Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. (Nehemiah 9:6)
The Reformation gave Christendom Sola Scriptura, the principle that God's revealed and written Word cannot (and must not) be changed. It was the battle cry of the revival that wrenched the struggling church out of the interpretative and traditional errors of the "Holy Roman Empire." Biblical scholarship confronted the Christian world with the clear mandates of God's Word.
However, we are now immersed in a secular culture, bombarded with an ever-increasing vitriol and hatred toward Christ and His followers. In best-selling books such as The God Delusion, God Is Not Great, Breaking the Spell, and The End of Faith, well-known atheists are advocating an all-out culture war to remove any vestige of Christianity from the public arena. Among politicians and pundits, media and entertainment moguls, and academicians pontificating from their tenured naturalism, Christians are blatantly branded as the enemy, a scourge to be banned.
The emerging church movement has "Christianized" the damnable error that absolute truth does not exist, and is leading hoards of "seekers" into the mouth of hell. Evangelicals are slipping into hybrid theologies and doctrines that seek "the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).
Once-solid seminaries and colleges are now espousing such heresies as "openness theology" and "revisionist thinking," and formerly strong commitments to inspiration and inerrancy are being undermined by complex scholarly theories that treat the words of God as mere literature to be evaluated in a "framework hypothesis," subjugating the omnipotent and omniscient LOGOS to the theories and minds of mortal men.
In poll after poll, from the Pew Foundation studies and the George Barna reviews to the more recent Ham and Beemer analysis of Christian young people, the data are the same: a majority says it "believes" the Bible, but lives as though the Bible has little authority.
All too many churches embrace a format of developing facilitators, not teachers; sharing, not learning, becomes the goal, and a focus on helping, not loving, becomes more important than holiness or comprehending the eternal Word of God. Pastors consumed with numerical growth rather than spiritual maturity seek to "attract" rather than "win" the lost. Repentance is seldom preached, and Christian fun is the dominant theme among youth ministries--almost to the exclusion of a passion for holiness.
The scenario is not good, and is growing more bleak in this post-modern world. Can anything be done? What, indeed, must be done if the trends and tides of worldliness are to be resisted?
What says the Scripture?
- “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20)
- “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)
- “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
- “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
Maybe this sounds simplistic, but the power of God resides in the Gospel (Romans 1:16), and in the ministry of the Holy Spirit--who brings conviction to the unsaved, and direction and counsel to the believers--through the words of the Word (John 16:7-15). It is the God-breathed written words that are “profitable” for us to use (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Sola Scriptura must again be our battle cry.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris III, H. 2009. Issues among Evangelicals. Acts & Facts. 38 (9): 22.