By now many of you have seen that there is a cultural war going on – a war between Christianity and the rest of the nation. More and more it seems that it is becoming unacceptable to voice religious opinion if it disagrees or interferes with non-Christian life and behavior. Here are three recent news stories about Christians in the military facing trouble for voicing their beliefs: 1, 2, 3.
While three particular stories don’t speak to the entirety of the conflict between Christianity and the world, they are indicative of what’s going on in our culture.
For 1700 years Western Christianity has enjoyed the peace and calm of being an official part of culture (thank you, Constantine). Our view has been the prominent paradigm for so long that we have forgotten what it is like to be the underdog in culture. But it seems that the tide is turning. Culture is shifting away from a Christian paradigm and turning towards a vision that embraces all faiths as equal (if not completely neutral).
In an odd turn of the tables, non-Christian Americans are using Constitution to argue for rights and demanding the ability to say and do whatever they please free of the restraints of Christian morality. At the same time they demand a voice for their platform they seek to silence the voice of the Christian platform. While I’m not a Constitutional scholar, I do believe this to be quite a hypocritical position. Christians should be allowed to voice their opinion without fear of reprimand just as anyone else is allowed to do so. But we seem to be moving towards a world where we are allowed to hold our beliefs…as long as we hold them silently. There are several things we should consider:
1. Christianity IS exclusive. The Bible is clear that salvation comes through Christ alone. There is no other path. All religions are not equal. If we believe the Bible then we believe that God’s desire is for all humanity to be saved through faith in Jesus. There is no compatibility with other faiths, and any synchronizing of faiths does damage to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Just because Christianity is exclusive doesn’t give us freedom to belittle, degrade, and be rude towards non-believers. Even in a changing paradigm, let us strive to be decent. Moral outrage does us no good. James 1 tells us that human anger doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. So let’s scale back the tone and animosity towards those who don’t agree with us. We can be decent no matter what others believe. We can be decent no matter how others treat us.
3. We cannot stay silent and keep our faith to ourselves. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28 to “go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” If we stay silent we disobey Jesus. If we truly believe then we will give voice and action to our belief.
4. The Western Church might do well to suffer as underdogs in culture. It will actually make us think about what we believe and live to those beliefs. The early Church was no stranger to it. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:14-16 –
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
I really don’t see our cultural paradigm shifting back to the old one. We will continually move further and further away from Christian ethics and values as the norm. Secularism will end up being the majority opinion and voice. It’s going to be a painful shift, but only because we haven’t been used to it. Christians around the world face it every day, and the Church does just fine.
No matter what happens, no matter how things shift, and even if our Constitutional rights are removed and trampled upon, Jesus is still ruler of the universe. Let us hold fast to the faith to which we have been called. Let us not be silent in speaking about God’s will and design for humanity. We will not be the darlings of society.
But then – we were never supposed to be….Follow @chrislinzey