Following my posts (here & here) on being out of step with culture a huge debate kicked off over at Dave Warnock’s blog. It reminded me of a couple of things, first that there seem to be some debates in which no one changes their mind (or at least very few) – sovereignty/freewill; gender; sex; views on scripture; atonement; heaven/hell; gifts of the Spirit. I’m pretty sure a religious mindset makes it harder to change your mind and I’m pretty sure no one is going to end up in heaven with 100% perfect theology, so a willingness to learn would be a good sign of humility. Of course it’s always easier to encourage the other side to have that humility!
The more interesting thing perhaps that has rumbled around, is that as an evangelical Christian I am out of step with society in LOTS of ways. This is uncomfortable but I think I’d better get used to the idea. It seems to me that government legislates with the tide of popular opinion which is flowing mostly against the example of Christ. It seems to me that more and more, the Church needs to be ready to see itself as the early church saw itself – a missionary movement that stood out in contrast to the world of its day.
Here are some ways that I think I am completely out of step (not including my dress sense or choice in music):
- I believe in God. I do not think that what you can measure is all there is. I do not need to see, in order to believe.
- I believe, as a consequence, in the Supernatural. Miracles can happen, we can experience both the transcendance and immanence of God.
- I believe there is an authority greater than myself. I do not mean the laws of my land. Jesus Christ is my final authority and the ancient teachings of the Bible guide my life and conduct. I do not think I can simply please myself.
- I believe that marriage is for life. Statistics suggest society thinks otherwise. (*update – see my comment for a bit more clarity*)
- I believe marriage is for a man and a woman. According to Sir Ian McKellen the problem I have as a result is homophobia
- I believe that men and women are not exactly the same and that the differences between the genders are good not bad, a cause for celebration not protest. That possibly makes me sexist.
- I believe that abortion is wrong. 200,000 abortions a year suggest I am out of step
- I believe that you can’t buy happiness and the meaning of life is not found at Ikea. Personal debt levels suggest I’m right but the rest of society isn’t convinced enough to stop shopping yet.
- I believe people can change, I believe forgiveness is better than revenge, I believe love can overcome evil. I see no evidence of that in society.
- I believe that there is only one way to be right with God and that is through Jesus Christ. I am not a pluralist. All religions do not lead to God, which is not the same as saying ‘we have nothing to learn’.
- I believe that there will be a judgement on mankind, and not everyone will be in heaven.
- I believe I do not know everything and I know I’m not perfect
*Update* Just listened to this talk by Dave Holden on counter cultural churches, from the TOAM conference.