Set Apart and Different

As culture descends to chaos, a lot of churches are descending with it instead of rising above it.

The Weekly Standard has a really amazing article on its website this week. Written by Katherine Kersten, the article documents the decline in education in the public schools of Edina, Minnesota. For well over a decade, Edina’s public schools were the, as Kersten notes, “he gold standard among the state’s school districts.” Edina, a suburb outside Minneapolis, is wealthy and mostly white.

Despite continuing with what works, almost overnight Edina’s school system has decided its educators down to the elementary school level must prioritize social justice over reading, writing, and arithmetic. Down to the elementary school level, principals and teachers encourage children to learn about and support Black Lives Matters, gay marriage, feminism, and “creative counter to corporate values.”

As you might might imagine, standardized test scores have declined. Though the school has made a special priority of teaching how to apply “marxist, feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical . . .lenses to literature,” reading scores and math scores are not improving. Discipline problems, however, are on the rise.

I suspect this is going to become a trend. Victim studies are on the rise and colleges are increasingly hotbeds of indoctrination instead of education. This is descending into the elementary and secondary level and private and public schools. As it does, it makes me wonder and worry more about the church and where it heads.

There has been a necessary focus in American churches on race in the last few years. The prophetic books of the Bible spend a great deal of time chastising and condemning the people for failing to care for widows, orphans, the poor, and refugees. Many churches have responded by growing more charitably and focusing on missions and care. But, many churches have flung themselves so far into social justice that they have lost the gospel. Just the other day a group of purportedly Christian pastors prayed to “bless” the opening of an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C. in the name of “women’s rights.”

Many churches purportedly in Jesus’s name are embracing gay marriage. All the arguments in defense thereof echo Satan in the garden asking, “Did God really say?” Churches in America are seemingly in the midst of a crisis of education just as secularism is. The pervasiveness of American individuality has invaded churches to such a degree that three people on one pew in one church can have three different interpretations of a common passage of scripture and some would treat all three as valid.

American individuality is a good thing, but as it has descended into pews across America it has corrupted congregants and whole churches into thinking they can take a common gospel and apply it uniquely to themselves in ways that do not fit. The gospel, they forget, does not just change individuals, but it will change the whole culture and world. It is both a collective and individual force. Hiding behind Jesus to reflect the world collectively in a church and individually based on wanting sin repackaged as Christ affirming is no different than delving into scripture for marxist, feminist, and post-colonial applications.

As the culture around the church descends into this madness led by public and private education, churches need to remember they are set apart to be different and will one day be needed to rebuild society after this madness has burned its way through. But they will be unable to if they have let the cultural insanity take over or if they have let their mission fields be conformed to the culture into which they have ventured to share the gospel.

At home! The less our children are subjugated to an institution that has been corrupted on all levels the better the future of our still great nation. Proverbs 22:6 says - Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Certainly this implies that we should first direct our children to the salvation of Christ. This proverb, however, applies to every other aspect of guiding a child through the culture rot they are surrounded by. A biblical education and true American/world history are things that simply are not taught anymore. All the while core family values have all been eroded and replaced with the likes of "common core".

3

Jumping on the social justice band wagon does not help qualify for a job. With so many churches getting away from God's word, Christianity cant't be defined. Some churches have tried to cover up actual sin. ALL of the TEN COMMANDMENTS and BEATITUDES are Important. But don't forget false witness, or persecution/prosecution for my sake. Covertness is the umbrella that covers sins not mentioned in the first nine. The Bible says take care of the widow, children, and the poor, not the lazy. Refraining from appearances of all evil is difficult, because someone can still tell a lie. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. There is a big difference between sharing a house, a bedroom and a bed. Sin is sin regardless if is heterosexual or homosexual. Humans have the ability to corrupt every occupation.

There may not be enough Christ centered churches nor righteous believers in the nation to save it! Certainly humans cannot without God's intervention and who is left to "get on their knees in prayer and with faith" and ask Him for help?

One of the problems with the focus on social justice is that it often is simply social vengeance disguised. Attempting to get “justice” for a group of people in generations past typically means taking something FROM another group today, people who quite likely had nothing to do with the original suffering/harm.

My family was involved in the Underground Railroad in southern Indiana. So if we attempt to get “justice” for atrocities committed a century ago or more, then what about the consequences my family suffered as a result of opposing slavery? Do I deserve some compensation for that?

Likewise, what is the long term consequence to constantly reminding people they are victims? If we continually preach to people, “You are hated. Disagreement with your lifestyle means that people have devalued you personally. The color of your skin means that most of society considers you as worthless,” and similar sentiments, then how do we ever suspect people to move forward with contentment, joy and peace in life? It’s not possible. There’s a reason that Paul encouraged the Church at Philippi in writing, “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Teaching people to only focus on the negative will only produce negative people.

Additionally, when social justice focuses on ‘group’ assessment, it never actually takes into account damages to actual people. If persons have truly suffered trauma, then they need to be cared for as individuals, not just lumped into a group and told, “We care about you!”

This whole ‘justice’ movement is a deep dive toward cultural resentment and divisiveness. It can by nature produce nothing else. As a society, we must move beyond this or crumble. I don’t see an alternative.

Some educators have stepped over the lines of propriety and made the students victims of sexual abuse. Anti-American means anti-God since the two can not be separated. Social justice can be tied to being a school drop out. It cam be tied to making no effort to succeed. No effort is made to assimilate. Dropping true education is counter productive to social justice. Education, and a worth ethic is part of economic success.. There will always be some social injustice because of abuse of power that has nothing to do with race or gender. Greed in a few cents of cigarette tax not being collected. More emphasis on fines and penalties then allowing the money to be used to correct the problem. Courts working to slowly or too fast in obtaining evidence, the just plain laziness of some people in the justice system.. A government agency can be the biggest offender of social justice. They try and make a case where there is no case. They can ignore situations where there is a case. We have to get beyond the idea that one size fits all.

"...three people on one pew in one church can have three different interpretations" ... You're never going to solve this problem because there is nobody on this Earth who's an authority. Anyone can read it for themselves.

People clearly DO read the Scriptures in ways that make them fit their own worldview, but the fact is, just like the constitution, legal decisions, etc., there is only ONE truth. It's not a "living, breathing document" that can mean anything to anyone. Any particular statement can have one meaning/truth that was intended to be conveyed by the author and understood by the audience. Sure, there are some places in the Bible where, due to cultural and linguistic differences, we don't know with 100% certainty what was intended, but the overwhelming majority is not difficult to understand with a little study of language and background.

And there IS an authority: The Holy Spirit who spoke through human agency in order to provide these truths to humanity. The 'job' of the church is to be as diligent and humble as possible in studying the Word among other believers who truly desire to know the truth of Scripture (rather than simply satisfying confirmation bias) and who will be accountable to one another in both interpretation and application of those truths.

Exactly, Tom Brown.

"IndyArcher", can you really say with a straight face that there is only ONE true interpretation of the Bible considering the huge number of Christian denominations with different doctrines, beliefs and practices??

@mlidroos- Absolutely! There is only one "right" interpretation. Period. I'm NOT saying that there's any person/group that has that full interpretation 100% right, as there are some texts that are remote enough that, as I noted earlier, they are somewhat obscured by cultural and linguistic changes over the course of 2,000 years. But there can only be ONE right meaning. For example, when people talk about Jesus returning, there are some who say He returns before a period of great cultural turbulence and persecution. Some say it will be in the middle. Some say near or even after it ends. Some suggest even different solutions. How many of them can be right? At best one, right? The timing of that event is exclusive. If Jesus comes back in the middle of those terrible times, then those who believed 'before' or 'after' were clearly wrong.

Likewise, if we're talking about the Constitution of the United States and we reference the 2nd Amendment, there is only one "right" interpretation, and that has to be determined by looking at the authors and 'recipients' to discern the most accurate understanding. One thing we know is that we have to look at the context in which it was written in order to discern the actual intent, in which lies the truth. So is the 'right to bear arms' that is not to be infringed intended to mean all individuals or just those people who are fighting for the country? Both translations can't be right, and it can't be resolved by simply saying, "Well, whatever you think it says is fine".

So, yes, there is a truth that can be known, and as we interpret it, we either understand God's intent or we don't. And as mentioned earlier, the vast majority of those issues are actually clear.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit that awakens ones soul from the blindness. Not the work of politicians or pastors. If the readers here are really concerned about the future of our culture, let us not forget that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and as Jesus told Peter, some things only come through prayer and fasting.