In 2010 on season 20 of Survivor “Heroes Vs Villains” a player by the name of Russell Hantz came in 3rd place. He argued that he should have won the game because of a number of reasons with the main one being that there is a flaw in the game. Russell complained he lost because of the lack of “America” being able to contribute their popular vote to the game instead of the winner being chosen exclusively by the contestants. In response the host Jeff Probst said that maybe Russell might win a game as he described, but “that’s a different game” (not Survivor).
I use that illustration as a led in to discuss why so many people still go to church, attend some Christian events, identify with the Christian community and may even verbally indicate they are Christians to others (on occasion) all the while practicing or arguing against the “flaw” in Christianity.
One of the catch phrases of modern America is “being on the wrong side of history”. This phrase is often used in debates surrounding homosexuality, gay marriage and other “progressive” practices of historical morality. The point is made by those outside, and some inside, the church that we (the church) need to “mature”, change or progress in lock step with society like other organizations, clubs or religions. But this is in fact where the rub comes as this request is being made of a religion whose founder (God) never changes and is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The argument Russell Hantz was making of Survivor was that if America chose him “fan favorite” because of the way he played the game then it follows he should win because it was “popular”. Jeff Probst was unwavering in his response that his rational didn’t follow the rules of the game. Just because it might have been the popular thing to do he wouldn’t, and in fact couldn’t, do it because then it would “be a different game”.
A very similar challenge is daily being made all across America for the church to fall in line with pop-culture. Society is “progressing” deeper and deeper into practices that are abominations in the law of God. Increasing pressure is being placed on church leaders to “progress” with society and change the standards or rules it practices. Resistance to change is seen as a “flaw” which the un-churched finds with Christians calling them rigid, old fashion and intolerable. And whereas it is not my place to judge society or try and force them to obey God’s law, I can certainly question as to why so many who don’t agree with God’s laws want to still identify with Christianity. On the one hand they point to the sky, attend church or Christian universities while at the same time rejecting the “rules” of Christianity as established by God Himself (i.e. playing the game described in Pt. 1, engaging in sex outside marriage, etc.) and still waning to call it Christianity – but what they voice and practice in fact has little resemblance to Biblical Christianity and is in fact a new religion best defined as humanism which is basically self focused instead of God focused.
I would simply encourage these “progressives” to feel free to start a new club or “religion” in order to play and practice what they want and stop trying to re-define or force their popular agenda on Christianity in order to somehow assuage their own conscience. There is no flaw in the law of God. The only flaw is in thinking that to try and change God’s law will somehow change God’s judgment for disobeying His standards – because that would be a whole different god.
This has been a fairly serious blog post so I thought I would allow the point to be made one more time with a short, lighter note, clip from the Pirates of the Caribbean showing the way some view codes of conduct and rules which is apparently not too far removed from some who call themselves Christians.
“Our lives ought to make evil things ashamed to show their ugly faces. Christians should be, as it were, the incarnate conscience of a community”. – Alexander MacLaren circa 1826-1910