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The One Thing Christians Dare Not Abandon

John S. DickersonBy John S. Dickerson

The foundational rupture in the tectonic plates of Western civilization is the breakage along the fault line of truth. The very concept of truth as we have known and inherited it is a Judeo-Christian concept.

Germany became a post-Christian nation after its seminaries and universities rejected the Scriptures as God’s perfect, revealed truth. The United States has become a post-Christian nation after its best seminaries and universities—founded as teaching centers for the Word of God—rejected Scripture as God’s perfect, revealed truth.

As American culture drifts further and further from anything Christian, the pressure to abandon the authority of the Bible will increase proportionately, even within churches and Christian institutions that once elevated God’s Word. Where the old view of Scripture as the Word of God was once tolerated, it will become increasingly offensive, out of style, scoffed at, and scorned.

We must remember that this pressure to abandon Scripture is not only social; it is also supernatural and satanic. Already within mainstream media and large metropolitan cities, it is tolerable to be a “Christian” in a relaxed sense. The dividing line is those Christians who take the Bible seriously. The “fundamentalists” are the dangerous ones—so the thinking goes.

As culture passes the Post-Truth tipping point, we will see some churches and ministries cave under pressure to make less of the Scriptures. Some recently popular teachers have already caved under this pressure. Every few months, we see another prominent Christian thinker, writer, blogger, artist, or leader become so zealous to be “relevant” that their cultural sensitivity first eclipses scriptural authority and then expels scriptural authority entirely.

In our ministries and on our boards, we must bear in mind that many incoming younger Christians who sincerely love Jesus will not have been taught the importance of the infallibility of Scripture or related doctrines that elevate the Word of God as the authority for all we do and believe. Many young Christians have placed their faith in Christ, but they are still thinking from a Post-Truth paradigm that has been deeply indoctrinated into them by the culture

And so, aware that this will be the cultural drift, not only in the broader culture, but also within Christian institutions, we must resolve to remain rooted in the Christian Scriptures as the authority for all we will do and believe. Scripture must be our authority on every issue in the culture, as well as our life-giving guide for every facet of our lifestyles.

We must resolve this on a personal basis. We must teach this in our discipleship and training. We must make this the anchor for our Christian families if we wish to stand strong amid the currents of a post-Christian and Post-Truth culture.

We must resolve to keep the authority of Scripture a top priority, written and elevated in our selection of board members, pastors, and faculty. No amount of charisma, gifting, or proven effectiveness can justify a Christian leader who degrades the Word of God by making it anything less than the sole standard for all we will do and believe.

As a millennial, I know that some of my peers will call me closed-minded or outdated for writing these things. I invite them to do so, and I will take it as a compliment. The historical record is clear. Beyond nations like Germany, we can look to the mainline American denominations that abandoned the doctrine of inerrancy during the early 1900s. Today those denominations are empty, dead shells of their former selves. In addition to their empty parking lots and vacant real estate, most openly praise the moral opposites of God’s best designs.

Whether we feel it in our bones or not, we must always operate with this awareness: any ministry or family that abandons the authority of Scripture (no matter how noble the argument for it) is one generation away from abandoning Christianity entirely.

And so for these reasons, we do here declare with purpose and resolve that in a world where truth is feelings-based, we will remain rooted to the Christian Scriptures and their life-giving direction. No matter the cost, we will elevate the Christian Scriptures as the standard for all we do and believe. We do this because:

  • We love our children, and we want them to experience the life, light, and truth
    found only in the pages of the Bible.
  • We love our Savior, and we would not know his words or his heart apart from the Scriptures.
  • We have seen that the words of God lead to life.
  • Our enemy the devil functions primarily in the realm of
    ideas and deception, scheming from Eden until Revelation 20:10
    to undermine the words of God, the promises of God,
    and the very Living Word of God.

Lest we forget, it was Jesus who said, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” If we lose the doctrine of Scripture, we not only abandon being on Jesus’ side in the great struggle, but we also lose the ability to even know what His side looks like—since His words are recorded in Scripture.

God reminds us repeatedly that the violent conflicts of human history are waged in the battlefield of ideas: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

And again God warns us, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive . . . not lovers of the good . . . conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

In the 1800s, the German universities were the pinnacle of science and intellect. As they rejected God and His Word, they retained a form of godliness, empty of spiritual power. History has proven—time and again—the deadly end for every people who reject the authority of God’s Word.

And so we resolve: In a world where truth is feelings-based, we will remain rooted to the Christian Scriptures and their life-giving direction.

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Taken from Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World by John S. Dickerson. Click here to learn more about this title.

Hope of Nations by John S. DickersonEvery week a terrorist attack, riot, or political scandal makes the headlines—and we feel the world around us shaking again. We struggle to separate truth from biased statements and hope from naïveté. We wonder how we got here and where these uncertain days will take us.

One of the world’s top investigative reporters, John S. Dickerson, addresses this post-truth, post-Christian society in his latest book Hope of Nations.

This book shows us how and why the world is changing, where those changes will lead, and what it looks like to live like Christ in today’s society. With fascinating historical and political background, Dickerson helps us understand the five major forces driving global change in the world today; why violent displays of Islam continue resurfacing; the incoming moral, social, and political impact of American millennials; ten ways to respond biblically to trends shaping the world right now; and how to live with Christian courage and compassion in tumultuous times.

Among the youngest award-winning journalists and a seminary-trained pastor, Dickerson brings his reporting skills, generational perspective, and biblical insights to this groundbreaking book.

Get a larger view of what is happening with your community, your government, and your international neighbors in this thoughtful look at global events in light of your unique Christian calling. Learn more at www.johnsdickerson.com/hopeofnations.

John S. Dickerson is a prize-winning research journalist, a seminary-trained pastor, and a frequent commentator in national news outlets like USA Today. He aggregates cultural trends, sociology, and historical understanding to give biblical insight into world events and Christian living today. John’s first book, The Great Evangelical Recession, has equipped tens of thousands to understand the future of the church in the United States. John serves as the Lead Pastor of Connection Pointe Christian Church in the Indianapolis metro area. Learn more at www.johnsdickerson.com.

Filed under Books, Guest Post, The Bible