Wallace Henry on When Culture Takes the Church Captive

The California Legislature wants wayward religious institutions within its jurisdiction to repent of their wicked ways and get in line with the culture.

California culture, of course.

The newly passed (but not yet law) California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 requires ministries, their pastors and counselors, to cease any approaches to sexual identity counseling based on “stigmatizing beliefs” that do not conform to current LGBT views. Such therapies amount to “psychological torture” and “mental health malpractice” in the view of the lawmakers voting for the Resolution (approved on a strict party-line).

A result of Resolution 99 would therefore deny the right of people desiring such counsel to obtain it. Senator Andreas Borgeas, a Fresno Republican, warned that the Resolution is “treading into freedom of speech territory… When an individual seeks therapy or guidance before a religious leader, whether it be a mosque, a temple, or a church, that is a private setting,” he said. “To disallow or create the pathway where we tell individuals they cannot say certain things should give us pause.”

This latest gambit from California is just one more attempt to force religious institutions into cultural conformity. There are many in political power or seeking it who will not be satisfied until churches and other religious bodies are captives of contemporary culture.

Sadly, many churches are playing into the hands of the cultural tyrants.

The mainstream liberal church has yielded to the authority of culture by casting aside faith in biblical revelation and its authority. Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal churches have made themselves vulnerable by allowing style to drive and displace sound theology.

It is important to try to understand and engage with the culture in its language and style within biblical limits. However, when style becomes a new hermeneutic determining theology and doctrine, the church no longer seeks personal and social transformation through the power of the Word and Spirit.

Instead, there is only spiritual humanism. The wonder of transcendence is dethroned by the “high” of immanence. There is enhanced subjectivism in which “I” becomes the determinant of what is true. The idolatry of the self takes over.

Whether it’s the liberal church that has shoved aside biblical teaching and embraced contemporary culture’s view on sexuality and other issues, or the prosperity gospel that even Benny Hinn has now rejected, or the evangelical church that has become so “attractional” that it is little more than a spiritual Starbucks, cultural captivity is stifling the stabilizing authority of the Word, and the transformational power of the Holy Spirit.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Wallace Henry