by Paul Mooney
Several years ago, I walked out to the edge of the Grand Canyon, near a spot where a young lady had recently jumped to her death. A nearby park ranger approached me and engaged me in a conversation about the dangers of being near the edge. He said, “There are two forces at play concerning the edge. There’s the force that pushes you toward the edge and over the edge, and then there’s a force that keeps you from falling.”
The more I thought about this, and the more I analyzed my own step toward the edge that day, I became convinced the ranger had it right. There is a force of some sort, perhaps it stems from our sense of curiosity or the desire for a better view, but it does indeed draw, at least some people, to approach the edge. Yet, all the while the second force is in play, triggering our heightened senses and warning us of the edge’s danger.
Today, almost all social commentators, politicians, newscasters, academics, pastors, philosophers, and even common men talk almost incessantly about the current and influential forces that are pushing us to the edge. Are we foolishly curious to see how “fun” it might be to break down the Judeo/Christian moral foundation of our country, to rip the U.S. Constitution to shreds? Would it satisfy our prurience to discredit the Bible by exposing it to continuous debates and dubious examinations, rather than preaching from it as the revealed Word of God? Let us keep in mind that before foundations are removed they are first cracked.
Former President Obama stated in 2007, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation, at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation and a Hindu nation and a nation of nonbelievers.” That powerful statement, combined with increasing moral decadence and increasing universal godlessness, supports the fact that the United States is increasingly a post-Christian nation (America’s Post-Christian Apocalypse, Goehle, 2015). A force of some sort is pushing us to the edge.
If secular writers, journalists and various non-Apostolic denominations dare to speak to these pressing issues concerning the “loss of Christianity’s cultural authority” (Goehle), when do we plan to join the fight? Where are our old-time, Pentecostal, holiness preachers who dared to make clear that the very essence of Christianity is the principle of separation – coming out of the world? Who will raise their shield to protect this future generation from the secularization, deception and mindless inclusion into worldliness? Who will be the voice of warning against the force that is pulling us toward the edge?
I’m an Apostolic pastor. I’m concerned. I’m troubled. I’ve decided to resist modernism and secular ideas of “enlightenment.” I’ve decided to resist spurious, choreographed worship that reeks of carnality and sensualism (1 Corinthians 14:40). I resist the blatant deconstruction of holiness, the doctrine of separation and the disparagement of the holiness lifestyle. I resist theatrical services and sermons devoid of the Spirit, devoid of discernment. I resist the democratizing or privatization of doctrine (John 18:20). This is not the time to put our beliefs up for debate. This is not the time to tell our congregations, “Whatever works for you!” This is the time to defend steadfastly the Apostles’ doctrine as never before. We cannot afford to break down spiritual authority – if we do, we lose the concept of right and wrong altogether.
I must, at all cost, fight for my family and the children, teens and ministers who are in my pastoral care. It is an imperative that they not be enticed away from pastoral authority, unethically enlisted, isolated or indoctrinated into paths of apathy and worldliness. The forces that have pushed our world to the edge must be met by a second, counter force. The force that keeps us from falling.
“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” (Jude 1:17-24).