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Home The Light Articles from 2008 Post-Modernism In the Church

Post-Modernism In the Church

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Sociologists conclude that America entered its "Post-Modern" era, identified by three characteristic traits: an eclectic culture, deteriorated authority, and diminished core values. Because too many Christians view the World as their friend, the World's views often influence the behaviors and deci­sions of the church. In his epistle, James warns that the friendship of the world "is enmity with God," likening it to adultery (James 4:4). Church leaders must vigilantly watch and prevent post­modernism from destroying the Lord's church. In this article, we look at how the three traits manifest themselves in Christianity.
America borrows cultural ideas from around the world, making it an eclectic culture. Piecing together the "best of” can possess certain benefits. For exam­ple, homeschoolers sometimes borrow pieces of different educational material from various curricula, choosing what works best with each individual student. But when it comes to the Christian faith, God's Word leaves no room for an eclectic religion. In Deuteronomy 8, God strongly warned Israel to obey Him and not follow after the idolatrous practices of her neighbors. If they for­got Him and disobeyed, He promised to destroy them like the nations before them. The Old Testament contains abundant examples of God punishing Israel for her idolatry.
The apostle Paul warned Titus re­garding Cretans Christians, to rebuke them so that their faith would remain "sound" (Titusl:13). Thayer defines "sound" as "a faith without admixture." In the next verse, Paul says not to give "heed to Jewish fables, and command­ments of men," things that turn people from the truth.
One need only to look at most of our culture's holidays to find admixture in Christianity. Ever hear of Ishtar? Her name sounds much like "Easter." An­cient civilizations worshipped her as the goddess of fertility, hence the eggs and bunny rabbits. The practices of Christ­mas derive from Saturnalia, the Roman winter solstice celebration. Halloween comes from the worship of the dead. Why would any Christian want to adopt pagan rituals and practices as part of their worship to the true and living God? Because the flesh craves admix­ture. God forbids that we fellowship with the devil (2 Corinthians 6:15). He tells us not to fellowship with the "un­fruitful works of darkness," but to "reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
Many unsuspecting Christians follow after Eastern Mysticism. Eastern reli­gions display all the gibberish passed off as "speaking in tongues," transcenden­tal meditation, visualization (state it enough times, and it will happen), and fainting spells. A coincidence? No. While Satan attempts to imitate God, the Charismatic movement imitates Eastern religions. True meditation requires thinking upon the Word of God (Psalms 1:1). The apostles actually healed people and raised the dead, a record modern faith healers lack.
While shopping in a Christian book­store, I overheard another customer-approach the store owner and inform them that a New Age writer authored a set of books on their shelves. Shocked, the owner blurted out that a local Sunday school group recently pur­chased a bunch of them and planned to study it in their classes. If only Chris­tians would simply take the Bible to find out what God wants them to do, they would not fall prey to this admix­ture.
Christians today need to take to heart the admonition God gave to the chil­dren of Israel, and again through John the Revelator: do not add to His word, and do not take away from it, but sim­ply obey what He tells us to do (Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19).
 
Deteriorated Authority
Sociologists point to Deteriorated Authority as the second identifying trait of a Post-Modern society. They point to the fact that fifty years ago, the Ameri­can society looked to the President, the Pope, or other leaders as "authorities" in their respective areas of expertise. Not so anymore. The offices of such leaders now face little respect from the masses. Splinter groups in all areas of life surfaced in the past few decades to declare themselves as "experts." In this Information Age of technology, anyone can search and find those who agree with them on whatever position they want to take. Many Christians and churches fall prey to the same crippling effect.
For many years, English speaking Christians looked to the KTV translation as the standard for knowing the Will of God. Though it contains some English translation errors, the transla­tors of the KJV chose to write a "word for word" translation, meaning they put a word in for every Greek word found in the original texts. Words italicized in the KJV indicate those the translators put in for clarification, yet maintaining the original meaning and intent. But today many erroneous translations exist on the market; versions whose transla­tors interjected their own personal biases, deliberate false doctrines, and watered down interpretations. May the reader bear in mind the words of God when He says not to add to, nor take away from His Word, but to obey His commands (Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19). As a sincere seeker of the truth, one must avoid following false translations, and look to God through His Son Jesus Christ as the single greatest authority. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).
The abuse of children by priests and the scandalous actions of other leaders also contribute to the deterioration of authority. If one cannot trust people in positions of authority to keep them selves pure and to protect the innocent in our society, then who can they trust? God specifies that when appointing elders in the church, the candidate must "be blameless" (Titus 1:7). No one, not even an elder in the church, can posi­tion themselves above God's law, but all must give account (1 Tim. 5:19). To safe-guard against such abuses, congre­gations must proactively deal with such abuses scripturally (1 Cor. 5).
Rebellion presents itself as the great­est manifestation of a society that defies authority. The prophet Samuel declared "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Samuel 15:23). This shows God views rebellion, or disobe­dience to Him the same way He does witchcraft.
God's Word teaches us to submit to authority: the wife to her husband (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18), children to parents (Eph. 6:1), men to Christ (1 Cor. 11:3), Christ to the Father (1 Cor. 11:3), and citizens to the government (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13). God's authority comes above all else, as Peter and the other apostles declared: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts5:30). Sometimes governments may want us to do something contrary to God's will, but we must obey God first. As a result, we may suffer at the hands of an op­pressive regime, but our consciences will remain clear and our relationship with God, strong.
Today many balk at submission, especially modern feminists who screech in outrage at even the mere suggestion of them submitting to their husbands. But two powerful arguments make it difficult to push God's demand for submission aside. One, the fact that the Son of God submitted to His Fa­ther's will, and became obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8). Even though he was the Son of God, Jesus learned obedi­ence (Heb. 5:8). If he had followed the modern concept of not submitting, we would all die in our sins.
The other powerful argument stems from the fact that children must obey their parents. Ask a person who does not submit to authority if their children should obey them and most of the time you will hear an emphatic, "YES! They'd better!" Then ask them why their children should, but they them­selves do not need to submit to their authorities. The chain of command breaks down when we fail to submit.
Do we wish to question God's au­thority? God told Israel, "All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Rom. 10:21). Thayer defines gainsaying as "dispute, refuse, answer again." They behaved like disobedient children who wanted to do things their own way.
Let those of us who wear the name of Christ, submit to His authority. Let no one say that we contributed to the demise of the church by supporting Post-Modern practices.
Diminished Core Values
When societies diminish their core values, the things they once stood for no longer hold the same meaning. Core values act as glue, holding a society together, making it strong. Americans no longer stand for the traditional val­ues that once made this nation strong. Faith in the God of the Bible no longer holds a position in the major facets of American society. This forebodes of detrimental consequences.
Influenced by society, many Chris­tians no longer hold the core values that make the church great. Paul instructs Christians to assemble themselves to­gether (Heb. 10:25), but many find excuses not to attend the worship ser­vices. Years ago, one would not even think of skipping church to catch up on work, or engage in leisurely activities. Today, many businesses expect their employees to skip church. Schools and organizations plan "extra curricular activities" for Sundays and Wednesday evenings, times traditionally set aside to worship God and refresh the soul.
Another core value lost involves putting the church first, over our per­sonal desires. The early church united in their desire to serve God. They sold their possessions and met the needs of their fellow brethren (Acts 2:44-45). Reports indicate that many Americans no longer contribute as much finances to the church as they once did so that the IRS suspicions large contributions of ones earnings. True Christians give of their means (1 Cor. 16:1-2)
Family ranks as one of the largest casualties of diminished core values. In America, many children do not enjoy a home shared by both biological parents. Understandably, some cases result from the loss of life of one or both parents, and some children find new families through adoption, but the vast majority of cases result from two self-centered parents abandoning their wedding vows and stepping into the world of adultery.
Rejecting false teachers (Titus 3:10) and those living in sin (1 Cor. 5:11-13) establishes a pure fellowship as another core value. But eager to swell their ranks, many congregations willingly let false teachers tout their false doctrine, and passively allow sinful members to continue their ungodly behaviors.
Addressing the items of worship, Christians once held communion every first day of the week (Acts 20:7), and the table contained one loaf and one cup with the fruit of the vine as Jesus instituted it (Matt. 26: 26-29). Many churches observe the Lord's supper once a year, because they do not want to waste time that they need for all the other activities they have added to the worship. For around 600 years, all who professed Christianity sang and made melody in their heart without instru­mental accompaniment (Eph. 5:19), but now anything goes. Some churches, who accepted instrumental music, now grapple with needing to please every­one's taste in styles, i.e., country west­ern or classical rock. Others embrace worldliness to the point that one cannot tell from their appearance or behavior that they even know Christ. Such friendliness with the world gives God a reason to oppose them as enemies (James 4:4).
Another core value that many Chris­tians no longer adhere to involves the way people dress. God spells out a distinct difference in the way men and women must dress (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 6:9), and the way they wear their hair (1 Cor. 11:4-15, Rev. 9:8). Society for years drifted toward giving acceptance to women wearing men's clothing. Many Christians now make allowance for such cross-dressing. It amuses me when I hear of Christian women shocked at the thought of men dressing like women, yet those same women wear pants like men.
Immodest dress no longer shocks many Christian men and women. I see men in the world drooling over women dressed in revealing attire. When I call to attention the fact that the other per­son is married, or they themselves are married, I often get the response, "It's okay to look, as long as you don't touch." Not according to Jesus. He declared it constitutes adultery in the heart (Matt. 5:28).
Sadly, some Christian women dress immodestly, flaunting their bodies for the whole world to see. They crave the attention that lustful men give them. These women fall for the line the world fosters: "It's my body and I can do with it what I want." The Lord cannot ex­cuse such behavior, for Paul says we no longer own our body, but it belongs to God and we must use it to glorify Him (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Christian women, dress modestly and the Lord will bless you for it.
Our post-modern society attacks many other core values, but Christians must not give in to demands for progressiveness. We must strive to keep the Lord's church free from borrowed religious practices, recognize God and the Bible as our authority, and get back to our core values.
The term "Post-Modern" might lead one to believe that some revolutionary and astounding lifestyle awaits them over the horizon. If one considers the past, adopting practices of false reli­gions, defying authority, and abandon­ing core values comes as no surprise. Look at the results of Satan's deception toward Adam and Eve. He told them they "shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5), di­rected their attention away from God as the authority, and wrecked their rela­tionship with God (core value dimin­ished). Satan simply recycles and reuses the same old lies with every generation. —818 Glenwood Avenue, Ottumwa, IA 52501
 

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