- Rick LoPresti
The dumbed down church
The church is not isolated nor insulated from society. Although the people of the church should be influencing the people of the world with its superior values and culture, unfortunately sometimes the opposite happens. This is no more true than in the secular government schools. There were two cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court secualrized public education in America. In Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), prayer was basically banned. In Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963), the Bible was basically banned. Although these cases have been vastly misinterpreted, the effect was clear - God was ruled out of the education system. "The Humanist" magazine stated in January 1983, "I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity...utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values...the classroom will become an arena of conflict between...the rotting corpse of Christianity together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism..." That is exactly what is happening now. Martin Luther stated, "I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise noone to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt." This also happening.
The goal of the secular humanists is to convince students that God has no place in American history, our founding fathers were evil men, and America is what is wrong with the world. It is no coincidence that in 1964, the year after the two landmark court rulings, American education began to decline. By 1983, President Ronald Reagan commissioned a study of the state of public education in America called "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform". It showed show quickly America fell educationally. Numerous efforts at "reform" have been going on ever since, but it has actually gotten worse. That is because "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction ( Proverbs 1:7)." A fool is not someone who is intellectually inferior. It is someone who does not fear God. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God (Psalm 14:1)." They are only dealing with the symptoms, and not the cause.
This is not only affecting America educationally. It is affecting the church spiritually, and that is the ultimate goal of the devil. He wants the church to lower the bar just as society has. Some people even think that using your mind is contrary to spirituality. This is a lie. It is true that we cannot find God through the carnal mind of man (Romans 8, 1Corinthians 1-2), but Jesus Himself said that the greatest command in the Bible includes using your mind to serve God (Mark 12:28-30). God also warned His people through the prophet Hosea, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee... (Hosea 4:6)." This is reflected in the way people pray and worship. Have you ever listened to the words you and others pray to God? People don't know how to pray because they don't know the Bible. Christian music used to be artful, distinct, and deeply meaningful. Now it has become homogenized and oversimplified. While styles may change over time, there should be depth and substance in the style, not just a mimicking of the trends of the world. There was even an article recently trying to justify this by saying that the Christian musicians have to make money. so they must follow these trends. Certainly worship and the presence of God and more important than musical talent, but our worship should be more than just saying the same phrase for ten minutes. Have you ever read the book of Psalms? That is an example of beautiful, poetic, deep , meaningful artful worship music.
You cannot know God apart from knowing His word - the Bible. Some people have head knowledge of the Bible, but do not have a relationship with God. Even the devil quoted the Bible when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4:6). The church does not have an IQ test for membership. All who are born again according to John 3:3-5 and Acts 2:38 enter in; but Biblical illiteracy is dangerous. We need to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15)", and also to "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1Peter 3:15)." Jesus said, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say (Luke 6:46)?" How can we do what He said if we don't know what He said? How can we reach others with His saving words unless we know them ourselves? The Bible has everything we need to know to be saved , love God, and do His will. We need be be lifetime students of His book so we can accomplish these things. Move past the superficial fluff that passes in some places for preaching, and dig deep into the glorious revelation God gave us of Himself through the holy scriptures. Time spent studying the Bible is time well spent.