In a Washington Post article, February 23, 2012, about the recent abortion debate in Virginia, the Post reported how lawmakers had been ridiculed and lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” The article quoted Steve Jarding, a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Democratic consultant who has run campaigns in Virginia. He made a very telling statement that speaks to the mentality of the masses today when he said, “You never want to get on the wrong side of popular culture. When people are laughing at you, you know you’ve gone too far.”
Well, Christians have always been at odds with their culture. They were in the first century. We are now. Part of our problem in dealing with popular culture is the notion that America was a Christian nation. Of course, our forefathers embraced the principles of the Bible, believed in God, and basically exalted Christ as Lord. But even then New Testament Christians were different from the world around them—religiously and culturally.
The difference today is that those who hate Christianity are trying to expunge every vestige of Biblical influence from our society. It is occurring in entertainment, schools, media and ironically some churches. Moral values are mocked. Religious beliefs are belittled. Christianity is criticized as being outdated and intolerant. We see the secularization of our culture everywhere we turn. Yes, we often find ourselves “on the wrong side of popular culture” when we dare to be different.
Vulgar language is common place. You hear it on the radio, TV, the hallway at school, the workplace and in the street. You even hear little kids uttering profanities they’ve heard at home or on the television. Jesus still says “let your yes, be yes and your no be no” and “swear not at all.”
The world of entertainment is not only filled with filthy language, but sexual innuendo, nudity, and often perverted themes. Much of what is produced today for entertainment is garbage. But our culture defends it. If it is funny, or “realistic” or creative then nothing is off-limits. Paul, however, warns in Romans 1:32 that those who take pleasure in sin are just as guilty as the ones who commit sin.
Pornography has become the scourge of our culture. It has become a multibillion dollar business. Many men, and some women, are addicted to it. It affects everyone from teenagers to university professors. Privately a large number of priests and preachers admit being a slave to its inducements. We need to remember that Jesus still warns against lust. He calls it a sin (Matt. 5:27-30).
The homosexual agenda continues to thrust itself upon our culture. We are told to not only tolerate this lifestyle, but accept it. Forty years ago homosexuals were regarded as deviants. Today they are cheered and applauded for “coming out.” Yet, the apostle to the Gentiles in the Roman world calls it “shameful,” “vile,” and “degrading.” (Rom 1:18-32)
Fornication has always been a temptation to mankind. But it is more open than ever. It is flaunted. Accepted. And, even encouraged by our liberal culture. But, again, this is not new. Immorality was rampant in Paul’s day. Yet, he said, “flee from fornication.”
We must understand that the value system of the world is different. It is driven by individualism, secularism, and relativism. The world values tolerance over truth. It embraces subjectivism over the objective revelation of God. And when we question or disagree with the accepted practices of our culture, we, too, we will ridiculed and lampooned .
Christians must rise above culture. We must be “transformed, not conformed to this world” (Rom.12:1-2). But it takes courage. Resolve. And a constant “renewing of the mind.” We must hold to the inspired Scripture which gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” God’s Word will equip us. Guide us. And finally save us eternally. Don’t give in to culture. Keep the faith!
—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman