An online conversation with an acquaintance last week and two headlines I came across this morning brought hazy remembrances of two quotes to mind that I had to go look up:
“If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.” - Commonly attributed to Martin Luther
"Tell me what the world is saying today, and I'll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years." - Francis SchaefferThe conversation I had (that began with a short comment I made on a friend's facebook post) turned into a debate over the merit (or lack thereof) of a proposed updated sex education curriculum for Ontario schools. (If you do some reading on this, you'll find out the updated curriculum could include such things as having kindergartners question their gender.)
The first headline I came across this morning announced an Ontario school board's aim to "eliminate non-inclusive terms - like 'husband and wife' or 'mother and father'."
The second headline announced Canada's supreme court ruling to allow physician-assisted suicide. From the article: "The court has given federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to the ruling; the ban on doctor-assisted suicide stands until then. If the government doesn't write a new law, the court's exemption for physicians will stand."
What do the opinions expressed in the first conversation (in support of the proposed curriculum changes) and these two news headlines share in common? As I washed dishes after lunch and thought about it, I realized the connecting underlying root: each decision or belief represents a questioning or denial of who, and what, our Creator has made us to be.
Although it's true that many in our culture deny the very existence of a Creator and therefore dismiss any discussion of how He has created us to function and why, we still have a crucial responsibility as believers to be able to address these issues and be prepared to answer the questions being asked. Through Scripture, we've been entrusted with truth - how well do we know it? How clearly can we articulate it?
As a mother, my immediate concern is to be able to share this truth with my children as they grow (and then to others around me as I have opportunity). I need to consider: what questions is the world asking, and what truth is it attacking? What might my kids question as they grow and interact with the world around them?
In relation to our personhood, there are questions about gender (does it matter, and why?) and sexuality (why does God place limitations and what is His good and intended purpose?) and the sanctity of human life (whether in the womb or on the deathbed).
I know what I believe Scripture teaches on these topics, but I feel the weight (with a little anxiety) of my inadequacies in being able to communicate well why I believe what I do at times.
The quote above from Francis Shaeffer is, I believe, a wise warning to us all. Perhaps it doesn't precisely apply in that the church is headed towards accepting such clearly anti-biblical thinking - but still, there is a tendency to a slow and steady drift towards worldliness and a secular world view in both our individual lives and the life of the church if we are not watchful.
What do we do? How do we fight? I'm impressed with the need to study, to make good use of the sound teaching and helpful resources so easily available to us today. (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is one ministry that addresses many issues related to gender.)
But above all, may we be faithful in prayerfully turning to the Lord and His word, having our minds renewed as we seek to know Him and the truth He's revealed to us. He is wise, He has the answers, He delights in giving wisdom and ability to those who humbly ask and lean on Him.
This world will continue to surprise or dismay us with news headlines that oppose Who and what we stand for - but instead of being fearful or discouraged, let's see them as opportunities to better know our culture and prayerfully seek to be light in a dark world.