In 1903, William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army made this statement:
“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and Heaven without Hell.”
The statement made over a century ago is now being seen around the globe. More and more people are turning to an apathetic faith, disregarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit and even some calling themselves “progressive” christians (I use a small ‘c’ deliberately) declare that all religions draw from the same aquifer. The problem of Christianity is that it is more like mathematics than psychology: other religions may be closer to the answer than some, but in the end they are all the wrong answer.
Recently I read an article declaring we live in a post-Christian era.
I tend to agree. As such there will be things that the vocal masses will demand. Equality for religions, gender, sexual orientation and so forth.
Some of these are in line with the message of the Bible, some are not.
We as Christians must have the courage to stand for the Truth in the Bible. We should recognise that we are in the world, but not of it.
What should post-Christian morality look like? Equal rights under this new era for all. This – in principle – sounds a lot like what Jesus said. Look closer into the issues and you see something different however.
I have to write this article as a Blog entry because I have a feeling no editor would be prepared to publish it in this post-Christian era.
Jesus told us to accept people and Love them. Agape Love them.
He didn’t tell us to condone their actions.
He didn’t say to ignore their/our sin.
We live in a day of forgiveness without repentance. We are accused of not being “real” Christians if we don’t agree that forgiveness is enough on it’s own. Why bother with the whole repentance thing at all? It just causes conflict in the individual being forgiven and those offering the forgiveness. So we just offer forgiveness freely. So freely that we declare the behaviour “normal”. Secular society has become what William Booth said it would. Churches teach around the subject of the Holy Spirit. The church I grew up in never mentioned once that I recall the concept of being “born again” or baptised with the Holy Spirit. The first time I went to a pentecostal service and heard men speaking in tongues I thought everyone was mad or it was part of a cult.
God has been removed from the political arena. Republicans and Democrats both claim they are on God’s path in the USA. The ANC in South Africa has declared God loves them so much they will rule until Jesus returns. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour parties in the UK all have boasted at some point that they have strong ties with the church and roll out candidates who go to an Anglican service at Easter and Christmas to prove it.
Jesus spoke plainly about the afterlife. If we read the Gospel with fresh eyes and as if we were hearing it for the first time it would be impossible to not see that He believed in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell as real places.
Today we speak of Heaven as a place where everyone goes after they die. Images of wings and harps and fluffy clouds abound.
I like the portrayal of the afterlife in the movie “What Dreams May Come”. There’s work to do there, but it’s labours of Love. Families are reunited. There’s no sadness or fear on the heavenly side. But there’s the other side. A side where souls are forever lost in torment. They spend eternity in darkness and confusion.
That’s as much of the analogy as I like since the theology is a bit wobbly, but it’s a good picture of the alternatives.
In short, Booth was seeing moral degeneration of society on a slope with no grip at all. In effect we are becoming what he feared and what he tried to slow down through the Salvation Army: a society of mob-rule and God-fearing Christians in the minority.
Look back 100 years and you see what Booth saw. World War One descended society into chaos and started a century of unparalleled horrors the Inquisition would have recoiled from.
Look back 2000 years and you see eleven men huddled in an upper room waiting for the Roman army or the Sanhedrin to break down the doors and kill them.
But look what happened. Those eleven men and the ones who then followed them became the movement of a Godly Army, cutting through society’s rules and norms – which were much the same as the “new” laws we see being passed. As the writer of Ecclesiastes noted, there is nothing new under the sun.
Christianity is a dangerous path. It divides families and communities established for generations. I’ve witnessed it divide congregations. I’ve also seen it bring something new.
Be a Truth speaker.
Stand up for our God and watch Him respond in kind. Avoid the trap of doing things without Love as your reason and follow through because we Love Jesus.
Live a Dangerous Faith and be ready, armed with the Truth of the Gospel to defend and even die for the Truth of Faith in Jesus.
Watch Revival come as a result.