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Our Changing Society

An obstacle or an opportunity?

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In the not too distant past, the morality of popular U.S. culture and the morality of the church were generally aligned. For example,

  • Marriage was between one man and one woman.
  • Sexual activity was to take place in the context of marriage.
  • If you were born male, you were male; if you were born female, you were female.
  • Divorce was generally frowned upon.
  • Same-sex orientation was on the fringes.
  • Abortion was illegal.
  • Euthanasia wasn’t even discussed.

Today, our country no longer embraces Christian values. The Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision almost two years ago, which found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, accelerated a cultural change in the United States that had already begun.

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has written that we are in the midst of a revolution, “a revolution of ideas that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life that humans have recognized for millennia.”

The new belief is that biblical morality is not only wrong but often the very cause of conflict and dissension in the world. Christian values are considered oppressive. The highest value is individual autonomy, the ability for each person to choose their own value system.

In his book Making Sense of God, Tim Keller says that under this new belief, “the only moral absolute is freedom, and the only sin is intolerance or bigotry.”

To paraphrase the prophet Isaiah: what is evil is called good and what is good is called evil (5:20).

So where does this leave The Alliance?

To use a sports metaphor, when the church was more aligned with culture, it was as if we were the home team with a home-field advantage. But we are no longer the home team. We are a visiting team, playing on a field that is not our own.

Our courts, academia, and the political community no longer hold a Christian worldview. In many cases, they are directly opposed. In his book We Cannot Be Silent, Mohler says the separation from our Christian roots has come to the point that many young people are completely unaware that the beliefs for which Christians are criticized were once not only mainstream but also considered essential to the fabric of our society.

I’m not saying that the past was ideal or that the church was in a better place. In fact, the church has always been at its best when it is counter-cultural. In this new world, in the midst of this idea revolution, The Alliance has an incredible opportunity.

A Gospel Witness

The U.S. Alliance church has a new paradigm to share the gospel. We will certainly continue to send workers to people groups in every corner of the world. That’s our calling. That’s our mission. But as our culture shifts away from Christian values, we’ve gained a people group to reach all around us: our next-door neighbor, a recent immigrant, even our own children and grandchildren.

Our nation will continue to change. It is likely that legal and cultural pressure against the church will increase. As legal counsel for The Alliance, my role is to do everything possible to create space for The Alliance to continue to be a gospel witness and to guard our ability to articulate truth.

As Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore said, we must not only hold Christian truths; we must speak with a Christian accent, say the things Jesus said, the way He said them. In short, we must truly and sincerely love.

In 1881 A. B. Simpson left New York’s prestigious 13th Street Presbyterian Church to proclaim the gospel to new immigrants arriving at the docks. More than 130 years later, The Alliance proclaims the same powerful gospel to one more people group: those all around us.

3 responses to Our Changing Society

  1. Interesting article but gives the secularists too much credit. We voted and have a government that is trying to reverse some of the trends. We must not neglect foreign missions.

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