Times have changed since the founding of this country. The founders of this nation were Christians (not Deists). Therefore our nation was presupposed to accept Christianity as it's basic system of worship and the Bible as its moral authority. For that reason preachers were respected and looked upon like a loving father whose desire was to help Americans and who occasionally had to do it with a scorching sermon.
The special relationship between Christianity and our citizenry was a great source of ire to the heathen among the population. Thus, about fifty years ago, using the public education system, the entertainment industry and an intolerant and jealous News Industry they set in motion a massive, but subtle campaign to destroy that special relationship. Movies portrayed Christians, especially preachers, as low-life hypocrites. Education lied and told our children that our founders were actually Deists and that their goal was to found a "multi-cultural society" rather than one that exalted God. The News Industry exposed every flaw in Christianity they could find and offered itself as a replacement as the nation's conscience instead of the Bible. These efforts have been successful beyond our wildest imagination. Here are some of the examples of our nation's new conscience:
Education - Today students are vehement about the "rights" of abstract religious groups yet unconsciously prejudiced against the Bible.
Students think that murdering babies is a defendable "right".
Teenage girls think it is their duty to hop in bed with every guy they go out with.
Entertainment - I saw a movie once, a comedy, about a teenage boy in school who was a werewolf. But he was a good basketball player and a general "all round nice guy" and was loved and accepted by his fellow students. Those same students would have rejected him if he had been an evangelical Christian.
Today there are TV shows geared to young people where sex and immorality are the accepted norm.
News Industry - Thirty years ago if a bank robber was hold up in some building he asked to talk to a preacher. Now he wants to talk to a reporter.
Americans are more afraid of offending homosexuals than God and would prefer a queer neighbor to a Christian because of News Industry propaganda.
People now look to the News Industry for justice rather than God.
The sole reason Bill Clinton escaped judgement was that his crimes and immoral acts didn't offend the News Industry even though they were an affront to our Creator. (Fifty years ago he would have been driven from office by the very News Industry that defended him today.)
Psychics, witches and pagan religions are publicly accepted while biblical Christians are viewed as cultic and a little crazy. (!)
Unfortunately, Christians, either due to stupidity or stubbornness, refuse to recognize THE FACT of this change in the social perception of Christianity. So they go on stubbornly rebuking our citizenry like an authoritative father who doesn't realize his kids know about his secret sins and have therefore ceased to fear or respect him. We think we can force the country back under its old (and proper) moral system by simply pretending nothing has changed. Wrong!
Today, Christians in this country are where Hindus, Moslems, Mormons and homosexuals were fifty years ago. They are viewed as socially undesirable and of no redeeming value. We are now being forced to prove our value. We are going to have to be good rather than self-righteous neighbors. We need to humbly help people around us. We need to be educated on issues of the day and be able to articulate an intellectual opinion rather than simply screaming a "book/chapter/verse" in someone's face. Am I talking about a "social gospel"? Of course not! But due to the position we have been placed in it is simply a fact that no one is going to even listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if they don't respect the one telling it.
Today's Americans view God as an enemy Who will mess up the plans they have for their lives. Therefore we Christians need not only to proclaim the Gospel but to be public relations or "PR" men for God. The lost need to see that our Christianity has not only changed our eternal destination but made us better all-around people. Well come on! Are you going to tell me that getting saved hasn't made you a better person? Then why doesn't it show? Why doesn't your neighbor notice it?
Most Christians see themselves as so much better than the world that they refuse to dirty themselves with it. Please, I am not saying to throw out your dress or living standards as some carnal goats would desire. I am not saying, "We need to be like them to win them." I am saying that we should be as shamelessly Christian as queers are shamelessly queer.
When a stranger has met us and had to spend any amount of time around us they should be positively impressed by our courtesy, intelligence and fairness. They will not ascribe greater value to the Gospel than they see in its messenger. We need to be knowledgeable on world events beyond the propaganda of the liberal News Industry. We need to be able to explain why the world's view is wrong without leaping on to a chair, pointing a finger in their face and screaming, "It's SIN, bless God!" The only person who will be positively impressed with you is you. Which is usually the only person you care about impressing!
Not everyone in the world is deplorably evil. Some are intellectually honest but hold the world's view of Christianity only because it is all they've ever been told or taught. And going out and foaming at the mouth and screaming in their face is only going to reinforce to them that their TV was right. You may go home feeling very righteous having "told'em like it is!" but you will have won the battle at the expense of the war...and their soul.
You should compromise nothing as far as your convictions and beliefs. But if the world doesn't see us as good they will not see our message as good. Our problem is we don't care how the world views us as long as we view ourselves as good. We think that the world isn't there for us to influence for Christ. It's there to compare myself to so others will see how righteous I am.
We need to be clean, neat and separated in our music, dress standards and habits. We should be as good as our word. We should be kind, understanding and helpful. We should leave anyplace we are better than we find it. This isn't modernism or compromise. It is public relations for the name of Jesus Christ. Furthermore we need to live before the lost in such a way that when they have met us and we are gone they will say something good about Jesus Christ. Who knows? Maybe if we learn to treat lost people right we may not be so vicious and ruthless with our brothers and sisters in Christ
It is easy to impress yourself with your own goodness. It is an entirely different matter to impress the lost world with it. Is it that we cannot be good Christians and good citizens at the same time? There is nothing wrong with being nice to people. But it is especially important that we do so when those people have been programmed by their televisions not to expect kindness from us.
I never cease
to be amazed at preachers who bewail "the Lost" and guilt-trip Christians
for not carrying enough about lost people to win them to Christ and then the
same preachers act like those same lost people are all demon-possessed devils.
Although they "deserve" the Gospel they apparently don't "deserve"
a kind word or action. We treat them like they're the enemy rather than
the god who is misleading them. And the world's "Big Three":
education, entertainment and the News Industry are calling attention to our
every failure. Do you know what I'm saying? I'm saying we really
are supposed to live for someone other than ourselves. We are supposed
to live to the glory of Jesus Christ.