It is a shame that our society and culture has such a strong pull on us, but it is nothing new. For centuries the Church has been pushed, pulled, and shaped by society. Certainly the Church was a major influence on society for centuries but we have to consider who was leading the Church and what was influencing them. For centuries the Church was used and abused by people who saw her as an opportunity to have power over people. It is a wonder that she has arrived to this day with still a notion to her own identity. But then again, she was not born of man's thinking but of the Spirit of God. No matter what man might try to do with her, the Spirit will always preserve the Church.
From the very beginning the Church was different from man's society and culture. She was not born out of any ideas of the age and she was never meant to be shaped by a changing philosophies or a shifting societal value system. The Church has always meant to be a beacon of light in a darkened world. She has not been there to try to control people but to influence the "sick and dying" of this age to turn to Jesus for "healing". We are not the movers and makers of man's politics but the voice calling out of the wilderness, that Jesus is the answer for everything. The message of God remains the same, it does not change as society changes. Hell does not suddenly disappear because it is out of favour. Jesus does not suddenly become one way out of many because of a multi-cultural society. Accept it or reject it, Jesus is the only way to the Father. That is at the heart of the message of the Church.
Some people might be surprised to hear, after all these years of fighting for equal rights, that the Church held out equal rights to everyone from the very beginning. Remember I am talking about the Spirit led Church, not the abomination that some called the Church. Read the Word of God and understand the relationship within the Body of Christ:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)
There it is. We need no other argument nor any other plea. You and I are one in Jesus Christ. Neither our age, gender, height, size, colour of skin, level of education or anything else matters. The only thing that matters is our faith and because of that faith you and I are on equal footing, cherished and loved by our Father.
Now if we examine the history of the Church we will discover all kinds of things that happened that came against this very simple truth found in the Word of God. But remember, there is the Church that is shaped by the thinking of man, by the practices of our society, and then there is the true Church, led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, whose members live by every word found in the Word of God. These are those who refuse to be swayed by society and who hold out these truths as divine. I think many people would be shocked to discover the real truth if they could just get past the marketed version of the Church of this age. Many think they are living by the Word but in reality they are living by man's opinion of that truth. People need to read and study the Word for themselves.
Many of us are victims of the influence our society has on the Church and of our own selfishness. The Word says no but our society says yes. We find some arguments of why the Word doesn't really mean what it says so we can do what we want to do. I have done it. I have made major decisions, wrong decisions based on what society finds acceptable but the Word of God guides against. Most of us have. We have to stop and get back to the Word and study it for ourselves. We have to stop excusing it away and make the hard decisions. We have to stop watering down what the Church is, what she represents and the cost of being a stone in her walls. We are the Church, born of the Spirit, based on the Word, saved by our Lord and loved by our Father. Society has nothing on us as we give our hearts and minds entirely to Jesus. Be influenced by the Spirit and Word and refuse the pull of our dying society.