Title: Psalm 11:3 (NIV)
Even were Western Christianity strong it would find itself struggling against the overwhelming tide of secular opposition. Our mass culture is saturated with messages critical of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular. Our educational institutions are dominated by a shallow scientism that pushes all questions to the materialist domain. Our concepts of morality are increasingly sourced from a kaleidoscope of contemporary ideologies created by aggressive political activists. And perhaps most significantly, anyone claiming Christian belief is held to the ultimate standards of that faith, thus exposing them to the apparently credible charge of hypocrisy.
So, I do credit Nietzsche for his prophetic insight that God had died as a foundational concept for Western Civilization’s morality. I also give credit for his fearful premonitions of what would happen when the full effects of this moral void were felt. One can only shudder when surveying the terrors visited upon Europe in the 20th century.
The nature of those terrors were predicted by another genius of the late 19th century, Fyodor Dostoevsky in his novel The Brothers Karamazov (1880).
“If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”
This idea was put into practice in the 20th century’s total war, genocides and totalitarian terror states. It continues to animate the 21st century Progressive project of Intersectionality, abortion and Marxism.
However, this entire edifice of nihilism is built on the unproven assumption that God is a human creation. The alternative is that God is real and exists utterly independently from human belief. More particularly, that this objectively real God has chosen to reveal His nature and purposes through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, that is, the Christian Bible.
This alternative likely seems nonsense to many in the younger cohort of Americans (i.e., Gen. X, Millennial and Gen. Z). After all, they have been raised in the Progressive dominated mass media, education and political era. Thus their exposure to the idea of God outside of a church is saturated with contempt for a figment of the ignorant or hateful human imagination. For many who were raised in a church the prevailing attitude had little power to oppose godlessness and too often reinforced it.
The question thus arises: Is there a Book of the Bible that can testify afresh to generations permeated by ideologies of the Progressive era? Many candidates come to mind, with one of the four Gospels seeming a natural answer. Although I would never discourage anyone from reading these direct commentaries on the life and purposes of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I also wonder if they only indirectly address the specific intellectual barriers to faith. Anything from the Old Testament seems right out given the impediments raised by time and culture. It must be said that God’s Holy Spirit cannot be denied any means by which to bring broken sinners to faith.
Were I to choose one Book by which to challenge the prevailing contemporary ideologies of disbelief it must be the Romans Epistle. No other Book so explicitly and methodically excavates the layers of human need for the Gospel down to the very foundation. No other book is written to an audience as cosmopolitan and multicultural as were the citizens of Rome. And no other Book addressed a congregation more oppressed by the ideologies of power and prestige as those living in the seat of power for the great Roman Empire.
So, if Western Christianity is going to reestablish its credibility as a source of God’s Good News then a great place to start is in the Romans Epistle.