“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
One of the characteristics of a postmodern culture is the rejection of objective, moral truth. Postmodernism embraces a moral relativism that seeks to set conventional ideas of right and wrong on their head. Likewise, a secular culture in one in which religious ideas and institutions have ceased to hold sway in the minds of the majority. All this is meant to free us from religious and moral strictures that would impede one’s personal choices. Simply put, we don’t want anyone telling us how to think, what to believe, or how to behave. “We can figure that out for ourselves, thank you very much! Keep your religion to yourself, if you must hold to it at all,” is more and more becoming the cry of our culture.
A few brave souls, guided by their Christian convictions and belief in moral absolutes, have not yet learned to play by the rules of the game – that dissent from this progressive cultural narrative is not permitted and that a heavy price is to be paid by the one who so transgresses. Thus, when the Affordable Care Act demanded that David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, provide types of contraception to his employees that would have terminated an early pregnancy, he refused. He bravely put his company against the wheels of government and fought for his religious liberty. He was vilified in every way imaginable by those wanting to bury all vestiges of religious morality, despite the fact that his company was still offering over a dozen other forms of contraception to their employees that did not violate the biblical principles upon which his company was built (a fact that garnered little attention by the press and other secular, progressive groups).
We can see a lot of examples of the resistance to all forms of moral absolutes in our culture, especially those born of religious motivation. Progressives have long seen the Bible as archaic, irrelevant, and downright repressive, mostly because it has the unmitigated gall to suggest that there are some things one should and shouldn’t do. The vitriol has gotten more intense as wholesale acceptance of any and all lifestyle choices is demanded without right of dissent or even discussion. As a movement that rejects objective, moral reasoning, postmodernism is based more on feeling than on cogent argument or logic. Thus, we see the anger when reasons are given in opposition to the ridiculous levels of absurdity to which postmodernism reaches. Calling a man a “woman” or right “wrong” doesn’t make it so, no matter how persecuted one feels by the facts. Rational debate and dissent are now considered “micro-aggressions” likely to send the hypersensitive progressive scurrying to their safe space. Worse than that, objecting to the absurdities of postmodern progressivism is likely to cost one their job, especially if they are courageous enough to express their more traditional beliefs publicly.
While this movement away from moral absolutes may seem like freedom to those who live outside the Christian worldview, Jesus had a very different take. He encouraged His followers to enter by the narrow gate, so called because it is confined and defined by strict, even immutable, boundaries. The path to life, says the Master, is a narrow way, hedged about with boundaries set by God Himself. These moral parameters are not set to repress but to protect, for outside of this narrow path is death. Jesus says the way to destruction is broad. Ironically, this broad, unrestricted path is exactly what our culture is unreservedly demanding. Jesus said you can tread that path if you choose, but the end of it is destruction. It is the easier path for it has no restraints, no restrictions, and no prescriptions for how one should think or live. It’s what the world calls freedom. It’s what any loving, sensible parent would see as a recipe for disaster!
We all grew up with boundaries designed for our protection. There were prohibitions of every sort as well as a multitude of requirements, from wearing a helmet for bike riding, a jacket for the cold, and even a curfew to bring us back under the shelter of our home at an appropriate hour. We may have strained at the reigns, as children are wont to do, but we intuitively understood the boundaries and requirements were given, not out of some aberrant parental oppression, but out of love: not to repress our fun but to safeguard our lives. And yet, when it comes to our Heavenly Father’s boundaries, man strains at the reigns with all his might, seeking to burst them asunder, as though they were the chains of a tyrant rather than the safeguards of a loving Father. “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).
If the prevailing cultural sentiment is that God is too narrow for a modern, progressive society, they’ll really hate the fact that Jesus expressly said that salvation can be found only in Him. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Truth is, by its very nature, exclusive. Two or more competing truth claims cannot all be right. They can all be wrong, but only one can be right. That is why there is but One way, and that way is narrow.
Part of me hopes that the trend we’re seeing toward postmodernism will eventually die out. It is difficult for me to believe that a rational society can embrace such an untenable cultural ethos for long. However, man’s capacity to justify his sinful inclinations is one of the most pervasive and undeniable historical facts. Men justified the Holocaust in the name of “bettering” mankind, after all. All such attempts to throw off the rule of God and build a better society on our own have always been met with disaster. Removing the boundaries God has set may look “fun” for the present, but when we find that the immutable rules which govern reality are not willing to move aside for our choices, the fun will soon end. Whether our society believes it or not, the wages of sin is still death (Romans 6:23).
God’s truth provides that fixed reference point that enables us to know where we stand in relation to the path of life and the broad road that leads to destruction. It provides a plain path for our feet that we might not stumble until we reach our destination. It gives us with a star to steer by and a light to guide us safely home.
Dr. Randy Bunch is the pastor of West Kern Christian Center, located at 1000 6th Street in Taft, California, as well as a graduate advisor and adjunct professor at Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California. He is the author of several books, including his new devotional, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World. For more information, or to purchase your copy, go to immuntablebook.com. For more information on the ministries of WKCC, you can go the ministry’s website at wkcconnect.org.