The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Surviving the Perfect “Culture” Storm – Part II

Posted on: May 09, 2017

Last week, I summarized a speech by Josh McDowell in which he described a “perfect storm” of cultural change. In it he said that three cultural changes had combined to form a massive cultural shift. These three cultural changes were:

Storm #1: A Shift in Truth: whereas we once believed in objective moral truth handed down to us from God, we now believe that truth is relative and can be determined by self.

Storm #2: The Creation of the Internet: the internet is now the primary source of knowledge and information, weakening historical sources such as parents, traditional education, the Bible, etc.

Storm #3: Internet Pornography: there is more pornography on the internet than any other kind of information, prompting Chuck Swindoll to describe it as “the great cancer of our day in the church.”

In the face of this three-part perfect storm, I believe there is a three-part “storm shelter” we must utilize for ourselves, and teach our children and those we influence … a place we can go for safety from the storm.

This week, we will look at the shelter that God provides and create a general strategy for finding safety from the storm.

Storm Shelter #1: Lay hold of absolute truth

George Orwell once said, “There are some ideas so absurd only an intellectual could believe them.” The rejection of absolute truth is one of them. It flies in the face of reason. There either is a God or there isn’t. His existence is not affected by what we believe about Him.

For someone to think that “God exists for you, but He doesn’t exist for me” is an idea so absurd only an intellectual could believe it. Or… someone who is not an intellectual, but who simply doesn’t think things through to their logical conclusion.

First, therefore, we must be certain that we ourselves do not fall prey to this dysfunctional thinking. We must be sure our own thinking squares with the truth of Scripture. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6) and “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)  Truth is what God says it is, regardless of what we think, and as Christians, we align ourselves with that reality.

Second, we must teach children at an early age about absolute truth rooted in God and the Bible. We must also teach them the absurdity of believing that something (such as the existence of God) can be true for one person but not for another.

Third, we must teach them that their belief in absolute truth is going to be challenged, and not to be intimidated when that happens. Children can understand this, and if they are prepared ahead of time, it will help them not be surprised or defeated when the challenge comes.

Fourth, we must also be sure to attend a strong Bible teaching church if possible, and, if possible, consider the potential of a Christian school for children, to support the truth being taught at home and the church. The subject of “truth” is central to a Christian worldview, and it is possible to raise children with a strong Christian worldview while attending public school, but it takes significant and diligent additional effort.

For more on understanding what a worldview is, and how to cultivate one, see http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian-worldview/whats-a-christian-worldview/whats-a-worldview-anyway

Storm Shelter #2: Use the Internet With a Discerning Eye

We must be discerning about information we find on the internet. It is only as accurate and trustworthy as the people who put the information on the internet. It may or may not be accurate. It may or may not be trustworthy.

Just as with the subject of “truth,” we must be sure we are straight on Internet usage ourselves, and then we help our children and those we influence.

Since anyone who has access to an internet connection can publish on the internet, we must be especially mindful of two dangers on the internet:

  1. The danger of inaccurate information. We must be cautious about assuming that information that is on the internet is accurate. We must be careful not to blindly trust the the accuracy of information just because that information was found on the internet. Any historical, scientific, mathematic, etc. information presented on the internet is only as accurate as the knowledge and typing skills of the person entering the information. So, we may need to check the accuracy concerning the particular information we’re viewing, either by additional internet references and/or sources outside the internet.
  2. The danger of deceptive information. Josh rightly said that the views of atheists and agnostics are only a click away from impressionable young minds. So we must be equally discerning about subtle worldview perspectives that come through the internet, and not fall prey to atheists, agnostics and other “false teachers.”

There is practical assistance available to help us strengthen our own understanding of these issues and to teach children to understand the strengths, weaknesses, dangers, and limitations of the Internet, much of it found – on the Internet! Here are some helpful links to articles on Focus on the Family’s website, which is a very helpful resource for this and other subjects.

There is a world of helpful information on the Internet. It also makes possible a level of ministry never before imagined. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association sees 2,000,000 people a year come to Christ through their Internet ministry. So, the Internet is certainly not all bad. I am posting this blog on the Internet.

Nevertheless, a world of evil, harm and destruction is also resident there. We must be careful not to let the Internet become our final authority. If we are clear on the issue of “truth,” and if we are clear on the dangers of the Internet, we can harness it for significant good for our lives and the lives of those we influence.

Storm Shelter #3: Defend Yourself Against Pornography

If you utilize Shelter #1, getting clear on absolute “truth”, and Shelter #2, using the internet with a discerning eye, you will be better prepared for Shelter #3. And just as with Shelter #1 and Shelter #2, we must get ourselves on solid ground when it comes to internet pornography, and then we can help our children and those we influence.

Unfortunately, in this age of the Internet, all children – even those in Christian homes – are at risk of coming upon a pornographic site. Josh McDowel warned in his speech that it is not a question of whether your child will find pornography. The issue is that pornography will find your child.

However, as in the other areas of “Storm Shelter”, the Internet itself is a rich source of help in dealing with the danger of internet pornography.

To help protect children against internet pornography, as well as other internet threats, Focus on the Family recommends two Internet filters that screen out objectionable and potentially harmful content: https://www.netnanny.com/l/focusonthefamily/, https://www.clearplay.com/fotf/default.aspx (Just so you know, I have no affiliate association with these products. And, I strongly encourage you to do your own due diligence in researching the best way to teach and protect your children in their use of the internet and electronic devices.)

To create accountability for yourself and others regarding Internet use, see accountability sites, such as:  http://www.covenanteyes.com

For help in breaking the addiction of online pornography, see: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/dealing-with-pornography/dealing-with-pornography-addiction

In summary,

  • Do what is possible to protect children from pornography.
  • If your children have been taught a Christian concept of truth, and if they have a Christian worldview, then they can be taught the dangers and the evil of pornography when appropriate.
  • When appropriate, children can be taught how to respond if they are exposed to pornography.

Remember, statistics show that deep religious convictions are the strongest protection against pornography.

Conclusion

I am aware these storm shelters do not contain enough information to fully protect from the perfect culture storm. But they point in the right direction, and give us the starting point for a more complete strategy. As Josh also said, “A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved.” Seeing the problem more clearly, and seeing information that points in the direction of full solutions, put us in a strong position to meet the full challenge.

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