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The recent decision of Azusa Pacific University to again reverse an earlier decision on same-sex relationships on campus, reviewed by an article earlier this week, clearly points to the need for contemporary Christians to understand that in the world we live, that there are costs to discipleship, and to know in advance how we will respond to them. It is possible to set such events aside, since they do not immediately affect one’s life, and go on as if it didn’t happen. That would be folly, and really, unfaithful.
For that indeterminate mass of religious Americans who go under the label “Evangelical,” this identity began in the early twentieth century, when many of the major Protestant denominations, what became known as “mainline,” ceased to enforce doctrinal orthodoxy. The loss of Princeton Theological Seminary in the late 1920s is commonly regarded as the signal event. The response of orthodox Christians in these denominations was in some cases to leave, but more broadly to establish a Christian subculture of liberal arts colleges, Bible colleges, mission agencies, youth ministries, publishing houses, and religious broadcasting. It was within this subculture that Christian life was lived.
Things - Secure - 1960s - Wider - Culture
Things became less secure in the 1960s, as the wider culture and its laws and policies moved away from a broadly Christian basis and toward one based on self-fulfillment and quality of life. The school prayer decision of 1962 might be regarded as the signal event here, and particularly its underlying justification of not giving offense to unbelievers. (“Established religion” was found to foster “hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs”). The common thread of the offensiveness of traditional Christian doctrine and morality runs through all the contemporary legal and social pressure against the practice of orthodox Christianity, and all the political and legal losses since then....
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