could be better?
Well, it could be better if he was a Catholic that followed the principles of the church and Christianity in general. RG supports abortion on demand, for example. Oops. The Catholic Church is opposed to abortion. Most of conservative Christianity is opposed to abortion. So, why have a guy come speak to your graduates if he does not believe what you believe? You do it because he is popular and will make the school look good to the World. You will be cool and beautiful. Can you hear the applause yet?
Loyola's President says Giuliani is a "courageous figure, a man whose leadership and resolute response to the attacks of September 11 represents the ideal of citizenship and public service. The mayor's presence will no doubt be both inspirational and meaningful…”
That is an eloquent way to say “You’re trying to hold us back!”
And, if he is inspirational and meaningful, not to mention very popular, why should it matter if his theology is bad? It matters because we were not called to be popular. The head guy was not popular, remember? Jesus said they would persecute us because they persecuted him. We are called to be theological, however. Jesus said if we hold to this teaching, then are we his disciples.
The good news is, while the Church is standing at the end of the runway, waving from the wrist and smiling through teeth rubbed with Vaseline, waiting for the applause to begin, there is always a guy in the front row shouting: “That is not how we are supposed to do it! This isn’t right. It isn’t Biblical. Stop this insanity.”
Sometimes they are called prophets, sometimes trouble makers, sometimes both. They often end up in a pit, or a least not invited to the really great parties. Jeremiah said
“yet they have dug a pit for me.” They sure did not invite him to any parties.
This time it is Jack Ames, founder of the Defend Life. He is insisting that the college stick to its theological moorings in its choice of a speaker. Ames said "It is unconscionable for Loyola College -- a Catholic institution -- to host Rudy Giuliani given his outspoken support of abortion-on-demand, which stands in direct opposition to the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church and his own self-proclaimed faith."
Actually, the college should consider inviting Ames to speak. He is no slouch. He said "Loyola's rationale for inviting Giuliani is exactly why he should be disqualified. While recognizing the impact that 9/11 -- which took the lives of over 3,000 innocent Americans -- has had on these graduates, Loyola is failing to realize the unmistakable impact that legalized abortion has had on that entire generation."
Ames went on to say “every day, more than 3,500 babies are killed by surgical abortion, meaning a full one-third of this graduating class's generation has been eliminated because of those who support so-called choice."
Sometimes those who accuse you of holding them back are actually in the church, and not outside it, as here. They tell you not to sweat the small stuff (theology) as long as the approach “works”. Measuring the way it works usually involves the number in attendance or the amount of money raised.
Mr. Ames is not buying it.
God did not seem to buy it either. He told Jeremiah, “the days are coming when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh.” God wants his people to fight the culture war, not surrender and sit it out rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Otherwise, he may take corrective action.
Facts for this post came from an article by Susan Jones at CNSNews.com.