Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. (cf. I Kings 18)
If the virtue-signaling of the Southern Baptist Convention expressed in its recent resolution to categorically condemn ‘white nationalism’ and the alt-right as a “a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing” isn’t an indicator of the danger that convergence with the world poses to Christianity and God’s people, perhaps nothing is. The primary problem facing Christians today is that they are no longer shaping and influencing much of anything. The tail is wagging the dog, has been for some time now, and no one seems to care, let alone notice.
So, what has happened? Quite simply, mainstream Christianity has lost its edge and has fallen into the trap of civility, a trait which has been unceremoniously sanctioned, but enthusiastically extolled as a Christian virtue. Christians are no longer driven by a passion for God’s truth as much as they are by political correctness and the prevailing societal trends of the present hour. In other words, God’s truth and the truth of His Word are no longer central, let alone relevant.
I would suggest that the Church and its adherents have a problem that goes way beyond the so-called ‘separation of Church and State’, a problem which pales in comparison to the real problem: the separation of Church and God. It is also evident that Christianity no longer derives its theology, power, and authority from the Word of God, as much as it does from the culture which it ostensibly claims to be countering. Trying to get the average Christian to recognize this trend, let alone admit to it, is a daunting task, to say the least.
The convergence that the Church has been experiencing over the last several decades has proven successful in reducing the Christian faith to something that is, by and large, private, internal, and unassuming. For the average Christian today, belief is no longer a confession of God’s truth, as much as it simply one belief system among many which contributes to one’s “personal identity.”
After all, hasn’t the culture granted all of us the absolute freedom to believe whatever we want to believe, so long as we are careful to maintain our civility when engaging and interacting with others? Which of course means ensuring that our beliefs do not infringe upon the consciences and behavior of others, especially the most controversial points of what we believe, and most especially those points which are firmly rooted in the Word of God, engraved in stone even.
No, we have been conditioned to be “seeker friendly,” sociable, amiable, sensitive, all in the precious name of Relevance. The failure to be nice is the eighth deadly sin and one of the gravest offenses one can commit today. It’s the eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not be offensive, neither your man servant nor your maid servant, neither you ox nor your donkey, nor the stranger and the sojourner living within your gates; thou shalt not be offensive, thus sayeth the god of this age.
For most Christians, this convergence may just be one issue among many with which Christianity must contend. But make no mistake, it is the issue, and it must be addressed before it destroys everything in its wake. What most Christians fail to understand is that this convergence, which seeks to curry favor with the world while compromising the truth and the truth of His Word, is a pervasive disease that is infecting their very souls.
They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness (lit. wasting disease) into their soul. (cf. Psalm 106)
Today, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of contending with unreasonable minds that are converged due to a complete and utter lack of interest in the truth – most especially the truth that is expressed in the Word of God, truth which is rarely, if ever, inoffensive. And sadly, we discover convergence where we should least expect to find it: in circles where the light is supposed to be shining in a dark place.
The Church, and all that it is supposed to represent, has become a colossal joke in Western society and is already so converged it is powerless to address the the most salient issues of our time, let alone in a manner that is even moderately effective. The Church is so profoundly confused about its mission and purpose in this world, that if it were to close its doors tomorrow the world would be, if we are being honest, far better off.
Convergence is a term that has been coined, I believe somewhat recently, to describe what happens when an outsider seeks to impose its values upon an established organization in order to co-opt and undermine the established values of the organization and eventually the very organization itself in the name of diversity, equality, or some other noble-sounding platitude. Although it is all too often a common result, convergence is by no means the inevitable result.
In order for convergence to be realized, the organization must first compromise and acquiesce, and the smallest compromise will do. In Biblical terms, convergence is simply the Worldliness of our time being permitted to influence and shape the Church and God’s people, while imposing its philosophies, thought processes, values, and behaviors upon God’s people and its institutions.
What is more, the culture is quite adept at concealing and repackaging its pernicious values in the affluence, comforts, luxuries and technological wizardry of our day, and do it so adroitly, that even those who name themselves as followers of God fail to recognize and discern the darkness masquerading as light. In short, God’s people are compromised and, what is more, most seem pretty OK with it. All this and Heaven too! Christianity as a civil religion is now a religion of civility that has been rendered toothless and benign. But convergence has a steep price:
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (cf. Matthew 16)
Convergence with the world means converging with its system of values and beliefs, behaviors and practices; convergence with the world means joining hands and moving in lockstep with those who subscribe to a philosophy that places fallen man at the center, while relegating to the periphery any thought of God and His truths, truths which happen to be quite inconvenient and abhorrent to the
converged depraved mind. Convergence with the world is precisely what is making sin and evil look normal today; while the virtues of righteousness, truth, kindness, and simple decency are relentlessly mocked and despised.
A large part of finding a solution is recognizing and addressing the problem … and what is the problem, exactly? One theologian put it this way: “God rests too inconsequentially upon the Church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, His judgment is too benign, His gospel is too easy, and His Christ is too common.” In other words, God may be believed, but the hard truth is that He is of no real consequence to those who profess belief. There is simply no real fear of God any longer and the prevailing attitude towards His Word would seem to indicate that not too many really believe that God said what He meant and meant what He said.
Convergence with the world always has and always will spell death for God’s people. It will always mean hiding God’s light under a bowl. And left unchecked, it will eventually mean denying the One Who bought us. Although the champions of convergence would like to convince us otherwise, no one, most especially those who claim to belong to Him, can serve two masters and God’s people should know better:
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4)
If I understand correctly, the Church used to believe and teach that it was called, redeemed, empowered, strengthened, and cleansed by God. Now, I am no prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet, but might I suggest that it’s high time for God’s people to humble themselves and return to God; that it’s high time to break up the fallow ground, sow seeds of righteousness and truth, and seek the Lord while He may be found? It’s still not too late. Not even for the Baptists.
I don’t like the use of the word “civility”. It’s a corruption of the word’s original meaning.
‘Politeness’ is more apropos, leading the Christian Church to embrace “be nice” as its highest virtue.
I always appreciate your insight, Rabbi B.
Truer words have seldom been spoken.
Came over from another blog. Your words pierce my heart. Thank you.
I had a similar thought the other day about closing all the churches. I’ve read the entire bible, several times. I read it cover to cover continually a little each day. It doesn’t say anything about constructing a fixed building, registering with the Internal Revenue Service, taking government money for services rendered, and waiting for people to come to you.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The days of temple worship are over. Christ destroyed the temple and Jerusalem and sent the new believers into the world to do a job and not to run a business. That’s the problem. Baptist pastors are constantly trying to keep their people from getting riled up or taking a stand because these pastors are businessmen who have a for profit institution to run and must pay down property debt. The people must be in the pew and paying. This debt is slavery says the LORD. This debt must be paid say the Baptist Convention and the IRS.
Of course you can’t even talk to an individual in a baptist church. Their brains are mush from TV. They literally and actually don’t have an original idea in their heads. I remember when I quit watching TV. After a couple of months my imagination began to come back and I had original ideas start creeping into my mind. It was a strange time there for a while. My point is, satan has filled their minds with images and ideas that are not of their own making. They are, factually, brainwashed by evil.
I could go on. I’m disturbed by what I’ve found since my conversion less than 10 years ago. Excellent article sir. Thank You.
James 4 says it best, about friendship with the world. The New
Testament was written in a world where slavery existed and
human sacrifice was practiced at the Circus Maximus. God’s
word is for all men at all times – although in times past you
would be put to death for speaking it.