Thursday, July 16, 2009

The 1925 Scopes Trial and the 21st Century Christian

Matthew 18:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The 1925 Scopes Trial (Monkey Trial) as defined by Wikipedia:

The "Scopes Trial" (State v. Scopes, Scopes v. State, 152 Tenn. 424, 278 S.W. 57 (Tenn. 1926), often called the "Scopes Monkey Trial") was an American legal case that tested the Butler Act, which made it unlawful, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, "to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals."[1] This is often interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution. The case was a critical turning point in the United States' creation-evolution controversy.

After the passage of the Butler Act, the American Civil Liberties Union financed a test case, where a Dayton, Tennessee high school teacher named John Scopes intentionally violated the Act. Scopes was charged on May 5, 1925 with teaching evolution from a chapter in a textbook which showed ideas developed from those set out in Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. The trial pitted two of the pre-eminent legal minds of the time against one another; three-time presidential candidate, Congressman and former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan headed up the prosecution and prominent trial attorney Clarence Darrow spoke for the defense.[2] The famous trial was made infamous by the fictionalized accounts given in the 1955 play Inherit the Wind, the 1960 film adaptation, and the 1965, 1988, and 1999 television films of the same title.

I went to a conference not long ago where this case was highlighted as the beginning of the church separating itself from culture. If you haven't heard of this case before click here to read a brief summary. Basically, what this case did was bring the teaching of evolution into the classroom, where it had once been banned. The other side was it caused Christians to go inside their churches and themselves. The church is declining in America and especially my own denomination, the Southern Baptist. Just google Southern Baptist Decline. We are even lacking in our missions giving, which is an area we are usually very "proud" of. I believe next month we are taking up a special offering to try and make up the difference. At the conference I attended, there was a debate where the President of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Danny Aiken, was participating. The debate had to do with the Culture and the Church, basically who is influencing who? As we can see from this last Presidential election, it is quite obvious that the culture has come to have more influence over the church, than the church over culture. Why is this you may ask? One of the biggest reasons is because the church quit going. We decided to huddle in our churches and small groups, and play it safe. We decided we didn't want to be around sinners that were smelly, and drank, and cussed, and did things we didn't think were right, and believed things different than us. We only wanted to be around "good" people. We kept our "christianity" hid, and didn't really talk to any of those people "out there". Now, here it is 2009, and basically christians are laughed at, or ignored. We have no authority in culture, and our churches that look exactly like the world, do not impress the world. At this conference I attended there were many, many young people in their 20's and 30's. The one major theme of the entire conference was repentance. Repent, repent, repent. Repent of your self righteousness, and your desire for your own lives and comfort. Go out, go out, go out. Jesus went to the sinners. He went to the smelly people, the ugly people, the major messed up people. One Pastor who spoke said his congregation had gone to Durham County's WORSE elementary school that was about to close, and volunteered to work in the school to assist the teachers and students. Two years later it was the top elementary school. They couldn't MENTION Jesus, but they loved like Jesus, and when it was over they gave GOD all the glory. That school was impressed. They saw Jesus through those people. They saw a body of believers that served. That church of believers didn't just talk about Jesus and say verses, they lived it. They went out in the culture and showed people the love of Jesus. They influenced people by serving and loving them like Jesus. We have to go my friends, because that is what Jesus calls us to do. He did it for us. Pam

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