Remaking the Church in the Image of Our Vices
I recently stumbled across a piece in which a woman defended her Episcopalian faith (a church that she has since abandoned) by heralding what she perceived to be a great strength of that church:
“We are adaptive to the changes of the modern world and take prayerful action to be part of today, not yesterday. We are constantly considering the scriptures as they relate to the world today so we can remain relevant.”
I was struck by a parallel. This logic is exactly the argument made by the American left in regard to the United States Constitution. “It’s a living document", they proclaim, so the document itself is rendered inert as they decide to infer what they wish it had said and then presume to impose those fantasized notions on the rest of us.
It’s rare that one hears such a candid statement in regards to the Bible, however, because it’s, well… sacred, and one would think that would matter to someone who is connected enough to a church to try to defend it online. Alas, this is the state of modern Christianity. This woman identified the greatest weakness of modern almost-Christianity, while reaching for its strengths.
I shudder at the thought of a church that adapts to the darkness of the era that it inhabits, and if it does, it’s not a church as much as it is a reflection of our vices, a kind of sycophant to the collective momentum. A Christian church should be a stalwart against those vices — a stable source of truth, morality, and decency even in an age that denies the value thereof.
The younger generations amongst us most need a stable, grounding force, because modern society, in which they were raised, rejects every convention and wisdom of our forebears as being mere “social constructs” that, by necessity of their existence, ought be deconstructed. It is within this framework that large swaths of our youth have concluded that their gender is the opposite of their biology, that every institution that surrounds them ought be destroyed (and replaced with something undefined), and that the words of historical documents don’t mean what they meant when they were written.
There is, thankfully, a growing interest amongst the youth not in spineless churches that present a diluted version of Christianity that most aligns with what is easiest to have a dinner conversation about, but in traditional ones. The allure is toward those churches that have a reverence for those who came before us, and a sense of duty to pass on the faith to posterity. This is certainly manifest if one looks at how the Catholic churches who are trying to “appeal to the young” have empty pews, while those who are holding traditional Masses do not have a problem attracting the younger generations that the former sought.
This idea that the Bible (or the Constitution) is a “living document” goes back to the very fundamental idea of whether we have absolutes at all. It’s an attempt to rewrite our society, and our religion on the most slippery foundation of subjectivism and therefore is a rejection of the notion that there are absolute truths at all. When we surrender Biblical truth as it is written, we simultaneously surrender absolute truth. Should we surrender this, we surrender every generation after us.