Friday, January 24, 2014

If Everything is Secular, Nothing is Sacred: The Other Side of the Secular/Sacred Coin

Last week I preached a sermon and posted four blogs (see below) regarding the Protestant call to tear down the sacred/secular wall of separation. The argument is simple. Because God is creator, then all that he has created is good including, but not limited to, work, sex, marriage, and family. The fall, however, distorts all of these. Work is given the moral status of good, thus it is sacred, in the Garden, but with the Fall of Genesis 3, work gets distorted in the extremes of laziness and workaholism.  Likewise, sex, marriage, and family, sacred in themselves, become distorted. Thus now we have rape, dead-beat dads, divorce, adultery, pornography, etc.

Redemption restores all of this. The cross redeems work returning it back to its original purpose. The same is true with sex, marriage, and the family. As a result, even menial tasks are sacred. A mother changing her child's diaper is glorifying God in such a sacred act. A father who gets up early to work at a mundane job in order to provide for his family is fulfilling a sacred calling. When we live according to the gospel, all that we do is sacred.

In the end, Christians must tear down this wall of separation. Instead of living in two worlds, let us see God in all things. Failing to do so robs God of His glory.

This issue is important for another reason. If Christians remain stuck living in this dichotomy, then nothing will be sacred. We are seeing this already.

The last five years has seen an increase assault, a soft-tyranny if you will, on religious liberty. Religious institutions are slowly going the way of the buffalo because of government regulations. There simply is less room for religious charities in the public square who refuse to compromise on their religious beliefs. Any charity that stands against gay marriage or abortion is being regulated out of business.

A few years ago, the President and high ranking members of his administation, like then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would oddly leave out any mention of God when quoting the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, they repeatedly spoke of the freedom of worship as opposed to the freedom of religion. The difference is not insignificant. Freedom of worship limits religious expression to the walls of a church. Religious liberty welcomes religious expression and convictions in the public square. The Obama administration, in its rhetoric, were denying the latter liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

In addition to the secular assault on religious liberty, there is the reality of cultural rot. If everything is secular, nothing is sacred. John Stonestreet once commented, If everything is to be laughed at, then nothing is sacred. If nothing is sacred, nothing is worth fighting, dying, or even living for. This, I believe, explains a lot of the moral chaos we are witnessing everyday today. Personal autonomy is the new god of society. Nothing is more sacred than the self. Marriage exists for me. Sex exists for me. Work exists for me. We are witnessing a generation consumed with entertainment and debt. Perpectual adolescents has become the norm. Instead of men growing up and taking on their God-given masculine responsibility, they live with the parents well after college.

If everything is secular, nothing is sacred. And that is a recipe for disaster.

For more:
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther
The Secular vs. the Sacred: Wax on the Lordship of Christ
Martin Luther on the Secular/Sacred Dichotomy 
Nancy Pearcey on the Secular/Sacred Dichotomy
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