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Engaging the Culture in Love and Truth (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2021 6:00 am

Engaging the Culture in Love and Truth (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 15, 2021 6:00 am

Dr. Erwin Lutzer describes how socialism is seeping into our nation through critical race theory, cancel culture, and the suppression of free speech, and he encourages Christians to persevere in defending biblical values while exemplifying God's grace and love. (Part 2 of 2)

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You've taken their homework, their lunch, and even their trombone to them. Kids forget, but don't let them forget their Bible. Thursday, October 7th is Bring Your Bible to School Day across the nation. Encourage your kids to carry their Bible and empower them with Joshua 1-9. Teach them to let God's Word be honored, held, and heard, and never forgotten. Have your voice heard.

Sign up at bringyourbible.org. You and I are called to be faithful, even if the church that we are in isn't everything that it should be, after all, what church is. But still, individually and as families, what we must do is to say that we will not bow to the culture. Dr. Erwin Lutzer was our guest last time on Focus on the Family, and he's back again today to inform us about the turbulent times we're facing as Christians in a secular culture.

Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, in too many cases, we're seeing the church compromise in the culture to become more inclusive, which often means becoming less biblical. You know, we want to be thought of as nice and nonjudgmental, but the fear of offending others can lead us down the wrong path where truth is compromised in some way.

Winston Churchill was credited with saying this, an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. That's what can happen when we fail to stand for truth. We have to let our light shine and stand strong for Christ, no matter the cost, because the gospel is the only hope in this moment. And we're honored to have Dr. Erwin Lutzer on the broadcast to address the very disturbing circumstances in our culture and to help us as Christians to respond in both truth and love.

And I would add hope. And Erwin Lutzer is pastor emeritus of the Moody Church in Chicago. He served there as senior pastor for 36 years.

He's got a syndicated radio program called Running to Win, and he's a well-known author. The book that forms the foundation for our conversation is We Will Not Be Silenced. And of course, we have that here at the ministry.

The details are in the episode notes. Let's go ahead and join the conversation that Jim had with Dr. Lutzer. Dr. Lutzer, it's great to have you back here at Focus on the Family. Great to be with you, Jim, and I thank God for your ministry.

The fact that you have been helping families and talking about issues being a blessing to so many hundreds of thousands of people. You know, some people listening might be skeptical why would Focus on the Family be talking about culture, about certain topics, racism, those kinds of things. But it's becoming so prevalent in the culture that we need to understand the lay of the land. I think as Christians, we need to know what's happening in the culture.

And that's why I'm excited to have you on the program. The family seems under attack in a lot of different ways. I talked to my good friend, Senator James Lankford from Oklahoma, and he just said, Jim, here's my experience.

He's coming out of being a youth pastor and became a senator. And think of that. And I asked him, what is going on with government and family? He said, here's the bottom line. The government needs family to become weaker because when the family is weaker, government out of necessity has to become stronger. Speak to that reality. That is such a profound thought.

It's dead on, right? Because of welfare and taking care of people, the government ends up playing the bigger role of provision and kind of decimating the role of the man, right? And what's important to understand is the more control we give to the government, the less freedoms we have, the more we are submissive to the government. And you're absolutely right that when the family breaks apart, then of course you have government control and government steps in. That is a profound quote.

I want to mention critical race theory because it is so prevalent in our society and there's so much talk about it. Well, let me just say too, for those that aren't paying attention, I mean, this is in the news almost every night through school boards and other things where moms, God bless them, are really standing up at these school board meetings saying, we're not going to allow this in our school district. And it's creating a lot of tension.

And you know, what's encouraging is the fact that you have so many moms who are standing up and there are others who are standing up with dads too, but they're looking for somebody with the courage to finally say what is on their own minds. And then they join and they begin to talk together about these important things. All right now, let me, can I add this just so you can define it for me? Many people who are critics of critical race theory are saying this is a typical ploy of Marxism, of communism.

Connect those dots for me. Is it that old, a strategy and ideology? All right, let's think about Karl Marx. He is dividing people into the oppressed and into the oppressors.

And he's looking at it primarily economically. What happened is there's a man in Chicago by the name of Saul Alinsky, a worker there, a community organizer who was a Marxist who said, you know what? We can take the very same theory and we can apply it to race. I talked to somebody who worked with Alinsky in Chicago and he said that he was not interested in solving problems.

He always said, don't solve problems, use them. And he saw that he could begin to bring conflict to the races without any hope of reconciliation. So let's talk about oppression. The whole idea is that if you are a white skinned, you're an oppressor. And it's so important to realize that many people believe, therefore, that you can be born in the poorest area of America, you can be brought up, but you're still an oppressor if you are white. If you are oppressed, you're black. And even LeBron James, who may be earning millions of dollars a year, he is not a person of privilege because after all, he has a different colored skin.

So here's the point. What you want to do is to divide the races. Of course, we know that ultimately there's only one race. God says that he made all of us of one blood. And that becomes very important for the church.

So let's set that aside for just a moment. But the idea is to set up this conflict where one side blames the other. And of course, imagine what this means to children going to school. Children have hopes and dreams for themselves. And then they are told, you know, the reason you can achieve is because of the fact of the color of your skin. Now you can take a family with four children and if you give them freedom, one of them is going to earn a lot more money than the other three combined if there's freedom.

But critical race theory says the reason that you are successful is because you are a person of privilege. Now I want to make it very clear the intention is not to bring about any kind of reconciliation, but rather to create endless conflict until the oppressed overcome the oppressors. And so the conflict must continue. And you know, you mentioned moms a moment ago.

I remember one mother who, because of her interracial marriage, had a white child and a black child. And they started to argue with one another. Because remember, the whole point is conflict. Now, Christianity has an answer for this. And I have to get to this, Jim, because we're interested in the Church, right? Christianity says the differences between us are not that great.

After all, we are all created equal in God's sight of total equal value. We are equally sinners. We come to the foot of the cross. We receive forgiveness.

And then we ask ourselves, what can we do together to make things better? Now, I was pastor of Moody Church in Chicago for 36 years and on any Sunday morning, we had more than 70 countries of origin represented. And we delighted in that because in the book of Revelation, it says that there are going to be people from every race and color and nation. We're all going to be at the throne.

Let me put it as clearly as I possibly can. Critical race theory keeps tearing apart what Jesus Christ died to bring together. And Christianity says we really don't have a skin problem. We have a sin problem. And once we identify that, there is hope for reconciliation. There's hope for forgiveness. There's hope for working together so that we can rectify what's happening in our communities so that we can represent Christ better.

But we cannot solve the racial problem as long as we are shouting at one another across racial fences. Dr. Lutzer, let me ask the obvious question. And this is out of my own experience. You know, when I was third and fourth grade, we lived in Compton, California. My mom had remarried. They were trying to scratch money together to rent a home in Long Beach. So we lived in that very poor neighborhood.

And so I experienced coming from that kind of elementary school environment. And I want to make sure that people are hearing the heart of this. When we look at the church's role and responsibility, there does need to be humility. There does need to be recognition that it's hard to climb out of poverty.

You've got to be the first in your family to go to college. You've got to have opportunity. And I think it's fair to ask that question. As we have said, like last time, all systems are imperfect because the systems on this earth in this time before Christ returns are imperfect because we are imperfect people. So in that regard, I think it gets down to, you know, how can we in the church have done and in the future do a better job of helping people from poverty into opportunity in a country that, like no other, has provided for a middle class, for families to live comfortably, to get things done that they want to get done, to start businesses, to pay for braces, to pay for college. You know, how does the church play a role in that?

You know, if you come to Chicago, I think you will find many churches that are impacting their neighborhood, perhaps many of them are doing it in different ways. Absolutely equal opportunity should be on the top of our agenda. As a church, whatever influence we can have in government, equal opportunity is absolutely essential to the extent that you can. And as you've already emphasized, because we are sinners, we always fail, but we do the best that we can.

Beyond that, of course, there are many different kind of incentives to help people get out of poverty. And what we must do is to recognize that whatever we can do should be done together. Government cannot do a very good job, by the way, because of various reasons that we could talk about. So the church needs to get beyond its walls, reaching out to the community and ask these important questions. How can we do better in the very issues that you have described? Yeah. Let's hit the issue of propaganda, because that, you know, it seems every night we're having that battle on cable news stations, right?

Left, right and center. There just seems to be a lot of what I think the Bible calls prevarication, a little bit of spin. It's not pure untruth, but it's definitely spin. And how do we recognize propaganda and what is it trying to accomplish in the culture? First of all, we must recognize that the purpose of propaganda is to so shape people's view of reality so that even when faced with a mountain of evidence, they will not change their minds. So what we must do in propaganda and you're absolutely right. The right does it.

The left does it. All politicians do it to some extent or another propaganda. First of all, we must recognize that slogans are used oftentimes to mask evil. For example, when Hitler starved children, he called it putting them on a low calorie diet.

When the Jews were put into the concentration camps, he called it cleansing the land. So what you do, what propagandists do, if I might put it as clearly as I can in a single sentence, they tell you what you want to hear, but they give you what they want you to have. Let's take even the word social justice. Everybody should be involved in social justice and interested in social justice, but it's a term that is defined very differently in different contexts. So we must be very careful how we define the word. Two other words that are misused in our society are words such as equality. So you have marriage equality, you have income equality, which all of us know as socialism.

You have reproductive equality, which is abortion. So good words are used, but behind those words, there is a very specific agenda. So I tell people this, that when it comes to propaganda, look at the label on the package, but then open the package and see what's inside because you will often discover that what is inside is very different than the label. The other thing that is needed for propaganda is fear. You need an enemy.

Somebody always has to be vilified so that you can stir up people's anger. You know, Hitler, of course, made the statement that with the right use of propaganda, you can make heaven appear like hell and hell appear like heaven. And so that's the way propaganda works. So we always must be aware of the fact and ask ourselves what's in the box. But we must recognize that we have something special, that we have rights given to us by God and not just rights given to us by the state. Absolutely transforming.

Yeah. And again, that's another reason to persevere and to try to, I think, recapture these truths, these fundamental principles and freedoms. You know, people might ask, why is it that a pastor who writes a book entitled We Will Not Be Silenced, why a chapter on socialism?

The reason is because of this. Capitalism has allowed Americans to give four hundred billion dollars a year to charity. Now, name any socialist country that can do anything even near that. It can't, because as we like to emphasize, socialism cannot create wealth. It can only distribute it. Right.

If you're going to have the creation of wealth, you need human freedom. Let's get back to the church's response. The bottom line is the church, it's not unique, the circumstances that we're in. I mean, it goes back to the Roman Empire. Jesus was a part of the Roman Empire. He lived during that time. You know, Christianity in many ways dismantled the Roman Empire because of the way the believers behaved.

People wanted to become Christians because it was so good. How do we stand today in this environment and remember those that have gone before us centuries ago and the church is still here? Are we going to make it?

Well, that's an interesting question. Are we going to make it? One of the points I like to make in the book is that ultimately the Church of Jesus Christ is not even built on the American Constitution, though it's a remarkable document. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on Christ. Upon this rock, I will build my church. So in that sense, yes, the church will make it. But to your point about persecution, a woman at Moody Church came to me one time and said, you know, I've been fired from my job because of my integrity.

I was not willing to go along with company policy. And I looked her in the eye, and I hope I didn't appear to be insensitive, because I want to talk about that in a moment, too. But I said, you know, Jesus had something to say about that. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake, for great will be your reward in heaven. Now here's the question, Jim, because we're talking about the church.

A woman fired because of faithfulness. Is the church going to come around and say, we're going to help you through this? You know, one of the things that we're going to have to learn in the midst of a collapsing culture is we can't go it alone. She is going to need money to pay her bills.

She is going to need money and help to continue. So my view of the church is this. We need to think through what church is all about. It isn't just doing the media thing like many churches have.

It is relationships. It is sacrifice one person for another so that we are able to get through these difficulties. The other thing is, and this is to your point directly, we need to rethink the whole business of persecution. The average American Christian thinks this. If the church were all that it should be, we would be able to continue to coast along with our wealth and with our pursuit of riches and sail through life and live the good American dream without any opposition. That has not been the experience of Christians throughout history. And so we're going to have to go back and rethink the whole business of what it means to live for Christ and take the consequences. Wasn't it Bonhoeffer who said, you know, this idea of taking the cross into the world sounds very wonderful until you realize where the cross took Jesus, namely to Golgotha. So we're going to have to think through what faithfulness to Christ means. And people are always asking me, what does that mean? And my answer, Jim, and you may agree or disagree is always this.

It depends on who you are. The mother who is at home there with her children, faithfulness to Christ means one thing. The businessman, faithfulness to Christ for him means something else. It means that he cannot go along with some company policies. Oftentimes the teacher in the school, I had a teacher ask me this. He said, you know, I'm in this school and we have a boy who was born a boy and his name was Bert. Now he comes to school and he wants to be known as Bertha. And then he said, the principal told me that when parents come for their parent teacher meeting, we cannot tell his parents that when he comes to school, he's a girl. That's a line in the sand. He said, I cannot live with that kind of deception. What is my point? When you ask what faithfulness to Jesus Christ means, every person has to answer that question differently, but answer it, we must. Well, I think Dr. Lutzer, this is a good place to land and I want to cover a couple of things really quick. One is those illustrations are happening every day and the church may or may not be aware of it right now, whether it's the florist up in Seattle, the baker just up here in Denver, the teacher that so closely describes what you're talking about, the coach and teacher who drew a line in the sand on gender identity.

And now he's been fired. It is happening and I want to read Romans five because I think the word of God is what is paramount, right? And get your response to this in Romans five, one through five, it says, therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

That's a great setup and here's where it takes us. Verse three says, not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. That's a powerful scripture about what it means to suffer and what the byproduct of suffering is about, but we like comfort and convenience.

Oh, we don't want to suffer. You know, you're reading from Romans chapter five. Here's a promise given by Jesus. Everybody says, let's claim the promises.

Okay, here's a promise. John chapter 16 verse 33. In this world, you shall have tribulation. There's a promise for you to hang on to and one that comes to pass, but be of good cheer.

I have overcome the world. The fact is this. Look through church history. Look at the people who we consider to be heroes. They all suffered, but they suffered well.

Quick illustration. I was in East Germany, which was under communist control for many years, as you well know. A pastor told me that when there was communism, about 15 percent of the Christians were faithful. The rest weren't because the communists said, if you continue to attend church, you are going to be marginalized and your children won't be able to go to school.

Let's look at those 15 percent, though, who still did not bow to communism. Jim, let's look at it from the big picture. Eternity. Who made the right decision? Absolutely. Yeah.

I mean, that's the bottom line. And I think the last question that we really need to cover is your encouragement to the church right now. As things seem to be fraying, we could have a lot of emotional responses to that fearfulness, desperation. We may end up fighting for the wrong things. And I think it's that right question to end on. How do we keep perspective? How do we understand what it is God is calling us to do, which is not unique to this time? But how it's a big question. How do we respond to this culture and stay encouraged? You know, Jim, I disagree with you in this regard.

The church has been here before, but the church did not have social media. Right. And so we're living in a brand new day. And my contention is we have to be willing to speak. We need to speak wisely. We need to speak lovingly. And we need to answer.

Where is the line in the sand? Because there are some things in the culture that we can accept. There are other things that we cannot accept. And parents out there, I want to say to them that the cell phone in your teenager's hand will do more to inform his or her worldview than an hour of church and an hour of Sunday school. My point is that we need to fight this battle on multiple fronts and ask the question, what does faithfulness mean and take the consequences. That's well said. I think it'd be right if I asked you to pray for us as a nation.

Would you do that? Father, today we feel like Jehoshaphat who said, Lord, we don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you. We want to pray for the mothers and the fathers, the teenagers, the couples, to everyone who has been listening today. Lord, we need your wisdom and we do not by nature have courage. So birth in us all that we need for this hour to represent you well, that we might be faithful all the way to the finish line. And we pray, Father, for this culture, especially for our witness that we might be able to tell men and women that there is a savior who invites them to come and says, come on to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden.

And I will give you rest. We love him. We only wish that we loved him more. We pray in his blessed name.

Amen. Well, Dr. Erwin Lutzer has helped us to better understand what's happening in the culture. And I think, Jim, he really helped us to prepare for some difficult times coming up.

It really was. And I hope every listener will get Dr. Lutzer's book. It covers so much more than we could talk about on the broadcast.

This is really an important topic. That title again is We Will Not Be Silenced. And if you believe in this message and can partner with us to bring great content and encouragement to others in the struggle that's ahead of us, please send a gift to focus on the family. Stand with us for gift of any amount. We'll send you a copy of this book as our way of saying thank you for supporting the ministry. Yeah, join the team. Donate as you can, either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift, and request that book, We Will Not Be Silenced.

We've got details for that book in the episode notes. And we'd love to tell you about our online Christian news site. It's called Daily Citizen.

They have such an excellent team. They do a great job of reporting about religious freedom and other events to help inform you about things that we're facing in the culture today. We'll link over to the Daily Citizen in the episode notes. Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 21:30:37 / 2023-08-22 21:40:46 / 10

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