In a very brief period, as far as
cultural history is concerned, we have seen a vast value shift in the
Western world. Why did this happen and why do those who maintain the
classical, moral and ethical values of the Judeo-Christian ethic appear
to be losing the culture wars in spite of all the evidence supporting our
positions? Why do I believe that the only hope is massive national
Tel Aviv Named World's Best Gay City
A recent poll found that Tel Aviv is the world's most popular
destination among gays and lesbians by a large margin. In fact, the Tel
Aviv municipality's Ministry of Tourism has been actively courting
gay tourists for some time now. In addition, Israel is at the forefront
of increasing legal gay "rights and equality" issues in the Middle East,
Asia and even world-wide. This seems incredible given the fact that the
Jewish nation gave the world the Judeo-Christian ethic!
From 1956 to 2013
My father died in 1956. Were he to return to the United States today, he
would be unable to comprehend the change. Aside from the issue of racial
and ethnic civil rights, it is difficult to point to any great social
progress from a Biblical perspective. What social regression have we seen
since 1956? Here is a brief list.
1. Then, the great majority of marriages lasted a lifetime; now, half of
all marriages end in divorce. Then, the majority of black children were
raised by intact families with a mother and a father.
2. Then, sexual relationships were delayed until marriage; now, most
young people and young adults have sexual relationships before marriage.
They often have many partners. They live together before wedlock or
reject marriage altogether. Contrary to commonly held opinion, statistics
show that those who engage in these behaviors are much more likely to
3. Now, forty percent of children are born out of wedlock; seventy
percent of black children are born out of wedlock. This is devastating to
the character and prosperity of the generation being raised. Long term
bonding is missing! Recently, news reports stated that the greatest
predictor of prosperity is being born to and raised in an intact family
with a father and mother. 98% of young people so raised do not end in
4. Now, the number of children killed through abortions each year is
astronomical. In 1956 it was illegal and rare indeed.
So what has caused all this social regression? A culture switch from a
Biblically-based worldview and ethic to a secular worldview and ethic (or
should I say "anti-ethic") has been a primary cause. This is well
catalogued in the great book by the late jurist Robert Bork, Slouching
The Push for Gay Marriage and the Boy Scouts
The latest and greatest social change being fostered among us is same-sex
marriage. Proponents of gay marriage argue that it does not affect
people who want to be in a committed heterosexual marriage.
Superficially, this seems true. However, it ignores the deeper question:
What happens when the culture at large no longer gives lasting marriage
and fidelity between one man and one woman, a unique and special status
The answer: further erosion in our cultural-ethical fiber.
The most recent manifestation of this trend is the Boy Scouts. Until now,
after fighting all the way to the Supreme Court and winning, the Boy
Scouts have resisted having gay scouts and scout-masters. They argued
that the Scouts' goal was to build character in young boys and young
men which included a unique respect for marriage and family. The Court
ruled that, as a private non-profit organization, this was their right.
Yet there is now enormous pressure for the Scouts to change their policy,
at least on a local level. Many scout organizations are tied to churches.
They want to maintain their very significant church support, while at the
same time keeping corporate sponsors that have now adopted a
non-discrimination policy that includes avowed gays, including gays who
do not pledge fidelity to one relationship! Why have corporations adopted
such policies for giving? Because they see which way the cultural wind is
blowing and are concerned for their bottom line. They think profit favors
their support of gay rights.
Explaining the Cultural Shift
This great cultural shift started in the anti-God humanism of the French
Revolution in the 1790s. It was given momentum in the naturalistic
philosophies resulting from Darwinism and the "Evolution without God"
arguments that followed. Finally this was expressed in the critical
approaches to the Bible that saw the Scriptures not as God-breathed, but
a merely human product. Slowly many denominations made accommodations, so
that today they merely seek to add some sacred value to the dominant
cultural trends of our societies. Most of this remained under the surface
until the explosion of cultural change in the '60s and '70s.
So I ask, why do we continue to lose the battles in the culture war?
Firstly, it is because in our society the culture formation elite is
king. In 1956 that elite was not unified around an anti-Biblical
worldview. Movies such as the "Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur"
demonstrated sympathy for Biblical values among at least some of the
elite. This was also seen in early television. However, the elite today
is now largely unified around an anti-Biblical worldview. The culture
formation elite includes today's establishment in education and
media, both news and entertainment. The population initially resists the
influence of this elite, sometimes with anger. Yet, the great weight of
their constant advocacy and slanting of information, year after year,
eventually shifts the mainstream culture in their direction. The older
generation rejects gay marriage but the children ask, "Why can't we
be more tolerant?" They have been well conditioned by entertainment
media. Then Christian parents send their ill-prepared and impressionable
young people to secular universities where liberal values are preached as
What is seen in media is unquestioningly taken by most as reality. The
depth of reasoning and education has declined and dumbed-down media
consumers are conditioned to the portrayal of reality presented. One
conservative television news station or a number of internet news
alternatives have nowhere near the culture formation influence of
mainstream media and education. So in terms of social direction, it is
not the politicians who rule. Their time in the sun will fade. The
culture formation elite is the real ruler of the society. Again and again
we can trace our cultural directions to this elite.
The Jesus Movement and Culture Formation
There was a positive movement in the '70s, the Jesus movement, but
this movement proved to be culturally ineffective. Why? Largely because
those who were won to Yeshua were not given a vision of the Kingdom
beyond personal salvation and fellowship in the life of the churches.
They were not discipled to be agents of change within their culture. The
result today is that many of our young people are not discipled and are
leaving the churches in droves since the church seems irrelevant,
especially after their university experience.
So How Can I Be Optimistic?
I am optimistic because those who are now the cultural elite will lead
our Western nations to bankruptcy - both economically and morally, and
this will prepare the way for a great revival. I believe this will happen
because millions of people are in prayer throughout the world. Never have
so many people been involved in 24/7 prayer movements! The leaders of
these prayer groups are unlike the leaders of the Jesus Movement. They
have a different theology. They are dedicated to culture formation. In
addition, most are committed to the salvation of the Jewish people. When
today's secular elite is revealed to be bankrupt and revival floods
the earth, the present culture formation elite can be swept aside and
replaced. Let us prepare for the young people who will be part of this.
The effect will be massive internationally and also in Israel.