Please note: This article is not an attack on western people. I myself am a product of European Western culture. There are however many aspects about modern western culture that are deeply subversive to the Christian faith. They must be named , they must be warned against and they must be avoided.
We must admit that western culture has a winsome flavour. Everything, from TV programs and movies, from to fashion to food, and from western Christmas celebrations to western Christian wedding rites is being exported into all the world. The West has become the pacesetter in many things . The world desperately seeks to imitate the West. India can come up with nothing better than calling its growing movie industry ‘Bollywood’!
Christian Dior, Mercedes Benz , Coca Cola , Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mc Donald’s are house brands in every part of the world. Truly, it seems as if western civilization has subdued the modern earth and… Namibia.
Do we want Western Democracy and Capitalism ?
Most political systems (except those guided by an explicit atheism) will work provided that God fearing men are behind it.
There is the problem … the lack of God fearing men in western democratic and capitalistic thinking! But capitalism without Christ is catastrophic! Democracy without Deity is dangerous! Man’s pursuit of life without God as the final reference point is self –destructive!
Many seem to think that western economic systems are biblically sanctioned. After all, they appear to be successful on the surface of things. Are we saying that democracy or capitalism is God’s truth per se because we perceive it to be successful? Health, wealth and prosperity teachers seem to think so, but the biblically saturated mind can come to no such conclusion. The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) teaches us that wealth is a deceptive measurement for success.
Western culture is not presently influenced by a God-centered worldview. If the truth be told modern western culture is strongly influenced by ‘secular humanism’, a man centered worldview. We must never forget that the present form of western humanism was conceived during the French Revolution in 1789, when the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” was formulated. Now to be fair, the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” was formulated against the background of severe political and spiritual abuses by the French monarchy which was then in cahoots with the Roman Catholic Church.
The authors of the humanist declaration rightly rejected the concept of the “divine right of kings“ and they rightly rejected the false authority of the Roman Catholic church, but they made a huge mistake by excluding God and His Word from their manifesto, which was based on what they called, “natural law”. This secular document succeeded to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and it has managed to dispose of God centered thinking in terms of politics, economics, science, education etc. , giving rise to the thought of the ‘secular state’ – an ideal also enshrined in the “Preamble of the Namibian Constitution” !
In tandem with this concept of “natural law” the theory of evolution , the brainchild of Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) was conceived and born into the framework of western thinking in the 19th century. The ‘theory of evolution’ became the replacement for the biblical account of creation. This secular doctrine of creation provided an alternative viewpoint to the biblical view of “creatio ex nihilo” by a Sovereign Creator, and it helped the secular humanists to do away with the thought of God.
Western Culture as the Primary Exporter of Immorality
While the western world cannot be held solely responsible for the degree of moral decay in the world (for clearly every human heart without Christ is a fallen heart – Romans 3:23 ), we do know that the present western world has been the leader and prime exporter of perverse sexuality. Apart from the dissemination and legalizing of pornography in so called ‘western liberal societies’, many forms of deviant sexual expression have come to the world through the western door. The west leads the world in presenting homosexuality as ‘normal’ sexual behaviour. From a biblical worldview this clearly clashes with Scripture and with nature. Can the Anglican Church in Africa with good conscience look to the mother church in the UK for an unflinching commitment to the authority of Scripture? Thank God that African Anglicans are taking a strong stance against the homosexual agenda of the western liberals!
The West also leads the agenda on gender equality, maintaining that there is no functional difference between male and female.  In this regard we are made aware of some bizarre stories, like the Canadian couple in Toronto raising their 4-month-old without identifying the child as a boy or a girl. This, as you might imagine created a media firestorm in Canada:
“Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39, are raising their third child, Storm, to be free of societal norms regarding gender. Is Storm male or female? The parents won't say, so no one knows except Storm's older brothers, Jazz and Kio, as well as a close family friend and two midwives who helped deliver the baby, according to the Toronto Star.” (Fox News: 24th May 2011).
A BBC report of the 7th July 2011 reports that Sweden has opened its first gender neutral school! Where is this happening? Not in Namibia – not in Africa! This is happening in the so called western world!
Do we really want to look to the church in the western world as our definitive guide for life and faith in these challenging days?
The liberal theology of the 18th century which has so profoundly undermined the historic Christian faith came as a reaction to the 16th century theology of the Reformers, and it has been much more insidious and subversive and devastating in terms of its effects, than the Roman Catholic “Counter Reformation” of the 16th century.
Whereas the theologians of the Reformation affirmed the SOLA SCRIPTURA principle – namely that the Bible was the Word of God , and as such they affirmed that it was authoritative and sufficient, Liberal theology (one of the horrible children begotten of humanism), “made in 18th Century Germany” did exactly the opposite. It dismantled the Scriptures and rendered them “unbelievable“ and thus essentially useless!
Human opinion triumphed and was declared sovereign. The venerable, God fearing evangelical Dr. Martin Luther would turn in his grave if he knew how neo- Lutheranism has infected an overwhelmingly large number of Lutherans with this liberal virus.
This liberal virus had affected every Protestant denomination. My own Baptist denomination were not immune from this cancer. Charles Haddon Spurgeon a prominent Reformed Baptist of the 19th century battled the forces of the German led “Higher Criticism movement” which was undermining the English Baptists’ historically solid view of the authority of Scripture. He was eventually excommunicated from the fellowship of English Baptist churches, because he dared to challenge the liberalism of the 19th century church.
Liberalism and the 20th century Western Charismatic Phenomenon
Theological liberalism is a destroyer of the Word of God and thus it is a destroyer of the biblical church. But it has a surprising ally, which came to us from the American West: the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement!
I know that many would like to make a distinction between the two, and there are always exceptions, but it must be said that Pentecostalism is the seed bed for the later charismatic movement.
This movement rooted in the “1906 Azusa Street revival” , a spin off from the 1904 Welsh revival began to make more of signs , wonders and ecstatic phenomena than of the plain revelation of the Word of God. The results are now clearly seen. American neo-Pentecostals having dismantled the SOLA SCRIPTURA principle now have the world eating out of their hands. They are now the prime exporters of the new health, wealth and prosperity message. It is amazing to see how Africans have bought into Americans T.V. preachers like Benny Hinn, Fred Price, Joyce Meyer, and Myles Munroe etc. . . . These western figures have become celebrity figures in Africa!
Apart from this the western world in America has become the prime exporter of cults and sects into the world! Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science, Scientology, Seventh Day Adventism etc. . . . . These weren’t born in Africa, they were born in America - but they flourish here!
The 20th century Pentecostal and Charismatic movements (which were born in the west) have continued to dismantle the authority of the Scriptures as they generally have relied more on their prophets, healers and tongue speakers than on the Word of God.
The result is that we are now speaking about a post Christian world – a term that, I believe may have been coined by the eminent American-Swiss theologian, Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Dr. Schaeffer once observed that western culture has continued to flourish for a while on the residual moral principles taught by Christianity; on what the Christian philosopher Henry Van Til called “borrowed capital”. The sun of the gospel which once shone so brightly in the west is setting at an alarming rate!
My question is this: Does the African church at large wish to continue borrowing from the morally and spiritually bankrupt West? I know that there are wonderful exceptions in the West, but it cannot be denied that the African church by and large feeds on the West.
When will Africa choose to obey the Word of God rather than the enticing and corrupt values of the West?