James tells us it is the essence of Christian love to care for the orphans and the widows, the poor in spirit and the impoverished in heart, the sick in soul, and the discouraged (1:27). This is an all-year exhortation, and yet, it’s not difficult to see how now, during the season of warm fuzzy Christmas commercials and reminders of what used to be, when there are not the same number of gifts under the tree, or when the traditional experiences are missing a participant, that the orphans and widows among us need care. Now is when the ache is most pronounced, when the holes seem to echo.
Basically, centuries of lip-serviced, watered-down exposure to the Bible does not mean that the people of those generations were spiritually alive, biblically engaged, or even necessarily biblically literate. In fact, there is even grounds for applying the theory of the frog and the boiling water. Years and years of syncretism and neglect heating up in a presumably “Bible friendly” environment has resulted in much of modern evangelicalism being caught in a scalding hot pot of decisionism, false teaching and apostasy.