Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by ZooTemplate.Com
What Christian Happenings Would You Like to See More of in the River Region?









 
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 08:23

The Bible Belt as Babylon

Written by  Matthew Jordan
Rate this item
(0 votes)

 

One of the most interesting—and important—changes in America over the last 30 years has been a shift away from “default Christianity” as the cultural norm. In my hometown in the 1980s, you could pretty much take it for granted that anyone you ran into on the street was a member of a church, and there was a shared assumption that good, decent people are also churchgoers. In addition, it was taken for granted by most people that Jesus deserves our respect and that the Bible is God’s word. These assumptions are not so widely held anymore.

It seems to me that there are two main things we need to do to function effectively as salt and light in post-Christian America. As a model, let’s consider the biblical prophet Daniel, who found himself immersed in a pagan culture, and who was used by God to accomplish great things in that culture. First and foremost, like Daniel, we need to be people of integrity. More than that, we need to be people in whom Christ himself can be seen. Mere morality won’t cut it; we need to engage in serious, intentional spiritual formation. We need to learn to live as genuine “Kingdom communities,” witnessing to the goodness of God through the way we live together.

 

Second, as we seek to be formed into the image of Christ, we need to think holistically. We need to be people who love God not only with our hearts and souls, but also with our minds. Daniel, who attained to his position in Babylon by virtue of his great learning, again serves as a role model for us, as does the Apostle Paul (think of his Mars Hill speech in Acts 17). Education—not just acquiring information, but learning to think clearly, to make logical distinctions and inferences, to understand how ideas fit together—has, perhaps, never been as important to the well-being of the church as it is today.

 

One thing that troubles me, on this front, is the tendency of some Christians to throw up their hands and quit, well, thinking, as soon as a challenge to their faith is raised. I have known a number of atheists whose journeys away from God began when honest questions about Christianity were raised. They asked things like, “Why should I believe in the Bible instead of the Koran or some other holy book?”, “Why would a loving God allow so much suffering in the world?”, and “How do we know that God exists?” Time and time again, they were told not to ask such questions. “Just have faith” was the most common answer they received, and ultimately, it wasn’t enough, because the “faith” on offer was too shallow to satisfy the longings of their hearts and minds.

 

Biblical faith is confidence in God based in facts about His character and His works. It is neither blind nor arbitrary. There are good reasons to believe in God, to trust the Lord Jesus, and to have confidence in the Scriptures. We live in a generation where obedience to Peter’s exhortation—“be prepared, in season and out of season, to give a reason for the hope that is within you”—is more pressing than ever. We cannot assume that our neighbors, coworkers, peers, and friends share any of our beliefs. The challenge before us is to be equipped to offer answers for those who seek them. The Bible Belt status quo is changing. Are we prepared for life in Babylon?

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:25
Go to Top