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 long enduring. As during much of the 19th Century the “middle ground” is diminishing, and the present rhetoric is not seeking to establish any common ground… Sides are being drawn, and charity is waning. The ugly spirit of Facebook, wherein invectives are levied under the protection of a digital shield, has invaded the analogical world–we fiercely contend through every medium, and even face to face. As they say, there is a lot of heat out there, but generating little light.
From where I stand the two sides taking form are not between statehood or geographic lines, but between the progressive secular worldviews and the more conservative, Christian worldviews. By the way, a worldview is our terminology for our core values, our belief system—our ideologies. Certainly, these positions are irreconcilably opposed. And yet, there are those who would rather spend time trolling or shaming conservatively held ideals as though Christians and the true Christian Church is out of step with reality, with culture movements, and should thus, succumb to a forced ideology.
I am choosing to avoid an abundance of disrespectful viewpoints, 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 long held, and culturally affirmed for thousands of years. They take issue with views historically held and rooted in Scripture, and they are still surprised that we haven’t all jumped on the progressive bandwagon. “Why haven’t you guys come into alignment with the cultural revolution?” Hey, some of us didn’t move; we are where we were years ago-that’s the idea of conservatism.
The bottom line is we both have a set 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 to, accept, and affirm what I consider a faulty worldview.
Progressive truth itself is rooted in no one location. In fact, it is found in each individual self–feelings, convictions, desires, and sometimes these ideologies are culturally developed. In this paradigm a person’s feelings authenticate their values– “Who we are, is what we want to do.” They may seek to support, or argue their stance based on logic and reason (philosophy?), historical or scientific data, or religious documents. In generating the Evangelical standard of truth, contrary to what may be suspected, we are not randomly pulling our ideology, our worldview out of thin air either–we do not look for the witness of any person or denomination, but we look to the Bible. We may embrace creeds or councils, and maybe we would affirm some traditions (but only those which are firmly embedded in Scripture), but our ultimate authority is Scripture.
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 Creation. 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.
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” point of view, or a “Republican” one. I am not writing just from an overall biblical perspective, and not just from a broad Christian perspective but from an evangelicalworldview.
The 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 perhaps, still some—at least civically), they are willing to simply disallow a religious/moral/biblical-based worldview 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 interpretation right every time, we do seek to align ourselves, our conduct with Scripture. And, we confess that there are consequences in failing to abide by Biblical truth–in the long term, and in the here and now. My concern is that perhaps the Church 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.
Though I welcome the necessary ideological divide, we all need to be clear on our beliefs.
They do have consequences.
[This Article originally posted as Worldview #1- The Foundation of Truth
It has been edited.]