How does a culture rooted in the discipline of Christianity devolve into one that embraces relativism and the autonomy of the individual? Slowing and patiently. In America, it has taken a multi-pronged campaign of capturing the educational system along with the major media outlets that portray nice people who embrace worthy causes, and who incidentally happen to be adulterers and fornicators. Helping the poor and oppressed trumps being faithful in marriage or waiting until marriage for intimacy. Slandering is acceptable as long as the person or group you slander is depicted with politically incorrect views. The audience is given the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) idea that some transgressions of God’s law are worse than others.
I recently watched a film where an adult daughter railed against her father for his repeated infidelity towards her mother. Despite the fact that the daughter was involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, she felt righteous in her anger toward her dad. His defense was that all those women meant nothing to him; his affection always remained for his wife. It is noteworthy that both father and daughter were portrayed as upstanding attorneys who refused to compromise with the law or their integrity.
When we determine it is okay to break some of God’s laws, but it is not okay to break others, we repeat the sin of our first parents—deciding for ourselves what constitutes right and wrong (Genesis 3:5). This piecemeal approach to God’s Word sets us up for failure upon failure, as we create a false hierarchy of “bad” offenses and excuse those we consider to be of lesser importance.
Back in the late 80s, I was involved in prolife efforts on a number of fronts. Along with the Christian groups I was affiliated with, I agreed to participate in an effort at the county level to work against abortion. The woman who headed the group, although a professing Christian, was eager to get as many people on board, not all of them Christian. I could support the effort until she told me that she was going to be speaking at a meeting of prolife homosexuals, getting them active in the fight to pass laws against abortion.. I confronted her about her schizophrenic plan. I asked, “If we assert murder of the unborn is wrong based on God’s Word, on what basis can you approach this group that is organized around a violation of God’s Word?” The woman had not really thought about her inconsistency, but without hesitation responded, “I’ll do whatever to stop abortion. If they are willing to vote prolife, then we’ve succeeded!”
This is an example of making an independent determination that one of God’s laws is more important than another. This is the sort of thinking that has polluted the church and caused it to lose a prophetic voice in the culture. When we treat the Word of God as a potluck dinner where we pick and choose things to our liking and avoid those things we don’t care for, we have placed something in the place of God and are in violation of the first commandment.
We must stand on the entire Word of God (the parts we like and the parts we don’t) and teach our children that obedience brings blessing, while compromise breeds the cancerous growth of rebellion.