The Cultural Shift & the Christian Response

When we lived in the northern Virginia suburbs in the 1980s, we sent our children to Christian schools because we wanted an environment for them that supported our beliefs. Training up a child in the way he/she should go is a requirement for Christian parents.

One of the schools we entrusted with our children for a few years was Immanuel Christian School. While no Christian school is perfect (indeed, can we find a perfect anything in this world?), we were satisfied with what this school had to offer.

Immanuel has now been brought to the forefront of the news with the announcement that Karen Pence, wife of the vice president, has decided to volunteer to teach art at the school, returning to where she used to teach at an earlier time in her husband’s political career.

No one, I guess, especially the Pences, anticipated the furor this would create, generated by those who have an agenda to uproot the Biblical teaching on sexual morality. She was castigated–as was the school–for holding to that Biblical teaching and not bowing to the new morality of our times. For me, this illustrates the almost-seismic shift that has occurred in our culture.

This hits home for me personally. I teach at a Christian university that has a statement on sexual morality that adheres clearly to the precepts of Christianity for the entire 2,000-years-plus of its existence. Twenty years ago–even ten years ago–that would not have been controversial. Now it is.

What is perhaps most troubling as I survey the current cultural and political scene is that many who claim the Christian mantle are beginning to adopt the new morality themselves, accusing those of us who remain faithful to the “old” way of thinking of being narrow-minded, hateful, and/or bigoted.

While there are some Christians who spend far too much time reacting to this culture shift in a manner that doesn’t do credit to the Gospel, most of us are simply attempting to be steadfast in the truth. We also are coming to the realization that what Jesus said about Him and His followers–something we rarely had to think about when the nation was at least nominally Christian–is now coming to pass.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. . . .

They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the one who sent Me.

John 15:18-21

I offer this caution to those calling themselves followers of Christ: if you are far more comfortable taking the side of those castigating Karen Pence, Christian schools, and Biblical teaching on sexual morality, you need to examine your heart anew. You are setting yourself up against the Christ you say you are serving.

The proper response to the anger being directed toward Christians these days is not to deliver the same kind of anger back at the accusers. Rather, it is to do what the apostle Paul said to do:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Rom. 12:17-21

That’s not always easy. There is a strong temptation to strike back. This is not to say that we don’t make our position clear and argue (in the classic sense, not in the Twitter sense) for what is right. We must do that. However, we must do so in the proper spirit. Pray for one another, brethren, that we will be a good witness for the Lord in all we do and say in an increasingly corrupt and ungodly culture.