As Abraham Lincoln declared in the Gettysburg Address over 150 years ago:
…Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure…
One could contend that we, as a nation are found in that same predicament–a divided nation in jeopardy of not long enduring. As during much of the 19th and 20th centuries the “middle ground” is diminishing, and the present rhetoric is not seeking to establish any common ground… Sides are being drawn, and civility is waning. Most of us have witnessed the ugliness displayed on Facebook, where invectives are levied under the protection of a digital field. There is fierce contention through every medium, and now even face to face. As they say, there is a lot of heat out there, but it’s generating little light.
From where I stand the two polar opposites taking form are the liberal-progressive secular worldview and the conservative worldview, the latter being where most Bible believing Christians are to be found. By the way, worldview is the term used for one’s core values–a complete belief system. Certainly, these positions are irreconcilably opposed. And yet, there are those who would rather spend time trolling or shaming conservatively held ideals as though Biblical Christianity is out of step with reality, with the latest cultural movements, and should succumb to a forced liberal-progressive ideology.
I am not reading very many of the disrespectful viewpoints offered today, but the gist I am getting is that those on the progressive end of the spectrum seem to be uninformed of the historical biblical orthodox position–positions held and culturally affirmed for thousands of years. Rather, they take issue with views historically held and rooted in Scripture, and they are surprised we haven’t all jumped on their progressive bandwagon. Their question seems to be: “Why haven’t you ditched your antiquated religion and come into alignment with the cultural revolution?” Christian conservatives reply: “When we are convinced by the Bible that we should change, we will. Until then we will hold this ground.” These are the people with whom I stand.
The bottom line is that these two camps have very different sets of beliefs. Conservative. Fundamental. Evangelical… and the progressive left has theirs. Suddenly… apparently mine have reached their shelf life as far as the left is concerned, and my only choice is to concede, accept, and affirm what I consider a faulty, even sinful, worldview.
Progressive truth itself is rooted in no one location. In fact, it is found in each individual self– feelings, convictions, desires, and sometimes it is culturally developed. In this paradigm a person’s feelings authenticate their values– “We want to do whatever we (individual or collectively) want to do.” They may seek to support, or argue their stance based on logic and reason, philosophy, social mores, carefully selected historical or scientific data, or even a mash-up of religious doctrines. In contrast, the Evangelical standard of truth, contrary to what may be suspected, is not the result of randomly pulling an ideology, a worldview, out of thin air. It isn’t the sole possession of any particular denomination, but is found in the Bible. Christians may embrace creeds or councils, even affirm some traditions, but only those that are firmly rooted in Scripture. An evangelical Christian’s ultimate authority must be Scripture – the Bible.
It is Scripture that tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be equipped, having been thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). To an evangelical this means that God truly exists, and that He has breathed out (inspired) His Word for the purpose of informing His people. His Word therefore informs us as to our beginnings, our existence, our identity, our sexuality, our behavior, our purpose, and even our future. It enlightens us as to all things in regards to our salvation in Jesus Christ.
I know that many of my writings may not be appreciated by the secular realm, and that is okay. I am in the religion section, and I am writing about the religion I am espousing (Evangelical Christianity–as I see it). Anyone who chooses to foray onto this page is eating out of my bowl by choice. I am not writing from a generalized squishy fluid “American Christian” or “republican” point of view. I am writing from an evangelical worldview, not just from an overall biblical perspective, or some broad Christian purview.
Popular culture has increasingly been dismissing my tribe’s value in any debate. Not only are progressives unwilling to agree to a middle-held territory (of which there is little, but still some), they desire to simply disallow any worldview with a religious basis to even have a place at the table. But I guess I understand that as I too rest in my bubble of certitude.
So, though evangelicals may not get the application of Biblical truths of modern life right every time, we do seek to align ourselves, our beliefs and our conduct, with Scripture. However, we hold that there are consequences in failing to abide by Biblical truth – in the here and now, and eternally. My concern is that perhaps the Church, those truly covered by the blood of Christ is increasingly becoming a little less clear, and thus less able to defend our positions to a culture that that is suspicious of us in the first place.
If there must be such a great divide between the liberal-progressive worldview and the evangelical Christian worldview let it be the result of our conviction to hold to Biblical truth.
So, let us know well those truths!