Continuing this weeks reading of, A Secular Age, I came across a quote in Chapter 13 that specifically illustrates what I believe is a major problem in churches within the US and other Western countries. “Most of us in America believe a few simple propositions that seem so clear and self-evident they scarcely need to be said. Choice is a good thing in life, and the more of it we have, the happier we are. Authority is inherently suspect; nobody should have the right to tell others what to think or how to behave. Sin isn’t personal, it’s social; individual human beings are creatures of the society they live in.” I am not against an individual’s right to choice, as long as it is within God’s will/plan for mankind. Christianity is all about freedom from sin and death through Christ. God does not want mindless robots, but a unique relationship with each one of us.
I believe that the issue is that we have taken freedom in Christ to mean freedom of choice, which can lead to rebellion against God’s established limitations on our lives. I have yet to find a passage in scripture where God commands that I am free to do anything I want. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see God placing limits on how we should act, think, and obey.
Many people even ignore the Ten Commandments, found in Deuteronomy 5:
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
- Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
- Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Throughout my ministry experience, I’ve found that many people no longer believe that sin is a personal issue, and even further that no one has the right to call you out on your sin. This also goes against what scripture teaches, but somehow these propositions have infiltrated Christian doctrine in many denominations. Within the Christian community, we are to bear each other’s burdens and to be accountable to each other. We aren’t to judge one another, but we are to help each other recognize when we are doing wrong. Without recognition, admittance, and repentance, people cannot truly live a holy lifestyle and realize the blessing that comes from this. So, in the end they really aren’t free.
Are others seeing the same alarming trends in their church communities?
 Charles TAYLOR. A SECULAR AGE (Kindle Locations 7629-7631). Kindle Edition.