December 18, 2017

Riding Against the Wind: the struggle to maintain a fundamentalist mindset

Wally Morris

As pastors get older, we tend to develop stress related health problems such as high blood pressure, ulcers, and coronary disease. We also tend to eat too many snacks and drink too much coffee and carbonated drinks. For several years, during the warmer months, I have enjoyed cycling as a way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and limit stress related problems.

In the spring, the wind can be very strong. Riding a bicycle in the wind can be fun and difficult. When I start a ride, I try to ride against the wind since my muscles are fresh and I am not tired yet. The wind can be fierce, and forcing yourself and a bicycle into the wind is not too much fun and the pace is often slow. Then I try to finish my ride home with the wind at my back. With the wind aiding my effort, I can work up a nice speed coming home. That is lots of fun.

With the rapid cultural changes occurring in our country, I sometimes feel as if we are “riding against the wind”. The winds of change are blowing in the areas of homosexuality, polygamy, physician-assisted suicide, marijuana, alcoholic beverages, and gambling. And the wind is blowing against us.

One of the fundamental philosophical tenets of democratic theory is majority rule. Majority Rule basically states that, in a democratic society where all eligible voters have an opportunity to express their vote, the decision of the majority of those voters will be the final and legitimate decision.

For many years, those who supported homosexuality and homosexual marriage were clearly in the minority in America. During that time, those who supported homosexuality worked tirelessly to change society’s attitudes and eventually society’s laws. Once attitudes change, laws inevitably change to reflect those attitudes.

Today, a majority of Americans either support homosexual marriage or will not oppose homosexual marriage. The battle, of course, is not over as many individual states have not endorsed homosexual marriage. Yet those who support homosexuality know that they only need to keep doing what they are doing and wait. Why? Because their strategy is working and time is on their side.

In every survey of attitudes about homosexuality, the beliefs of different age groups are significant, and Christians should be concerned. Those people who are older tend to oppose homosexuality, and those who are younger tend to support homosexuality. Even those who identify themselves as Christians show this age distinction.

As older generations die, they are replaced by the younger. And as older generations die, their beliefs also die, replaced by the beliefs of the younger if those beliefs are not transferred and accepted by the younger. If the beliefs of the younger are the same as the beliefs of the older, then the result is stability. But if those beliefs are radically different, then the result is instability and significant change in the society and the laws. The early chapters of Judges illustrate this principle. As the older generations died who knew the Lord and saw the works of the Lord, newer generations who did not know the Lord and who had not seen His working assumed leadership. And the result was disaster.

But what is happening here is more than generational change because we cannot forget about the human heart. Since the heart is deceptive and unpredictable (Jer. 17:9-10) and since our sin nature will always rebel against God’s Word (Rom 7:14-23), we should not be surprised that people will always choose what gives them more freedom to sin.

Politicians do not like constituents to be angry at them. And refusing to give people what they want will create that anger. Angry constituents tend to vote people out of office. Politicians know that and wish to remain in office. So they generally will accede to the wishes of the majority of their constituents or at least to those who are most vocal in their beliefs. So we should not be surprised that many politicians change their views on social issues.

What may be surprising to some is the extent that conservative Christians are changing their social views. Since those Christians are usually part of a local church and sometimes part of parachurch ministries, then those churches and ministries will change their views as well. The pressure to conform is slowly creating significant changes. The recent flip-flop by World Vision is an example.

Not surprisingly, people get tired of constantly fighting the wind. Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fIL-A, has made subtle changes since the controversy about his comments concerning traditional marriage. His company has quietly reduced its financial support of groups opposed to homosexual marriage. Although I don’t know whether he is a Christian or not, Brandon Eich was forced to leave Mozilla, a company he co-founded, because he gave $1,000 for the support of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in California. Christians who work in companies which give financial support to unbiblical social causes often keep their views to themselves in order to avoid problems.

We can become so tired in serving the Lord that we stop serving the Lord [Gal 6:9; Heb 12:3]. I imagine that believers in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and North Korea are very tired. They probably see very little indication of immediate change in their circumstances. An interesting and serious result of people in these countries coming to know Christ as Savior is that we are also asking them to accept serious hardship and perhaps persecution for their decision. Our bringing the gospel to them is, ironically, also bringing potential suffering to them.

The changing cultural climate in America will expose who loves the Lord, who does not, and who just pretends to. The winds may blow against us, but if our life and work is built on Christ [Matt. 7:25], then we will still be standing when others have collapsed. To ride with the wind is easy and not that challenging. But to ride against the wind brings out what we’re really made of.

Wally Morris is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church, Huntington, IN, and blogs at A Moment of Charity.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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