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Commentary

Why the church doesn’t impact the culture

Mon, October 29, 2007   |   Author: Ron Gray   |   | Share: Facebook | Twitter   

First-century Christians "turned the world upside-down", and reformed public morality in the process. Why haven't moral conservatives-particularly Christians-been able to affect our culture positively in our time?

Statistically, four out of five Canadians self-identify as Christians. Bible-based Christianity holds human life and marital fidelity second only to faith in God. Yet our predominantly "Christian" society has become a culture of death and infidelity.

Christian pollster George Barna, in his 1998 book The Second Coming of the Church, offered some tantalizing clues to what's gone wrong. He found that social pathologies within the church—divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, substance abuse, addiction to pornography, etc.—are within 2-3% of our non-Christian neighbours.

How can such a people hope to be "salt and light" in their culture?

Why is the church riddled with the same social pathologies as the world around it? Barna and other commentators suggest it's because "consumer Christianity" has brought too much of "the world" into "the church".

Among statistics that should alarm us are the fact that about half of professed Christians say they believe that right and wrong are situational or relative-that there are no absolute standards of right and wrong. Yet the Bible declares very clearly that God has given us a yardstick of right and wrong, and that He does not change His mind.

Social theorist Dr. David Hocking has witten that every improvement we make in our private world improves the world around us… but he estimates that 87% live at a level of private morality below having a positive effect on those around us.

Nicholas Jackson, Executive Director of Reform America, recently wrote a column for the on-line website NewsWithViews.com with the provocative title How Would Jesus Vote? He noted that President Bush claims to be a Christian, but says Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and he supports 'gay' civil unions; both Democratic hopeful Hilary Clinton and Republican hopeful Rudy Giuliani claim to be Christians, but both say it's OK for a woman to kill her pre-born baby.

So "I chose to vote for a third party candidate who was a Christian and Constitutionalist," wrote Jackson. "Fool me twice, shame on me." Dr. James Dobson said in the 2004 presidential election that he had made the same choice. Neither of those two Christian leaders thought their third-party candidate could win; but both valued their integrity above political pragmatism.

Christians who vote according to "who has a chance to win" or "who makes the best economic promises" should read Dr. Barna's book. Then a look in the mirror might provide an clue as to why the church has had so little impact on our culture.



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