Years ago I read Francis Schaffer’s book “How Should We Then Live”. The book was very good, and resulted in much thought and reflection on my part on what was right and wrong based on what God said, not man, as Schaffer put it, “there is a true truth”. The book was basically about the difference in values and standards between the culture of the Western World and the Bible. The book came out in the mid 70’s when I was a student at Western Baptist Bible College in Salem, Oregon now called Corban University. The difference now between the culture of the United States and the standards of the New Testament are much greater than when I first read it. As I read and study the Bible, and attempt to teach it with relevance and accuracy the greatest challenge is stated in Romans 12:2 where the Apostle Paul says, “do not be conformed to this world”. We live our lives submerged in a nation with values and standards that are increasingly contrary to the Words of the Bible, and it is very easy to allow the morals and standards that are all around us to seep into the “true truth”. Part of the problem is that it isn’t very comfortable being radically different, which is exactly what a person who follows the Biblical admonition of “do not be conformed to this world” will become. The greater the difference grows between these two world views the more pressure there is to conform. When the New Testament was written the difference between the Roman Empire and the brand new Christian belief was probably much like today, which probably is why Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 16:13, ” be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong”.
But in the midst of the clash between our two contrary cultures there is the need to be loving, gracious, kind, and wise, which is probably why Paul followed up verse 13 with verse 14 which says, “Let all that you do be done in love”. So “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong, and let everything you do be done in love”. Sounds nearly impossible, but the person who successfully lives that life will be an effective ambassador for “true truth”. One of the principles of Schaffer that I keep in mind is that the greater the difference between the two cultures grows, the clearer and more obvious ” true truth” will become to those truly looking for truth.