I am always interested in the things that push and stress our culture. Change occurs to a society through conflict. When there is conflict it must be resolved or the society is destroyed. We are facing a great deal of conflict in our current society. The tension is palpable. There is a challenge to all kinds of authority. To be in a position of authority is not the esteemed position it once was. Very few people value the word of those in authority. This is partly due to the fact that there has been an epidemic of authoritative abuses unearthed of late. It is the label of postmodernism to shun those in authority.
Policemen and teachers face challenges to the authority that was once a given in their roles. Even physicians face challenges to their authority in modern day medicine. All of us are arm chair physicians with the internet at our fingertips. Hello WebMD. Patients (especially nurses like me) show up at the doctor’s office with a diagnosis already in mind… and more and more, they are not wrong. The paternal system of medicine is going by the wayside as patients grow more and more resistant to the authority that used to rest on their doctors. Once a society that trusted in its authority figures, we are falling away from that. We disrespect those in positions of authority, skeptical that they can truly be trusted.
But it doesn’t stop there. Our society is full of once faithful believers who are leaving the faith. We call it apostasy. The Bible frequently calls it a falling away. It includes people who once appeared solid in the faith that choose to no longer trust in the God of the universe. Despite evidence to the contrary, they decide the gospel they staked their lives on is unfounded, and the authority they allowed the Bible to have over them is no longer valid. Such changes of heart stymie those of us who hold the truths of scripture dear. But it really shouldn’t.
Scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2 that there will be a falling away prior to the coming of the antichrist (There are a truckload of other scriptures that talk about it, too.) Most Christians are keeping a cautious eye for that guy to show up, but according to scripture this falling away will occur first. So what are we talking about here? As a sociologist, I deal in statistical relevance. In my estimation, this falling away will be fairly significant, or it would not have warranted a mention by Paul to the Thessalonians. We will continue to see it in the media, because along with apostasy there seems to be an accompanying pridefulness. Most will speak louder of their leaving the faith than they ever spoke while following Christ. Pride. It is the tool of satan. Once again, scripture bears itself out right before us.
When people fall away from the truths of the Bible they are then left with “living their own truth”. That phrase always gets a raised eyebrow from me. It causes me to think of the Old Testament scripture that tells the story of what happens when people do what is right in their own minds. (Judges 21) It’s nothing good, by the way.
In the absence of real authority we fail to find a consistency in values and morality. When it is fine for us each to seek our own truth and the rest must accept that, then we must all be fine with abortion, divorce, theft, torture, rape and the holocaust. The elimination of the Jews was Hitler’s own truth. If my own truth is okay, so was his. But no one really believes that… yet it must be accepted if it is okay for us all to decide what is right and wrong on our own with no unmovable, unchanging home base.
Apart from absolute truth, we make our own unstable definitions of love, grace, integrity, and honor. To each his own, and we better not speak out against it or we will be labeled uneducated and unenlightened. Pish posh. I am neither. My truth is His truth. And it has been the same from before the beginning of time. It is not dependent on the whims of society or the selfish desires of my flesh. I can choose to walk in it or not, but while I change, it is the eternal, unmovable, unshakable truth. It is His truth. And it is the only truth.
I believe the current apostasy will begin to affect many of us as we see friends, family members, and those we look to as heroes in the faith joining this falling away. It makes us sad, confused, and heartbroken, but it should not catch us off guard. I don’t have to like the truth, but neither should I deny it. What I can do is stay close, anchor myself to the Word of God, dedicate myself to prayer and worship, and surround myself with those who are doing the same. The old adage is still true. Show me your friends, and I will show you your future. Stay close, my friends.