The Church has traditionally believed in a God who has revealed himself in scripture and a God whose authority transcends all times, places, nations, empires, and their governments. This means any church still committed to the idea of a transcendent and sovereign God who has spoken and who has laid down irrevocable rules for the conduct of mankind will inevitably itself in continual conflict with secularist thinking and structures.
Unfortunately, if the impulse of the Main Line denominations has included a syncretism that includes worshipping a pantheon of gods and goddesses, the response of the conservative churches to the relentless pounding of a left-leaning, secularist world view has often been rather than fight.
Many conservative churches have attempted to separate the Church from politics and the culture in general by adhering to a reductionist theology that speaks of personal salvation only; and by creating a neo-monastic, isolated subculture that is a sort of preserve or a safe house for Christians amounting to a full-fledged retreat from encounters with the surrounding culture.
The other reaction too often has been a focus on minutiae coupled with a reluctance to articulate and expound a comprehensive Christian world view that includes such areas as politics, economics and the arts. Many times conservative churches have exhausted themselves in pointless fights. One such fight, for example, involves adherence to the tenets of the Temperance movement. In many conservative churches, grape juice rather than real wine is routinely used for the sacrament of Holy Communion lest teetotalers are offended. Congregations actually have split over such issues, thus proving that those who refuse to be troubled by large matters will inevitably be troubled by small matters.
The Church fails when it focuses on the little stuff while ignoring or lightly addressing world views that are inimically opposed to her beliefs. Currently, neo-gnosticism, secularism, modernism, and relativism are some of the "isms" challenging the Church. Failure to detect and to confront what are essentially ideologically hostile takeovers has resulted in a slow syncretism that has softened and eroded the radically prophetic and culture changing nature of both Judaism and Christianity. The consequence: A new Hellenization has succeeded in changing -- and in some cases completely assimilating -- Christian culture and identity.
These days you'll find many a church who trot out "We are in the World, not of the World". On one level, this is true. Yet, did not Yeshua command that we followers, and I quote, "Spread the Good News" ie the Gospel? So yes, we are no longer of the World, but we still live in it. We are NOT called to huddle in our own little enclaves and smugly watch as the culture and world fall apart. We are who we are, sinners redeemed by the blood of our Lord and Savior Yeshua, the Christ! Did not Yeshua tell us that if we proclaimed Him before man, he would proclaim us before God? So where in the Gospels, or in the New Testament, do you get the notion that we group together and watch the World fall apart? Also, whether you believe in the Free Will doctrine, or Predestination, you still must NOT hide your faith in Him who set you free. You must still spread the Good News. Remember, the World hated Him, and will hate you also. He warned us of that. Look around, and see the forces arrayed against the Truth!
Also from the piece:
Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput of Philadelphia is one Native American who undoubtedly would not have joined in the skunk, rabbit, and giraffe parade of the PCUSA. He recently spoke of the necessity of resisting syncretism and the need to fight to retain the cultural identity and influence of traditional Christianity in the midst of what is increasingly a hostile environment:
The world we [Christians] live in is not a friend of the gospel ... It has contempt for Jesus Christ, contempt for the Cross, and contempt for the people who carry their own cross and follow him. Christians now live in a world which is not only inimical to God, to His Son and to the Christian lifestyle, but openly hostile and aggressive towards those who are attempting to live in accordance with God's plan for humanity. They are constantly bombarded with propaganda vilifying them and promoting sinful conduct and evil of every kind in the name of freedom and equality. In addition, the laws of the land are increasingly compelling Christian institutions and individuals, under pain of prosecution and punishment, to act in a manner directly contrary to the divine law.
If it comes down to mans Law versus God's Law, I'll choose God every time. I follow the Christ, not flawed fallen man. Again, and this can't be stressed enough, Christ PROMISED us troubles. Following him would not be easy. It never has been. Yet, is not adversity the fire that purges us of impurities, burns away the dross, so to speak? Make no compromise when it comes to what Christ commanded of us.We are commanded to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and body. Also to Love your neighbor as yourself." Now, there are those who would twist this to mean that you shouldn't ever point out the wrong that people do. That you shouldn't 'judge'. I think that term is way perverted from it's intent. We make judgments every day. Do you want your kid hanging out with a known drug dealer? No?! Who are YOU to judge? See what I mean about twisting it out of true? You must be intolerant when it comes to truth. Truth is exactly that. Truth. We must, however, share it in love, remembering that we are not perfect. That's tricky. Even though we are saved and redeemed by the blood of Yeshua, we still fall into sin. Anyway, read the article.