This article has been on my heart for a long time, and I hope that it is as good as it sounds in my head. For I fear that my time away from daily writing has deeply impacted my ability to clearly convey a point as poignant as this. So what does the term ‘Democratized Faith’ mean?
This is a reference not to a political party (I do not care if you are a republican, a democrat, a tea-partiest, etc.) but rather, a not-so-well-known definition of the word democracy which stems to the ‘principals of social equality and respect to the individual within a community’ as it is defined in my American Heritage Dictionary. The term refers to choices, and here in America, we have too many of those! Of course, choices can be a very good thing. We have the ability in our country to choose things that we like. We can choose the type of car, the brand of car within that type, our computer operating systems, and styles. We can choose the soft drink for lunch, in fact today I had Coke and then Dr. Pepper. So we have many amoral choices, or choices that do not really matter.
The faith part of the title refers to how we live out our Christian lives. Democratized faith is to hold strong to the moral root of our life in Christ even while we have to sojourn in this wicked land. We have so many choices before us, do we have the faith to choose that which is right, not that which feels good. Do we define our orthopraxy by the standard of truth in God’s Word, or by what feels good? Are we babies and children in Christ, or are we adults? Dave Ramsey says, “Adults devise a plan and stick to it; children do what feels good.” I would have to say that looking out over most of American Christianity, there are indeed a lot of children running around and too few parents to guide the way via discipleship (sounds like our youth culture today, but that is a story for another day).
The topic of this article is a call to holiness and repentance. In our age of democratized choices, we also have the choice in many respects to be immoral in this country without incurring the wrath of man (human government). This is where we need to make an observation. In the United States of past generations, this country was referred to as a ‘Christian Nation’. Of course, not all people here were Christian, but the concepts in Christianity tended to rule in the legal system and ethics of the country. But perhaps you have heard that we are now a post-Christian nation. That means that our legal system, social ethics, etc, are not really guided by Christian principles. Many politically charged Christians have a desire to legislate morality, but I submit that you can apply every Biblical principle to this country and you will not have made anybody one step closer to Christ. You see, we are NOT saved by the law, but rather, by grace. Does that mean that we go on sinning? Heaven forbid! We do not go on sinning, but we can not stop the pagan world around us from sinning, for we are bound to a different master than they are (See Ephesians 2).
So let us reconcile this: In our culture, we can do a lot of things that Christ condemns and we will not fall under the judgment of the human authority. Though for the believer, we will fall under the judgment of the Holy Judge, God the Father at the Bema seat. So in effect, as a Christian, we are held to a higher law, a higher morality, one that transcends our culture and is guided by the spirit that is within us. Does that mean that we picket the immorality around us? Not necessarily. You see, though I have in the past read that board members at McDonalds serve the homosexual community, that does not stop me from enjoying McDonald’s food on a limited basis. And is it Coke or Pepsi that fund all of that evil stuff? Well, I don’t know, I can’t remember, and it is honestly not a concern of mine as the world will end when the Father determines, and a pagan will be a pagan no matter what I do, and if we boycott of the immorality around us, we will have to end up secluding ourselves to a little Christian bubble and avoid all contact with that dirty evil stuff outside! Let us not do that, let us serve the community by our standards, being in the world, but not of the world.
Let us preach the Gospel without words for a while. Speaking to the community of non-believers that may be reading this article, I think that you all have ‘heard the words’ of the Gospel by hypocrites. Now, we believers are still sinners, do not get me wrong, but as a believer, I need to hold my morality (not yours) to a higher standard. And when you ask why I will not watch drunken sexual debauchery (like any Will Ferral movie), I will indeed be ready to give an account for the hope that is within me with my words!
So now speaking to those Christians who are reading, please let the holy spirit in and let Him change your life. Let Him guide your morality and choices. Choose to do what is right, and avoid entertaining yourself with the things that Christ has died for. According to Matthew 5, we are the salt and the light of the world. The salt is like the salt found in beef jerky. With it, it makes the shelf life of meat at room temperature almost infinite. That is us; we increase the shelf-life of the culture, holding back the unrestrained evil that is so prevalent in our culture. So a word to those whom would like to legislate morality, are you perfect? According to James, whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles at any one point, he is guilty of all. So do not be quick to make the Christian principles law unless you are willing to give up the sin that is being pumped into your television set every day. Second, we are the light, and that is the light which points out sin (which we will not point out in our actions if we are doing it (See John 3)), but rather, we are to live a holy life in this culture to show the way to Christ through Godly living. Only then will the people around us be interested in what we say.
In our culture, we have choices upon choices. We have choices that are moral, amoral, and immoral. Let us, as professing believers, seek only that which is moral, or non-consequential. Let us run from the immorality that is around us and choose to live pure in an impure culture. Let us preach the Gospel with our actions and let the words be the by-product of our Godly living. Then we might have a church that is as deep as it is wide.