For the past few decades, we have been able to see what happens when the Christian church decides that piety and feelings are more important than truth and evidence. Gradually, pastors decided to eliminate any discussion of apologetics as well as any integration between the Christian worldview and other areas of knowledge, e.g. – economics, politics, science. What were the consequences of this emotionalization of Christianity? Well, we basically handed the commanding heights of the culture to the secular left – including furnishing them with new soldiers from our own pious families.
Consider this article in The Stream about a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The court’s Board of Professional Conduct was responding to a request submitted by several lawyers and judges, including C. Allen McConnell, a municipal court Judge whose predicament we addressedin “The ‘Soft’ Beginning of the Post-Obergefell Persecution.”
Judge McConnell said that as a Christian, he could not officiate at same-sex weddings. The Board of Professional Conduct of the Ohio Supreme Court said he must. In other words: Christians, check your faith at the bench or you may not serve as a judge in the state of Ohio.
It is helpful to go through the board’s opinion because it reveals how they will treat complaints filed against judges in the future. If a judge is the subject of a complaint filed by a lawyer, fellow judge or member of the public, the board reviews the complaint. They will apply the strained analysis of this opinion in determining whether to sanction, suspend or remove the judge from the bench.
In Ohio, judges are elected by the people, at every level, municipal, circuit court, appeals court or state Supreme Court. In many other states they are appointed. Where they are appointed there are growing efforts to weed out Christians. This advisory opinion presents a new way of removing Christians from the bench after the people have elected them to office.
In this seven-page opinion the Board claimed that there is a “self-evident principle that the personal, moral and religious beliefs of a judicial officer should never factor into the performance of any judicial duty.” In other words, Christians must check their faith at the bench if they serve as a judge in the state of Ohio.
So what we have now is a kind of “religious test” for judges. If you are a devout Christian or a devout Jew, then you can’t be a judge in Ohio. Only people reject the Judeo-Christian ethics that founded this country can be judges.
So, if we go back 50 years, what were the churches doing to stop this? Were they educating people in apologetics? Were they encouraging people to stay married? Were they educating people about feminism, the sexual revolution and no-fault divorce? Were they paying attention to cosmology and fine-tuning discoveries and making them known to the flock? Were they teaching people about how to think Christianly about economics, foreign policy, free enterprise, and so on? Were they steering young people towards areas that are related to apologetics? Were they steering young people towards careers that would place them in positions of influence? No. We had other priorities – making people feel good, and avoid controversy and conflict.
Brett Kunkle, who works for Stand to Reason, posted an interesting commentary that I tweeted earlier this week. He talks about grilling a bunch of Christian parents by pretending to be an atheist professor.
He writes this:
There was no surprise factor. The parents knew who I was and the Christian organization I represented. Indeed, I told the audience what I was about to do, turned my back on them for just a moment, and then turned round again in full atheist character. I jumped into my role and they jumped into theirs, attempting to defend the faith against atheist professor “Dr. Kunkle.” Sadly, they were ill-equipped to handle my challenges. I was glad to see their fighting spirit, but their responses were only vigorous in style, not substance. After half an hour, many parents were exasperated and I ended the role-play.
“How was that for you?” I asked. “Extremely frustrating,” was the immediate parental consensus.
“Why was it so frustrating?” I pressed. One mom blurted out, “Because I didn’t have any good answers.” As soon as the words left her mouth, tears began streaming down her cheeks. It was a painful recognition of her own inadequacy and she knew what was at stake. As I glanced around the room, other parents were nodding in agreement, eyes moist with their own tears.
Caught off guard, I began to tear up, too. I felt such compassion for these good-hearted yet unequipped parents. Quickly gathering my emotions, I looked that mom in the eyes and gently replied, “I know exactly how you feel. I felt that way, too, when Dr. David Lane was dismantling my Christianity in front of my peers, in my college philosophy class.” I told the parents my story and encouraged them to prepare themselves so, in turn, they can prepare their own kids.
Afterward, parent after parent thanked me. They expressed their deep appreciation for the wake-up call, despite the accompanying painful realizations. And the mom who burst into tears? She walked up and gave me a big hug. Then she shared how her 21-year-old son, a student at Duke University, had turned his back on Christ while at college. She was convicted to begin a dialogue with him, as well as with her second son, a junior at Village Academy. I encouraged her, shared some resources, and gave her my email address with an open invitation to contact me anytime.
Christian parents: we need to do what it takes so that OUR sons and daughters get on the Ohio Supreme Court. We need to be the ones making these decisions, not the people on the secular left. If you send your kid off to Duke University unprepared, you’re not doing a good job at parenting.