Religious freedom is on the decline. There is no doubt about this. Social sexual issues will slam the prison’s door on religious freedom. And the lack of desire for wisdom and knowledge within the church is the jailor.
Solomon pleaded with his son to not scorn wisdom. Wisdom ought to be sought, and when it is sought it is found, and when it is found it pours out its treasure to its seeker. But when wisdom is ignored, it laughs at our calamity and mocks us when terror strikes. I fear we are nearing the sound of wisdom’s mocking laughter. We have not sought wisdom as we should.
Prosperity breeds contempt for wisdom. And we live in a prosperous time. It is even a prosperous time for Christianity. In this prosperity, Christian ranks are filled with those who desire an institution that can meet their needs more than a body where they can learn and grow and serve. We have become gluttons for the work of others. We would not know what to do if someone was not “pouring” into us.
The pursuit of the knowledge of God is replaced in many with a pursuit of something that merely works. And by works, often what is pursued is a version of Christianity that brings forth the American dream rather than the Kingdom of God. This prosperity and selfish attitude has caused a slumber, a slumber in the proverbial classroom, and the church is now awakening to an exam for which it is not prepared.
The culture war is nearly lost. Secular morals are winning the day, and Christianity is fading into obscurity in the market place of ideas. Scientists own the platform, celebrities have an audience, but religious folk are being relegated to the kids table. The entire world, it seems, has subscribed to the notion that people of faith have nothing valuable to say when it comes to the important things in life. Just sit in the corner, they tell us, and try to make milk come out of each other’s nose (that is what we did at the kids table growing up) and do not bother us while we talk about grown up things.
There was a time in American history where the pastor and the politician were on a level playing field. There was a time when clergy were thought to have answers. And it was not just because people didn’t know any better back then. It was because many men and women of faith were intellectuals. They knew their bible and their history. They could speak about theology and chemistry. Now many believers are ill equipped to speak about anything that does not have a mascot in a meaningful way. And in that regard, society should place us at the kids table. If we don’t have anything meaningful to say, we ought not say anything at all. This is true.
But Christians are not in principle supposed to be excluded from the public exchanging of ideas. We are not a people of a failed epistemology and therefore a people of unreliable and dangerous beliefs. We are the heirs of truth. Our father is the initiator and founder of all things. In Him is true wisdom and knowledge.
We must, though, recapture and instill a desire for knowledge within our body. We need pastors and businessmen and doctors and mathematicians and historians and mechanics that are at the top of their field and theologians at the same time. It is high time we leave the dark ages of blind faith and enter the era of the scientist, or nurse, or school teacher theologian. Faith and reason need not be separated. And the sanctified and the secular job can be one. Meaning, the Christian doctor who pursues his field to its fullest will understand that a segregation of his faith from his vocation is not in order. And to the measure that he has studied medicine, he ought study his religion. In doing so, he will find how the latter is relevant to his field and can be useful for all.
This is how we rightly and fairly reclaim our position in shaping society.
We pursue this place in society not for ourselves but for the good of others and ultimately for the spreading of the gospel. We do not seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake but so that we faithfully love our God fully, with heart, with soul, and with mind. We seek knowledge so that in a democratic society, we are looked upon to provide answers, answers that will reflect the glory of God and result in the wellbeing of others. We do this so that upon seeing our good works, others will praise our father in heaven, and perhaps run to Him. We can have this platform if we are worthy of it. We can seek the good of others and the proclamation of the gospel through our government. It is allowed. But we must ready ourselves for the task. If we do not, we can expect a time of slavery and persecution, an un-needed time of captivity. And worst of all, it will be a suffering brought forth by our own laziness and contempt for knowledge.
Michael C. Sherrard is a pastor, the director of Ratio Christi College Prep, and the author of Relational Apologetics. Booking info and such can be found at michaelcsherrard.com.