The other day I recalled a statement by C. S. Lewis back in the early 1950s. He was asked by Decision magazine whether he was concerned about the “de-Christianizing” of the West, especially Europe. Lewis replied, “I’m not really qualified to speak to the question of the culture, but there is definitely a de-Christianizing of the church.”
Lewis' observation is even more telling and concerning today as much cultural faddishness not just creeps, but freely gallops, into churches and into men's ministries.
I am blessed to belong to a church that would seem to the culture to be hundreds of years behind the times and amazingly indifferent to popular fashion. On the other hand, it would seem to me to be a horrifying thing to belong to a church that feels itself nano seconds behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up to the cultural climate.
J. I. Packer in Surprised by Joy describes the heretical spirit of our age, which holds that:
This is what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” (a lesson he learned from his friend Owen Barfield). Lewis defined it thus:
- the newer is the truer,
- only what is recent is decent,
- every shift of ground is a step forward,
- and every latest word must be hailed as the last word on its subject.
"the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited."Lewis explained what’s wrong with this approach:
- You must find out why it went out of date.
- Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood.
- From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also ‘a period,’ and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also a "period," and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.
Thanks to Justin Taylor - Two Worlds - for putting me onto this.