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The Church as the New Rip Van Winkle

Our Rip Van Winkle Experience

Set in the years of the Revolutionary War, the story of Rip Van Winkle tells the tale of a man who, after falling asleep for decades, is awakened only to find that the world in which he lives is radically different from the one he remembers. As he speaks with the people in the town he soon discovers that all of his previous beliefs and convictions are now considered passé, outdated and even dangerous, nearly landing him in prison. The church in America is now in the midst of a “Rip Van Winkle” experience. After being able to sleep soundly on its Biblical convictions for decades, the church has been awakened only to find that many of its views are not only considered old-fashioned, but dangerous and even worthy of punishment.

I personally felt like Van Winkle as I woke up one day only to realize that the world which I knew had also drastically changed. That day was June 26th, 2015 and it was the first day that I realized that the church was about to face a new stage of difficulty and challenge and perhaps even persecution. It was the day when the rainbow colors were proudly displayed on the Whitehouse. It was the evening after the Supreme Court had ruled that same-sex couples were now legally permitted to marry nationwide, thus establishing a new civil right. And the message of the displayed rainbow colors was loud and clear: you oppose this and you oppose the highest political authorities on the planet. You accept and celebrate this, or you will suffer the consequences.

The History That Led Us To This Point

And the reason why I say “everything had changed” is because throughout almost all of western history, for the most part, the process of legislating and regulating behavior has played out in a non-threatening way for the Christians in the larger society. So long as the general moral judgments of the culture matched the convictions of the church, the church and the culture were not at odds in the courts.

Furthermore, under these conditions, to be found on the wrong side of a moral assessment was extremely rare for Christians. Those days are now over. In America, we are facing nothing less than a comprehensive redefinition of life, love, liberty and the very meaning of right and wrong, and the church in America now faces a new and unprecedented challenge: accept and celebrate the claims of the new sexual revolution without question and without objection or face the consequences.

The Revolution Is Complete

Al Mohler puts it like this: “The moral revolution is now so complete that those who will not join it are understood to be deficient, intolerant, and harmful to society.” (Al Mohler, We cannot be silent, p. 3). And so, as rescued sinners who love Christ and treasure His Word, what are we to do in light of this moral and sexual revolution?

What Are We To Do In Light Of This Revolution?

Although this brief article can’t answer that question, I will, however, ask further questions to get you to think and to persuade you to join us for our PODS seminar on this issue on April 30th. Here are the kinds of questions that we will answer:

  • What does the Bible really teach about homosexuality?
  • When and how did this sexual revolution begin?
  • What is the grand design for men and women and sexuality in the plan of salvation?
  • What are the “causes” of homosexuality? Can people change? If so, how?
  • What are the myths and facts about homosexuality and especially the myths and facts of how homosexuality has been portrayed to us by social media?
  • How do we love those who struggle with same-sex desires/attraction in the church?
  • How does the church best reach the homosexual community and love them with the Gospel?
  • FAQ’s: “Do I bake the cake? Do I attend a gay wedding? Why did Christ not talk about homosexuality?” and other urgent questions.

The PODS Class is now available online in audio format.