Fall 1997

Volume 16, Issue 3

Pushing Back Against the Age

by Dr. Luder G. Whitlock

When I was a boy we never locked the doors to our house or car. Nor did that seem unusual - most other people did the same. That is not to say I lived in a golden era when people were good and never did evil deeds. That would be naive. But life was stable and predictable. The boundaries were fairly well defined.

How quickly things have changed! A teenager at a high school prom ducks into a bathroom to have her baby and then disposes of it "in the trash." A husband hacks his wife to pieces, stores the parts in the refrigerator, then commits suicide. Disney, the wholesome family entertainment company, hosts Gay Days, and some denominations decide to ordain gays.

Jeremiads of this sort are a familiar litany in American history, but this time it is different because we have lost the historic center that provided a much-needed moral stability and cultural equilibrium. Once secular authorities abandoned "the laws of nature and nature's God" and church authorities abandoned the authority of Scripture, morality began to unravel, accelerating quickly in the face of no resistance. As a consequence, we are dealing with problems we never would have anticipated a few years ago.

Enamored with technological progress and lulled by economic prosperity, we seem to have given substance to Cotton Mather's observation, "Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother" It remains to be seen whether vast numbers of North American Christians can muster sufficient resistance to the pressures of secularization in order to reconstruct a godliness that will enable them to persevere in daily conduct, rather than crumble into bland submission.

Flannery O'Conner insisted that we should "push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you." Good advice. Too seldom followed. On the other hand, we have often failed to develop appropriate ethical applications for rapid technological innovation, as in the case of the potential of cloning for humans.

Who will push back against the Spirit of the age? Who will do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)? Who will resist conformity to the pattern of this world, offering themselves as living sacrifices to the Lord (Romans 12:1,2)? RTS was founded to call people to obedience, to love God, and to walk humbly in His way. As the Lord blesses the ministry of our alumni all over the world, bringing people to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, their lives will reflect His pattern of goodness and order Where their number multiply it will not be necessary to hide behind locked doors and barred windows. So let us pray that the Lord's kingdom may come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


Reformed Quarterly, Volume 16, Issue 3
Reformed Theological Seminary
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Last updated 8-6-99.