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American culture is on a fast-track decline into confusion, contentiousness, and chaos. We see it every day on what passes for the news. So, what does the world need now?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #112 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

I’ve spoken a lot about the sad, sorry, and potentially threatening state of American culture. I don’t like doing this because I am enough of a patriotic soul that I’d rather just celebrate the amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty. But then again, people who truly care, about others or about their culture and country, should speak truth, offer “watch out” warnings, and as much as possible work to protect and preserve and perpetuate that which they love.

So, I must note that American culture is in moral chaos, which produces political and social polarization, rancor, and increasingly, scattered social unrest.

We don’t agree on anything, not even what constitutes a man or woman.

E pluribus unum? That’s out the window. And maybe worse, we’re perpetually offended and angry, even raging.

Remember Psalm 2, verse 1? “Why do the nations rageand the peoples plot in vain?” 

King David wondered aloud at how foolish, people, indeed entire nations, could be in the face of the reality, presence, and will of the Sovereign Creator God of the Universe.

At the end of that psalm, David said, “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angryand your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Ps. 2:10-12).

Peace and safety are to be found only in Christ.

So today, in our beloved land of the free and home of the brave, we face challenges, seemingly intractable, seemingly unending.

I’ll illustrate only a few. Debt—national and personal—is a siren’s call luring the unaware into a crash upon the rocks. What makes debt especially threatening today is that we, American culture, have lost our fear of it. Politicians certainly do not care about debt. They talk a good game, but even so-called fiscal conservatives have run up the national debt in recent years. For politicians, there is no accountability. Debt is someone else’s future problem, not theirs.

Sexual liberation…well, not liberation, sexual libertinism, dominates our media, entertainment, marketing, sports, and politics. Are we better off for this than, say, we were in the 1990s? “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” seemed cliched at the time, kind of like “Just say No,” but now these aphorisms sound better than the 24-hour-in-your-face self-indulgence we get on social media.

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion, on demand till birth, continues unabated in several states, and – I can’t believe I’m citing this – assisted suicide is being lobbied as a necessary state “service” for which people should have unrestricted access. This is already happening in Canada. Some people, and I agree with them, have been calling this trend a “culture of death,” since the previous leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, called it this in 1995.

The list goes on. Illegal immigration, street-level lawlessness and government officials who celebrate the victimizer rather than the victim, the demise of objective journalism, rejection of Judeo-Christian values, like integrity and honesty, work ethic, individual responsibility and accountability, righteousness as the basis of justice.

So, what do we need to do in the face of this amoral tsunami?

In his new book, Divided Nation, Culture in Chaos & A Conflicted Church, Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham recommends a detailed and a tad longer list:

  1. Contend for the faith Jude 1:3. In other words, speak up, know what you believe and share it with others.
  1. Proclaim the gospel Mark 16:15
  1. Engage in business of King of Kings till he comes Luke 19:14
  1. Equip people with answers 1 Pet 3:15. “Always be prepared to give an answerto everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
  1. Call compromising people back to God’s Word Rev 3:16
  1. Help raise up godly generations to be salt and light Matt 5, Mark 9
  1. Be watchmen to warn people what is happening Ezekiel 33:6
  1. Act with boldness. Acts 28:31. When the Apostle Paul was in Rome of all places, the Scripture says, “He proclaimed the kingdom of Godand taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

So, a culture being torn apart by centrifugal forces, which is to say human choices based on incorrect, even sinful, worldviews and values, what that culture needs most is a mooring, a solid rock, a centering point.

This is what our American Judeo-Christian consensus used to provide, what scholars called a “sacred canopy,” and what had been lost when scholars began to refer to the “naked public square.” It was a moral philosophy, what we believed about God, humanity, right and wrong, and society. Didn’t mean everybody was Christian. It just meant that the society generally acknowledged that Judeo-Christian thought was the source of right understanding about life. This moral consensus allowed us to function as a unified society even as it allowed for diversity of opinion and life choices, i.e., individual liberty. That is what has been lost.

What we need now is not some new religion, some new science or technology, or new self-aggrandizement. 

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

Now, is this all we need?

If you mean what the songwriter meant, love unbothered by right and wrong, then No, this is not the answer. It is a shallow and vain hope.

It’s a lot like this:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin' for today
Aaa haa

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace
Yoo hoo

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharin' all the world
Yoo hoo

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.”

What the world needs now is not utopian imaginings that offer no remedy for the presence of sin and evil. What the world needs now is truth.

What the world needs now is what is has always needed,

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Have you picked up on the divisive nature of public discourse in America in the past few years, and for that matter in the Church—maybe not your church, but certainly in the denominations? There’re reasons for this.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #96 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

We know from Scripture that division and lying are two of Satan’s principle and most powerful tools for destroying the Church and the world.

Interestingly,the word ‘devil,’ comes from the Greek word diabolos, which can be translated as, ‘to divide,’ ‘to separate,’ or more literally, ‘to throw against.’”

I used to agree more often with something the late Pope John Paul II said than I do Pope Francis, but when the current Pope Francis said this, I certainly agreed: Divisions are a handy weapon that the devil uses to destroy the Church from within. He has two weapons, but the main one idivision …Please, fight against division, because it is one of the weapons that the devil uses to destroy the local Church and the universal Church.”

n Scripture, Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies,” John 8:44.

In both the Church and among the citizens of the United States of America, we are today an increasingly divided people. Historic church denominations including Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Reformed are losing thousands of member churches over profound doctrinal or political disagreements about race, gender and LGBTQ+, and other so-called “woke” ideology.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant group in the US, is battling over women pastors as well as experiencing pressure from some quarters regarding race, sexuality, climate change, and woke social justice priorities.

The American Catholic Church is also deeply divided about these issues, along with abortion, which is one reason Pope Francis offered his caveat about division.

Stepping away from the Church, we can think about American citizens, and guess what? We are also divided and dividing.

In “four areas critical to the survival and viability of the U.S. (and any nation) (we) are (deeply divided, deeply in trouble): economic, military, political, and moral-cultural.”

“Economically, the debt-based economy of the United States is now a house of cards.” Meanwhile, neither Republicans nor Democrats and certainly not Progressives are interested in economic policy that curtails debt.

“Militarily, while the United States is engaged in a proxy war with Russia through Ukraine, the unrestricted warfare against the U.S. by China is by far the greater threat.” Meanwhile, current military leadership talk more about woke ideology concerns for perceived white supremacy, promoting Pride, critical race theory training, and seminars on how to use the correct pronouns than they do military preparedness, not to mention continuing to attempt to justify our embarrassing, “hasty and reckless retreat from Afghanistan.” “No wonder there are now record shortfalls in recruiting new cadets to all branches of the military.”

“Politically, the United States is more divided than it has been at any time since the Civil War. The inability to reign in the aforementioned government deficit spending is a clear sign of a morally bankrupt politics. Equally destructive, but more malicious, are the political forces to weaponize our justice system and all the agencies of our federal government (and) deny Americans their First Amendment rights.” This includes colluding with Big Tech social media and “FBI attempts to silence parents pushing back against school boards imposing critical race theory and agendas to normalize homosexuality, gender confusion, and pornography with their children.”

Remember the opening comments about Satan? There are reasons for the division we’re now experiencing.

According to a recent report from Pew Research Center, as of 2020, Christianity was still the most practiced religion. However, it has declined 26% from the early 1990s.”

Let’s go deeper. According to Christian social researcher George Barna, for decades now the most consistent and reliable source of such information, “Seven out of 10 US adults call themselves ‘Christians’ and yet only 6 in 100 (6%) actually have a biblical worldview.

So, what do the rest of Americans believe?

Well, according to research from (Arizona Christian University’s) Cultural Research Center, there are “seven major worldviews that Americans are most influenced by: biblical theism, Eastern mysticism, Marxism, moralistic therapeutic deism, nihilism, postmodernism, and secular humanism.”

Barna said, “Most Americans blend their beliefs to create ‘a customized worldview.’” “In other words, the dominant worldview in America (and really the West) today is syncretism; a little of this and a little of that, blended into a worldview that’s custom-made by each person.

With such a worldview there’s no ultimate authority—‘truth’ is determined by whatever seems right to each person. And sadly, this isn’t unique to just those outside the church. Actually, Christians…hold to a form of syncretism when they blend millions of years and other evolutionary ideas into the book of Genesis. It’s really taking man’s pagan religion of our age that attempts to explain the universe without God (by natural processes) and meshing it with Scripture.”

“Barna (also) pointed to research that found only 2%—two percent—of US parents with children under the age of 13 have a biblical worldview!”

Overall, “while 51% of American adults said they have a ‘biblical worldview,’ only 6% of American adults actually hold this worldview.

Cultural Research Center revealed survey data compiled in January 2020 showed that 2% of Millennials hold a biblical worldview even though 61% identify as Christian.” Barna commented further, “As things stand today, biblical theism is much closer to extinction in America than it is to influencing the soul of the nation…young people, in particular, are largely isolated from biblical thought in our society and are the most aggressive at rejecting biblical principles in our culture.”

What makes all this more amazing and disheartening are the results of an American Bible Society survey conducted by Barna Research found that “in America, 85% of households own a Bible. Most families own more than one Bible, with a household average of 4.3 Bibles.”

So, we have the truth, but well, so what?

If Christianity is precipitously declining in American culture, and among those who consider themselves Christian, including Evangelicals, they do not really hold a biblical worldview, then we are left with an American citizenry that is woefully biblically illiterate.

In a practical everyday sense, Americans do not believe in accountability to God, do not believe in moral truth, and pretty much make up, meaning syncretize, their own religious views, most of which no longer align with Judeo-Christianity.

Americans being biblically illiterate makes us easy prey to woke ideology masquerading as new religion or any other falsehoods. This makes us easy prey to division, discord, and though I dislike saying it, destruction.

If as the Scripture says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17), and the Church is in such a mess in terms of its biblical worldview—and therefore our values—then what do we expect in the nation itself?

If the Church is accommodating to Satan’s lies and dividing, so will America.

Yet the prescription for this illness is a revival of and a recommitment to the transformative power of the Gospel, biblical Christianity, and a biblical worldview that influences culture. Through common grace God restrains sin, evil, misery, and wrath in this fallen world. He will bless not just the Church but the culture.

Personally, if a person acknowledges Christ as Savior and seeks to honor the Lord in life, he or she will be abundantly blessed.

Publicly, if a culture acknowledges God, truth, and morality, as America historically did, the culture’s laws, education, commerce and enterprise, arts will all be blessed, as will the nation’s potential for experiencing a bountiful free society.

Satan knows this. It is why he promotes lies and division, because the more we succumb to chaos, the more his minions and purposes can thwart the will of God in individuals lives and in society.

Christian believers, Christian citizens, should work to express purpose, righteousness, and hope in society. Of course, to do this we need to know whereof we speak. We need to understand biblical theology and a Christian worldview and how to apply them in everyday life. Our work to restore purpose reinforces e pluribus unum.

Not unity at any cost, not unity via accommodation to error, not suppressing truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

Jesus met with publicans and sinners like Zacchaeus and the woman at the well. He loved them, but he told them the truth about their sin and His redemptive living water. 

We must not grow weary in standing for truth.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023  

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Since 2016, I have studiously avoided partisan commentary on social media. I still think this is the way to go because neither political party or their leaders deserve unquestioned loyalty.
 
Still, I’ve made comments about political developments, trying to point to first principles or time-tested ideals or the essentials of a healthy constitutional republic, not the least of which includes the First Amendment. This was especially the case during the pandemic when I watched overweening government and Big Tech, Big Media take steps I never thought I’d see in this country, undermining one fundamental American liberty after another in the name of security, safety, and truth be told, power. It's still happening.
 
I’ve made references from time to time to the Left or leftists or progressives or secular progressives, but even here I’ve tried not to make my comments a screed about “those people,” attempting to acknowledge the plank in my eye or conservatives’ eyes, even as I rail on the speck in the Lefts’ eyes.
 
I’m writing this now, though, to say I no longer find this attempt at neutrality tenable. Or put another way, neutrality is no longer possible, or advisable or wise. The stakes are too high. We are fighting a spiritual battle, one that politics per se cannot fix.
 
The ideological shift, worldview (values) battles, and outright revolutionary rejection propagated by elites in media, politics, business, entertainment, even sports and religion—at warp speed—is turning this country upside down. And I sincerely believe the most basic human rights enshrined in the founding documents of this country and Western Civilization generally are under severe attack. So is Judeo-Christian morality, religion, and certainly the Bible itself.
 
So, I no longer can remain neutral. Lord willing, I intend to speak specifically, to give an answer to everyone who asks, to give the reason for the hope that I have, hopefully with gentleness and respect.
 
Not classical liberals, but the secular progressive left is not simply offering political alternatives. It is promoting lies, and at this I can no longer wink.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Yesterday during his press conference describing strategy to get Americans and allies out of Afghanistan, President Biden said, “And thank God, so far, knock on wood, we’re in a different position.” Interesting juxtaposition of phrases.

Side-stepping partisan politics or a critique of the Afghanistan debacle, let’s focus on the phrases.

Pres Biden uses the superstitious “knock on wood” phrase a lot, including back into his vice presidency. Pres Trump used the phrase as well. But again, the point here is not politics.

When celebrities are complimented on their success they regularly say, “I was lucky.” Really? Are they saying they have no talent, did not work hard, made no good decisions, are subject only to the "fates"? Somehow, unlike the rest of us unlucky woebegones, they lucked out?

Maybe, but more likely this is their way of being modest and avoiding any reference to religion.

What makes Pres Biden’s comment so interesting is his combination—thank God, knock on wood. To cover the bases, acknowledge some sort of supreme being but, just in case, tap into mythology too.

This is American religious culture in a nutshell.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Periodically, I hear someone claim the American Church is experiencing “persecution.” With due respect, I don’t use that term for the US because, frankly, while churches in the US have been harassed by government or other entities, and while perhaps someday genuine persecution will actually come to this country, it’s not now.
 
Meanwhile, persecution of the Church, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or religious minorities is rampant elsewhere in the world. Indeed, restrictions on religious freedom is now a global crisis, in autocratic and religiously dominated regimes and also in democratic countries.
 
Christians should defend and promote religious freedom, the “first freedom,” for all human beings, whatever their religion or no religion at all. It’s part of Love your neighbor as yourself.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

My recent SAT-7 USA blog, What I've Learned From Middle East Believers, listed a few lessons gleaned from eleven years of service, during which I've developed good friendships with believers from more than a dozen countries.
 
The USA is experiencing serious social and political unrest. Some are afraid for the future, not simply or necessarily due to the election of the Biden/Harris team but due to what they consider genuine anti-Christian trends in American culture. This involves suppression of speech online by Big Tech and in workplaces, especially the academy, as well as incursions on freedom of religion across the country. Some of this is rooted in government-instituted responses to COVID-19 in the name of public health, some of it is rooted in emerging and rapidly ascendant new woke or cancel culture.
 
As I say in this piece, "What God’s providence is for the future, I do not know. I do know that Americans can learn from our Middle Eastern and North African Christian friends on how to live out our faith in an unfriendly culture or government, how to be resilient in faith, and how to care for believers here and abroad as God continues to work His perfect will."
 
I salute my Middle Eastern and North African Christain friends. I believe we now need to learn what "Middle Eastern and North African believers have long since learned, the wisdom of 'Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation'" (Psalm 146:3).

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.