speaking of culture

The late Dr. Walter Fremont of Bob Jones University, well-beloved by his students and those who knew him, had a few good things to say from time to time. An article from a BJU publication, Balance, is available on the BJU Press web-site: Genuine Christians Can Make a Difference.

Dr. Fremont lists five important influences in a declining culture:

  1. A redefinition of sin. …
  2. The breakdown of the home and family. …
  3. Communication media. …
  4. Rock music. …
  5. Materialism. …

He says,

With these kinds of influences, it is no wonder that our culture has undergone a drastic change and has seriously affected the Christians of this generation. Even among Fundamentalists, Christianity tends to be superficial, materialistic, and worldly.

All of that is on the analysis side. I think Dr. Fremont was right when he wrote. The Lord knows he is even more right today.

Typically, though, Dr. Fremont didn’t just end bemoaning societies ills. He of the ‘positive faith attitude’ is all about solutions. How about these:

First, we can clearly define sin in our thinking and in our conversation by rejecting the present psychological viewpoint that problems are caused by early childhood influences and environment. …

Second, we can continually work on strengthening the home and family unit, making sure that our family is a testimony for permanence and love.

Third, we can encourage the reduction and control of TV viewing in our homes…

Fourth, we can cut out rock music entirely from our homes and instead provide a wholesome environment of good music.

Fifth, we can start giving away money and things instead of seeking to acquire to achieve status and comfort.

But, he notes, these five are purely a defensive position. More is needed (and perhaps this may be where fundamentalism has major failures – we may have been too satisfied with purely defensive positions). On the offensive side, Fremont advocates:

  1. Faith
  2. Love
  3. Holiness
  4. Evangelism

For a full understanding of what Dr. Fremont is advocating, be sure to read the whole article. He concludes with his typical faithful spiritual optimism (not merely a positive attitude, but living faith in God):

It is only through the power of Jesus Christ working in and through born-again Christians that anything can be accomplished. “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Each born-again Christian must decide that he is going to change the culture in which he lives by living and teaching these themes. In the home children will be greatly affected as they observe their parents. In the community, neighbors will be affected as they see Christians activating these themes. In business, corporate leaders will be influenced as they see their partners and employees living these themes. There will be revivals in churches and Christian schools if enough Christians decide to make the changes to bring their lives into line with God’s themes. If any changes are going to come about in our culture in the next generation, they will be determined by what we born-again Christians do with these themes today.

I am unashamed of my BJU education. It is men like Fremont (who I never had for a class, but his influence at the University was inescapable and we were members of the same church) and a whole host of others who shaped my philosophy and thinking. We perhaps are seeing how unique and valuable they were as they are now passing off the scene.

Anyway, I encourage you to read the whole article.