It should not be necessary to rehearse the tale of Chicken Little. I have used it before, and I continue to stand by my conclusions then. Just because people run around worried about “the end of the world” coming, whatever that may mean, it does not mean they are correct. Should we be concerned about how we care for nature? Of course, we should. However, my concern is very different than the concern of the climate change chickens or the humane treatment of animals littles. My concern is and always has been the call of humankind to exercise dominion over God’s creation to the end of his glory. Think about it. To treat animals humanely is to elevate their created status to humanity. But, they are still only animals. Why is it not enough to teach our children to treat animals as godly caretakers? Why should we avoid destroying the earth so it will last longer instead of caring for God’s creation so that he continues to be glorified?
The answer is that sin controls humanity, and human beings continue to bow to the false god of their own desires. What makes this seem like the end may be near is that we are so good at justifying ourselves and imagining that we can be God. The more life crumbles around us, the more we need to hear and believe the truth. We are not God; we are not gods. Any time we attempt to control life and creation as if we are the creator, we pervert the true creation with our hubris and arrogance. If that is all that we can see, then the apocalyptic end is all we can conclude. We fight harder to control, and we die all the faster.
The current method by which a few are attempting to control the world is through what has been called Critical Social Theory and the child it has born called Critical Race Theory. The main issue I have with Critical Theories is that they tend to forget they are only theories and that those in the popular movements pushing them don’t really know what they are. Like other bandwagons, they may look good from the outside because the inside can be argued against. The forward to Voddie Baucham’s book “Fault Lines” presents a brief but solid history of Critical Theory and an explanation of just what Critical Race Theorists say they mean. The Church has erred because they have not recognized that Critical Social Theory is a worldview, and it is in conflict with the Biblical Worldview.
However, Baucham writes with an interest in what has become known as Social Justice. His metaphor of a fault line is to demonstrate that there such a line in the Church that, when the plates shift, there will be a chasm in the Church that the members of the Church may see coming. He writes:
Why are people and groups like Thabiti Anyabwile, Tim Keller, Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, 9Marks, the Gospel Coalition, and Together for the Gospel (T4G) being identified with Critical Social Justice on one side of the fault, and people like John MacArthur, Tom Ascol, Owen Strachan, Douglas Wilson, and the late R.C. Sproul being identified on the other? These are groups and ministries that have embraced CRT, and those are problematic. But there is a larger group that is sympathetic to it because of their desire to fight what they see as a problem of racial injustice.Baucham, Voddie. Fault Lines: the Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe. Salem Books, an Imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2021; pp. 2-3.
There are many reviews of the book online. This is not my purpose. The only point I wish to make is that Baucham does not believe that the issue in America today is ethnicity or politics. His thesis is that the problem we face globally and in the Church is the difference between Social Justice and Biblical Justice. I would not argue his point. Fundamentally speaking, the world has always faced the war between God and man, God’s justice or man’s justice. This has been my “bottom line.”
I do not write today to try to solve the problem between the world and the Bible. I write because I see this more significant problem affecting the Church. The reason is that there has been a change in the Church from the earliest days where Luke says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42, ESV) The first change is the lack of devotion to the Apostle’s Teaching. The sermon in our Churches has become a platform for psychology, good feelings, and being uplifted. What has become lost is that all of these can only be the result of devotion to the Apostle’s Teaching or teaching the whole counsel of God. Emphasis on preaching has become an emphasis on form, delivery, and the ability of the preacher to captivate the ears of those listening. The shame is that such an emphasis does not enhance listening. It deadens it because no one can captivate another all the time, and anytime someone fails to be engaged in what is being said, it isn’t easy to recapture their wandering mind. Furthermore, captivation often leads to tributary thinking, i.e., daydreaming.
Everyone wants to believe that Christ calls the imperfect and the weak to confound the wise and strong. This is a commonly accepted Christian truth, except when it comes to a pastor and especially when it comes to their preaching. For some reason, pastors receive the harshest criticisms from those who have not heard the sermon because they excuse their failure to listen to the pastor’s content or delivery. I have been in the same pew at times, but I know the truth that the content of the Word of God is what captivates and lifts my heart. On the other hand, my ears need to be disciplined and trained, two other functions of the Word.
Likewise, genuine fellowship suffers in the church. The feeling of being ignored is familiar. Even when greeted by others, the sense of true love is vacant. We live in a world where it is easy to smile and ask, “How are you doing?” never listening for an answer, never wanting one either. This has nothing to do with the size of the congregation. The group Luke speaks of began with about 160 and ended the day with 3,160! Fellowship is much more than a greeting, even by passing the peace. When Paul speaks of fellowship, he speaks of partnering in the ministry (Philippians 1:3-5). He shares a love that prays even when the other person is not there. John likens our fellowship to the fellowship we have with the Father through the Son (1 John 1:3).
Then there is the breaking of bread. I believe this refers to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In his Gospel, Luke writes of two discouraged disciples on their way home after the crucifixion. A stranger joins them, and they fellowship along the way. But when the stranger “breaks bread” with them, they suddenly recognize him as Jesus, the one who was crucified. This story demonstrates to us the power of the Eucharist. If the Sacrament reveals to us the presence of the crucified and resurrected savior, why don’t we make it the point to which all worship climbs? “If we take it too often it will loose its specialness.” How can the Eucharist ever lose its specialness? It is the remembrance of Christ, the Lamb of God slain for us. I make it irrelevant in my heart and soul, just as I make Christ irrelevant in my daily life.
The last item is prayer. Sometimes I think the death of prayer occurred when we made prayer a spontaneous activity. We don’t know what to pray because we don’t know how to pray, even though Jesus taught us how to pray. When I was in elementary school, I would walk up the street to my best friend’s house so we could walk together. I was always invited in, and their whole family, along with anyone else there, would hold hands and pray the Lord’s Prayer. His house, by the way, was the only one I knew that had a large picture of Jesus on the wall at the front door. Empty repetition? No. Training in righteousness. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been various disciplines for prayer. No one had to wonder what to pray for because they were raised with praying and prayers. My first experience with this was before I could read or write, but when I was tucked into bed at night, I would say, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”
Why do we struggle with discerning that which is just? Because we do not know what God calls just. Why do we think that God’s love is equally dispensed to all people everywhere? Because we do not know what God calls love. Why do we think we should favor stealing from one person to give it to another who is poorer? Why do we think guns are the greatest evil and should be kept out of the hands of good people? Why do we even consider that someone who has never been a slave and has not been related to a slave for a hundred years or more should receive special treatment from everyone else? What is justice? What is right? What is wrong?
If you are not interested in devoting yourself to Christ, to the Church, and to the ministry of the Gospel, then quit trying to tell me that I am unjust or a racist because I am a white male. My days are running short in this world, and I only care about one thing: Jesus Christ, who was crucified for my sins and who, by his Spirit and with his Word, leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. I will crawl through any valley because I belong to him. And he belongs to me. All who are Christ’s, come, let us crawl together planting the seed of truth along the way.