It’s easy to become discouraged by looking at the conditions around us, and the direction things seem to be headed. Financially, our foundations are crumbling. Morally, we seem to be on a slide with no reversal in sight. Politically, we never seem to make the progress that we think will come with the election of the “right guy”. What are we to do?
Folks, the news couldn’t be better. Here it is: the Bible has ALL the answers to ALL the problems, and we, Christians, have a copy at hand at all times. What more could you ask for, than to be in a crowd of people with a serious problem, and “just happen” to have a set of fool-proof instructions on how to fix it? There’s a problem, though: we’ve been trained, through several generations of fundamentalism, to loudly point out the problems but hide the instructions on how to fix them.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Christians awoke to the fact that their denominations had been corrupted by errant theology, much of which came from Germany. One of the offshoots of this errant theology is what we know as the “social gospel”. In addition to the German influence, the social gospel received impetus from a Baptist pastor, Walter Rauschenbusch, with his 1917 book “A Theology for the Social Gospel”. This subject is a long study in itself, but for now let’s summarize by saying that the movement centered around errant theology that infused distorted biblical teachings with Marxism for the purpose of using civil government to implement social Marxist concepts of “justice”. This was condensed under the heading of “Liberation Theology”. Although much of the movement was driven by political manipulation and leftist ideology, there were vast numbers of people caught up in the errors, sincerely thinking that they were helping the poor and oppressed.
Many serious Christians in the denominations infected with Liberation Theology recognized it for the heresy that it is, left their church, and the “Fundamentalist Movement” was born. Had it not been for the Fundamentalist Movement, it is difficult to say where we would have ended up. The movement did preserve, as intended, a strong remnant of Biblical fundamentals which were almost entirely lost in the main line churches. There was a seed of error, though, that has seriously hindered our churches’ effectiveness today. That error was a well-intentioned reaction (overreaction, actually) to the social nature of the Social Gospel. Rather than recognize the errant, unbiblical Marxist-oriented teachings as contrary to God’s Law, it was wrongly concluded that the problem with Liberation Theology was the practice of Christians and churches guiding governmental and societal practices at all. Hence, “just preach the Gospel” was the rallying cry, and all the Biblical teachings that are necessary for a just and free society were “put on hold” by the very people who had rescued the integrity of Scripture from the corrupt steam-roller of the liberal theologians. Jesus Christ is Lord of our souls, yes, but He is Lord of EVERYTHING! He created civil government; all human relationships are subject to His authority and instruction.
And here we sit. While our churches were intended to be salt and light to the world, passers-by pass by with, at most, a faint curiosity at what goes on inside. They don’t wonder whether they will be saved from eternal damnation, because public education has dimmed the concept of sin and convinced them that the existence of God is up to them. The DO wonder what will happen to their life-long retirement savings as the financial system crashes, while we hide from them the instructions for a just monetary system. While they watch crime progress, we hide the instructions on how to deal with it. While the local, state, and federal governments strangle the people with their regulations, taxes, and theft, we hide the instructions on how civil government should operate…or even worse, deny that the instructions even exist. While public “education” demolishes any concept of sin and responsibility to God, we send our kids to public school and watch Christian schools die.
Why do we do this? In many cases, we do it because it’s exactly what we have been trained to do! It seems that we have twisted our theology neatly around our apathy, so that the comfort of the pew is sufficient for all of life, and the Bible irrelevant to the societal and governmental problems that surround us. “If only people would get saved, everything would be fine”. No, everything would not be fine. Saved people without God’s Biblical instructions on society and government would run it into the ground just as surely as unbelievers…and in fact, in many cases are!
Why do we expect people to listen to us as we give them Biblical teaching about something as serious as their eternal destiny, which they can’t see, when we can’t even give them the Biblical answers to a just monetary system, or the proper role of civil government, which are staring them in the face?
The good news, though, is that we still have our Bibles. All we have to do is search them for the answers that everyone needs, instead of twisting them to justify our comfortable apathy. When you look at it this way, the future is very exciting. What a privilege we have, and what an opportunity awaits us to bring God’s answers to man’s problems in darkening times when they are becoming more and more welcome! Let’s go!
~ Jim Mogel