When a new year comes to pass, it is always interesting to watch the year end reviews on evening news to reflect on the events that have taken place. 2017 is no exception. In fact, in this generation, it may be without exception. Aside from the shear number of natural disasters, celebrity deaths, and the raw shakedown of the popular and powerful sexual predators (that otherwise seemed untouchable themselves), the political arena left even the most stoic slack-jawed. The only thing that matched the constant exposure of lies and deceit were the accusations of others lying about the lies and deceit. One was left to question the questions, and even then, at the expense of the questioners.

Since the Civil War, we have probably never see the likes of such polarism in our society as we do today. If one reads books from the 80’s and 90’s concerning American culture, the authors would state that the country spends more time splitting into sides and shouting at one another than they do accomplishing any agendas. Today, people have graduated from bellowing and protesting, to bashing each other’s skulls in order to communicate their minds. Some of the nation’s most admired prognosticators consider the country to be on a knife’s edge, teetering towards where this paragraph began – civil war.

Observant Christians are often taught to look beyond the chaos of the world, and to seek where the hand of God is leading the church – and rightly so. However, the ideas of mankind in leadership positions have frequently been confused with the absolute direction of Christ. When people drift from points in which they should otherwise be anchored, popularity casts their course, and the winds of opinions send them tossing about.

The Roman Catholics of the feudal Europe had more than ample reason for many misunderstandings of Scripture in their day. This was due to the chasm of a language they did not speak and being subject to the worldly men who did. These leaders of the church held this power over the masses and wielded it as hammer force their agendas. Emerging from these dark times were those who risked all that they had to set the people free to follow God as their sovereign leader alone. The formula for such a spiritual revolution was not difficult. The consequences that would rain down from those losing their position of prestige and power would be harsh though. But how would the people be released to seek God according to His terms and no other? It would be done by giving them God’s word in the language they spoke and understood for themselves.

Today there are over one hundred mainstream English language biblical versions that can be had at the turn of a page or a stroke of a keyboard. Moreover, one can access Greek and Hebrew interlinear bibles to see how the original languages align and are translated to their own. Access to the Scriptures has never been greater and as simple as today. Even if one has no internet access, multiple organizations are willing to give away complete bibles, free of charge, whatsoever.

Yet with this ease of access, has come an attitude that exceeds taking something for granted; it is the assumption that what is present, has always been, and will always be there. Bibles are left unread both in the collective assembly and at home. With this mindset in place, church members have passively handed over their minds to some church leaders with no checks and balances for the doctrines (or lack thereof) being espoused. Thus, our culture has come somewhat full-circle to that of the dark ages, with men telling the people what they should or should not believe, neither equipping them to study or think for themselves. Granted, the barrier is not a language limited to a certain vein of clergy, but one of willful ignorance. Ironically, there was much bloodshed during the age of translating and publishing bibles in English. Today, there is no bloodletting – just mentally checking out.

More than ever, Christians need to clearly understand that which they profess to believe in. This apologetic must be ready to answer the difficult questions that stand in direct opposition to the faith, such as abortion, homosexuality, capitol punishment, gender definitives, designer genetics, and even the history of Israel and Palestine. Questions abound with so few in the church answering. Many leaders teach doctrines based solely on popularity and local economics.

This is not a time to engage in screaming arguments. It is not a time to answer questions that are nothing more than goose-chases down rabbit trails. In these tumultuous periods, it is a confident head and spirit that will prevail. And such a mind and spirit will only come from a willing, Spirit-led, diligent disciple of God and His word.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 NAS

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 1:22 NIV

Keep the Faith,

jas