Peer pressure can be an insidious thing. Kids get into all sorts of trouble through it. A mother has been reported recently in the news who called law enforcement on her teenage daughter for being in a stolen car. It turned out that the car was car-jacked. The mom lamented that she had not raised her children that way. That sounds like every parent’s nightmare. But it is also a description of much of the American Church.
The Apostle Peter, in his first letter, writes of how the Church came into existence.
“For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
We have been brought into existence by the Scriptures, by God’s Word. The Scriptures created the Church community. And we are nurtured by the Scriptures as well. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews lamented about Christians who would not grow up, needing milk now when they should be handling meat.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12)
Here the writer of Hebrews equates milk with “the elementary principles of the oracles of God.” As a newborn needs milk to grow, so a newborn Believer in Christ needs to learn the basic principles given in God’s “oracles,” His Word.
Again, the Apostle Peter wrote, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)
But the continued necessity of the Scriptures for life and growth was also expressed by others. Way back in what is probably the earliest book of the Bible, Job, Job expressed His need of God’s Word.
“I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
In fact, we are told that all of the Bible is necessary for us to become mature, responsible Believers. The Apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy,
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Just as a responsible parent gives instruction to their child with the hope that the child will listen and grow up to be a responsible adult, so the Scriptures give us instruction to help us grow into responsible adult Believers, equipped for every good work that God has prepared for us ahead of time. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Asia,
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.“ (Ephesians 2:10)
So the Scriptures give us birth, then nurtures us as spiritual infants, then gives us spiritual meat to enable us to grow up and become useful spiritual adults, able to do the work that God has called us to do.
So, what about this peer pressure?
Our culture, of course, rejects the Scriptures as any source of truth or authority. Instead, they have their own views of truth, their own views of the purpose and roles of men and women, their own attitudes towards sexuality, and their own beliefs about origins.
So, what has this to do with the Church?
When the culture influences the Church to ignore clear statements of the Scriptures, statements long understood by the Church as meaning exactly what they say, we have submitted to the peer pressure of our culture. When the Church turns its back on statements such as, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day,” in order to accept the godless culture’s pronouncements, that is yielding to peer pressure to turn their backs on what they are taught through the Word.
When the Church turns its back on statements such as, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” in order to accommodate the cultures revision of the male and female roles, that is yielding to the culture’s peer pressure.
And when the Church turns its back on statements such as, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error,” in order to accommodate the culture’s revision of God’s plan for sexuality, that is yielding to our culture’s peer pressure.
Is it any wonder that the Church in America is so weak and ineffectual? We have come to need milk and not the meat of the Word. We have, in our rebellion, turned aside to foolish pursuits, ignoring our clear instructions given to us to become mature Believers.
If we, as a Church, as a body of Believers, are going to become effective again in showing God to this world, in restraining evil, in bringing light to the spiritual darkness of our culture, we must get back to becoming mature Believers and quit turning our backs on what the Scriptures state. We need to learn again to handle the meat of the Word and quit being rebellious.
After all, as that grieving mother stated, we were not raised that way.