Is Yours a Pagan Society?
Tomorrow begins TODAY - Dr. Harold J. Sala () - September 1, 2002 - 12:00am
"Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them." – Hebrews 11:36-38

Would you describe your culture as Christian or pagan? Before you respond, stop and think for a minute. Don’t answer on the basis of the historical orientation of the country in which you are living.

What makes a culture Christian or pagan? Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a pagan as "a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)," or "one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods: an irreligious or hedonistic person." You may be thinking: "Was Webster describing our generation or defining the world?"

In his book The New Paganism, historian Harold Lindsell, writing from the perspective of both history and a knowledge of Scripture, contends that the dominant philosophy of life today is not humanism but simple, raw paganism. He says, "Clearly, paganism stands in opposition to the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Christian faith."

Has our culture become pagan? Compare the impact of the church on society with that of a generation or two ago. Take a look at the family today and what has happened to it. Ask to what degree are Christians impacting our society and our world, or has Christianity simply become a reflection of our culture and the world that surrounds us? One of the greatest indictments against the church today is that it has become so accommodating to our culture that the demarcation line between the church and the world has been all but rubbed out. In an attempt to make our churches "user-friendly", we have lost our unique distinctiveness. Too often the church has become merely a refuge for stressed, unhappy people. Worship becomes a celebration of sorts that only reinforces the attendee’s self-esteem. Then having made people feel good about themselves, churches send them back into the battles of life.

There’s one thing for sure. The Early Church was in conflict with the pagan Roman culture. There was no truce, no accommodation to the culture of the Romans, whose real gods were pleasure and hedonism.

The bottom line is this: If you genuinely mirror the Gospel of Jesus Christ in your life, your business, your home and your marriage, you are bound to be out of step with your culture. That you will be thought of as a radical or religious fanatic is as certain as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. What Jesus said to His disciples is just as true today. "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). A pagan culture will never be a friend to grace. That’s just the way it is.

Resource Reading: Hebrews 11

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