Published April 24, 2008
I believe that America is still the hope of the world. We have the capability, the resources, and enough gospel light to change the world.
However, something is happening to the soul of our nation. I have tried to discern exactly what is taking place in this country, but like a dike that has sprung multiple leaks, it is difficult to know where to start the reparations.
First, some would point to the public school system in our country and contend that much of our undoing has come from the humanistic philosophy that characterizes many of our educational institutions.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., stated, “Some now argue that Christian parents cannot send their children to public schools without committing the sin of handing their children over to a pagan and ungodly system.
“Fueled by a secularist agenda and influenced by an elite of radical educational bureaucrats and theorists, government schools now serve as engines for secularizing and radicalizing children.”
While there are many public schools that are commendable and acceptable to Christian families, there is great concern for what is happening at the national level where policies are made and the future is shaped.
Many public schools have embraced the philosophy of Outcome Based Education (OBE), a system of education that is less concerned about the curriculum and more concerned about the student. With this approach to education, a list of desired outcomes in the form of student behaviors, skills, attitudes, and abilities is created.
One of the goals of OBE includes minimizing the distinctions between various sexual relationships. OBE suggests that sex within marriage between those of the opposite sex is not morally different from sex outside of marriage between those of the same sex. The goal of such programs is self-actualization and making people comfortable with their sexual preferences.
If transformational outcome-based reformers have their way, students would not get credit for classes taken until their attitudes, feelings, and behaviors matched the desired goals of the proponents of this system of education.
The public school system may be the launching pad for this new doctrine of tolerance. And in our society there is increasing evidence that everything is tolerated but evangelical Christianity. Josh McDowell recently stated that the general public is becoming so anti-Christian that within 36 to 60 months, the good guys (evangelical Christians) will become the bad guys in the United States.
Second, some would point to the government as the primary advocate of this new kind of tolerance. In Micah 3:1-2 the Old Testament prophet declares, “And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil ….”
Micah is referring to the governmental leaders of the house of Israel and seems to suggest that they abhor that which is good and embrace that which is evil. Micah’s words seem applicable for today because, it is absolutely true that today’s view of tolerance blurs the distinction between right and wrong.
Marcia Barlow, writing for the Arizona Conservative, avows, “Stating that a particular idea or behavior is unacceptable and should not be encouraged has been labeled as ‘hate speech’ and is now a justifiable reason for an individual to be pelted with derogatory names (Racist! Religious bigot! Homophobe!), threatened with potential lawsuits, or at the very least to be chastised as being ‘intolerant.’ The new doctrine of tolerance has become the foundation of a social movement that permeates the media and has found root in both our judicial and legislative systems.
“Under the guise of ‘separation of church and state,’ the new tolerance is bent upon neutering or eliminating traditional religion. No person or institution is allowed to identify right and wrong or say ‘Thou shalt not …’ The new tolerance states that there are no moral absolutes – thus no Supreme Being.”
While in Canada a month ago I met a young pastor, Jonathan Chisholm, who said, “When the United States was attacked on September 11 your president called your people together and had prayer for the nation. The president of Canada also called our people together, but there was no prayer, because he didn’t want to offend the unbelievers and those with no religion.”
Who knows but that we may be only one presidential election away from experiencing the same kind of response to a national tragedy?
In Proverbs 29:1-2 we find these sobering words: “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
Third, many churches in America have bought into this doctrine of tolerance, which is subtly and insidiously stripping our culture of every vestige of absolute truth.
I do not believe Southern Baptists have fallen into this trap and are thus often scorned by the media for being narrow and sectarian. It sounds so warm, inviting, and loving to be accepting of all religions and all systems of thought. But those who buy into the idea of religious pluralism and replace truth with tolerance are being misled by their own gullibility.
A. W. Tozer said, “Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God.” We must always be ready to reject what is false and embrace what is true.
Yet, at the same time, be prepared to endure the slings and arrows of those who are tolerant of everything but manifestly intolerant of Bible-believing, Christ-loving, soul-winning Christians. Those of you who fit that description of unashamed Christians may be the “bad guys” of the future.
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