What should we do?

First, as the culture war heats up, Christians must learn to speak the truth louder and clearer. Elijah answers the charge against him and puts the problem at the feet of Ahab. “And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals (1 Kings 18:18).”

By louder and clearer I don’t mean more belligerent. I mean that we must speak the truth in love more often, in more places, and with greater clarity than ever before. The bible is clear as to how we are to speak to the culture: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” Specifically, as the culture war heats up, we must say to the culture and indeed to some segments of the church, just as Elijah did, “You have forsaken God and are worshipping idols.”

Second, as the culture war heats up, Christians must recognize just how pervasive the defection really is. In Elijah’s context we read this: “Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table (1 Kings 18:19).” Think of this subtly massive statement. Israel was God’s chosen people and yet an immense number of pagan prophets were openly supported and leading the people astray. The problem permeated all of Israel.

Christians on the whole are largely ignorant of what’s going on in Congress, of what’s going on the culture, and of what’s going on in the church. We publish a weekly e-zine, Christian News & Views. In that publication, we highlight events that might be of interest to Christians. A sampling of the headlines in last week’s issue serves to elucidate the many fronts on which the culture war must be waged. Consider these: “Al Gore: Global Warming is a Spiritual Crisis;” “Children: Bad for the Planet;” “Rudy Giuliani- Gave to Planned Parenthood Despite the Six-Time Statement he Abhorred Abortion;” “Man Claiming to be Jesus Draws a Crowd - Followers Sport 666 Tattoos;” “Lou Dobbs Chastises the Church.”

How pervasive is the defection? In our country, political correctness is replacing the Constitution (grounded in a Christian worldview). In the church, liberalism is replacing biblical authority; not simply theological liberalism, but practical liberalism. There are millions who claim that the bible is authoritative but are ignorant of what it says or refuse to apply it to their lives. The problem in ancient Israel has manifested itself throughout the church today.

Third, as the culture war heats up, Christians must point out that there is no middle ground. Again, our parallel is in 1 Kings 18, this time in vv. 20-21: “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.” The question Elijah put before the people is the question put before Christians, and indeed all in this culture.

In Israel, Baal worshipers had no problem with syncretism. As long as Baal was worshipped, the people could also tip their hats to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, God Himself does have a problem with such syncretism: it is idolatry and He will share His glory with no one. The people did not answer. Too many people in our culture and indeed the church have no answer to Elijah’s challenge either. And yet, Elijah set up a contest to demonstrate that there is no middle ground when God is involved.