Do we have itching ears?

FROM THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR: Holding a biblical worldview is becoming rare

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“Things once unthinkable are now unquestionable,” writes John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center, in his foreword for Faithfully Different by Natasha Crain. This quote succinctly and sadly states where we find ourselves as we begin 2023.

Things we wouldn’t have imagined would be accepted or championed are now the norm, and even questioning them is off-limits. Holding a biblical worldview is rare, even among Christians. Arizona Christian University’s annual American Worldview Inventory reveals that in 2021 only 21 percent of those attending evangelical Protestant churches held a biblical worldview. This is shocking to me.

We live in an age where God’s truth and his divine revelation—through his Word—are maligned by those who don’t believe and sometimes modified and marginalized by many who claim to follow him.

As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” We have a lot of itching ears even among us Mennonite Brethren.

We’re being inundated with massive doses of powerful daily influence as to what to believe and think. In short, we’re immersed in secularism. Secularism basically says that social justice trumps God’s Word, if you even believe God’s Word exists. It says that right and wrong is determined by popular consensus not through the revealed Word of God.

We can’t escape secularism’s influence. Not only are the majority totally bereft of influence by God’s moral law, the church is being eroded as well. We see movements in the church that are the result of mixing secular ideas with biblical views. As Natasha Crain writes, “The resulting worldview is often more secular than biblical—a hybrid that’s no longer faithful to the Bible.”

For instance, there is significant influence in American churches for inclusion and acceptance of all manner of sin. Social justice is what matters. Let me be clear: I’m all for loving people who are living in bondage, whether that be financial, marital, sexual, addiction or unbelief. Jesus came to earth for the broken (Luke 19:10). The church must be about reaching the lost, loving and helping those who are apart from God.

But I’m not for accepting these things without acknowledging the necessity of becoming new creations in Christ. I find many instances in the Gospels where Jesus confronts the sin in people’s lives as he engages them. He mixes immense love with an immense expectation of repentance and transformation. In too many churches, we stop with love and acceptance and do not engage people with the powerful truth of the gospel and the absolute need for God’s radical renewal. The authority of “self” has become what dictates—rather than the authority of God Almighty.

What does this mean for Mennonite Brethren? Where are we headed? What are we compromising? I’ll write more in the future, but I plead to all Jesus-followers. Let’s follow all of God’s truth not just what we find appealing or comfortable.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It is refreshing to read this article, yet at the same time the reality of it is heart breaking. If we say we love, we must tell others the truth of scripture in love. It used to be much easier to know who the liars and heretics were, they were clearly preaching a different gospel such as the Mormons or Jehovah witnesses. But now, we have truth mixed with error and if we don’t listen and pay attention we can easily be led astray. What is scary is that folks who were rock solid on their teaching when they got started now adding things that are clearly worldly and unbiblical.

  2. I guess, first of all, I need to point out God’s Word is Jesus, not the Bible. Jesus is primary, and as I read the rest of scripture in light of his life and teachings, I haven’t always come out with the same conclusions historical church authorities and creed writers have. Secondly, I don’t think we have lost as much biblical worldview as is supposed. Perhaps we have moved from some traditional church worldviews, but my biblical understanding now is much different than I grew up with, and other people are also giving themselves permission to rethink. We may be reacquiring some biblical views. There are things I thought were biblical as a younger person, and was told were biblical by MB church staff, that turn out to be either nonexistent in the text, poor scholarship, or ambiguous. We all must be as the Bereans and search the scriptures ourselves to determine if “official” views are true. And, often enough to be concerning, they aren’t.

  3. Ryan, thanks for your comments. I would point out these verses:
    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
    And this verse:
    Acts 4:31
    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    This indicates that Scripture is indeed the word of God. The gospel is the Word of God. I have recently spoken with some bible professors about this specifically and they have been in agreement that the bible is the Word of God or God’s Word. Yes, Jesus is the Word that became flesh. 1 John makes it clear: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    But that doesn’t negate the understanding that the bible is God’s Word (message) to us about who He is.

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