A Message from Pastor Hale
Many of those who make up the younger generations today know of Christianity, or think they do at least. There is a pre-conception of Jesus and the Bible, but they often do not know Him or His purpose. Raised with superficial or non-existent doctrinal substance (likely in Christian-named institutions), they do not really understand its absolute claims. This leads to worldly assumptions taking root which mischaracterize the whole nature of the revealed truth of Christ, the true God who took on our humanity to save us.
After decades of lousy doctrinal teaching and undue emphasis on emotion, numbers, and worldly success, the result is a barely recognizable caricature of the Christian truth – one that is completely at odds with the Holy Scriptures. The idea of Jesus and His death only brings guilt. Even being in a church building is a traumatic experience for those who once were taught that Christianity is the way to God. Many are already atheistic (literally meaning “against God”) or agnostic at best – assuming we can’t really know God or His will, so they make human assumptions about Christianity.
But the replacements for religion are in place and deeply ingrained. Forms of cultural Marxism, tinged with “holy” political activism, put the focus on the here and now – trying to make the cursed earth into a man-made heavenly utopia, thinking government will fix all our problems. This worldly thinking rules out taking Christianity’s claims seriously, because it assumes there is only the material world – thanks to evolution on Freud’s assumption that guilt itself is bad – denying the spiritual and divine side of mankind.
The fruits of this are everywhere. I was struck by this quote on an internet forum regarding critical race theory being encouraged and taught in schools (even some of our Concordia colleges): “human interactions are much more nuanced than just power differentials and even power differentials are much more diverse and complex than just race.” This shows the error of applying a simplistic intellectual theory to all human ties – it denies the very possibility of love and reconciliation.
If earthly justice (essentially punishment and the re-arranging of the social order) is all there is (which is the theoretical assumption), then there is no place for true love and forgiveness. But this is due to not taking Scripture seriously in the first place.
Many so-called Christians are actually pagans when it comes to their most cherished assumptions about themselves and this world (even if they attend church regularly). They have learned from friends, entertainment, and social media radical enlightenment-tinged theory – rather than God’s truth. One example is the idea of love that has demolished respect for the institution of marriage and the family order. Scripture says we have no love without knowing God’s love in Christ: “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4). We are sinners through and through, unable to love and be holy, even if we can resist the grossest outward manifestations to some extent.
The very idea of sinfulness and man’s corruption has been lost to a generation for self-esteemers and self-lovers – the “self” has replaced God. So the pagan idea of falling in and out of love, as if it were an invisible and unpreventable disease, like Covid, that comes and does whatever it wants to, without our consent, is worshipped. Love in Christianity, though, is a decisive, consistent, fatherly action, commitment and decision, that often means physical suffering and the denial of one’s own will.
So the high morality of Christianity is used against Christians, because they know nothing of the forgiveness offered in Christ. It is used to dismiss the very idea of there being truth. The absolution of the Lord offered in His resurrection from the dead is denied implicitly. Everything is simply power – getting what one wants, pleasing the flesh, and pure worldly success.
These pagan intellectual ideas have become truly religious in nature. They have caused non-Christians to evangelize loudly about the planet and climate – rather than accepting what we have been given (though cursed) in gratitude to our Maker.
People crusade for worldly changes –using laws and government force while families are increasingly disintegrating and children are increasingly at odds with the body God created for them due to wrong intellectual theories. Legal and political force is all there is to the pagan.
Christians are told by Christ to submit to the governing authorities, but not worship them as above the God who instituted them. I seem to hear more talk of the U.S. constitution and Bill of Rights, even among Christians, than divine words of Scripture, as if they were more inspired and inerrant, which is not true. They, like our nation, are products of sinful men that have been edited and re-written, unlike God’s Word which is not taken very seriously. The Bible is assumed to be old and therefore fallible and contradictory, like everything else, without taking its words and claims seriously. It is hard to evangelize someone who already thinks they know the errors of Christianity, and are prejudiced against it. They might even consider themselves Christian in their own minds, though not thinking in doctrinal terms.
There is, of course, a lot of injustice in the world. In fact, evil is quite real – it is much worse than the unbeliever thinks. All children of Adam are sinners and guilty of trespassing God’s holy law. But guilt is not just a tool to manipulate others and achieve earthly change. It is in-built due to God’s law being written on our hearts. This divine guilt magnified by the law is forgiven by Christ. We do not re-make the world in purity with our voting or civil ordinances, rather Christ will remake it and our bodies in righteousness by His own power at the Last Day instantly. Power does not bring hope, peace, and love. Though we have much in the way of material things, the most essential necessities for living under God and with other sinners have been largely forgotten. Man is a spiritual-physical being and the body is not to be worshipped or modified to fit out desires - it is God’s own creation.
Even if we forget the Lord, Christ does not forget us. We may lose the Word – its status and respect in the world does fade at times – but Christ does not leave us. Our Lord who died and rose over all sin does not need to be brought to us by force, He has promised to be with the smallest of groups in grace: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). His Word has the power to forgive. This divine power is greater than any human power. It generates, by the Holy Spirit, love in us to bear with one another, under our Lord and Head, Jesus Christ. His power is not oppressive or evil. God uses His power in love for our good. Amen.