We looked at Roger Wheelock’s article on Propaganda Wars in last week’s posting, as he clearly laid out where we are in our nation today and how we got there. We will continue to look at his answer to the question, “What can we do about it?” this week. He has already answered that question with two points: 1.) Return to Scripture, and 2.) Boldly enter into the battle of ideas.
Here again is Wheelock, finishing with his third point in his answer, “What can we do about it?:
- Confront the “Commandment of Men” that is taking us captive.
It is time in God’s providential history for the people who make up the Body of the church to humbly, but firmly, call our church leadership to account if they are absent in the battle of ideas. We can no longer hide from our responsibility to contend for the faith.[ix]
The False Doctrine of Pietism – The Commandment of Men that must be addressed is “Pietism.” That is the false doctrine which emphasizes personal holiness, devotion, and godliness (which, in and of themselves are desirable characteristics), but preached at the expense of calling Christians to the duty of affecting society for the good. It is a false doctrine because it not only cannot be found in Scripture, but it works contrary to direct commands given throughout the Bible.
There is no closet on earth that God does not call us to enter with His light of truth to chase out the darkness! We are to make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all Christ’s commands.[x] By neglecting or contradicting this teaching, churches in effect promote a lukewarm Christianity that trains us to close our ears and eyes to the issues of the world. So, while our houses are burning, we just don’t pick up the water hose.
When a church preaches “We just teach the Gospel. We don’t discuss politics or cultural issues,” they, in essence, are teaching as doctrine a false principle that says Christians aren’t to mingle with social battles over education, economics, sexuality, law, history, and so on. This implies that “Christians are always to be quiet and submissive to the government” – even if that government has taken possession over these moral issues that Christ commands Christians to go to battle for.
We’re losing the war because we’ve deserted the battleground.
However, Judges 3:1-2 presents the principle that God’s people are always to be warriors in His army. It says that the Lord left nations in the Promised Land “to test Israel by them, to test all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. So that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.”
Without addressing an opposing idea we battle against, we’ll never learn how to do battle; without a critical thought to wrestle with, we’ll never learn to critically think. Therefore, the churches need to lead the way in equipping their congregants to compare and contrast the ideas of the world against God’s principles in the Bible. This is not rocket science.
Pietism teaches that we are holier (more righteous) when we avoid the dirty issues of the world. But the scriptures continuously emphasize that we are to take God’s light and truth into the whole world… to a world that hates God and teach them to “obey all My commands.” How can we escape getting dirty when we are called to wrestle with the enemy in his own territory?
The Effects of Pietism on Church Leadership Today[xi]
Only 37% of church leadership have a biblical worldview today. 62% possess a “hybrid” worldview: a combination of biblical principles, personal life experiences, and peculiar ideas adopted from other religions (Humanism, Eastern ideologies, etc.), cultural mores, and more.
Among pastors, the percentage who possess a biblical worldview is anemic:
Title % with a Biblical Worldview
Senior Pastors 41%
Associate Pastors 28%
Teaching Pastors 13%
Children/Youth Pastors 12%
With this in mind, is there any wonder we’re losing our families to the strange philosophies of the world? With the leadership of most churches disengaged from and disinterested in the culturally moral issues confronting civilization, a huge segment of the church is taught by example to stay out of the affairs of the world. Thus, we are led to believe (on the most part) that the Bible does not address these divisive and dangerous ideas.
Therefore, for those clear-thinking Christians who understand what’s at stake when the church is absent from the battleground of ideas, it is “for a time such as this” that we are to hold our church leadership to account. No pastor is perfect, and the vast majority have the best of intentions. They simply are caught up in the models they were trained to follow. But it is our moral responsibility to bring our concerns and questions before our leaders – in a spirit of meekness and humility – and with a group of likeminded others have them answer a few basic questions, such as:
Where in Scripture are God’s churches or His people called to send our most precious gifts from God – our children – to the godless state to disciple them for the most formative years of their lives? We find dozens of scriptures to the contrary.[xii] Therefore, shouldn’t the church be looking for ways to help Christian parents take their children back from the state education system?
Where in Scripture are God’s churches or His people called to never engage in the moral issues of our culture? Again, we find many to the contrary.[xiii]
Can you name a prophet or apostle in Scripture who wasn’t involved in counseling or criticizing a political figure? If not, then why are most of our pulpits silent? Where else can God’s people go to get the truth if the church is quiet? And if Christians are not being equipped to enter into the world as leaders in politics, law, economics, science, and medicine, how could we not expect to see evil continue to metastasize throughout this world?
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”[xiv] The important point is that we’re all in this together. We can help our pastors if they want to help us. I’ve spoken to dozens of homeschooling families, and everyone sees this issue as the “elephant in the room” that everyone is afraid to speak about, yet that’s exactly what our enemies want. We must not continue to be intimidated into silence. Our children’s future is in the balance.
This concludes Wheeler’s clarion call to the church to sharpen the kingdom edge of the sword of the Word of God it preaches. He has done a remarkable job. Following are his footnotes for the whole article.
[i] Proverbs 23:7 (KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASV, ESV)
[ii] Peter Gray, “Freud, A Life for Our Times” (New York: W.W.Norton, 1998)
[iii] Dr. Benjamin Wiker, author of Ten Books That Screwed Up the World
[iv] The New Republic, Dec. 5, 1928
[v] From a Speech given at the Conference on Education, California, September 11, 1954
[vi] Bertrand Russel, The Impact of Science on Society (1952), Unwin Hyman; New edition (November 1988))
[vii] 2 Cor. 10:4-5
[viii] Matthew 15:1-9 – especially verses 8-9
[ix] Jude 1:3, Ephesians 5:11
[x] Matthew 28:19-20, Hebrews 2:8, Psalm 8:4-6, among others
[xi] Taken from “American Worldview Inventory 2021-22: The Annual Report on the State of Worldview in the United States”
by George Barna | Apr 21, 2022
[xii] Scriptures teaching parent/church responsibility to disciple/teach: Deuteronomy 4:9-10, 6:7, 7:3-4, 11:18-19; Psalm 1:1-2; Ephesians 6:4; Isaiah 54:13; 2 Timothy 3:14-15; Proverbs 1:8-9; Matthew 19:14: Isaiah 28:9-10; Scriptures teaching being separate in marriage, religion, doctrines, philosophies, and lifestyles: Amos 3:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 5:5-7; Isaiah 52:11; 1 Corinthians 6:16-17, 7:17; Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 6:27-28; and many more
[xiii] Matthew 5:13-16; Ezekiel 33:1-9; Mark 12:30-31; to name just a few
[xiv] James 3:1-12.