Are you religiously incorrect?

Mark G. Schroeder

Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution, but that guarantee is actively being set aside for the sake of “political correctness.”  

On college campuses, speakers who promote politically conservative views are threatened with violent protests if they dare to speak. When people hold views deemed by the culture to be “politically incorrect,” they are often labeled as ignorant, closed-minded, haters, and bigots. It’s not surprising that in the face of such condemnation their voices fall silent. They conclude that it’s better to avoid the confrontation and the angry response of those who militantly claim to hold a more “enlightened” view. 

Regardless of what side of those issues you may be on, a person with an appreciation for freedom of speech must recognize that silencing debate and discussion on controversial political issues cannot be healthy for a nation that is built on freedom. 

The same kind of dynamic presents a challenge to Christians who strive to be faithful to the teachings of Scripture. In our interaction with other Christians and even with non-Christians, we face a “religious correctness” that others often try to impose on people who hold to and practice the truths of God’s Word. 

Years ago, one my seminary professors was talking to his nephew about creation. The professor stated that the Bible is clear that the world and the universe were created in six days by the power of God’s Word. His nephew said, “Uncle, nobody really believes that anymore.” The professor said, “But I believe that!” The response from his nephew was, “Nobody intelligent believes that anymore.” 

Maybe you have had a similar experience. If we say that we believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, we will be mocked for believing in fairy tales. When we state that we commune and worship only with those who share our beliefs, we are accused of being unloving, closed-minded, and judgmental. When we insist that marriage is a God-given lifelong union between one man and one woman, we are labeled as foolishly clinging to outmoded traditions and encouraged to get with the times. When we insist that taking the life of an unborn child is murder, we are said to be people who want to trample on a woman’s right to choose. When we confess that we know that heaven is ours only because of what Christ did for us, we are dismissed as misguided and naïve. 

In the view of many other Christians, and certainly in the eyes of non-Christians, we are hopelessly “religiously incorrect.” But that’s exactly where we need to be—incorrect in the judgment of many, but standing firmly on the truth of God’s Word. 

So, our biblical beliefs may mean that we are “religiously incorrect” in the eyes of those who don’t share our beliefs. What do we do in response to that? First, we continue to look to God’s Word to strengthen our faith, to increase our knowledge of his Word, and to reinforce our belief in the doctrine that we have learned. We need to be ready to hold those beliefs without doubting or wavering even when we are challenged or face hostility. Then, instead of remaining silent when people condemn and criticize, instead of having a twinge of embarrassment that our beliefs may not be popular in today’s world, we need to be ready to speak what we believe—with respect and love and gentleness. God will use the words of those who are “religiously incorrect” to bring others to know that truth that he has given to us. 


Mark Schroeder is president of WELS.


 

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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 105, Number 3
Issue: March 2018

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