The overall purpose of Brethren for Biblical Authority is to provide a networking opportunity for like-minded leaders & churches within the Church of the Brethren. The Theological viewpoint for "B4BA" can be seen on the Faith Statement & supporters tab above.

A B4BA goal is to move beyond the distractions & struggles of the denomination and THRIVE, in spite of what's happening in the COB.


This site is independant & not affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, or any district.

Site Editor Contact:

revstiles@atlanticbb.net

What Happened? American's Church & Culture


To understand the current state of society and the church, we really need a massive history lesson.  In this limited format, such a discussion would be impossible.  Therefore, this is not an exhaustive study, but a brief overview to help the average person understand the roots of our current circumstances.

To begin, we need to look back several centuries to an era known as “The Enlightenment.”  In 1784, philosopher, Immanuel  Kant  declared, “The enlightenment is humanity’s coming of age.  It is the emergence from the immaturity that caused human beings to rely on such external authorities as the Bible, the church, and the state to tell them what to think and do.”

In the centuries that followed, other “enlightened” thinkers continued to adopt similar ideologies.  Thus, this worldview had a profound impact on man’s view of nature, education, religion, and government.

The USA was formed in a transitional period, when Christianity was still the predominant worldview.  Hence, we have the references to God in our founding documents.  The thoughts of John Calvin help describe this era.  Calvin saw the state as a divinely appointed instrument for the protection of law and order, the maintenance of morals, and the promotion of true religion, all based on the Word of God.

While many of America’s founders were Christians, there were also some who held a deistic view of the world.  Deism acknowledges a divine creator, but believes that after creating the world, God stepped back and does not intervene in the affairs of the world.  For example, Thomas Jefferson took a razor blade to his Bible and removed all the references to Jesus’s miracles.   Jefferson had adopted the position that miracles were simply not possible.

The roots of today’s “Progressive Theologians” can be traced to colleges and seminaries that adopted Enlightenment philosophy with its anti-supernatural biases.   Over time, the Bible was stripped of its authority by many who were supposed to be teaching it to others.  The 1960’s were a true benchmark decade for Progressive Theology.  Protestant seminaries where releasing a whole new generation of pastors on America.  Many of these new church leaders no longer held a straightforward view of the Bible’s authority.  True biblical Christianity was tainted with the ideas of “enlightened” men.

The results are not hard to see.  1960 was the high water mark for the traditional protestant denominations in America.  Since then, a slow decline has turned into a rapid decline, and churches with lots of empty seats preach a powerless Gospel.

The impact of government cannot be overlooked with regards to societal change.  Political Progressives in the 1900’s began to introduce massive governmental programming to intervene in the social problems of America.  Prior to this, care of the poor was largely a function of the Church and Christian groups like the Salvation Army.

Take note of Biblical teaching.  Jesus never rebuked the Roman government for not having a department of welfare.  From the book of Acts, we can clearly see that caring for widows was an everyday function of the church.  Jesus also taught us that we will always have the poor among us.  We still do, but the church, weakened by high taxation and redistribution of wealth, has lost its ability to perform many of its previous charitable functions.

Regarding confiscatory government actions, the Ten Commandments clearly show a person’s right to private property with the prohibition of stealing.  Also, throughout the Old Testament, private property was the source of equity.  Nothing in the New Testament changes that system.
Some may try to make a case that the early church operated as a communist group.  The sharing described in the early chapters of Acts was necessary then because of the large number of people from outside of Jerusalem with nowhere to go after their salvation on the day of Pentecost.  Communism, as we know it, instead comes from the thinking of Karl Marx, which is ultimately Godless.

Government attempts at helping the poor have been a miserable failure.  Along with the war in Vietnam, America also lost LBJ’s war on poverty.  Instead of helping people up, government intervention has created a breeding ground for stagnation.  All this has left us with a multi-generational dependency class.
   
Don’t mistake me for a hard hearted “capitalist pig.” I spent over a decade working in the human services field.  I have compassion for people and I want to see their problems solved, not perpetuated and enabled.

What’s left of the Christian community in America is often broken down into two types of what author Trevin Wax calls an “Activist Gospel.”  Operating with an activist Gospel comes about when the focus of church activity is placed on a variety of works or causes instead of the Gospel message.

In the Conservative/Evangelical corner, we can find the “culture warriors,” whose focus is taking a stand against a variety of problems like abortion and immorality.  These are the churches that twenty-somethings have rapidly abandon, because they don’t fit the “cookie-cutter.”

In the Progressive corner of the church, again, we find the Social Gospel churches that sound more like liberal political action groups.  Their mantras are justice, equal rights, etc.  These churches are often found in the rapidly dying “mainline” protestant denominations.

In truth, both corners can get rather extreme.  Sound biblical theology that provides clear moral answers is needed, but not at the expense of throwing people’s needs under the bus.  The true Church of Jesus Christ is called to proclaim His Word and “heal the sick.”  So, Biblical Authority & Christian service are actually to be partners, not adversaries.  To borrow a “political” term, the time has come for a “third party,” in the American church.

A church that is all about Jesus, His Word, helping the community (not condemning it) and making disciples is what we need.  So, if you are on board with that, get with those around you who agree and make it happen.

As I conclude this piece, I’m getting a hint of how a doctor must feel when giving a patient bad news.  For the future of the Church, Jesus never changes. So, we could experience a revival if we humble ourselves and prayerfully seek Him.

As for the Nation, a different kind of leadership is needed.  We need leaders who don’t follow the failed policies of the past.  Obviously, this is going to take some time and much prayer.