Dying Seminaries, Dying Churches: the Rotten Fruit of Accommodation

In "The Bible vs. Heart," Dennis Prager writes that there is nothing -- not any religious or secular body of work -- that comes close to the Bible in forming the moral bases of Western civilization and therefore of nearly all moral progress in the world, and without the Bible,

"....there would not have been Western civilization, or Western science, or Western human rights, or the abolitionist movement, or the United States of America, the freest, most prosperous, most opportunity-giving society ever formed." (Townhall.com, Apr 02,  2013)

But America and the West are no longer Christian but secular (atheist) and 'feelings' have usurped the Bible.  Prager comments:

"We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong." (ibid)

Where practical atheism and 'feelings' rule there is no God of Revelation, no transcendent Moral Law, no sin, no unchanging truth, no abiding principles and no need for salvation.  Instead, haughty self-indulgent 'feelings' 'dreams' 'wishes' 'desires' 'passions' 'intellectual pride' and 'transgression' enforced by the rebellious will reign.  But "the will" said Dostoevsky with his acute insight, "is the closest to nothing; the most assertive are closest to the most nihilistic."

The self-indulgent person, whether he calls himself Christian or not, is a rebel.  While sex, drugs, rock and roll, contempt, obscenity, seething hatred, decadence and flouting of authority and tradition characterize America's cult of nihilism,  the most common mark said Francis Schaeffer, are worn-out blue jeans.  As far back as 1960, certain Christian colleges were churning out Christian rebels,

"They knew they were, for they wore the rebel's mark---the worn-out blue jeans.  But they did not seem to notice that the blue jeans (were) the mark of accommodation---that indeed, everyone was in blue jeans"...It is so easy to be a Christian radical in the wearing of blue jeans, "when it fits in with the general climate of wearing blue jeans." (The Great Evangelical Disaster, Schaeffer, p. 98-99)

What they were saying, said Schaeffer, is "We are the 'new evangelicals,' the 'open evangelicals' who have,

"...nothing to say which stands in clear confrontation and antithesis to the surrounding culture.'    

Raggedy t-shirt, blue-jean wearing new evangelical pastor dresses down to be cool, said Dr. Randy White:

" As long as you do that, all will be well.  It helps if you’ll fancy up your hair, spending more on it than a lot of women. If you don’t have hair, shave the head and grow a goatee. These are the secrets to success. Then wear some tight- fitting designer jeans and excessively expensive hip shoes-- if you wear shoes at all.......Most of the clothing men wear in the modern pulpit today would not fit the dress code of the school classroom, the bank, the retailer, or even the local Chic-fil-a.  Pastors, it’s time to put on your big-boy pants, and get to work."  (The Modern Pastor, Dr. Randy White, worldview weekend, March 28, 2013)

Christianity has been plagued by accommodation time and again through the centuries, and in particular in the 19th and 20th centuries.    At the turn of the century Dr. Harold J. Ockenga wrote about the liberalism to which the contemporary church has been and continues accommodating itself:

"Destructive higher criticism of the Bible became the dominant approach among theologians at the close of the nineteenth century and during the early twentieth century.  When joined with naturalistic evolution, it produced liberalism...(liberalism) accommodated Christianity to modern scientific naturalism..." (Schaeffer, p. 99)

In 1907 Pope Pius X noted with alarm that liberalism was taking hold of the contemporary mind, and in that way taking possession of Western civilization, including Catholic laity and priests.   The Pope defined liberalism as "Modernism" and in 1907 declared it a synthesis of all heresy's together with its' primary doctrine evolution in the encyclical called Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

Today, not only has the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant and much of the Evangelical church accommodated itself to evolution, which necessitates the reduction of the Genesis account to poetic language or myth thereby compromising the whole Bible, but  as eminent Catholic theologian Malachi Martin observed, the accommodation of Roman Catholicism to Modernist heresy has significantly diminished belief among Christian churchman as a whole, including prominently:

"...the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy (who have) relegated the very existence of Satan to the same fate as basic Roman Catholic and Christian teaching..." (Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans, Martin, p. xv)

And it is killing Protestant seminaries:

"America’s mainline Protestant seminaries are in crisis, but so far they seem to be spending more energy dodging tough choices than preparing for the future. A recent article at Inside Higher Ed describes the enrollment collapse at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Luther is one of the most important Lutheran seminaries in the country, but its status wasn’t enough to insulate it from the forces upending seminaries everywhere. Enrollment fell off sharply, and the institution ”was running multimillion-dollar deficits, spending down its endowment and relying on loans.” (Are Seminaries Putting their Blue Days Behind Them? Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, Apr. 2013)

Dr. Peter Jones, author of "Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America" connects modernism (liberalism) to ancient devilish Gnosticism, saying they are kindred-spirits. He points to  Liberalism as the carrier of the occult spiritual virus (satanic revolt) into the Body of the Church where it acts to divide Christians against each other.

As the spirit of rebellion sweeps through the Evangelical church it divides Christians into two opposing camps, with traditionalists in one corner and accommodationists in the other .  Citing "Evangelicals Divided," in the April edition of First Things, Janice Crouse writes:

"First Things warns, "If evangelical theology...does not exercise the kind of intellectual humility required by Traditionalism, it will not survive...it will risk disintegrating into ever more subjectivist and individualistic sects, many of them neither evangelical nor orthodox." (Beware: Hell Exists, There's No Christianity without Sin, Death, and the Resurrection, Washington Times)

"Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."   Proverbs 16:18

Pride, ignorance, unfettered feelings, and weakness lend themselves to accommodation.  Accommodation leads first to irrelevance and then to death.  Throughout the West and America dying seminaries and dying churches point first of all to the rotten fruit of accommodation, and second, to the loss of faith in the living God and Christian Truth that  sustains our souls and culture.   As a consequence said Schaeffer,

"We are not only losing the church, but our entire culture as well.  We live in the post-Christian world which is under the judgment of God." (p. 90)

@Linda Kimball