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POST-CHRISTIAN SOCIETY (Kent Smith Notes 7/7/24)

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IN A POST-CHRISTIAN SOCIETY

EPHESIANS 6:10-18

2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-5

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What do we mean by a post-Christian society?

This term reflects (particularly in Europe and the United States) the departure from the historical and social understandings of morality and truth as fundamentally grounded in scripture and Christian tradition.

The result is a repudiation of Western Civilization as an agency of colonization, culturalization, and subjugation which came to dominate the world economically, financially, and by force of strength.

This rejection of the superiority of Western civilization has led to the rejection of the foundational Christian teachings and principles that have undergirded much of Western thought.

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WHAT IS POST-MODERNISM?

  • Skepticism of universal truth.

  • The rise of relativism.

WHAT IS POWT-CHRISTIAN?

  • Relativism rejects any universal cross-cultural truths.

  • All truth is subjective and reflects the current social consensus.

  • This leads to new understandings of marriage, family sexuality, and even the morality of right and wrong.

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Postmodernism offers an understanding of knowledge and that rejects modernism’s belief in universally accepted truths and replaces it with relativism.

Relativism is the belief that there's no absolute truth, only the truths that a particular individual or culture happen to believe. If you believe in relativism, then you think different people can have different views about what's moral and immoral. Relativism claims that standards of truth, rationality, and ethical right and wrong vary greatly between cultures and historical epochs and that there are no universal criteria for choosing between them.

Adherents to this understanding seek to break down the structures of rationality and power, with the hope of moving toward new and “more meaningful wisdoms.” Some adherents believe in the idea of “making” your own truth rather than “finding” truth. This has drastically impacted much or present thinking and the ethical debate around the definition of family, sexuality, and the roles of parents, educators, and government.  Taken to its limits this argument can present a world devoid of time-honored and unassailable truths, where the only force that counts will be the individual at the center, concerned only with her own subjective interpretations and desires. This position might be seen to mirror the average adolescent understanding of their environment.

The Impacts and evidence of a Post-Christian culture.

Historically the “pill” separated sexual activity from marriage, diminishing the likelihood of pregnancy outside of marriage, leading to greater sexual promiscuity.

The legalism of abortion went a step further by devaluing a human embryo to further remove the “negative” consequences of recreational sex.

Having “won” the cultural battle to shed the oppressive limitations of the moral standards of western civilization as founded on scripture,

Postmodern proponents have continued to reject nearly all limitations of morality, and have enjoined the scientific community, and the educational system to advance an agenda with no objective grounds for ethical or moral behavior.

The closest thing the Post Modern & Post Christian culture elevates regarding morality is the right for every individual to determine “their own truth.” 

The only immorality for a post-modern adherent is intolerance, primarily intolerance of their opinions, and their truth.

In practice they view intolerance as evil, therefore any person, institution, or culture that believes in objective truth is considered evil and must be dismantled and their influence destroyed.

Therefore, marriage as an institution of lifelong monogamous union between one woman and one man for life must be opposed.

This has resulted in:  Homosexual Marriage affirmed by the government in June of 2015 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges .  Same sex marriage is now legal in all US states and territories.

            Polygamy is technically a criminal offense in the US, in all 50 states. But you wouldn’t know it by The Learning Channels (TLC) show Sister Wives

            The advancement to accept adult - child marriages is being advanced

  (16,000 children Under 18  get married each year) 

  Only 10 states do not permit marriage for citizens under 18.

Family is a key social institution in all societies, which makes it a cultural universal”

“Statuses (i.e., wife, husband, partner, mom, dad, brother, sister, etc.) are created and sanctioned (determined and defined) by current culture and society. 

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (E. Burke)


When cultures and societies determine what is acceptable and moral apart from any authoritative basis, then the moral judgment of the most vocal and influential will become the standard for the society.

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This is where we are today.

Sexual impropriety is foisted upon us and our children.

Deviant behavior is celebrated, embraced, and promoted in the public square.

The very definition of a man or woman has become a point of disagreement in the hallowed halls of our government.

How shall we live in this world that increasingly marginalizes, discounts, and denigrates the very biblical values the gave rise to Western Civilization over the past 2000 years?

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THE FOE WE FACE

  1. Our enemy: Against rulers, and authorities, and the cosmic forces of this present darkness.

  • THIS IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE AGAINST SPIRITUAL FORCES.

  1. Our Defense: The full armor of God.

  • WITH SPIRITUAL ARMOR

  • The Belt of truth / Breastplate of righteousness / Feet shod with the gospel / The Shield of faith / The Helmet of salvation

  1. Our Offense: The Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God

  • WITH SPIRITUAL WEAPONRY

  • WIELDED WITH PRAYER

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For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  (Eph 6:12)

Ephesians 6:11-18

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

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THE BATTLE

  • Spiritual Warfare - not fought in the flesh or against the flesh

  • Spiritual Power - powered by divine strength

  • Spiritual Enemies - destroying false speculations

  • Teachings inconsistent with the knowledge of God

  • Taking OUR THOUGHTS captive to the obedience of Christ - 

  • A warfare waged first within our own mind.

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  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

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LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE….

In a Post-Modern / Post-Christian world and society

1. Our goal is NOT TO reform society and culture.

2. People are not the enemy; THEY ARE THE GOAL!

3. We are to proclaim the gospel of freedom to all.

4. We are to be ‘salt and light’ in the manner we live.

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Christians ought not to be known primarily for what they are against…but what they are for!

If we are going to counter a post-modern, post-Christian, relativistic world

We must do so by showing a winsome attitude, and lifestyle, of fulfillment, peace, and joy.

The world must see that Christians are the most loving, peaceful, generous, happy, and joyful people around.

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