Dr. Al Mohler
The intellectual conditions in Europe and on American university campuses have now secularized such that it is impossible for those under such conditions to believe in God. In other words, we have arrived at the third intellectual epoch of Western society: impossible to believe. As Taylor observes, to be a candidate for tenure at a major American university is to inhabit a world in which it is virtually impossible to believe in God. Under the first set of Western intellectual conditions, not everyone was a Christian, but all were accountable to a Christian worldview because there was no alternative. Secularization in American culture has reversed the conditions: not everyone is a non-Christian, but all must operate under a secular worldview that denies the legitimacy of a Christian worldview. In three hundred years, Western intellectual conditions have moved from an impossibility of unbelief to an impossibility of belief. So what does this mean for us as preachers? We must recognize that these intellectual conditions now prevalent in Europe and in the American universities are quickly filtering down from the elites to the general culture. The mechanisms in this process are fairly easy to trace. In fact a number of polls reveal that the greatest predictor for whether you will find yourself in an increasingly secular space comes down to whether you live near a coast, a city, or a university. Given that the future of America is increasingly defined by most of its population being coastal, urban, and university-educated, you can see that the future of America is also increasingly secular.
A true defense of the Christian faith has never been more needed than now, but an attempt to rescue Christianity from its dependence upon Scripture is doomed to disaster.
Everything has changed and nothing has changed. The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a five to four decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all fifty states. As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”
“It is … it is going to be an issue.” With those words, spoken yesterday before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Solicitor General of the United States announced that religious liberty is directly threatened by the legalization of same-sex marriage. Donald Verrili, representing the Obama Administration as the nation’s highest court considered again the issue of same-sex marriage, was responding to a question from Justice Samuel Alito. His answer confirms with candor the threat we have long seen coming.
When it comes to Newsweek‘s cover story, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” Eichenwald appears to be far outside his area of expertise and knowledge. More to the point, he really does not address the subject of the Bible like a reporter at all. His article is a hit-piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility. His only sources cited within the article are from severe critics of evangelical Christianity, and he does not even represent some of them accurately. The opening two paragraph of the article sets the stage for what follows: “They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation. They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.”
Some arguments just have to be made, and made well. In the case of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the moment for such an argument arrived last week when that court had to rule on appeals over the question of same-sex marriage coming from the four states in its federal jurisdiction, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In each case, Federal District Courts had struck down measures banning same-sex marriage. Now, the question loomed before the three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit. Until last week, no federal appeals court had ruled against same-sex marriage in the aftermath of the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision striking down the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]. That changed when the panel of the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed the measure limiting marriage to one man and one woman in the four covered states. The decision sent shock waves throughout the nation.
One of the most amazing statements by the Apostle Paul is his indictment of the Galatian Christians for abandoning the Gospel. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel,” Paul declared. As he stated so emphatically, the Galatians had failed in the crucial test of discerning the authentic Gospel from its counterfeits. In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.
The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?
This is how religious liberty dies. Liberties die by a thousand cuts. An intimidating letter here, a subpoena there, a warning in yet another place. The message is simple and easily understood. Be quiet or risk trouble.
Human beings are profoundly religious—even when we do not know ourselves to be—and humans incessantly seek an object of worship.