The Spiritual Strongholds in Secularism.
This week we continue with part 2 of understanding the Impact of Secularism in Europe.
Impact of Secularism on Europe cannot be evaluated only by social or political factors but the through the spiritual impact it had on the continent. This helps us to identify the ‘Spiritual Strongholds’ involved in Secularism.
1. The Impact of Secularism on Europe.
As noted last week, ‘Secular Humanism’ is a man-centered ethical system which affirms that ‘man is the measure of all things.” The Council for Secular Humanism says that “Because no transcendent power will save us, secular humanists maintain that humans must take responsibility for themselves.”
Yet is secularism’s very rejection of the spiritual or supernatural becomes the basis by which Spiritual Strongholds are established – since it blinds people from the eternal realities.
This eventually hinders people from experiencing the truth of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ.
The denial of the spiritual degrades human beings who are created in the image of God and devalues them to mere material beings – denying humanity of a superior value and purpose.
a. Identifying the Strongholds of Deception.
Jesus’ promise of Abundant Life offers men and women a supreme level of life and fulfilment – both now and eternally. Secularism makes people become totally dependent on what they can do for themselves. This has caused a deep sense of hopelessness and loss of meaning to life. Young people especially, have lost the sense of identity and have been driven by hopelessness to find meaning to life in drugs, sex, materialism, and different ideologies, and others even to suicide.
b. Satan’s twofold Strategy.
Satan is identified by Jesus as the ‘thief’ and a ‘liar’ (John 8 & 10), who robbed the truth of God’s Word through Secularism. Through these two strategies of stealing and lying, Satan has kept the people in Europe under blindness and bondage. Their freedom is not dependent on intellectual or philosophical solutions, but by breaking the Spiritual Strongholds which only can be brought about by prayer!
Prayer against the Stronghold of Deception.
- Let us Pray that the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth to sweep across Europe bringing conviction and guide them to all Truth.
- Let us Pray that the Church in Europe will rise up in Prayer and authority over the stronghold of secularism.
- Only the Holy Spirit can confront the deception of Secularism and reveal the Truth.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13.
2. Impact on Values, ethics and morals.
Larry Tomzak notes that the overwhelming majority of people in Europe and other nations ordered their lives according to traditional Judeo-Christian values and schools, entertainment, and the government upheld these standards. But they had evaporated resulting in a secular, post-Christian culture, rejecting a biblical worldview, which is non-negotiable for life.
Erroneous thinking and anti-biblical worldviews have consequences. For many, it leads to addictions, health problems, and even premature death or suicide. He notes that
seventy-six percent of millennials believe that cohabitation is acceptable and are seriously deceived, which God calls them to repent of “lifestyle fornication.”
a. The Stronghold of Denying the Truth.
Secular humanism is philosophically naturalistic which holds that nature is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method.
Since Naturalism asserts that supernatural entities like God do not exist, they hold that morals and ethics is consequential, to be judged by results.
This contrasts with so-called command ethics, in which right and wrong are defined in advance and attributed to Divine Authority. Yet, Humanist Manifesto declares that “No god will save us,” – “we must save ourselves!”
b. Lie of Ethical Relativism.
Atheism in secular humanists leads most to adopt ‘Ethical Relativism’ – the belief that no absolute moral code exists and therefore man must adjust his ethical standards in each situation according to his own judgment. If God does not exist, then He cannot establish an absolute moral code and Humanist Max Hocutt says that human beings “may, and do, make up their own rules… Morality is not discovered; it is made.”
c. Consequences of Lies:
However, Tomzack notes that erroneous thinking has consequences and sinful behavior brings suffering, maybe not immediately, but inevitably. Masses of people are suffering tragic consequences reaping what they’ve sown, having followed pop culture instead of perspectives rooted in the Word of God.
Contrary to what culture propagates concerning truth being subjective for each to interpret as he feels, the Bible teaches absolute truth and of that we can be absolutely certain!
Success and stability in life come from embracing maxims such as these:
- Truth exists and is knowable.
- Truth upheld brings blessings.
- Truth disregarded brings consequences.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness Romans 1:18
d. Stronghold of Alternative Values.
We know that God as the Creator has given His moral code which gives value and dignity to Human life. God’s prescription for Life and Blessing is depended on Obedience and Scriptures warns us of the dangers of disobedience.
However, the Secularist have created their own values to defy God’s moral code of Ten Commandments and create an alternative which they called ‘The Ten Commitments’
While these may seem noble and honorable, they are totally based on human ability and achievement which opposes God’s standards.They prefer ‘Option over Obedience’ and this stronghold blinds people from the impending judgement of God and denies experiencing the Blessing of God.
Prayer Against the Stronghold of Lies in Secularism.
- Truth has been hijacked and let people into captivity. Therefore, we must have compassion on those who are lost and are destined for judgement.
- Let us identify and pray for Europe like Isaiah identified with the condition of Israel and ask God to intervene by His Power.
Yes, we know what sinners we are.
For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us.
Yes, we know what sinners we are.
We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord.
We have turned our backs on our God.
“Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found.
Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed.
Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice.
He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.
So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
and his justice sustained him.Isaiah 59:12-16
Prayer for the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth.
- Let us believe that the Holy Spirit is greater than Secularism’s Strongholds and He is able to bring a great movement in Europe:
- We must pray for God’s Mercy over the people of Europe that God will open their spiritual eyes to see the Truth.
“When he (Holy Spirit) comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me. ” (John 16:8)
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
3. Church’s Historical Failure to Respond to Secularism.
Some say that the Church in Europe is somewhat responsible for the current wave of Secularism.
Europe’s history has tragic stories of division, conflict, and wars, based primarily on religious beliefs which divided the nations. Such history has contributed to a negative outlook of European people towards religion.
The origin of modern secular culture is to be looked for at the end of the period of religious wars in post-Reformation Europe. In order to restore social peace in multi-confessional societies, the political system, the authority of the law, and also the public culture at large had to be based on a foundation other than religion – whose contents had become controversial.
The new foundation was human nature, systems of natural law, a natural morality, even a natural religion were designed to satisfy that need.
Gordon Olson also notes that secularism was strengthened by the Protestant Liberalism of 19th Century Germany, which was the seed bed of the destructive higher criticism of the Bible. When the rationalism began to undermine the teaching of Scripture in the Lutheran State Church of Germany failed to counteract the false teaching. The State Churches of Europe were riddled with secular, humanistic theology, and it was only matter of time before society followed suit in sweeping secularization on the Continent of Europe.
He writes: “God was depersonalized, Christ was humanized, man was deified, and the Bible was evolutionalized, that is, made to fit the evolutionary mold of the liberal theologians.”
When the Church became secular, it was not surprising that the society becomes Secular.
Prayer for Repentance.
- We can pray and repent with the Church of Europe so that this stronghold of liberal theology can be broken in resulting in freedom for people of Europe from Secularism.
- Like Daniel who prayed for the Church in captivity, we invite you to join in this prayer from Daniel to Pray for Revival in Europe.
Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.
8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lordour God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.Daniel 9: 4-12, 18-20
18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Next Week: Prayer for Evangelization of Europe.
- Larry Tomzak: Why Biblical Worldview is Essential.
- Gordon Olson: Europe – Re Evangelizing Secular Christians.
- The Gospel Coalition: 9 Things you should know about Secularism