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Traits Of The Present Era

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Title: Traits Of The Present Era


1
Traits Of The Present Era
2
Introduction
  • The Christian now has to live in a society which
    is very different from the society of Bible
    times.
  • But human nature is, as ever, fallen and lost.
  • We will look briefly at some of the
    classifications of present day life and how they
    affect the Christian.

3
Post Christian
  • Western nations are said to be in a Post
    Christian era, but what does this mean?    
  • Perhaps the  term "Post Christian" says most
    about the attitude of those who use it.    
  • But perhaps it is a fair description of the state
    of the church in our nations.  
  • To understand what I mean by this let us look at
    some "isms" which have influenced the times we
    live in.

4
Post Christian
  • Materialism Living for the physical world,
    shopping around, (including shopping around for a
    church or style of worship)
  • Hedonism The pursuit of pleasure, happiness and
    comfort
  • Secularism Religion is a private, leisure
    interest
  • These three may, more or less, have rubbed off on
    Christians.

5
Post Christian
  • Our world-view 500 years ago there was no
    dispute - Truth was from God
  • Rationalism (The Enlightenment) Truth is
    discovered by man by the use of the mind - Only
    the scientifically provable is true
  • Romanticism Truth is discovered by man through
    the heart, intuitively, by feelings
  • Relativism Truth is discovered by man by the use
    of the will, choice, preference.   

6
Post Christian
  • There is no absolute truth or error - only shades
    of grey.   
  • What is true for you is not true for me, but we
    can "dialogue" while respecting each other's
    beliefs.   
  • This carried over into morality and behavior 
    right and wrong.
  • Anybody claiming to have "truth" is regarded as a
    extremist

7
Post Christian
  • And in religion
  • Pluralism We live in a multi-cultural, 
    multi-faith society (fact)
  • This has been extended from a fact into a virtue
    or an imperative.
  • All religions are equally valid
  • The most desirable qualities are Tact and
    Tolerance   -  Political Correctness is built on
    these,  but neither is Biblical.

8
Post Christian
  • Syncretism The coming together of all religions
    for a common purpose. Not for God, but for man to
    achieve the common benefit for mankind (or the
    earth - the environment)
  • We must talk of "the faith community" so we must
    work together to spread "faith" (not our faith)

9
Post Christian
  • Humanism  Humanism encompasses atheists and
    agnostics, but prefers not to be defined by
    negative beliefs but by the belief that people
    can build a society in which the human being,
    with his needs, is central.  
  • Secular humanism emphasizes reason , individual
    freedom, tolerance, and the rejection of
    supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. 

10
Democracy
  • We are led to assume that Democracy is an
    essential product of our "Christian" Western
    civilization.   Why should this be true?
  • In practice it seems that democracy is better
    than the available alternatives but it actually
    means government by appeal to the preferences of
    the majority.  
  • We see the results in the decay of moral
    standards in the West as legislation follows the
    desires of the vocal forces of immorality and
    greed.  
  • The golden rule for the government of the Lord
    Jesus Christ will not be a democracy but
    Theocracy the reign of a just and righteous
    king God.

11
Tolerance
  • Tolerance is a very positive word but is it
    commendable or desirable?
  • We should not be critical but should be
    accepting, multi-cultural and multi-faith we are
    told.
  • The Bible does indeed teach that we should love
    others and the Lord Jesus Christ is the best
    possible example in his compassion for us lost
    sinners.
  • But the Lord Jesus Christ did not accept sin,
    rebellion, and error and call it good. 

12
Tolerance
  • Christianity and Judaism teach us that there is
    only one God and that He will not accept us
    giving allegiance to another.
  • The Bible sets out the moral code by which we
    should live and allows for no do-it-yourself
    moral codes.
  • The Christian should follow the example of the
    Lord Jesus Christ and be more than just tolerant
    of the individual but should not be tolerant of
    sin and error.

13
Relative Morality
  • Relative Morality is a characteristic of our
    society today.  
  • It is old fashioned to accept a higher authority
    laying down absolute standards.  
  • Man has always justified himself by making
    comparisons with those worse than himself.   
  • He does not compare himself with Gods
    standard.   
  • "There is a way that seems right to a man, But
    its end is the way of death"   (Proverbs 1412)

14
Relative Morality
  • We should not be expecting to be nice and
    tolerant to everybody and have them like us not
    if we wish to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  
  • St. Paul mentioned in Hebrew 13 11-14,  "For the
    bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought
    into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin,
    are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus
    also, that He might sanctify the people with His
    own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore
    let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing
    His reproach. For here we have no continuing
    city, but we seek the one to come.

15
Political Correctness
  • Political Correctness has become a humanistic
    constraint which forbids the holding of absolute
    values, which some people find challenging to
    their chosen lifestyle.  
  • Political Correctness may (arguably) have been
    commendable in overcoming racial intolerance but
    it has been taken over.    
  • Do not be seduced into assuming that it is a
    "Christian" value.

16
Post Modernism
  • Post Modernism is a term used to categorize of
    the way society functions in the period after the
    "Modern" Art and Architecture period.
  • This is what we live in today you may recognize
    it.
  • Post modern life is Fragmented, Frivolous,
    Consumer driven, Fun, Throw-away, and Now
    (instant gratification).   
  • The best illustration of this is an advertisement
    break on TV.  

17
Post Modernism
  • Enormous technical expertise is put into the
    generation of glossy entertainment, which is a
    substitute for life in the real world.  
  • Even News and Current Affairs programmers now use
    the same techniques.  
  • By inference, Post Modern life is selfish and has
    no room for commitment, long term objectives,
    facing unpleasant realities and the pursuit of
    things that will be costly but that will last.  

18
Post Modernism
  • In contrast, the Lord Jesus Christ said in
    Matthew 6 19-21 do not lay up for yourselves
    treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy
    and where thieves break in and steal but lay up
    for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
    moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not
    break in and steal. For where your treasure is,
    there your heart will be also"

19
The New Age
  • New Age ideas flow smoothly from relative
    morality and draw together an eclectic mixture of
    old pagan beliefs from all around the world, with
    a modern pseudo-scientific spin.  
  • There is a spectrum of belief and practice from
    watered down Christianity right through the
    occult to Wicca, Witchcraft, and Satanism.  

20
The New Age
  • An Internet search on "wicca"  will find sites
    ranging from traditional herbal remedies and FAQ
    pages explaining how Wicca is a benign belief
    system in tune with the Earth, practiced by all
    sorts of ordinary people - through to sinister
    witchcraft and black magic sites.
  • Witchcraft is the darker end of the whole "green"
    eco-friendly modern awareness of the earth
    movement, as well as the feminist movement. 
    (Much occult belief is about feminine deities)

21
The New Age
  • The New Age ?  Mother Earth ? Earth Spirits  ? 
    Paganism  ?  Magic.
  • There shall not be found among you anyone who
    makes his son or his daughter pass through the
    fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a
    soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a
    sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a
    medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the
    dead. For all who do these things are an
    abomination to the Lord, and because of these
    abominations the Lord your God drives them out
    from before you (Deuteronomy 1810-12).

22
The New Age
  • As the prophecy of Zechariah draws to its climax
    we read, in (Zech 132-6)   "It shall be in that
    day, says the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off
    the names of the idols from the land, and they
    shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause
    the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart
    from the land. It shall come to pass that if
    anyone still prophesies, then his father and
    mother who begot him will say to him, You shall
    not live, because you have spoken lies in the
    name of the Lord.' And his father and mother who
    begot him shall thrust him through when he
    prophesies. And it shall be in that day that
    every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when
    he prophesies they will not wear a robe of
    coarse hair to deceive. But he will say, I am no
    prophet, I am a farmer for a man taught me to
    keep cattle from my youth. And one will say to
    him, What are these wounds between your arms?'
    Then he will answer, Those with which I was
    wounded in the house of my friends.  

23
The New Age
  • This refers to the prophets / ministers of pagan
    cults and their practices (self inflicted wounds
    of idol worshippers Deut 141 - 1 Kings 1828),
    and how those involved will finally be dealt
    with. 
  • The End Times will be full of New Age Religion,
    mediums and occult practice.
  • The New Age is presented as very tolerant of any
    faith.  
  • In fact this tolerance becomes the rejection of
    any exclusive faith  (Christianity which say
    there is only one way to salvation through only
    one God).   
  • The long term aim of the New Age movement is the
    replacement  of all other religions with one
    "world-state religion".       

24
The New Age
  • The Green and Ecology movement is supported by
    many concerned people, but it also has many
    adherents who lean towards "Mother Earth" worship
    and paganism. 
  • "Green"  thinking can undermine sound
    Christian life if allowed to go beyond concepts
    of common sense, good stewardship and challenges
    to extensive consumerism.

25
The New Age
  • The Spirituality if the New Age Have you noticed
    the desire for so called "spiritual" lifestyles,
    divorced from faith in God but part of a "chilled
    out" lifestyle of gentle music, candles, soft
    colors, and all that sort of stuff?
  • In the USA it is forbidden to teach religion in
    public schools - including Christianity - but 
    Wicca and the occult gets a good exposure through
    the reading of Harry Potter stories.  
  • Those who question this practice are labeled as
    hysterical book-burners like those of the Dark
    Ages who burned women they did not like as
    witches.  

26
The New Age
  • In the USA, Wicca is not just the interest of a
    few eccentrics but a recognized religion with tax
    exempt status and chaplains in the armed
    services.
  • The Harry Potter phenomenon is very much a
    product of our present society but God is just as
    concerned as He ever was that we avoid occult
    suggestions  "have no fellowship with the
    unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose
    them"   (Ephesians 511)

27
The New Age
  • Nobody disputes the amount of witchcraft and
    occult material in the Harry Potter stories, even
    if the spells are not authentic.  
  • One noticeable difference from the witches in
    traditional children's tales is that some 
    witches are good guys and not just bad guys.  
  • We must points out six suggestions implicit in
    Harry Potter, in addition to the obvious danger
    of getting children fascinated by the occult.
  • A vision of a better world  link main characters
    to pagan practices.
  • Rebellion against Biblical authority  link
    traditional authority figures to intolerant
    "muggles"   (non magicians)

28
The New Age
  • An idealized view of Paganism  link occult
    images to "good wizards".
  • A pagan alternative to Christian values   link
    courage and loyalty to a common quest for occult
    empowerment.
  • Mystical experiences that excite the emotions 
    link "good" spells to victory in the timeless
    battle between good and evil.
  • Relative Morality The good and evil, right and
    wrong are very relative in Harry Potter's world 
    he is rewarded for rebelling and lying when it
    produces a positive outcome.

29
Conclusion
  • The Christian should be aware that he is living
    in a war zone just as much as, or more than the
    Bible saints. 
  • Ephesians 610 -13  says, Finally, my brethren,
    be strong in the Lord and in the power of His
    might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you
    may be able to stand against the wiles of the
    devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and
    blood, but against principalities, against
    powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
    this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness
    in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the
    whole armor of God, that you may be able to
    withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
    to stand.    
  • Perhaps we in the Church have largely forgotten
    that we should be living and fighting in
    Spiritual Power through the Holy Spirit and
    concentrated too much on adopting Post Modernist
    methods to appeal to contemporary society.
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