The underlying fabric of our great country has experienced dramatic change over the past 40 or so years.
The towns and cities that were pioneered often were denoted by their numerous church spires. Today, our housing estates are characterised by shopping centres and recreational venues. Once Saturdays or Sundays usually consisted of church time followed by family lunches; today we’re legislating seven day trading. As a boy I heard about “the theory of evolution”; in the classroom today it is taught as fact. Public meetings used to give credence to God; today we instead pay tribute to indigenous culture and tradition – often spoken in their unfamiliar language. I remember the taboo subject of homosexuality regarded among my peers some 40 years ago as absolutely abhorrent; today we celebrate gay mardi-gras parades as expressions of a healthy and dynamic culture.
We listen to politicians and ethicists discuss abortion and euthanasia as if it were a fundamental right, and we decry churchmen who might dare suggest otherwise.
Once Christian family values were accepted as the underlying foundation to our constitution and Western democratic values and freedoms. Today, our youth have never heard the stories of Noah, Moses or Jesus. The Bible as literature, history, religion or culture doesn’t belong anymore to our school curricula. Our various media today, however, are more likely to feature Buddhist or indigenous values than the Christian heritage that has shaped the emergent face of Western civilisation.
“We are now a secular nation,” a prominent politician echoed earlier this year. And we indeed are, or so it seems. The question that should bother us is, why has all this change been so apparently successful?
Is anyone to blame that millions of infants each year, for example, are killed before they can gasp their first breath of fresh air? Perhaps some of the fault for this onslaught of change may rest on the social upheaval and catalyst that came out of World War II. The world could never be the same again. Perhaps our media, responsible for occupying our evening television viewing with violence and “rated” immorality might share some of the blame for rising crime rates. Perhaps the advances of science and technology, often touted as the panacea for all our problems, has become a defacto god of sorts?
No, the blame doesn’t rest with the politicians, ethicists, media moguls, abortion specialists, scientists or our legislators. The blame rests on our churchmen – pastors and preachers who by large have become complicit by their silence. This is my holy discontent.
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet and show my people their sins,” God urged a prophet to proclaim to an ancient people not unlike ourselves.
Where are the pastors and preachers and leaders that might hold righteous sway in our great country? Are there any brave men and women left who might shape our moral conscience for the better by giving voice to a Godly perspective? Are there only a few leaders who speak just the truth (and not spin, alias lies) nowadays?
We shouldn’t be surprised. Didn’t a wise man once say that there’s nothing new under the sun? Take for example, an excerpt from a letter written by a senior pastor to a young minister some 2000 years ago – it could almost be speaking of our day:
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
“We evolved,” say our teachers.
Isaiah repeated God’s words:
O my people, your guides lead you astray; (Isaiah 3:12)
Our church leaders have failed us, and they have failed our nation. In their silence, they have not fearlessly spoken truth. Instead, they have acquiesced to the falsehood that the “ten commandments have been done away with”.
What will the next 40 years bring? A golden age of secularism, previously attempted by Hitler and Stalin and other despots? We have the freedom to choose.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land… This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land… (Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NIV)
We would do well to listen to the urgent voices of history.
Is this your holy discontent, too?
By John Klassek