“And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” (Acts 27:10–11, AV)
There was a time in our society when people listened to the advice of godly counsel. There was a time when governing officials sought the wisdom from above rather than human reasoning. With a few exceptions, those days have long since passed. The problem is the secularization of our society.
The secularization of a society is to saturate it with indifference towards and to reject religious considerations. In it we discover a general distancing of people from the truth of God and the counsel of godly people. This is not a new phenomenon. It existed throughout history in various cultures. The result of this distancing from biblical truth and godly men proclaiming truth is disastrous.
Here, Paul is on a ship making the journey to Rome. It is in the time of the year when the weather could be dangerous for sea travel (v9). Paul warns the centurion in charge of the impending peril that awaited them, yet the centurion does not listen to Paul, but instead listens to the captain and pilot of the ship. Later, just as Paul had warned, they encounter a storm of hurricane proportion and experience disastrous results. The ship ran into a reef and broke apart near Malta (v41.).
As with the example of the ship, all societies run the risk of secularization and the disastrous consequences of it. Secularization is the separation of societies from its religious or spiritual connections, in our case the truth of God in Christ. A secular society will not stand upon the Word of God, our Bible, as the sole source of truth and therefore will not give credence to those who hold to these truths and provide counsel based upon them.
We see many examples of this today. We see it in the demonization of the biblically conservative by liberals in government and media. They use the term, “the Religious Right,” in a derogatory manner. The effort of this demonization is to discredit biblical values as a standard for the nation.
As previously mentioned, there was a time in our society when businessmen, government officials and others would seek the counsel of the church and godly men when making decisions. There was a time when biblical absolutes drove our nation’s moral stance and influenced legislation. There was a time when biblical principles guided our fiscal decisions. Today we are rapidly losing this biblical precedent in our society, as we grow more secularized.
What will be the result of this secularization of our culture? None of us can accurately predict the specifics of how this will work out. However, we who trust Christ know that when we as a nation depart from the biblical foundation, the long-term results cannot be good. What should we do? We ought to pray for our nation, our people, and that the tide of secularization would cease. We must proclaim the truth and urge people to understand that secular societies are at risk because they depart from the ways of God. We ought also to understand and participate in the processes that govern our nation.
What is the fruit of secularization? It is moral degradation and ruin.