To Glorify God by Training Christian Leaders to Reach a Multiethnic Urban World for Christ
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Urban Concerns

Deconstructing the Culture 

It seems like as a nation, we are in the summer of our discontent. Ethnic friction is at an all-time high. As we add Baltimore and Cleveland to a list of cities that have grabbed our attention due to racial strife, it should be easy for us to see that the problems in Baltimore and Cleveland are an American quandary. Discord among minorities has been boiling under the surface for decades, along with a host of other social ills. We may very well be in the transition that C.S. Lewis talked about when he described Narnia as:

“Always winter but never Christmas.”

As a country, we have spent the last seventy years planting seeds of Christian deconstruction within our civilization. These seedlings have been taking root in nearly every vestige of our society. Now, it is harvesting time, and we may be seeing the “first fruits” of our labor. Riots and protest are just the beginning. How did this happen? Look around and review the social institutions that were supposed to refine us, what have we planted in those fertile fields? In the gardens of religion, politics, education, entertainment, and economics, we cultivated religious pluralism and unbelief, secularly progressive politics, irreligious education, vulgar entertainment, and utopic economics. So, what have we ingathered in return?

Reaping a Harvest   

After collecting and consuming these spiritually poisonous fruits, we are now evidencing our maladies. The fruit of religious pluralism has left us in a state of spiritual unbelief and intolerance. It fosters unbelief since we are told that no religion is objectively true, no matter what it claims.

It is intolerant because now we speak of freedom of worship and not freedom of religion.

Freedom of religion allows you to enter the market place of ideas and debate your faith’s truth claims. It stresses that religious statements can be spoken of in the language of thesis and antithesis. Freedom of worship demands that you keep your faith out of the public square. As someone once said, it reduces faith to that which is, “privately engaging but publicly irrelevant.”  Moderns will consume no fruit that provides them with the Knowledge of Good and Evil, let alone admitting there is veracity to it.

Another yield from this disastrous garden is secularly progressive politics. Combined with utopic economics, it seeks to do what God alone can do—create a righteous society. It is well-meaning and often begins with noble intentions. However, disconnected from a Christian ontology and teleology, it can only go wrong.

Under this scheme, the solution to any communal ill is more government programs, more government spending, and equality of outcomes. Institutional structures seem to always be the problem and never the poor choices of individuals. Joined with a utopic economic, which strives to ensure that everyone gets a near equal share of the remunerative pie no matter their efforts, an equitable society can be had by all.

The final crops brought to our table for consumption are irreligious education and vulgar entertainment. Education is not just the means we use to pass on knowledge. It is the methodology used to moralize the next generation.

When this husbandry takes place in the absence of God, nothing good can come of it. John J. Dunphy swanks of the new role of education in an article he wrote in The Humanist in 1983. Therein, he states, only a purely humanist religion is worthy of replacing the “rotting corpse of Christianity with all its … evils and misery.” Dunphy advocates that public and private schools become the churches of our new millennium. The god federalizing this fruit is scientism cultivated in naturalistic evolution.

How successful is this new menu? It’s visible everywhere.

We are no longer a society of readers and deep thinkers. We have become visual people basking in entertainment of every sort. Sex Box, though it never truly gained popularity, the fact that it was broadcasted is evidence of our depravity.  The show involves two individuals (married or not; I am not sure) which engage in intercourse in public in a box where they cannot be clearly seen.  It is voyeurism for a new era. Then the couple exits the box to talk to the audience about their experience. Other demented shows are Sister Wives (a polygamous family), Wife Swap, and Mistress (their names say it all). Subsequently, this new diet has taken us to a modern type of paganism/hedonism. However, the cure for our spiritual infection is still the same.

What Really Works 

Christ and the church are still the only cure for America’s dilemma. Consequently, the church must renew its commitment to make true disciples of Christ. America will need a church and Christian people very different from the ones we have produced on average over the last 100 years.

The church must create an environment that is not content with just transferring religious knowledge to its people. We need Christians who are apologetically grounded, have a biblical worldview, and are not afraid of intimately engaging/transforming the culture.

Furthermore, this renovation must strive to take place at every individual and institutional level. No other approach will work. If Christians are not willing to do this, then we should stop lamenting the downward spiral of America. We should admit that we do not have a heart for the loss like God has a heart of the lost (Ezekiel 33:11). Though we understand that we will not create a utopia prior to Christ’s return, the church can still strive to make our nation and this world a more Christianized place until He comes.

This is going to be more complex than it sounds. To be successful in this venture, we must become disciples of Christ, students of the world, and the culture. Our obligation to Christ is calling us to a level of societal commitment few in the body of Christ have undertaken.

Crossroads Bible College

To Glorify God by Training Christian Leaders to Reach a Multiethnic Urban World for Christ

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Hosea Baxter, MA, Hosea is Professor of Urban Leadership at Crossroads Bible College. Professor Baxter holds a BA in Religious Studies from Martin University, conducted graduate studies at Christian Theological Seminary, and graduated from Martin University with a Master’s degree in urban ministry and education (Summa Cum Laude). At the age of twenty-two, Hosea married Karen Ann (Paicely) Baxter. They have been married for over thirty-three years. They are the proud parents of four children: Sean, Monique, Stephanie, and Brittany; and are the grandparents of eight.

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