"I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me." So announced Tim Cook yesterday in a Businessweek essay. (For my thoughts on his statement, read my article "Tim Cook: Is being gay a gift of God?".) Meanwhile, Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer, says that she plans to end her life tomorrow, though she could still change her mind.
Now consider these facts: Americans will spend $7.4 billion on Halloween this year, including $350 million for pet costumes. Nearly one in five Americans claims to have encountered a ghost. Nearly a third of us believe that houses can be haunted. The occult movie Ouija was No. 1 at the box office last weekend. Other occult/horror movies in theaters this weekend include Dracula Untold, Annabelle, Saw, and As Above, So Below.
How should Christians respond to so much in our culture that is unbiblical?
One approach is to condemn Tim Cook and Brittany Maynard and ridicule our society for its unbiblical fixation with the occult. The opposite approach is to live and let live. Many will say: If Tim Cook thinks being gay is a gift from God, who are we to disagree? If Brittany Maynard wants to end her life, that's her decision, not ours. If people want to believe in the occult, that's their business. Tolerance is the great virtue of our day. Being judgmental is always wrong.
It's an appealing option. After all, you and I have enough challenges in our lives without worrying about the sexual identity of Apple's CEO. So long as we don't consider suicide a viable personal option or let our children participate in occult activities, we're doing all that we can be expected to do. Or so we might think.
Of course, neither approach is aligned with God's call to be his salt and light in our decaying, darkening world. Condemning those who make wrong choices drives them further from the One who died that they might live eternally. And refusing to speak truth to culture withholds God's transforming grace from those who deserve to know his word and love. Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), always "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15), is God's command for his people.
The Lord promised his prophet, "those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). The darker the room, the more necessary and obvious the light. Will you shine God's wisdom into the darkness of your culture today? Will your intercession and gracious witness turn someone to righteousness?
Publication date: October 31, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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