How to Develop Convictions in an Age of Confusion
by Chip Ingram, adapted from his book, Culture Shock
Within the larger Christian community, there are a great variety of views and opinions concerning human sexuality, homosexuality, abortion, the environment, and politics. These polarizing issues often bring division and confusion in our families, small groups, and churches.
Too often our response to these issues has been to argue or scream at each other, or just say nothing, but rarely do we sit down and have meaningful, deep, respectful conversations about them.
Christians—except for a vocal minority on the opposite sides of these issues—have been strangely silent. Many have reported that they have never heard a message from the pulpit on politics or the environment, let alone human sexuality, homosexuality, or abortion.
As a result, we’ve become a generation of sincere Christ-followers who have embraced the values and morals of our culture rather than those of God’s Word—to our own detriment.
Many of us want to be authentic, grace-filled followers of Jesus and we long to be instruments of life and love to those around us. We are deeply concerned and outspoken about injustice, famine, and slavery around the world and the ever-increasing violence, moral erosion, and family disintegration here at home.
Yet, for far too long we’ve been silent on the controversial issues that are shaping our culture. For far too long opposing groups have thrown rocks, slanted statistics, and vilified one another, even within the church.
There are two common groups in particular that have dominated this harmful dialogue. On one end of the continuum, are those who use hate-filled speech, name-calling and violent actions in their effort to address issues like abortion, homosexuality, and the environment. Their passion for truth and moral fidelity is admirable, but their method of communication and lack of love is anything but Christlike.
On the other hand, there are those in the church who have abandoned or compromised the moral absolutes in Scripture. In the name of tolerance, relevance, political correctness, and compassion, these Christians have embraced popular culture’s views as “Christian” views while violating the clear teaching of Scripture. Their passion to champion God’s grace and acceptance is understandable, but grace without truth is unloving and—again—anything but Christlike.
If there was ever a time for Christians to understand and sensitively communicate God’s truth about these issues, it is now. It is crucial for believers to develop convictions based on research, reason, and Biblical truth. But we must also learn how to communicate our convictions with love and respect that reflects God’s own heart.
It’s my hope that as we examine these issues, we will keep in the forefront of our thinking the truth of God’s Word and we will look to Jesus as our model of someone who responded to controversial issues with truth and grace.
Jesus brought light, not heat. He confronted unpopular and controversial issues with clarity and truth, but He treated people with dignity and respect unless their motives and hypocrisy dictated otherwise.
Jesus promised that the truth would set us free. Let’s explore the truth together. He also commanded us to love one another. Let’s put truth and love together as we explore what the Bible says and then apply its truth to today’s most divisive issues.
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