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[231] Culture Lag

Recently I used this space to make the case for a required course in Christian apologetics (defenses of the faith) in Christian colleges.  Since then I ran this idea past the esteemed Christian philosopher, Nicholas Wolterstorff, perhaps as astute a Christian thinker as anyone in the world.  He concurs with this position, apparently because he—like myself—sees the mind as the battlefield on which current spiritual warfare takes place.

We no longer live in a Christian-friendly culture.  Today’s Western culture is increasingly shaped by secular-progressivism—an organized force aimed at driving religion in general, and Christianity in particular, out of contemporary society.

Hence, sound theology has its place, but it is not the panacea for keeping youth in the kingdom.  Theological divisions typified particularly the first half of the 20th Century, and therefore doctrinal purity became the first priority in educating youth for discipleship.  Those days are gone—permanently.  Today the battle is with secular-progressivism—the notion that provable scientific facts are the only universally acceptable creed.  On the spiritual/philosophical front, secular-progressivism takes the form of postmodernism—the notion that non-material truth is individual in nature.  In other words what is true for me is true only for me.  Not for anyone else.  Therefore, non-material truth does not exist, because “truth” is not universal.  It is customized to the individual.

So much for evangelism.  It is unnecessary because there is no grounded, immutable, spiritual truth to communicate.  It simply does not exist.

It would seem then that courses in apologetics would loom large in importance for Christian educators, the need for such courses being inescapably obvious.  To the extent that they are not so regarded suggests that much of Christian higher education is caught in what sociologists call a “culture lag,” one in which colleges are continuing to focus on matters of past rather than current importance.

Please understand, this is not a call to delete courses in theology from the curriculum.  Indeed doctrinal education remains vital, as it crystallizes one’s Christian beliefs.  The issue is that the secular-progressive, postmodern culture attacks the very validity of any theology.  It attempts to wipe out the acceptance of any spiritual truth before the first doctrine is taught.

We cannot continue to lag behind contemporary culture.  The enemy is well positioned in the 21st Century, and is rapidly gaining ground.  DC

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