The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Has Cave Theology Captured the Church?

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Bible studies thrive in every neighborhood across the United States. Washington, D.C., abounds with prayer breakfasts. The president of the United States goes to church and carries a Bible. The Bible remains the nation’s top seller. Although a number of prominent religious hucksters have left the airwaves, television and radio remain filled with religious programming. There are reports that thirty-five percent of America’s population is evangelical. With all of this, Christians are a growing persecuted majority. They are more often scorned than taken seriously. On the other hand, the homosexual community, which is no more than two percent of the population, is getting its agenda passed into law. What gives? In the simplest terms, today’s Christianity is still a private affair.

In terms of Christian theory, privatization means that the grand, global umbrella of faith has shrunk to the size of a plastic rain hat. Total life norms have become part-time values. In terms of Christian practice, watch your average Christian business person or politician. Are there family prayers at home before leaving for work? The private sphere. Are there Bible studies with colleagues at the office? Still the private sphere.[1]

Of course, this says nothing about the rotten theology that has infected the church. We are in big trouble when a book written by Benny Hinn is a best seller. We are even in bigger trouble when a well known Christian publisher like Thomas Nelson continues to distribute it after it has been shown to be heretical.[2] Christianity is trivialized with a books like What Would Jesus Eat? and The Maker’s Diet. Don’t even get me started on Veggie Tales.

A number of Christians reassessed the validity of social involvement in the light of the political setbacks brought on by the election of Bill Clinton and company in 1992. The dark shadow of the Clintons is still with us. Some wondered if political activism was the right thing ever to do since we have not changed much legally (e.g., abortion and homosexuality), and government schools and colleges are worse than ever. (Such an assessment only reconfirms what American Vision has been teaching for fourteen years: Civil government is only one government among many. Real social change comes from the bottom up, not from the top down.) The call is going out for Christians to return to the prayer closet and forsake social action. Others are battening down the hatches in gleeful expectation of the nearness of the rapture. Christians are being called on to embrace a form of "cave theology" (Judges 6:1-10).

Other Christians believe that once government does something, citizens have to acquiesce. We do not have a king. The President is not "Caesar." Too many Christians make the mistake of focusing on the presidency as if it is the government. Our system of civil government at the federal level is tri-partite. None of the three branches is the civil government. Since Congress is the only legitimate law-making body at the federal level, our efforts for long-term political change reside with it. There is nothing wrong in challenging the opinions and policies of any president. Our Constitution was established for this very purpose. Citizens have the right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances." Congress has the constitutional authority to support or defy the president. Christians are not being un-Christian, disloyal, or un-American when they speak out against policies that come from the White House that are unbiblical and unconstitutional.

Christians need to get out of their caves and into the world. We should be the inovators and inventors. We should be on the cutting edge of technology, medicine, and journalism. Caves are for losers.

Endnotes:

[1] Os Guinness, The Gravedigger File: Papers on the Subversion of the Modern Church (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 79. Also see James Sire, Chris Chrisman Goes to College (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 23, 123-27.
[2] Hank Hanegraff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1993).

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