Raising the Cross

Raising the Cross of Christ over your city - and this nation - has never been more important, and perhaps never been more opposed.

This month’s Cultural Clarity Report juxtaposes the topic of life with the decline of Orthodoxy in the modern church. My hope is that the correlation compels you to action to preach the gospel in its entirety to a lost and dying generation.

The statistics I have to share with you today are ones that show explicitly how critical it is for ministers like you and me to build the hedge around the hearts and minds of believers that will keep them from succumbing to the evils of modern culture.

Exhibit one: the growing acceptance of abortion among mainline Protestants. The Family Research Council found these startling opinions among churchgoing believers in the USA:
  • 16% say they have had or paid for an abortion or encouraged someone else to have an abortion.
  • Only 35% believe the Bible condemns abortion.
  • 7% say the Bible approves abortion.
  • 10% say the Bible indicates the decision about abortion is up to the parents.

One of the foundational concepts of the Bible is that human life is sacred and precious. The idea that churchgoing Christians can find a place for abortion in their worldview is stunning.

 But abortion is not the only social issue upon which the current, sinful culture is exerting its influence on Christians. The Family Research Council also found that:
  • 13% of Christians don’t know if the Bible forbids homosexuality.
  • 18% don’t know if the Bible addresses how to know a person’s gender.
  • 20% don’t know if the Bible allows that transgenderism is morally acceptable.

Further, the 2022 State of Theology gives us even more ominous news:
  • 28% of Christians agree the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality doesn’t apply today.
  • 37% of Christians agree gender identity is a matter of choice.

Sadly, too many pastors also seem to be moving in the wrong direction. The Public Religion Research Institute found among mainline Protestants:
  • 90% of pastors favor pro-LGBT laws.
  • 79% of pastors support gay marriage.
  • 73% of pastors opposed the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

On the hot-button issues of our time, a good many Christians — and Christian leaders! — are being influenced by the culture rather than influencing it themselves. This is destructive to the Church and the culture as well.
  • A Pew Research poll found that the nuclear family structure is now the minority in the USA — for the first time in the nation’s history.
  • At the same time, a Campbell Rinker survey found, 55% of Christians are dissatisfied with the way the country is going.

It is crucial for Christians in the USA — and around the world — to shape the culture by their faith, rather than have their faith shaped by the culture. I encourage you to pray and strategize ways to impress this upon your congregation in the days ahead.

The First Century Church had radical ideas that placed it in constant conflict with the reigning Roman power of the day and paid a high price to retain these beliefs.

It is worth pointing out, to your people, that the faith handed down to them today was forged in fire … and remind them how tragic it would be to see this beautiful and resilient faith coopted and made powerless by surrendering to a culture that opposes it.

I trust this good word inspires you. Let me also encourage you by reminding you how grateful I am, in these challenging times, to have you as part of City Harvest Network, contending for the faith and shining the light of Christ in our darkened culture.

My prayer is that the research and analysis I present here will inform your seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction so that you will be the most effective minister and teacher you can be for your mission field.

Please also visit the City Harvest Network website regularly for more information and encouragement as well as upcoming ministry opportunities.

Thank you again for being my partner! God bless you!

Dr. Rod Parsley