Pietism is arguably Satan’s most effective weapon as he seeks in vain to delay his defeat.1 For more than a century he has used this escapist version of Christianity to convince us to stay in our place and confine our beliefs to our homes and churches, while non-Christians decide the direction of our culture. His chief selling point is, “Why should a ‘spiritual’ person be involved in the messy affairs of the world?” In buying into this imagined “wall of separation” between the sacred and the secular, the American church follows the teachings of the Greek philosopher Plato instead of the Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus Christ.
How did we fall for this fairy tale? And why do we keep following its devilish dictates? Do we really think Satan knows best when it comes to establishing our cultural agenda or educating our children? If we do, we are wasting our time in church worshiping a god who is inferior to Satan.
But the triune God of Scripture is in complete control of His creation. He is smarter than His creatures, including Satan. The problem is not that pietists believe the wrong things, but that they don’t think about the consequences of what they believe.
We’ve overbooked our lives with longer workdays, athletic events, field trips, art, music, and swimming lessons and numerous church activities. In the midst of this, we may well hearken back to singer Mac Davis’ advice to “Stop and smell the roses.” Unfortunately, those who have a privatized, personal perspective of Christianity are smelling artificial roses, and the results of their church business are also artificial. Piestists appear to be doing all the right things — active in the church, attending Bible studies, leading their family devotions — yet all the while culture continues to disintegrate.
Our brothers and sisters should be frustrated at this pietistic scenario of “the harder we work, the behinder we get.” But they’ve bought Satan’s lie that heaven is our real home and while we’re on earth we’re simply making the best of a bad situation.
Revelation vs. Speculation
This mixture of half-truths about God’s plan for His creation, and the confusion about what He has called us to do, is fed by radio and TV Bible teachers and best-selling Christian authors who prefer speculation about what might take place to God’s clear revelation of how to live. It’s revelation, not speculation, that will save us and provide perfect directions for living. Radio and TV preachers and best-selling authors ought to carry a disclaimer that “any resemblance of what you hear, see or read and what God actually says is merely coincidental.”
As long as Satan can keep us in the church “busyness” mode, instead of in God’s commanded “holiness” mode, he will continue to have his way. After all, the only way he can appear to win is to get us to play by his rules. Certainly he doesn’t stand a chance when we play by God’s rules. The only way we can fail is if we fail to live by them.
If we continue to elect non-Christians to office and send our children to the ungodly public schools, our generation will fail. If we continue to fear others more than we fear the triune Creator God, we should expect to fail. And we should expect to be laughed at and dismissed as being culturally irrelevant if all we do is deal with the fruit of sin (i.e., abortion, gambling, and pornography ), rather than the root of sin.
Think About It!
The apostle Peter reminds us that we should publicize, not privatize, our faith: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9). He informs us that the will of God is for us to apply Biblical principles to all of our situations and circumstances so we “may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Pet. 2:15). God does not cherish exhausted Christians who spin their spiritual wheels amidst church busyness; He cherishes holiness in all of our actions. On Judgment Day Jesus will not ask us “How busy have you been?”, but “How holy have you been?” We are reminded that “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy”
(1 Pet. 1.13-16 ).
For the past century and a half the American church has been practicing an escapist religion. We have been walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing with sinners, and sitting with mockers (as though Satan, not our Father, knew best). Our delight has been in the law of man and our meditation has been on our hobbies and sports teams. Our lifestyles produce the rotten fruit of cultural irrelevancy and defeatism. Continuing such behavior will result in our destruction.2 It is time to realize “the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk. 1:15),and repent and get about the work of a “holy nation and a people belonging to God” (1 Pet. 2:9).
Christians are the only people on the face of the earth who are able to correctly understand the truth. It is only we who know who we are, where we are going, why we are here, and how to carry out our calling. As we take a step back from our daily hustle and bustle and think about the consequences of the Biblical principles we hold so dear, may our attitude be that of Joseph: “How then could [we continue] to do this great evil and sin against the LORD?” (Gen 39:9) We must repent of our negligence to engage our culture with our beliefs, and practice what we have been called to do by conforming our communities to God’s ways, instead of conforming our ways to those of our communities.
The tactics in the following EXIT acronym can enable us to carry out our calling of bringing about God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven.” Notice there is no mention of a separation of God’s Word from any area of life! We must stop listening to Bible teachers who encourage us to confine our Biblical ethics to ourselves. God’s truths are to be “exited” from inside our homes and churches and taken everywhere we go. By incorporating these principles into our lifestyle we will ensure that the roses we stop to smell along the way are authentic.
Evangelism & discipleship.
Xtend Biblical principles to all areas of life.
Interact with culture by presenting an alternative lifestyle.
Take ground for God’s Kingdom by applying the blessings we receive to all of our situations and circumstances.
1. Since God is completely in charge of His creation, Satan cannot slow down his ultimate defeat. God however, can and has brought down nations because of their un-repented disobedience to His will.
2. Psalm 1.