Is the Bible suitable for our times?
Can we sensibly follow Christ in the twenty-first century? Does Christ have a voice in today’s marketplace? Isn’t Christianity homophobic? How can a loving God send people to Hell?
Subjects like these can be unnerving and even hideous for some. There is no doubt about it; we are living in a morally challenged world. Maintaining convictions rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition is near impossible—some would argue, unreasonable.
As shocking as it may seem; this is not a new phenomenon. Daniel chapter 3 escorts us back in time to 540 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon was at the pinnacle of his rulership. He commissioned a huge gold statue in his likeness be erected in the city square. Then a herald issued a decree.
You are commanded...when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. (3:5-6 ESV)
Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Israel and taken some of their finest young men and women captive. Among them were three young men who had become leaders in Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego —They were men of conviction. They worshiped the same God we worship. Their worldview was informed by the Ten Commandments, and on that occasion they were commanded to violate the first two.
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God...(Exodus 20:4-6 ESV).
Therefore, they refused to bow down to the idol the king had erected. When confronted about their stance, they answered,
O Nebuchadnezzar...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3:16b-18 ESV).
The former British Prime minister, Tony Blair, said.
I had discovered long ago the first lesson of political courage is to think anew. I had then learned the second, be prepared to lead. I was now studying the third: how to take the calculated risk. I was going to alienate some people, like it or not. The moment you decide, you divide― A Journey: My Political Life.
"Maintaining convictions rooted in the Judeo- Christian tradition is near impossible—some would argue, unreasonable. "
I do not believe in being different for the sake of being different. I am not prepared to die on the altar of trivial cultural nuances. But I am willing to take a stand for principles that are rooted in truth as defined and promoted in the Bible.
C. S. Lewis said, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning your soul, the part that choses, into something a little different than it was before. Taking your life as whole, with all your innumerable decisions, you are slowly turning your soul either into a heavenly creature, or into a hellish creature.”
Here are FIVE questions which will help you determine how to decide your stance in a politically incorrect world: 1. Am I pursuing wisdom or convenience?
2. Have I spent adequate reflective time in prayer? 3. Am I thinking only of my wellbeing or am I considering the wellbeing of others? 4. Have I considered the bigger issue(s) at play? 5. Am I thinking in eternal or temporal terms?
The Catholic theologian, John Cavadini reminds us, “It is in Christ the new Adam we see the fullness of human being and dignity, for he, is the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of His love...in Him human dignity has been elevated to a dignity beyond compare.”
Christian conviction doesn't shut down dialogue; it sheds the light of truth on dialogue.
It elevates dialogue. Stand out—Stand up!