Conservative Christian commentator Matt Walsh is condemning complacent Christians in America, saying that, in some cases, Christians are called to be intolerant.
Walsh, a nationally known podcast host and writer for the conservative online website The Daily Wire, is warning that many Christians in America today are constructing their own religion based on cherrypicked ideas from the Bible that support their agenda of tolerance and inclusion.
Walsh released his second book earlier this month titled Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians.
He told The Christian Post that the book offers his “diagnosis of the problem that most Christians recognize in our culture.”
“If you look at the statistics, we know that the number of Christians is declining while the number of secular atheists is going up,” Walsh told CP in a recent phone interview.
“I think we also know that the problem is even worse than the numbers suggest. If you were to talk to the professed Christians [in the U.S.], a startling percentage of them don’t actually believe in some of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.”
A 2017 survey from the American Culture and Faith Institute shows that only about one in 10 Americans hold a biblical worldview even though nearly half of them claim to lead a Christian life. Among millennials, only four percent have a biblical worldview.
Various factors can play a role in a person's faith and worldview formation. According to Walsh, those include parents, the church, education and culture.
“And that's a problem because the culture itself is so aggressively hostile to Christian faith and very determined to, especially with kids, convert them into secularism and relativism,” Walsh argued.
“That's an enormous problem because you've got so many Christians who don't really know what their faith professes or what their faith even is. And if you don't know what you believe in, exactly, then you’re not going to be able to maintain those beliefs.”
At a time when there is increasing societal and political pressure for people to be accepting of the same-sex relationships and LGBT lifestyles, Walsh said that Christians with a superficial understanding of the Gospel are picking out things from the Bible that they like and “confirm what they already want to believe.”
“They kind of construct their own religion for themselves based on this amalgamation of out-of-context verses. And that's a big problem because the Bible is so long and vast and diverse,” he explained.
“It's not even really a book. It's a library of books. And there's so much in it, that if you're going to go in and throw context to the wind, you can find anything you want. You can find justification for anything. I think that's how a lot of people are approaching the Bible."
Walsh feels that Christians in the West need to “reclaim our warrior spirit” and their “willingness and eagerness to fight back against sin and corruption and evil that we see in our society.”
“I think Christianity has always been a warrior faith. If you go back to the Gospels, now Jesus is often portrayed as being this peacenik-hippie type of figure. But again, if you actually go and read the Bible, particularly the Gospels, you'll find that’s not who Jesus was,” Walsh explained.
“Jesus is obviously loving. But in that love, He confronts sin and you find that in the Gospels. He resists the tide of the culture that He was in back 2,000 years ago. And we need to follow that model and we need to be willing to do that.”
Walsh contended that Christians are not "forfeiting love" by confronting sin.
“It's not that we're confronting and fighting back against evil in spite of the fact that we're supposed to be loving; it's because we love that we do those things,” he said.
As some denominations over the past decade have affirmed homosexuality, Walsh believes that it is impossible to defend homosexuality in Scripture.
“The greater issue is just the misrepresentation of what you find in the Gospel. A good example would be things like ‘tolerance and acceptance’ are now presented in the church as virtues, even biblical virtues,” Walsh warned. “They're not virtues at all. There's nothing wrong necessarily with tolerating. It depends on what you're tolerating. But there is nothing virtuous about it.”
He warned that some churches are teaching that tolerance is the “ultimate virtue” and synonymous with "compassion" and "love."
“To be intolerant of something is thought of automatically as bigotry,” he noted. “The worst thing you can ever be is intolerant. But it's just not the case. We should be intolerant of bad things and intolerant of things that harm people. We should be intolerant with children in our culture. We should be intolerant of sin within ourselves and in the world.”
“So I think we think we're called to intolerance in many cases. Compassion is virtuous, but the version of compassion that is preached so often is something synonymous with acceptance and tolerance. Compassion actually means co-suffering. That's the etymology of the world of the word, which means that you're suffering alongside somebody and taking on their sufferings to alleviate that burden. Christ is the ultimate example of that. [Compassion] is a much more active and sacrificial thing than how it is often portrayed.”
According to Walsh, churches need to be bolder in addressing the problems in the culture today and need to focus more on calling people to repentance and self-sacrifice.
"We have to stop being afraid of preaching that message," he said. "It may scare some people away. But the people who are scared away aren't really Christian anyway. If they don't want to hear the Christian message, they are not Christian. But for everybody else, this is what they want. This is what they are searching for. I think we have to provide that in the Church."