Christian Culture in America is sparse. This was not always the case. We need to establish Christian Culture in America but doing so will not be quick or easy. It is still possible but we need a large contingent of people willing to stand for and effect the changes needed to overcome decades of the secularization of our culture.
I’ve been doing some online research and I found an excellent article on the need for Christian culture in America, by Andrew Sandlin from the Reformed Church. The article is entitled, “Christian Culture Today, Not Yesterday or Tomorrow” which I fully agree with. I’ve excerpted some of this article below, but be sure to read the entire article; it’s worth your time.
Slightly modified from of an address delivered to the Eighteenth Annual Reformation Conference, Covenant Reformed Church, Sacramento, California, November 3, 2001
The question is not whether we should work toward a Christian culture. Of course we should.
These conferences presuppose a commitment to Christian culture. They are held in a Reformed church. The Reformed Faith – more importantly, the Bible – demands the Lordship of Christ in all of life. This is part of what it means to be Reformed – and, I would add, Christian.
What, by the way, is culture? It is the dominant, inner religious conviction of a society that is manifested externally in its arts, its education, its economics, its law, its politics, its science, its technology, and so on. Religion is the bones, and culture is the skin, of a society. Let’s hear the last line of Henry Van Til’s newly re-issued classic The Calvinistic Concept of Culture: “[A] people’s religion comes to expression in its culture, and Christians can be satisfied with nothing less than a Christian organization of society” (p. 245). We all agree – or should agree-with this conviction.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 1 that Jesus Christ (through the church) is Lord of all things. We cannot say that there are certain areas of life immune to Christ’s Lordship. Such a notion is unthinkable. In the old evangelical maxim, “If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all.” This includes a society’s culture.
The New Secular Culture
But today (in case you hadn’t noticed) we do not live in a Christian culture. We are little, isolated Christian islands surrounded by a raging ocean of secularism. We have strong Christian families (though there are too few of these). We have strong Christian churches (sadly, even fewer of these). What we do not have is a strong Christian culture. And we haven’t had one for some time. The United States hasn’t had a Christian culture in the North since about 1825, and the South hasn’t had one since roughly 1865. Our nation has replaced the religion of Christianity with the religion of secularism.
And make no mistake: secularism is a religion. The authors of the Humanist Manifesto I, men like John Dewey, wrote this:
Religious humanists [!] regard the universe as self-existing and not created…. Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values…. Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method…. Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement…. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that could hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity for the present [they say]. (emphasis supplied)
Secular humanists aren’t against religion, you see. They are only against a religion like Christianity. They are against a religion like ours that affirms a sovereign God.
Secularism is the notion, the conviction, the consciousness, that there is no God, or that if there is a God, He is not involved in this world. We are left to ourselves; we must save ourselves. This is the secular milieu that surrounds us. And we’re all aware of it (aren’t we?)
Now a lot of us bray and bluster about how Christians are poised today to retake the society for Jesus Christ. We mean well, and we are partly correct. But too often (I’m convinced) this is so much sounding brass and tinkling symbol. Why?We can’t take seriously the situation that confronts us today. Why? We are culturally ignorant. We don’t know how to act.
Now this is a key point: While the Bible does not change, our strategy about how to apply the Bible certainly doeschange. Israel in Canaan did not act the same as Israel in Babylonian captivity. She had a different calling, and the prophets were very clear in pointing out what that different calling was. Our calling is adapted to our circumstances. If we deny this, we will tilt at windmills and dishonor the One Who called us. We are called to be “wise as serpents” in dealing with the evil culture around us (Mt. 10:16). We’re often sincere and even well equipped; we’re just not very wise.
Esther 1:13 speaks of wise men in ancient Israel who “knew the times.” Today we need men – and women and young people – who know the times. We need Christians who know the postmodern times (to use Gene Veith’s language), and now, after 9-11, the post-postmodern times.
Fortunately, we have a fervent commitment to Christian culture. Unfortunately, we often don’t know how to work toward Christian culture today.
[I am skipping quite a bit of the article in this post, please read it here.]
Christian Love versus the Real Enemy
Finally, let’s recall who the real enemy is. Let me suggest that we have too many Calvinistic fundamentalists. I mean, like “fightin’ fundamentalists.” The fundamentalists early last century fought the liberals. This is good. But when they left their denominations, they had no more liberals to fight, so they started fighting – and destroying – one another.
For us to have Christian culture, we must have some sort of Christian consensus. Rome’s idea is a mammoth organizational church under the direction of the Pontiff. We dissent vigorously from this. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a legitimate consensus.
It is no compromise to create alliances with other Christians, even if we don’t share all of their doctrinal distinctives. Francis Schaeffer (I believe) called these co-belligerents. Let’s work with our brothers and sisters in Christ where we can.
Let’s fight the Devil’s crowd, not the Lord’s crowd. Jude 3 requires us to earnestly contend, or fight, for the Faith. That’s referring to the Devil’s crowd. Let’s fight the modernists. Let’s fight the Bible-deniers. Let’s fight the heretics. Let’s fight the abortionists. Let’s fight the pornographers. Let’s fight the Marxists. Let’s fight the homosexuals. Let’s fight the racists. Let’s fight the Communists. Let’s fight the Muslims. Let’s fight the evolutionists. Let’s fight the secular humanists. But let’s not fight God’s people.
As one writer stated a few years ago, “What sense is there in leveling our critical guns at our allies when so many worthy targets exist?” Let’s blast the worthy targets.
I (and perhaps you) have seen lives and churches and ministries decimated by a spirit of all-out nuclear war between the saints. Brethren, this ought not to be. Let us be convicted by the apostle Paul’s powerful metaphor that we not “bite and devour” each other, lest we “consume” each other (Gal. 5:15). We can call this repellant practice Christian cannibalism. And if we consume each other, who’s left to fight the Devil and His crowd? How the Devil must delight at this Christian cannibalism.
But let me hasten to add that the basic issue here is not pragmatism in the face of a rapacious secular beast. We arecommanded to love our brethren. This is the second great command of the law (Mt. 22:39). The apostle John writes, “And this is his commandment, That we should . . . love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23). Loving our brothers and sisters is not just a good idea. It’s God’s law. When we refuse to love our brothers, we are antinomian, or lawless.
Sound doctrine is a vital part of the identity of the church. But let us never forget that unbelievers are not impressed by doctrine. They are impressed by charity. The unbelieving Jews saw Jesus’ love for Lazarus and exclaimed, “Behold how he loved him!” (Jn. 11:36). Our Lord Himself uttered, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (Jn. 13:35). There will be no Christian culture without Christian charity. We need an urgent revival of that charity.
First, we must be relevant Christians. We see God’s work in this hour, and we must do it.
Second, we must be patient Christians. We must not get ahead of God. We must be faithful and let Him work His sovereign will in His own sovereign time.
Finally, we must be charitable Christians. We must love God – and our neighbor – passionately. If we don’t love each other, we don’t deserve a Christian culture.
We must be relevant. We must be patient. We must be charitable.
We read in Acts 13:36, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep.” When we come to the end of our earthly days, let it be said of us, we served our generation.
Finish this article here: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/christian-culture-today-not-yesterday-or-tomorrow/
Christian culture has suffered tremendous setbacks in recent year. We have elected rulers that could care less about what the true God wants and who care more about what their constituents want. This pattern has been the downfall of every civilization that has ever existed. Let’s work together to establish a truly Christian culture in America and once again set the light for freedom for all people.