In an ostensibly Christian nation that has largely abandoned the idea of objective truth, does the Church fare any better than secular society? In many ways, it seems, the answer is an emphatic, “No!” This is especially true when examining opinions about abortion and human sexuality. With New York state’s callous legislative action that now allows infants born alive to be neglected until they die, the contrast between darkness and light within the U.S. population is becoming more stark than any of us have ever seen.
If a nation’s character is determined by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States does not have much to boast about. And neither does the Church in America. Prevailing diversities of opinions about abortion may be the most obvious sign of future events, whether they be good or adverse.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 57% of all American adults favor some sort of legal abortion. Not surprisingly, among church denominations that compromise and distort scripture, there is majority support for abortion in all or most cases. Alternatively, there is more support for the protection of life among those who are faithful to the written word of God. This data is not new or unexpected. But there is a change occurring.
A growing minority (40%) now opposes abortion in any situation. The cause of shifting convictions may be the undeniable evidence that a fetus injected with saline, feels pain and is repulsed by it. Saline injection is a common mode of abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.
Perhaps the shift is because the development of high-definition ultrasound now reveals a fetal heartbeat early in pregnancy. Most likely, it’s a combination of these and other facts. But one thing seems to be clear—it is becoming increasingly difficult for rational minds to deny the scientific fact that life begins at conception.
Regardless of the reason, the deepening division among professing Christians is noteworthy. Is it possible that God is purifying His Church? Might He be separating sheep from goats? Where will this end? When will it be fulfilled? Scripture gives us some answers but not all of them.
For the past hundred years, churches in America have followed one of two general paths. Some have faithfully sought the Christ revealed in the Bible and to the Early Church, while others have chosen to deviate from the truth and followed an image concocted by men that makes Jesus more approachable, easy-going and less than holy. One leads to a personal and profoundly life-changing salvation. The latter leaves dead men and women deceived as well as dead.
Just as the Bible is truth and life to the Christian, it’s an obstacle and death to the Enemy. There are two primary ways that people are deceive and betray others. Satan and his human allies will either claim that the word of God does not say what it clearly says, or they will argue that it does not mean what it clearly means. When the first approach fails, the second often succeeds.
Where the wicked view the Holy Book as a collection of archaic restrictions and regulations, the deceivers use it as a manual of exceptions and indulgences. But the righteous treasure it as pure and precious truth. Distortions of scripture, as with civil law and the U.S. Constitution, are accomplished by exaggerating the margins toward an extreme.
Liberal churches preach love and liberty to the exclusion of righteousness and justice; whereas minor and major cults and all false religions impose tyrannical rules and rigid legal systems at the expense of compassion and mercy. Adherents to these cult practices follow a distorted image of Jesus or a new prophet and are lead away by slow progressive fallacy.
Polycarp was a second-generation Christian, a disciple of the apostle John, and the first Christian martyr. He became the bishop of the church of Smyrna and confronted heresies similar to those we see in the Church today. Polycarp warned his own flock with counsel that echoes through time:
“Let us therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning.”
Throughout the centuries, the Christian Church has ebbed and flowed, rallied and regressed. It has persisted in truth because its message of love and liberty sets hearts on fire and restored broken lives. When the Church has run astray, returning to the reliable written word of God has been the solution. It still is. The Word of God has a name—His name is Jesus the Christ. Wise men and women still follow Him.
by Timothy Buchanan