American Christianity and Secularism at a Crossroads – NYTimes.com

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American Christianity and Secularism at a Crossroads – NYTimes.com.

Very interesting and well written article that quite eloquently summarizes a number of things:

(i) a key sign of the times we live in – a spiritual lawlessness prophesied by Jesus in Mt 24:11-12:

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

It speaks of the elevation of “relative truth” to where everyone follows their own moral laws – a true state of lawlessness. It’s the inevitable fruit of a world view that denies all moral absolutes in favour of unguided pluralism. It’s an appealing worldview because it allows for spirituality without accountability – to claim an experience of the spiritual yet without submitting to the builder and Lord of all things.

(ii) a separation of “true” believers and “cultural” believers – or rather a distinction between what these oft confused concepts. Today, being a “true” believer in the Christian faith costs you many things – from respect to your life – depending on where in the world you live. Being an adherent of the “Christian secularism” alluded to here is largely socially and politically acceptable but equally has become a concept so diluted as to be almost meaningless. I’m thankful that it’s happening (as unsettling as some may find it) because it draws the line firmly between what I’d call “cultural Christianity”, versus “living Christianity”. Becoming a good cultural Christian does not buy anyone any brownie points and has no ability to impact the heart of man, which is ultimately where “living Christianity” takes it’s root and demonstrates its power (mostly in a way that people find culturally and politically unacceptable or offensive). This is the proverbial separation of wheat and chaff that Jesus said would come  – see Matt 13:13 – 30:

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

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