We live in a Post-Christian culture. When we talk to people, they are not listening with a worldview that includes a knowledge or understanding about who God is, about His attributes, about Creation, the fall of man, the flood, the Law of God, and about who Jesus Christ is. In many places in our culture, such as here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we actually have an Anti-Christian culture. There has been, by design, a systematic cleansing of Christianity and knowledge of all things biblical, from our culture. This is the work of the enemy, working through people. This is part of the spiritual war we are in.
When I got to San Francisco State University as a junior in 1989, I naively entered the Liberal Arts major program, thinking I would be getting more of the usual subject matter in Literature and Social Sciences (Humanistic though it is). I quickly discovered that the ordinary worldview of Atheistic-Humanism from my lower division courses were now going to be taken to the next level, and I would now be introduced to occultic material that made the ordinary, ‘for public consumption’ New Age movement seem like child’s play.
I went to the student store, purchased all these books on my required reading list for my major, brought them home to my apartment, and started reading. Some of the books in my stack included the following:
- The Communist Manifesto
- The Humanist Manifesto, Volumes 1 and 2.
- The Aquarian Conspiracy, By Marilyn Ferguson
- Evolution as a Religion
- The U.N. Charter
I was a young Christian at the time and I was not ready to deal with this. I eventually decided that I could not stomach a whole two years of this material, and did not think that this would be a good way to train and prepare to serve God for the rest of my life. Indeed, I would be getting a bachelor’s degree in ‘New Age Humanistic Occultic Studies’, if I continued the program. What was the point of that? I was confused and did not know what to do. I dropped out. If this was what SFSU students were reading in 1989, what are they reading now?
The thing to note, is that this major program feeds into the University’s teacher credential master’s program, which prepares teachers for positions at all levels of education. Before I left, there was one class day that has stuck in my mind until now. The Professor wrote the word ‘ paradigm’ on the board. I was interested, since I never heard this word before. He went on to tell us that the goal is to destroy the old paradigm and replace it with the new paradigm, as described in the Aquarian Conspiracy. He was basically saying that we future teachers will be deconstructing Christianity, and replacing it with the Age of Aquarius (the religion of satan). That was an eye opener for me, to see the open war against God in our culture.
So we speak to a culture with a different foundation than our own. We now live in a pagan culture. We now may have to define our terms and teach the foundations of the gospel, so that the gospel will make sense. There are panthiests among us, athiests, Humanists, occultists, cultists, and people whose parents and grandparents had a knowledge of the foundations, but they have now been cleansed out of our culture, they were not passed on, and now no knowledge of the facts and history of Genesis remain. This is illustrated by the young man I was witnessing to a week ago, and when I mentioned God, he genuinely asked, “You mean the God of the bible?”, as if there were other options. He really wanted to know. At least he had heard of Him, but many have not. We may have to tell them, before we can get to speaking of the cross of Christ, and all the other elements of the gospel. We must lay the foundation ourselves, all over again.
The foundations have been destroyed; what can the righteous do? We can remain faithful to the Truth of God’s Word, and we can continue to teach and tell it to those who do not know.
In this teaching, Ken Ham explains this issue in our culture, and how being aware of the thinking of the culture is helpful in evangelism, so that we can be sure to include biblical truth that is foundational to the gospel. An interesting example he gives, is the ‘types’ of Peter preaching at Jerusalem, and Paul preaching in Athens. Which man was successful in preaching the gospel? Both were. Peter was speaking to Jews who already had the foundation laid; they knew who God is, that He created the world, the Law, etc. Peter just went ahead and preached Christ. The Greeks did not know these things, and Paul told them. He started with the foundation of things that the Greeks (for all their sophistication) did not have any knowledge of.
Ken Ham goes on to ask us: Who are we speaking to? Are we speaking to ‘Jews’ who have prior biblical foundational understanding, or are we speaking to ‘Greeks’ who do not? This is very helpful to understand as we meet and talk with different people.
Disclaimer: There are some things said that I do not personally agree with. It sounds like he is advocating that we must all become experts in all areas of Creation Science Apologetics; I do not believe it is necessary to, but we can tell about the true God and the true history of the world as we share the gospel. Also, he criticizes street/open air outreach, and I do not think that is a wrong method at all; as long as it is done with love and compassion. (But maybe his point is only that he is speaking as to ‘Jews’, to ‘Greeks’.) Finally, towards the end he mentions what sounds like the goal of ‘reclaiming the culture’. I do not believe our goal is to reclaim our culture at all, but our commission is to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.
In this previously posted article, John MacArthur teaches how to preach the gospel to a postmodern culture that thinks truth is relative, and that one cannot know truth. The answer he gives, is to just keep on preaching the truth of the gospel anyway, in whatever ‘ism’ we are living in, knowing that God honors and uses the preaching of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation.