How Can the Church Battle "Trendy" Sin?

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BobVigneault

Bawberator
The orthodox/confessional churches are going to be facing such a severe challenge. Values are decided by the TV watching public so the church is forced into battling in a public relations arena. We can't win in that forum, it is soaked in man centered motivations.

How does the church fight against TRENDY SIN? That's what we are up against. When homosexuals get standing ovations and control the public argument we have little room to effect change.

No group can resist a trend, trends are powerful elements of social change. WWJD, Prayer of Jabez, The Shack - the church itself is too easily changed by trends. Now homosexuality is becoming trendy even in the church.

Our only course is to hold the line, to try an hold the land we have occupied, but we are not going to win any popularity contests for it.

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
.........

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How can we effectively battle 'trendy sin'?
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
How can we effectively battle 'trendy sin'?
To battle trendy sin we must renew our minds with the Word of God.

With all of the homosexuals, for example, proclaiming that their trials are similar to the trials of slaves in the 19th centure or of women's right to vote, it is easy to start feeling that maybe this is kinda-sorta normal in a gross kind of way. I have to deal with this every day because I work with one.

I often have to remind myself, "What saith the Lord?" The pure water of the Word of God is effective toward thinking God's thoughts after Him.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Kim, I agree we must renew our minds but how do we take the battle into the public arena? Or do we? The majority of churches just want to be liked. What practical steps can be taken that satisfy Paul's exhortation to 'overcome evil with good'?
 

Richard King

Puritan Board Senior
We need to remember to teach that you can love a sinner and not embrace his/her sin.

Whether it is gluttony, slothfulness, homosexuality, or abortion it has to be seen as part of our sin nature that we all have. Once you tell a homosexual that you realize sin exists in ALL of us you take away the weapon they intend to use on you.

Also teaching that total depravity can only be overcome by the Spirit of God will make them realize they don't have to hate themselves.
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Kim, I agree we must renew our minds but how do we take the battle into the public arena? Or do we? The majority of churches just want to be liked. What practical steps can be taken that satisfy Paul's exhortation to 'overcome evil with good'?
Ahhhhh. I see the question. I'm not sure of a good answer, though.

Do we see a biblical precedent for churches taking the battle over specific sins to the public? I seem to remember that when the Apostles were given opportunities to speak, they proclaimed the salvation of God from sin, not a specific condemnation over one sin they found particularly offensive.

For me, I don't have any large public influence. But in my relationships with people around me, I have an obligation to speak the good news of Christ. And if I must confront a specific sin, then may God give me grace to love Him more than I "want to be liked" by a sinner.

If the Lord gave me the opportunity to appear on a major talk show or news station to discuss the homosexual debate, for example, I don't know how much I would dwell on the homosexual debate, aside from quoting God's Word on the issue. I think I would use the opportunity to preach (okay, speak--I'm a woman) Christ. He can woo sinners to love Him and to abandon their sexual sins. I cannot.

I'm still mulling over the reference to overcoming evil with good. I always took that verse in its context to be referring to specific enemies you may encounter. Though they may expect vengeance from you, the Lord says we are to love and feed our enemies, which heaps coals of fire on their heads. In this way we are overcoming evil with our good deeds toward our enemies. Perhaps I should broaden the context of this exhortation?
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I make the distinction between those who are sinners and those who form a militant movement to radically change society. Preaching 'love the sinner' will not stop the cultural slide toward making vice a virtue and decency a joke.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
We can effectively battle trendy sin within our churches through consistent church discipline. From the pulpit, faithfully preach the law and holiness of God not sidestepping sensitive toes. Knowing at all times we do such for Christ and act on His behalf under His authority.

People may be offended and may leave fellowship, but our focus is on God and His precepts, not reactions to those precepts. If any leave then they will be judged by being given over to such trendy sins.

Outside the church? School the congregation to know what they believe and why they believe it. Equip the ambassadors to faithfully represent the position of the kingdom from which they speak for. Make the focus of every training opportunity, be that Sunday Schools or Bible Studies, etc., to be knowing the scriptures and how the trends are in defiance to God's image.

As in all battles, the state of the soldiers are the key to victory or defeat. They will only be effective in areas they are prepared.
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
I make the distinction between those who are sinners and those who form a militant movement to radically change society. Preaching 'love the sinner' will not stop the cultural slide toward making vice a virtue and decency a joke.
Once again then, I would ask:
Do we see a biblical precedent for churches taking the battle over specific sins to the public? I seem to remember that when the Apostles were given opportunities to speak, they proclaimed the salvation of God from sin, not a specific condemnation over one sin they found particularly offensive.
I really would like to know. How can we influence the public? How can we change culture? Isn't it only as Christ is preached and magnified that the cultural slide toward vice will abate? Without a moral compass, there is no definite belief in what virtue and decency is.
 

Richard King

Puritan Board Senior
I make the distinction between those who are sinners and those who form a militant movement to radically change society. Preaching 'love the sinner' will not stop the cultural slide toward making vice a virtue and decency a joke.
I agree.
There is a militant faction out there.
But they are selling our opinions as 'intolerent' of the people.
I think we fail to make the distinction clear.


I guess the real battle is holding on to the concept of right and wrong.
It is fading.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
I also think that we make a mistake if we think that the radicals will be content to allow churches to "do their own thing." Already in Sweden, Canada and elsewhere we have seen pastors prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for merely proclaiming the biblical teaching on this issue.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I also think that we make a mistake if we think that the radicals will be content to allow churches to "do their own thing." Already in Sweden, Canada and elsewhere we have seen pastors prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for merely proclaiming the biblical teaching on this issue.
:ditto:

How many of us are willing to face prosecution to preach the gospel?
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
I also think that we make a mistake if we think that the radicals will be content to allow churches to "do their own thing." Already in Sweden, Canada and elsewhere we have seen pastors prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for merely proclaiming the biblical teaching on this issue.
:ditto:

How many of us are willing to face prosecution to preach the gospel?
Parental rights will be a battleground as well. See here: Another Chilling Precedent -- A Court Undermines a Parent
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I make the distinction between those who are sinners and those who form a militant movement to radically change society. Preaching 'love the sinner' will not stop the cultural slide toward making vice a virtue and decency a joke.
Once again then, I would ask:
Do we see a biblical precedent for churches taking the battle over specific sins to the public? I seem to remember that when the Apostles were given opportunities to speak, they proclaimed the salvation of God from sin, not a specific condemnation over one sin they found particularly offensive.
I really would like to know. How can we influence the public? How can we change culture? Isn't it only as Christ is preached and magnified that the cultural slide toward vice will abate? Without a moral compass, there is no definite belief in what virtue and decency is.
Maybe a more direct way to put it is this - we can only influence the public, influence culture, insofar as our members experience life change, and our members are also part of the public, and part of the culture. We will not be able to dictate behavioral change in "billboard" fashion - that is, as though we can put church signs on the side of the road with condemnations of this or that sin, and expect the public to change thereby. It just doesn't work that way - the broader world can only be changed through the Spirit- and Word-induced change in the people of the church who are also in the world.

So ... the pulpits need to be full of men who embrace the gospel and preach the whole counsel of God, and pray for the work of the Spirit within - I don't think programs that try to "influence culture" in any kind of direct way (i.e. tackling issues head-on instead of through the organic processes of human interaction by the Body of Christ) can be expected to be successful ultimately.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
"Trendy sin" isn't new. In the first century, wasn't one of the trendy sins emperor worship? As our culture reverts back to a more Pagan mindset (seen in the homosexual/feminist agendas), it seems we're returning to the relationship the church had with the state around the time of the early church. How did the early church battle trendy sin? I think we can learn from their emphasis on committed Christian character and virtue (basically the answer given in Wells' Losing Our Virtue).

The modern church (broad evangelicalism, and all of us to a degree) suffers from an inability to distinguish the church from the world (I'm not talking about theonomy vs. two-kingdoms here; Scripture makes this distinction when it says we're to be in the world but not of it). I've met many well-meaning Christians who have equated America as being a Christian nation, then equating "Christian America" with OT Israel, and thus the "foreign nations" of the OT are the foreign nations surrounding America -- we're to not be influenced by them (not realizing that "foreign nations" are our next door neighbors now). This may not be as much of a problem in Reformed circles, but it's still a problem.

I remember what Ken Myers wrote in a book of his. We're told in the Word of God to be in the world but not of it, and it seems much of the American church is of the world but not in the world! We take our cue from the unbelieving culture around us and then stay in our holy circles, not influencing the culture but allowing it to influence us. And the media plays no small part. It influences us, but we don't influence it. And while the TV is what propagandizes these "trendy sins," the solution isn't to simply throw the TV out (the fundamentalist answer) or to start "Christian TV stations" (the broadly evangelical answer) (I'm not saying things things shouldn't be done ever, perhaps certain families should throw out their TVs!).

The answer is wisdom, moderation, and discernment, or, at the very least, that's part of the answer. The rest of the time we pray that we might remain faithful and be ready for persecution -- something I don't know that I'm ready for, but it seems it's going to be coming. The other factor is instructing and praying for our children because the culture is trying to influence them more than ever before (when was advertising directed at children first started? And now it's everywhere, even with their own singers and bands).
 

Blue Tick

Puritan Board Graduate
Here are a couple of thoughts on how to combat trendy sin.

1. The preaching of the gospel. When the gospel is proclaimed and people are converted their worldview will change. Their value system will be Christocentric rather than man-centric. Secondly, when Christians (more so evangelicals but also Reformed believers) understand the doctrine of vocational calling. I believe this has a huge influence within society. When we (believers) apply the doctrine of vocational calling and work to the Glory of God we will be salt to the world. In my experience quite a few Christians I know struggle with not being "sold out" for the Lord. The thought behind this is that all believers need to be pastors, missionaries, evangelists, etc. Rather then concentrating on being "sold out" for the Lord we should accept that God has given men and women vocational callings for his glory.

These are thoughts are more directed at the Evangelical worldview; but the same principal applies to Reformed believers. We can take comfort that were called to glorify God in our vocation, which will let our lights shine before men, thus allowing us to battle with sin.

The Doctrine of Vocation


Excerpt from the article.

Luther understood that the Christian is genuinely bi-vocational. He is called first through the Gospel to faith in Jesus Christ and he is called to occupy a particular station or place in life. The second sense of this calling embraces all that the Christian does in service to the neighbor not only in a particular occupation but also as a member of the church, a citizen, a spouse, parent, or child, and worker. Here the Christian lives in love toward other human beings and is the instrument by which God does His work in the world.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
This is one reporter with her head screwed on right:

From the Calgary Herald, Senate should be spanked for reopening settled debate

Senate should be spanked for reopening settled debate

Licia Corbella
Calgary Herald


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Before my husband and I had children, we vowed we would never spank them. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure we declared our noble intentions with more than a little smugness. We, unlike others, would be enlightened parents. No corporal punishment would be meted out on our offspring. No, siree. We were too well equipped, too knowledgeable, too controlled. We would use reason with our exceptional and well-behaved children and they would understand, and listen.

Then, we had twins.

We lived up to our vow for about two-and-a-half years. That's when one of our boys started biting his brother.

We tried reasoning with our little angel. That didn't work. Then we gave him time outs. Then longer time-outs. We lectured calmly, we screamed loudly, we removed privileges. Nothing worked.

The bites became a reflex. Soon they were leaving significant marks and a very upset victim.

Eventually, we warned the biter that if he bit his brother again, he would be spanked. We didn't have to wait long. He bit his brother that same day. I spanked his clothed bottom. And guess what? It worked.

The biting stopped.

Vow broken. Sanity and peace restored. One son protected from bodily harm, another from a very anti-social habit.

Now, another raft of busybodies is trying to make it illegal for loving parents to spank their children. Again.

On Tuesday, a bill that could criminalize parents for spanking their kids cleared the Senate. Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette is the sponsor of the proposed legislation that would strike down Section 43 of the Criminal Code that states: "Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."

Hervieux-Payette's hope is that if the federal Liberals form a majority government her bill would pass and spanking children would be a criminal act.

We have been here before. Following years of court challenges in 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada thankfully didn't spank parents after all. In a 6-2 judgment with another judge having a split decision, Canada's highest court upheld the right of parents to use physical force to discipline their children if needed.

It was a victory of common sense over twisted logic. Just like we all know the difference between making love and rape, we also know the difference between spanking and abuse.

Hervieux-Payette, however, has clearly learned the concept of neverendums from her separatist provincial colleagues in Quebec because shortly after the Supremes ruled in favour of parental rights, she started working with the so-called children's rights group that lost the Supreme Court challenge four years ago.

And how's this for irony. That same group -- Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law (FCYL), formerly called the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law (CFCYL) -- that worked so doggedly to make it illegal for loving parents to spank their children is the very same group that successfully worked to make it legal for a stranger to sodomize a 14-year-old!

This is not a joke. I'm not making this up. In the late '90s this same group successfully argued in court that the age of consent for homosexuals should be lowered to 14 to match that allowed females.

Naturally, if the adult stranger was spanking the

14-year-old for some sexual purpose, that would be acceptable under this group's logic.

If, however, the spanking was administered to the child by a loving parent in a last-ditch attempt to help prevent his or her child from, say, engaging in dangerous behaviour, like having sex at 14 with adult strangers, then that, according to the FCYL should be a criminal act.

Luckily for our youth and parents, the federal Conservative government recently managed to have the age of consent raised from 14 to 16.

A small victory. Nevertheless, parental rights are clearly under attack in Canada.

Last week, a Quebec Superior Court judge not only agreed to hear the case of a 12-year-old girl who took her father to court for disallowing her to go on a three-day, end-of-year field trip with her Grade 6 class, but then overturned the father's decision and agreed with the child! The father was grounding the girl because he forbade her to post inappropriate photos of herself on the Internet, which she did anyway at a friend's house.

So, if social engineers have their way, parents won't be able to ground their kids, spank them, deny them privileges, etc.

The father's lawyer, Kim Beaudoin said it best as quoted in the National Post: "What will be too much punishment? Not going to a dance? I want my boyfriend to sleep at my house and my parents aren't letting me? I want to use the Internet and my parents aren't letting me? Where will it stop?"

Good question, eh?

Unfortunately it likely never will. Stupidity, perversion, relativism and just poor judgment are rampant.

But one thing is certain. Loving parents will always continue to do what's best for their children, regardless of what the state imposes upon them. Why? Because most parents would die for their kids, to protect them. How many of those senators and rights' groups busybodies would?
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
Its really before we sin in action. The problems start when we make a love of idols. I mean there is one thing to struggle with a particular love of a thing, or a person, so that our thinking is effected. I dont think the danger is just having a knowledge of evil, but it our attachment to these different things that make us stray. Its all so very deceptive. I think that praying according to His will brings these different idols to our attention. But we are a product of our present christian level of devotion and circumstance. At some point , not only do we entertain these different thought patterns that are destructive as being a hardening effect on our hearts, but we also do not have a comparision of the level of the past ways of God in how our foreFathers approached Him in worship and prayer. I mean, maybe they had more deeper effects, more real dealings, more of a constant stream of fellowship that was the cause of their taking these different hardening effects in their thoughts captive.
If we could not only dwell on the rite and proper main things in these doctrines, then we are going to experience the effect of that dwelling. So that our culture of thinking is evidenced by the spiritual strength we draw from the level of our prayers, the kind of prayer as how urgent, and the ability to descern when we are making these lesser truths more important than they are. For the purpose of not having to go into the level of struggle in prayer that exposes our pain from our hardness by our sin. We have a tendency to get distracted in this day and age. Our distraction is displayed in what we write about, the level of passion in how these doctrines effect us in prayer, and how we fellowship on a daily basis.

I think we need more pastors who know how to pray in private as to be able to see these different attacks from Satan, and have such a clear vision as to the importance of bringing to bear on these different hardnesses in a community sense that not only does it effect the minds but it really is driven into the heart. God goes through this process with us, in tilling our own hearts by examining us, and then driving us to the end of our selves so that we must go to Him or else, and then bringing on such a vision of His glorious Son that we are driven to speak to Him until we have found Him. And then in finding Him we have no other wants.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
BobVigneault;

but how do we take the battle into the public arena? Or do we? The majority of churches just want to be liked. What practical steps can be taken that satisfy Paul's exhortation to 'overcome evil with good'?
Stop compromising, Stop caring if those in the world LIKE us or not..begin to really FEAR what God says what He can and WILL do as opposed to what man (government) can do.

Pray, I don't think many Christians really believe God does answer prayers, as it's typically the last thing they do..not the first.

Stop calling sin a disease and start calling it what it is..SIN!!

I've known many children doctors say have "opposition defiance disorder" I call them rebellious, God says not to spare the rod--parents have spared the rod and spoiled the child..parents need to go back to using the rod of correction without fear of man, but in fear of God.

Yes, God is a loving God, but He is also a God to be feared if we rebel against Him.

As Christian's we need to know What God says and DO IT!!
 

rjlynam

Puritan Board Sophomore
Kim, I agree we must renew our minds but how do we take the battle into the public arena? Or do we? The majority of churches just want to be liked. What practical steps can be taken that satisfy Paul's exhortation to 'overcome evil with good'?
How about committing to praying for revival? That may sound like the easy answer, but I just heard a sermon on it from a guest speaker at our church which I referred to in another post.

The sermon is on our website, entitled

"Prayer, The Answer to the Need for Revival"

from a guest speaker we had from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

I have committed myself to praying diligently for revival; and I'm expecting great things.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
In general,
(1) We need to hold to the commands of Scripture and the proper standard of righteousness within ourselves and our own households, training up our children in the way they should go.
(2) We need to ensure that leaders in our church hold to the same in their preaching and ministry to the families in the congregation.
(3) We need to ensure the same with regard to our church's outreach to the community.
(4) We need to pray the the Spirit of God would enable #1,2,3 within ourselves, our families, and our church, and that he would accompany the ministry of his word to the community with conviction and repentance. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Many churches that feel a need to battle "trendy sin" come off as negative reactionaries, i.e., they rail every week about the culture around them and some produce congregants that think that being "discerning" means being a crab towards everyone not in one's own narrow tradition and can more easily tell you what the Gospel is not rather than what the Gospel is.

I have seen some Fundy preachers whose job they think is to climb the pulpit every week (or maybe the auditorium) and deliver a list of reasons why Harry Potteris wrong, the prayer of Jabez is wrong, this is wrong, thatis wrong and to emphasize ...I'm going get worked up and yell about it. Preachers should not be looking like angry men every wekk.

I would propose that we preach the Word of God with positive implications for our lives and not dwell on showing how every other group is wrong. Sure, we need to point out errors, but we can do so with a smile and while showing the beauty of Christ. I do NOT think that painting God in unneccesarily harsh colors is the answer.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ;
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

Ephesians 4:17-24
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
Many churches that feel a need to battle "trendy sin" come off as negative reactionaries, i.e., they rail every week about the culture around them and some produce congregants that think that being "discerning" means being a crab towards everyone not in one's own narrow tradition and can more easily tell you what the Gospel is not rather than what the Gospel is.

I have seen some Fundy preachers whose job they think is to climb the pulpit every week (or maybe the auditorium) and deliver a list of reasons why Harry Potteris wrong, the prayer of Jabez is wrong, this is wrong, thatis wrong and to emphasize ...I'm going get worked up and yell about it. Preachers should not be looking like angry men every wekk.

I would propose that we preach the Word of God with positive implications for our lives and not dwell on showing how every other group is wrong. Sure, we need to point out errors, but we can do so with a smile and while showing the beauty of Christ. I do NOT think that painting God in unneccesarily harsh colors is the answer.
I agree, we can go wrong in the application of the truth. Or it could be a sermon that is just very simple and to the point. I mean, the only thing we get is the 5 points of this and the 8 points of that. But real preaching is not focused on man. Paul says that God takes the foolish things of the world as wise. In a sense even as a congregation we should all be there to hear a word from God. I guess that assembling together is about the focus. The one thing we seek. Its very simple, cause if it is too smart then its from man.

So the complicated stuff is actually written by God and made to work by the Spirit. And yet its so simple because the pastor just gives the message that he got from someone else. So that the simple focus is to hear from God by His word alone. Then the application will be as if the message is getting into the mind of the hearer rather than just dealing with the outward behavior.
 
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