This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.
Because it is almost impossible for the non-contrarian to become aware of the culture in which he lives, I am going to go to great lengths to try and prove my assertion that the evangelical Church is awash in a sea of assimilation to worldliness. The premise itself sounds positively evil to most believers who cannot even bring themselves to consider such a thing. That level of spiritual immaturity renders many believers a lost cause in the attempt to become aware of the real state of the Church in the US. Nevertheless, I hope there are some who have eyes to see the level of spiritual degradation. I am going to attack the topic from many different angles and with many different examples. Perhaps the best way to start is to ask the question, what would a church that has been assimilated to US culture accept as the primary evidence of having been assimilated? If the church has, in fact, been assimilated, then the alleged evidence of assimilation would be false. The answer to the question does prove that the evangelical Church is assimilated to US culture.
Examples of Worldliness in an Assimilated Church
It would be interesting to conduct a survey of a large number of evangelicals and ask them to list the behaviors that they deem to be most indicative of worldliness. I have not done such a formal survey but I do believe, based upon observation of a significant number of evangelical believers that three particular behaviors would show up on most everyone’s list. Although there would undoubtedly be a fairly long list of worldly behaviors, I would expect that smoking, drinking and gambling would be on just about every list. Conversely, ask a significant number of non-believers what they deem to be examples of Christian worldliness and I again believe that the unholy triumvirate of smoking, drinking, and gambling would be listed. Where do unbelievers get this idea? From the teachings of the churches, of course.
Now, if smoking, drinking and gambling are really examples of assimilation to worldly values and if believers are generally engaging in the practice of smoking, drinking and gambling, then it is logical to conclude that the Church in the US has been assimilated to local culture. However, if smoking, drinking and gambling are not really examples of assimilation to worldly values but the Church nevertheless considers them to be, then it is logical to conclude that the Church is again assimilated to local culture, but in a very different way. In the second case it really does not matter if individual believers are actually smoking, drinking and gambling. All that matters is that Christians believe smoking, drinking and gambling to be evidence of worldliness when they are not. The key question then boils down to this: Are smoking, drinking and gambling examples of worldly behavior? If they are, we need to search out evidence to see if Christians are engaging in those practices in order to determine the degree of worldliness. If they are not, we can conclude that the Church is already assimilated to the local culture by virtue of the fact that she has adopted worldly definitions of worldliness.