The Inability to Enforce Standards in Western Society

Certainly one of the primary characteristics of Western society is an inability to enforce standards. We see this across the board in every institution and every sector of society. The only exception seems to be those businesses that excel because they are subject to the stiff competition of the market.

Here are some egregious examples.

A few weeks ago, CNN reported that at least 22,000 illegal aliens crossed the border into the United States through normal check points. The guards did not check for visas or for any kind of identification. The illegals were just waived through. This is in an age where we worry about terrorism! The guards simply did not have the will to enforce standards. As of yet there have been no serious consequences for the guards.

Speaking of illegal aliens in the United States, we can solve the problem of illegal Mexican immigration and enforce the law with regard to our borders. If we need Mexican labor and it is inhumane to prevent Mexican immigration, we can expand legal immigration or have a legal guest workers program where potential alien workers are checked with regard to any criminal problems. We do not do this because illegal workers are cheaper for businesses. Corruption and money are the root of not enforcing standards.

Many of our public schools do not enforce academic and disciplinary standards. This is in spite of the No Child Left Behind legislation. This hurts students who most desperately need an education to escape poverty. We are no longer clear on what children and young people should learn!

We know how to fight crime and to greatly lower rates of serious crime. New York City is our prime example. Mayor Rudy Giuliani attained success that few would have thought possible. New York went from being one of the most unsafe cities in the world, to one of the safest. This was accomplished in spite of the challenges of great ethnic diversity and organized crime. No doubt the prayers of believers were an influence. The success was due to a rare commitment to enforce standards for all kinds of crime, both major and minor. It entailed putting more police officers on the street. Other cities did not follow the New York pattern. So, for example, in Baltimore and Philadelphia, the crime rates still soar. They do not have the spine to enforce standards.

We add to our list environmental protection enforcement, food safety inspection and so much more.

In our local town in Israel on any given day in our shopping center, scores of cars park illegally even when many spaces are available. Here again is lax enforcement. The illegal parking makes it difficult for people to pull into legal spaces. The people who have been given the Law, and who are to be a light to the world, break the law and are in fact a lawless society. Laws do not mean much unless they are enforced.

In America, government agents test our airport screening system. The screeners fail again and again. They are not trained adequately to enforce the standards. Those who train them do not show high standards themselves!

In hospitals, many patients die because nurses and aids simply refuse to follow directions for washing their hands. The hospitals are not able to enforce hygienic standards.

We have laws on the books against pornography. They are not enforced. We no longer even have standards against homosexual behavior and other aberrant sexual deviancies. Rap music demeans women and calls for violence, but there is no enforcing of any standards of decency. This is due to today's interpretation of free speech. We had free speech for the first 200 years in America and yet we were able to preclude such rot.

The Root of our Problem

What is the root of all this? This is the fruit of two generations of adherence to the doctrine of relativism. Relativism tells us that there is no objective standard of truth or right and wrong. When a society is no longer unified by belief in God and His standards of right and wrong (which includes some fear of His judgment), enforcing standards is difficult indeed. We produce a spineless people who have little motivation to enforce anything.

The Condition of Western Churches

The saddest and most alarming trend is in the western churches. Society has so influenced us that Yeshua's exhortation to not have a condemning attitude (judge not that you be not judged) has been taken to mean that we are not to enforce standards of righteousness in the Body of Believers. This is contrary to the history of Christian interpretation and was not the view in the Protestant Churches before the end of the 20th century.

This is so very contrary to the Bible's teaching on enforcing standards in the community. In the prophets, Israel's leaders were severely judged for not enforcing standards of justice and morality. Isaiah 59 is especially poignant. Revelation 2 and 3 strongly warn congregations that they will be judged if they do not enforce standards.

The indulgence orientation of modern western Christianity also contradicts Paul's teaching in I Corinthians 5 and 6. Here we read that the community of faith is to discontinue fellowship with the sexually immoral members. Then we read that the community is to have a judiciary to settle serious disputes between members. In many of today's western churches, the pastor can leave his wife and marry another with no biblical discipline. Independent churches provide no court of appeal to deal with serious miscarriages of justice. Mercy and grace are perverted to allow license. Recently the press reported another scandal at a large church, this time in Atlanta. Didn't we already know that the leader was sexually perverted? Yet the people continued to follow their corrupt bishop, and there was no process to remove him. The Church is being taught that we are all sinners so who can judge? But Paul said, such were some of you. He commanded us to judge those inside the Church (I Corinthians 4: 5). We do not understand that grace is a transforming power that leads to righteousness through identifying with Yeshua's death and resurrection. We have no excuse for continuing to practice sin.

A few years ago I wrote a book called Due Process, a Plea for Biblical Justice Among God's People (still available on our web page). The enforcing of standards is at a low point in the life of the western Church. Only if churches enforce standards of righteousness will they have the power to positively influence society.

The Israeli Body of Believers

I have a dream and even have faith that God will turn this around before Yeshua returns. I think often about the Body of Believers in Israel. I have friendships with many leaders who believe in enforcing standards. Could God build such a quality of community life amongst believers in this Land that the community of believers here will bring change to the churches of the West? In some way, will the Torah go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem ... even before the Messiah Yeshua returns? It is my fond hope. It is certainly possible, since much of the world and many of the churches of the world have a focus on what is happening here. I am challenged and privileged to be a part of those working toward this end in Israel. May God pour out a spirit of repentance and revival for us all.

By Daniel Juster

Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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07:14 02Jan08 Barbara Huff - Shalom and blessings Dan!
Your message should be heard, adhered to and taught in every Congregation and Church in the USA. I pray Ez. 37 for the Jewish people and Ps. 122:6 consistently. I love G-d's Word. It seems we are in a famine for the true and uncompromised and undefiled Word to be taught thus releasing G-d's power to change the lives Yeshua died for. Please continue to pray for us to repent of our lack of love for Abba and His Word. If we keep the 1st two commandments, we keep all 613. We need more role models like you.

08:25 02Jan08 Pastor Bob Collins -
I could not agree more with your article. We live in a world of no moral absolutes and this has created such confusion, even among believers. There is no fear of G-d and His judgements. May He help us to recover our innocents and conscience through the Holy Spirit.

09:11 02Jan08 anonymous -
Please know that there are those of us who do understand and are following Yeshua's ways. Is it hard, yes. But we are trained to set our eyes, our minds, our hearts focus on Him. He who has called us will keep us! So many don't know the Shepherd's voice and follow other voices. Is it hard, yes! Trained - prepared, directed and given everything we need for a life of godliness. The Holy Spirit is willing and we must do our part to live out this life as Jesus did. So I encourage you to keep up the good fight and yes the laws were made for the flesh but that the Word is for the salvation of those who hear and desire Him fully. The road is narrow and many are missing it by listening to others. These are days of tribulation so that we will learn the voices we are hearing. These are great days of much needed discernment. Follow His voice! We pray for the peace of Jerusalem with you. We've been twice and understand the call home ... We need repentance and restoration in America too. Thank you for your prayers.

09:25 02Jan08 Carol Sadosky -
This article is very relevant and depicts the condition of the western church quite accurately. I was involved in a church where the youth worship team went to Hooters after practice once! I refused to let my daughter go and told the Pastor about it. Some years later the youth worship team at this church was asked by the Pastor to step down from ministry because of involvement in gambling. This is really sad, and maybe that word is not strong enough, but too many church do NOT disciple their young people or new converts in how to live a holy life! I've seen too much licence being practiced in the name of Christian liberty, and people who would speak against this being accused of having a "religious spirit". :( I am no longer involved with this church and have found one that preaches holy living in these last days. Would to God there were a lot more of them!

10:16 02Jan08 anonymous -
I agree. This has been a point of intercession for me personally, on behalf of the Western Church. I pray in my "closet" so to speak regarding all the issues mentioned above. On occasion, I have spoken out and in biblical context, regarding what has been permissable behavior for our youth who are supposedly growing up "in the faith". At times when speaking about such issues, one can relate to John the Baptist, a Voice crying in the wilderness. But still I maintain hope, for our HOPE is in HIM. I trust that as we labor and do not grow weary in our well doing, the rewards will come. The words that we sow will bear fruit worthy of eating. He Who is FAITHFUL will prove Himself FAITHFUL. Therefore, we must continue to be the salt in the earth, until we SEE HIM face to face. Shalom and thank you for writing this piece. Sincerely, T

10:48 02Jan08 Judi Zissler -
Thank you Dan Juster for making things so clear. I see the same thing. I myself was part of a big church where the associate pastor began a relationship with another man's wife and eventually divorced his wife to marry the other woman. They are now at another church where they "minister". I left that church and found another where I am happy. My rabbi just spoke on this very thing. Coming under leadership and when we are not lining up with GOD'S word, repenting and making things right.

10:51 02Jan08 Charles Reece -
Dr. Juster, the problem, I believe, has to do with the satanic insidious influence of one of Post-Modernism's anti-Biblical facets; that, being America's contemporary philosophical view of "Political Correctness"; which promotes so much of a morally permissive, licentious type of lifestyle; whereby morally-conservative people TODAY -- be they Orthodox Jews or fundamentalist Christians -- and who do bodly and openly declare that there does indeed EXIST fundamental "moral absolutes" from God -- that these same persons, who speak contrary to our culture's prevailing philosophical mindset of Moral Relativism, are currently being socially OSTRACIZED; in nearly all institutions of American society; including academia, government, popular culture, family life, ecclesiatical life, workforce, etc. And as morally-conservative messianic believers, be they Jewish or Gentile, continue to uphold the "word" of Yeshua around the world, then no doubt; as time passes onwards toward the apocalyptic end of Satan's world, then, we believers in Yeshua can most assuredly expect much greater spiritual attacks from the Devil; and to expect to find ourselves being persecuted and progressively isolated -- socially -- by the Jesus-hating, Biblically-hostile unbelieving people of this god-forsaken world. And since Yeshua himself prophesied, in Matthew 24, that near the end of time, believers would be "hated" by ALL nations for his great name's sake; then therefore, we believers should be get spiritually prepared NOW to face an upcoming evil world that will indeed succumb to powerful demonic seducing spirits that will so influence our godless world to morally decay so badly; whereby standards of common decency will NO LONGER be ENFORCED, and thereby having people's minds reach such a debaucherous level of moral degeneracy, that the level of evil in our present world will one day match the same satanic level that it ALREADY had -- during the days of Noah. And therefore, Dr. Juster, with such a tragic inevitability already being apparaent NOW, as was already prophesied by Jesus himself, then let us disciples get our "spiritual houses" in order NOW -- by santifying ourselves in the Holy Spirit, and prepare for the immiment second coming of Messiah Yeshua!!

14:23 02Jan08 Betty McKay -
Your article is so relevant to today's society. An old chorus 'Reap whatsoever you sow' reflects many Bible verses e.g. Job 4.8, Prov. 22.8, Gal. 6.7. We are already reaping a bitter harvest but what is worse, as a grandmother of eleven, what have we sown for future generations? May the Lord forgive us.

15:15 02Jan08 Pelham -
Right on the plumb line mark, Dr. Dan!! Thank you!

18:04 03Jan08 Garry J Gonzales -
I take offense to the word alien used to describe MEXICANS here illegal. Also please remember some of the tatics used to enforce Guillani time in New York. I'm not trying to be politicaly correct as to the word ALIEN but I'm sure you would not tolerate that about your own race.

16:42 06Jan08 Hannah Weiss -
"Could God build such a quality of community life amongst believers in this Land...?" As one of those living in the Land, I am convinced that He not only could - He must. Yeshua is returning for a pure Bride, holy and without stain ... and like the rest of the Gospel, that purifying process will come "to the Jew first", so how much more His Remnant in Israel. Judgment IS coming to the Household of G-d. Some sins are more subtle than sexual abuse or financial fraud (which seem to be the only kinds that arouse righteous anger), and yet the abuses moving under our radar may prove to be causing the greater damage in the long run. May the Lord give our true shepherds the courage to stand as judges in our gates, and may He eventually grant them the spiritual authority to give His righteous standards some "teeth".

21:48 06Jan08 Max Legg -
Yes! I agree with this statement. It grieves me as a Christian leader in NZ to see our moral standards disappearing ... Yet Jesus said in the last days, wickedness will increase... so we are not to be surprised, yet in response, get out there and get the harvest in.

22:32 30Jan08 Mike Mckee -
They do what is right in their own eyes. Pride in self as opposed to submit to God. The Last day will be terrible for some who think or say they are believers. It is incumbant for those of us who love God to endeavour with all love, tact and care to speak of this with all whom will listen. Especially our leaders. 09:34 23Feb08 Marshall Beeber -
I have seen what "stricter standards" can do within a Messianic congregation. More abuse may result from poor judgement on the part of Messianic leadership to stem what they perceive to be immoral conduct or even the rumor of immoral conduct. Anyone challenging such "stricter standards" may face the condemnation of Messianic leadership.
Dan Juster may have "stricter standards" in mind, but he has now opened a "can of worms" that may start a wave of "witch hunts" in Messianic congregations. This is exactly the kind abusive situation that Hannah Weiss speaks of in her postings.
In the past accused brethren were ousted from congregations without proper evidence. An imperious leader who is misguided in his judgement would be the sole arbiter rather than the matter taken to a congregational counsel to make sure a fair judgement is made.
The problem of "stricter standards" and discipline is that it only appears to be focused on congregational members rather than the leadership itself. Most independent Messianic congregational leaders are not responsible to any board within the umbrella organizations they are associated with (UMJC, MJA, AMC, etc.) Any judgement mistakes made by leadership can be "swept under the rug" without any resistance. If Messianic Jews are to truly comply to "stricter standards", a way to maintain discipline within the leadership is necessary.

09:30 02Jan09 Annie Schumacher -
I agree whole heartedly with you, Dan. We the church have bought into humanistic toleration that marginalizes the holy influence God's people are intended to have; we need to embody bright shining righteousness in issues of morality and sexuality in the church today.

22:22 03Jan09 anonymous -
This is a excellent article. I only wish this was being preached in my congregation. There are few, if any, of my Christian friends that would obey Gal.6:1,2. The underlying root problem is "don't get involved - you might make the person angry or they don't feel "comfortable" confronting. So as you say, sin continues, is winked at, and ingnored and the fear of the Lord greatly diminishes, and the marriage partner who is hurting struggles alone with no or little godly support for the healing of the marriage. Where are the pastors who are willing to demonstrate the word in this matter and teach how to go to someone humbly, and in God's love to save his brother or sister in Christ from sin? There's a silent cry from those who have been violated with unfaithfulness, persistant pornography on TV or internet, or others abuse, going up to the Lord for someone to practice the word of God on their behalf.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Eitan Shishkoff: Shofar 2008
Martin Shoub: Launching the Ark
Asher Intrater: The Controversy Of The Gospel
Asher Intrater: King of the Jews