In the 15th century, the invention of the Gutenberg press meant that every literate Christian could read the Bible for themselves. This sowed the seeds for the Protestant reformation in which the self-interpreted Bible supplanted the church magisterium as the basic authority for Christian teaching.
In the 21st century, the Internet and specifically the blogosphere and social media has created an analogous shift that should not be less monumental and could bring a new reformation by much more people able to think about what the Bible really says. Today Christians not only have their own Bibles to read. Today our authoritative biblical interpreters are vetted not through carefully controlled publishing houses and theological education systems, but through the likes and shares of the masses.
This can also be a very dangerous situation with a lot of populism going on in the world of religious people.
The apostle Paul warned already that we would come into a time where people will not put up with sound doctrine, but would having itching ears, them accumulating for themselves teachers to suit their own desires. (2 Timothy 4:3) We can question
What do people want to hear?
What is it that people would bring to a religious group?
For sure most people love their traditions and do not want to loose them or do not want to give them up. In many countries we can see that fundamentalism is getting stronger and the the distance between literalists and free ‘liberal’ thinkers get bigger. We also notice that several people by being confronted by so many scandals in the church started doubting about the religious institutions, began to have doubts about her faith. Many also growing up in a culture obsessed with apologetics started asking questions they never thought they would ask. Several people also learned that in order for their faith to survive in a postmodern context, it had to adapt to change and evolve.
But in which way had their faith and way of life had to adapt and change?
For many in a changing cultural environment it is clear that there are many new ideas which, they are afraid, threaten the safety and security of their faith. They look for answers and solutions to their way of life.
All the modern tools and the incredible amount of writers on religion and faith are helping to change the shape of Christianity where churches seem to have to adapt to a new world. Though nobody may forget that we have a choice:
we can drive our hearses around bemoaning every augur of death, or we can trust that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead is busy making something new.
As long as people seriously interested in the Word of God are willing to come together to study the bible and to break the bread and are willing to preach the Word, the church lives. It is by all those people giving voices via the internet that more people can be reached today. We should make use of those I.T.-tools and the modern ways to reach people. But we should also be aware that it is an easy way to tickle the ears of people in the way they like. Therefore we should not be afraid to keep saying what the bible says and to stay in line with the biblical teaching, not going for following human doctrines, how much so many people would love to see that.
For the United States of America, in the 1940s Carl Henry and Billy Graham launched the neo-evangelical project in an attempt to clothe fundamentalism in more acceptable garb. From the 1970s onward, the evangelical left, Christianity Today, and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson have told inspirational stories of nineteenth-century abolitionists and suffragettes. Many white evangelical leaders now speak of the importance of recovering themes of marginality, pilgrimage, and lament that they say have always pervaded their sacred texts. There is a strong sense among many, especially missionaries, humanitarian workers, pastors, and evangelical professors, that they live in a new global age that requires a missiology of peace and a posture of humility, not a reassertion of Pax Americana. Embarrassed by Trumpism and seeking to cast the movement with respectability, they have sought to define the movement in ever more pure ways.
Neither in the U.S.A. a or in Gr.Br. abolitionists really represented the mainstream of evangelicalism. In the nineteenth century, there were always more slaveholders and white Jacksonian patriarchs than Tappan brothers who financed social justice causes. But in the States we can wonder which church is willing to talk about the modern slavery and how the capitalist idea gains over the humanitarian rights, where certain churches say to their flock they should not interfere or be involved with politics, that way making it possible that there is no voice for the weaker ones, be it people but also animals.
In this present world there are so many human beings who do all their best to gain as much money as possible no matter what the cost for nature, and ignoring the global warming and extreme high pollution this world creates. There are in the U.S.A. even preachers who stimulate people to become as rich as possible, demanding their flock to give enough money to their mega-churches to that God would protect them and give those givers of money even more money and wealth. They say they worship God but do not mind to use people in far away countries to work hard for them for a hunger wage so that they can earn more from those cheap goods sold for a lot of money. They carry on to use people at such a low cost that it is really slavery. And several American preachers do not mind to promote such industrial capitalism.
In Belgium, residents are obliged to vote by state; which means that every citizen over the age of 18 will have to go to the polls this month for chamber, federal, parliamentary and European elections.
Due to the electronic voting it is impossible not to cast a vote or to give an invalid vote. You can cast a ‘blank vote’, but then it is considered you agree that it goes to the party that got the most votes.
A Christian therefore should be very careful what he shall do in the voting booth. By voting ‘blanco’ he or she should know that he or she ‘brings out a vote’ and as such could also really vote for one or the other party which has points he or she would agree with. Voting for such a party would be much better than giving the vote just to the one who shall gather most of the popular votes.
The believer in Christ should wonder what Jesus, who said we should give the Caesar what belongs to the Caesar, would do. The Caesar demands that we bring out our vote. It is a means to agree or disagree with what is going on in Belgium and in the European Union, but also to ask for regulations to safeguard the future not only in our own country but in Europe as well requiring measurements for taking a standpoint in the world.
We not only have to remember the injustices committed in the past, especially the 1930ies and 1940ies, but should recognise how we are coming close to a repeat of those years and the danger of not only a global warming on environment level but also on political and warfare level.
In several countries people of an other religion often are not only considered as a threat to national identity, but also as a threat to national security. Social media helps bringing fear over people and creates a hostile environment. Certain evangelical organisations do not mind stimulating the feeling against other religious groups and do not mind to support politicians like Donald Trump, who clearly have a discriminatory agenda.
Certain conservative groups want people to feel all right when they throw out their daughter or son because he has feelings for the same gender or wants to change his or her sex. Many fundamentalist preachers and their followers forget that each person should love the other and that we all have the task to provide for our relatives, and especially for our own family. The person who does not take care of his own household has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever, according the Scriptures. (Timothy 5:8)
Today several preachers ask their flock to put up stumbling blocks or hindrances in the way of those around them so that they should come to other thoughts. Lots of them preaching on the net or having mega-churches, compare homosexuality to bestiality and paedophilia. They put up a picture of somebody they do not know personally but want their flock to hate such person. Instead of creating love we find many religious groups creating hate feelings.
Those who love God and those who want to follow Jesus, should get to know what God wants from us and what Jesus taught his followers. For him the message of love was the most important teaching point. Real followers of Jesus should preach that love for the other, be them people of an other faith or of other ideas, or be them animals or plants. Al creatures of the Divine God should receive all respect from a lover of God.
This month and especially on the 26th of May you should think about what you want to do in this world and which position you want to take in this world. Now it is time to think if you would not give a voice to those who have no voice, like plants and animals. Today it is important that you come up for those who are silenced or just used to create more richness for others at the cost of their life.
The time has come every person calling himself to be a Christian shall have to react against poverty, misuse of others, slavery, racism and religious bigotry. We must be aware of the populism going on in the religious groups but also in the political groups and in our surroundings.
This time Christians may not let happen what we have seen in the previous century.
Today Christians should also clearly check if their church is living according to what it preaches. Those being a church-member should examine the way their church brings the message of peace and the message of hope and salvation for all people.
Today civilians should be informed and wise enough to make a proper choice for which way to go and how to live. Therefore with the huge amount of articles about faith people can find on the net, they should compare them with what the Bible says. By the availability of press-coverage and critic reviews, people should be able to get an own opinion and to make their opinion also known to others.
Those calling themselves Christians should be followers of Christ and should be trying to live and act like him. Together they should join hands to protect this world and to be part of those who want to do something against global warming and to the injustice in this world.
Jesus asked to spread “love”. This is only possible when people act. To change the world we do have to act and we do have to give a voice to our surroundings by giving a vote for the matters we stand for. Love is not a matter of pretending but a matter of really doing and taking care.
Think about your silence or about your voice being heard or not.
Dare to speak up even if it means you are the only one left standing.
Please find also to read
- One million animal and plant species face extinction as ecosystems deteriorate
- Scientists warn one million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction
- One Word Sunday : Pollution
- Think of the Future
- “Fact: Australia is the second-largest producer of waste per capita in the world, behind the US.” Waste Not, book https://t.co/YYNb1oxqSU #Australia
- Britain’s legacy is not benign – the Cambridge slavery inquiry will show we have plenty to feel guilty for
- Dr. Allen Guelzo: “The Constitution Was Never Pro-Slavery”
- Ending Slavery will end the world
- PBS Video: Slavery in USA; Islam and Christianity
- Let the oppressed go free
- 9 Classic Examples of Being on the Wrong Side of History
- How behavioural economics matters in dealing with gender discrimination
- Is Everything Up For Debate?
- Fun with the Elections
- When is it too serious?
- Responding to “Christian” Discrimination. Yes, Lesbians Read the Bible Too.
- [Listen to David Carayol] Transeuropean dimension in politics: the challenge of running for 28 national electoral systems
- Casting Your Vote For Dummies
- The China ‘conflict’ Paul Keating has you ‘need to be aware of’
- Is NJ’s ‘one man, one woman’ party committee rule outdated & sexist?
- Australians face heavy profiling in upcoming election
- Infrastructure Trump?
- Sanders says ‘there’s no question’ who is more progressive between him and Biden
- A Conversation with God
- You Are Called To Stand Up, Even If You Are Standing Alone
- Disunity – Defeated Already
- For how long we will serve injustice in the name of justice?
- Nature is in the worst shape in human history — and it’s all because of humans
- Global Warming
- Mainstream Environment?
- Too late now
- Civilization Is Accelerating Extinction and Altering the Natural World at a Pace ‘Unprecedented in Human History’
- Our anemic healthcare: can our children help us?
- The Old Forgotten Skills
- When America believes it can do the impossible, we make the impossible inevitable. That’s what the Green New Deal is all about
- “Fighting climate change” is demonstrably futile, as each of us proves every day. “Fighting pollution” is something we can all rally around
- The House Is on Fire: Naomi Klein Takes Centrism-Obsessed Media to Task for Failed Climate Coverage