What Has Happened to Our Standards?
by Joel Havian
There is this thing that exists, at least in early 21st Century America, called "political correctness". It has already gained a lot of influential strength in the later part of the previous century. Another major strength-gainer in these modern times has been entertainment as it has developed since the early 20th Century. And what has happened with peer pressure? What have these things done in our society? They have certainly influenced many people--including Christians--and affected many of our standards, particularly moral ones. What has been happening to these standards? They don't seem to be what they used to.
To get more of an idea of what I mean, please allow me to provide a rough illustration from a book by Dan Juster:
As the world gets worse, our standards as believers need to become higher, not proportionately lower. Our standard is the holy Word of God, not keeping only so far behind the world. Let us look at biblical marks of holiness.
The above excerpt was taken from Daniel C. Juster, Growing to Maturity (A Messianic Jewish Guide), early release (1982, the edition with a UMJC logo on the cover), Page 90 (Chapter IV, Holiness and Powerful Prayer). I myself re-created the chart in color in order to heighten the clarity.
Some may think that the above chart is exaggerated (believers' 1982 standards already as bad as the world's 1950 standards?!), but I think (and hope) you get the idea. Even with past years shown, you should have a rough idea of what has happened in more recent times (e.g., 2003), not just "in the world" (among non-believers), but among believers as well.
Do you remember, for example, when in older times, more "newlyweds-to-be" lived apart until marriage? Have you noticed that there are now more and more of them even sharing the same bed at the pre-marital phase (and furthermore the female partner's pregnancy during this same phase becoming more commonplace than in the past)? And these things appear to be on the rise among believers as well as non-believers.
Are you aware of recent reports indicating divorce rates being about as much high (sometimes, perhaps, even higher?!) for believers (or at least those professing to be believers) as it is for non-believers?
For churches to marry/recognize couples of the same gender used to be nonexistent or extremely rare in the past. More recently, there has been a big surge in churches now affirming these practices.
Many churches today appear to have toned down the Gospel (particularly with the topic of hell being more and more avoided).
Are political correctness and other social pressures taking their toll on these churches, or what?
While political correctness may have its places in some areas, isn't it wrong to change divine moral standards to accommodate it? While churches may need to change some things to keep up with the times (obvious examples being clearly harmless cultural changes), shouldn't they leave their moral, Bible-based standards unchanged (these standards having been set by an unchanging God)?
What about entertainment? It looks like Christians these days have become more receptive than in the past of a larger variety of unwholesome secular materials. For example, there seems to be increasing tolerance among believers for a few cuss words--and misuses of God's Name--being included in what is otherwise a "clean" movie, show or song. Is this perhaps due in large part to the producers skimping on good, "squeaky clean", "G-rated" entertainment these days? Unfortunately, many entertainers feel that they need to throw in evil additives in order to better sell their products (how sad). It is therefore becoming more and more difficult for Christians to be selective in their quest for sights and sounds that are both fun and absolutely clean.
As believers, we need to fight back. We need to pray against giving in to compromise, even though the temptations appear to be more fierce in these later days. We need to pray for greater strength to resist these stronger urges. And we need to pray for a large boost in truly clean music, movies and shows (as well as adequate positive alternatives in other areas).
There is at least some hope for entertainment, plenty of which is available in ways that are both enjoyable and safely wholesome, often provided by Christians, so look around.
Thank you for taking the time to read this major wake-up call for the Body of Messiah. "Wake up and smell the sulfur!" Let us raise our standards again and aim higher. You can click here to go back to my homepage, or click here for the Christian Rock 'n' Roller (a great resource for good, clean fun, of course).