With the growth of liberaliism, socialism (also called “Progressive”) on both sides of the ocean, 1940 saw Europe in the midst of war as Germany, led by the Socialist Party (NAZI) moved toward world domination. It was hoped that war wouldn’t come to our shores but that all changed on December 7, 1941 when Japan launched a stealth attack on Pearl Harbor. America awoke to the news that either they would take a stand and enter the war or give up to be governed by another. Although there were signs and indicators of an impending attack, they didn’t seem to be picked up or if they were, they weren’t taken seriously. After all, America was a great nation and seemed invulnerable. As it turns out, that was its greatest vulnerability. The sleeping giant began to awaken and chose to enter the war.
The dawning of 1940 witnessed another arousing from slumber, the Conservative Intellectual. A number of individuals were concerned at what the universities had become and were producing in terms of worldviews and philosophies. Dewey’s plan to use the universities to administer social change was in full swing and working rather well in shifting the students into collectivism and socialism. Continue reading …
It would be wonderful to be able to report that racial discrimination and segregation were not a problem within the church—that God’s people would never have allowed such obviously (to us) unchristian and patently unfair thinking and practice to hold uncontested sway in their midst, but sadly, they did. It is always easy, and usually unfair, to judge the ignorance of the past by present day enlightenment. It was, it would seem for the most part, a blind spot rather than a consciously malicious way of thinking. We dare not harshly judge those who were of another time, for the reason that we may be, for all we know, judging people who were in many ways, better persons than we are. But we can judge what took place. The ignorant and virulent racism that stains our past was cruel and immoral, a dark seed sown that has reaped the whirlwind, both socially and within the church, doing terrible damage to the wonderful Christian unity that might have been, should have been, but may never be. How tragic—what a waste! Blacks were excluded from the “Christian Only” Bible colleges and Universities which had shamefully turned out to be for “White Christians Only.” The result of this would be that blacks who would be trained for the ministry went to the schools, which would accept and even provide scholarships to them, the liberal institutions which had been utterly abandoned by the Church and which were in the business of destroying the true faith. This gave birth in the 1960s to a new black liberal theology, or as Dr. Jerry Buckner puts it, “The Cult of Black Liberal Theology.” This development has not turned out to be any better for society or the church than the racial segregation of old, since it has become another seemingly insurmountable wall of division among those who should be working in harmony to preach the gospel to a lost world.
And Then Along Came John
Just as many fundamentalists were climbing down into their cultural manholes and pulling the covers over their heads, seeds of radical social change were being sown. In 1933 John Dewey authored the Humanist Manifesto. In it he argued Continue reading …
In the 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the main character, Toula, enumerates the primary expectations of a Greek woman:
… nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life. Marry Greek boys. Make Greek babies, and feed everyone, until the day we die.
Many of us (particularly those who can laugh at themselves) can chuckle along with the characters in what at first may appear to be a bigoted view of the world. The father states:
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are Greek and those who wish they were Greek.
This phenomenon is not limited to the Greek culture but exists in many cultures of first generation immigrants to the United States of America. We would suggest that this is not really designed from evil motives but rather is the result of finding oneself in a foreign culture. It is an attempt to preserve a particular cultural identity or worldview and protect children from abandoning their heritage, adopting beliefs and practices which are considered to be inferior at best and dangerous at worst.
With the dawning of the twentieth century, Continue reading …
And the last part, I might add. Dear reader I hope you are not too weary of looking at our little section of upstate New York. I want to visit it one last time. In previous posts we have looked at the philosophical and theological headwaters of the Culture-Driven church. I now want to go “downstream” a bit and consider the political thought that also contributed to the Twentieth Century church.
I think it’s been established that the Burned-over district was a hotbed of change (and probably some hope as well). “New” was everywhere. New men, new methods, New Thought and new movements dominated the landscape. It is no accident that women’s suffrage (the right to vote), abolition, and the temperance movement spring up in New York at this time. As with any human movement, these were conglomerations of good intentions, justice, and genuine concern. However, they were also the occasions for injustice, manipulation, and the temptations of power. Listen to Lyman Beecher in a letter to his friend Nathaniel Berman (from Whitney Cross’s book):
There is nothing to which the minds of good men, when once passed the bounds of sound discretion, and launched on an ocean of feeling and experiment, may not come . . . nothing so terrible and unmanageable as the fire and whirlwind of human passion, when once kindled by misguided zeal . . . for in every church, there is wood, hay, and stubble which will be sure to take fire on the wrong side.
It should give us all pause how movements built on good intentions can be warped by our own tendencies to “crusade.” As C.S. Lewis warned, what begins as the political aspect of our faith can quickly become Continue reading …