By Dirk Smith, Crosswalk.com
Right now, we are living in an America that is more consumed with and ruled by politics (on both sides) than the Bible — and a Church more obsessed with the dispensational and premillennial “end times” teachings than with the teachings of Jesus making disciples of our true King.
Christians are standing unequivocally with Israel rather than standing unequivocally with Jesus. Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself, but even as an observant Jew, can’t you imagine how Jesus’ heart is breaking for all the innocent families caught in harm’s way? Our hearts should break for the victims of the vicious attack by the terrorist Hamas regime. Why? Because Jesus’ heart would break over that kind of evil. Our hearts should break at all suffering at the hands of evil.
On another front, professed believers are ignoring the ongoing two-year war in Ukraine with many even justifying support of Putin and his evil regime rather than advocating for an innocent people group fighting for their own nation, rights, land, and very lives. Could this be because we are living in an America that is turning a blind eye to sin and promoting the distortion of the Bible’s message in its churches?
Why are Christians getting their faith opinions from the news and ‘evangelical’ culture instead of the Bible?
Why are we so obsessed with politics? Is it because of the continual dopamine spikes we get from the news — hearing the drama, witnessing evils, and reinforcing division among people groups? Because this is exactly what the news is doing. Under the illusion of “keeping America informed,” the constant news cycle is inundating us with tragedy upon violence, villainizing specific people groups to give an audience someone to hate and fear, reinforcing the addiction for more, and desensitizing us to various traumatic events that we would have otherwise missed if we had failed to tune in – on a constant loop, 24/7.
It’s also been widely reported that we choose to watch the channel or network that tends to reinforce our own opinions or biases, drawing us further apart as a people as media outlets move further away from straight news reporting. Most “news” sources today tend to have an editorial slant and audiences who share that viewpoint are drawn to those outlets. Have we come to do the same thing with God’s Word, choosing the Scripture passages that make us feel good about ourselves while ignoring the Bible’s more difficult teachings?
In a similar fashion, churches across the nation are spewing narratives that stray from the Word of God to offer appeal. And so many of these disillusioned churches are esteemed as ‘great!’ This is utterly fascinating — and equally disheartening — to me. As believers, we should never assume that our churches are delivering Truth to us simply because we’ve attended services there for years, we receive messages we like to hear, or we are brainwashed to common statements and phrases that the rest of the American church is also blindly accepting as truth — and justifying by taking Scripture out of context! Truth is found in the Bible. Each and every pastor should be evaluated and upheld to the standard of God’s Word — not the other way around.
But this is how we should determine everything we intake – upholding it all to the Bible to determine its validity from a heavenly perspective. If something doesn’t match up with that standard, why are we allowing it into our hearts and minds at all? Romans 12:2 commands us to oppose conformity to the world, allowing our minds to be renewed, that we might discern the perfect will of God.
We become the things we consume.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8
Part of the reason so many Americans are so easily influenced and swayed when it comes to the Bible is that they do not know the Bible! They do not dwell in the Scriptures, meditating on the Holy Word day and night. Rather, they snag an out-of-context verse here and there for temporary comfort, check off a quick-read devotional, skim passages on their phones, or listen to their pastors share some variation of a self-help sermon on Sunday mornings.
How can we call ourselves Christians — little Christs — when we are so far removed from actually understanding the Bible, led astray by false teachers under the guise of the Christian faith, whether purposefully or by ignorance themselves?
The Bible commands us to write the Word of God on our hearts. We are also instructed to renew our minds to reflect the mind of Christ. If we were as enveloped with the Bible as we are with the news right now, we would carry our physical Bibles with us, we would dwell within the Scriptures constantly, and we would pray unceasingly; the Lord of our lives would actually be Christ Jesus. Our god — and primary influence — would not be a news outlet, the American church culture, or any political party or figure.
Let’s take a good long look at our hearts, our ideals... and our pride.
We are most certainly under the impression that the things we believe are correct. Why else would we hold fast to them? And yet, are we really so prideful to believe that we are always right? After all, Proverbs 26:12 reminds us that there is more hope for a fool than for someone who is wise in their own eyes!
This is why we must continually evaluate our hearts.
Are we sheep led astray, unable to think for ourselves, blindly following narratives we think align with the Scriptures? Or are we sheep who know the Good Shepherd’s voice because we have taken the time to learn His voice from the very foundation of His Word? In the Bible, we learn good correction, authentic love, and the infallible Truth of the Gospel — a message that is countercultural. And yes, even countercultural in a number of ways to today’s American conservative ‘Christian’ values.
Let’s go back to the Word of God and conform our subcultures to that.
“...the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God…” 1 Corinthians 3:19
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo
Dirk Smith is Vice President of EEM (Eastern European Mission), which has been providing Bibles to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 26 languages. They provided 1.9 million Bibles and Bible-based materials free of charge in the region in 2022, including in public schools in Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine. Learn more at www.eem.org.