Prepping for my radio interview with Os Guinness on his new book, Impossible People, I read something that stopped me in my tracks:
The truth is that the world, as Christians have known it for many centuries, has gone—and gone for good. Gone so decisively, any simple return or reclamation is out of the question...Christian culture warring has been in vain. [p. 45]
Though I did not expect to read those words, as I let them sink in I realized that this same conviction had been growing deep inside me for some time now. I didn’t want to admit it. I did not want to concede that we wouldn’t be able to turn the clock back to the days when the Christian view of the world was the foundation for our understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful. I did not want to acknowledge the world I grew up in was “gone for good.” But I think Os is right.
Think about it. Have you noticed how aggressive the resistance to our entire worldview has been since the Supreme Court passed its ruling on same-sex marriage last year? Emboldened, I think, by that legal decision, the opposition has moved forward forcefully—both socially and politically—all around the country.
The challenge is broader, though, than what Jay Wesley Richards calls “the pelvic issues”—homosexuality, same-sex marriage, the gender “bathroom battles,” the hook-up culture, etc. Indeed, there is not a single issue dear to us as faithful followers of Christ and critical to our Christian convictions that is not being vigorously challenged: the existence of God, the authority and reliability of the Bible, the singular role of Jesus in the salvation of the world, morality grounded in God and not our personal preferences, what it means to be human, even our fundamental liberty to express our views without fear of reproach, censure, or government interference. And the list goes on.
We are facing a full-court press against everything we cherish and value. And I am convinced things are going to get much more difficult in the near-term, and probably for a long-term, as well. The easy days are behind us now. Yes, gone for good.
As Guinness has observed, this is no time for cowards or for fence sitters. It is no time for going with the flow, or for compromising our message to make it look more palatable. Christ’s words are hard and brash and daring and divisive, and the world will never accept anyone who is faithful to them.
The days are over when any Christian can quietly coexist with the culture without being able to “give an answer for the hope that is in them” (1 Pet. 3:15). Believers who have been on the sidelines in the past will not be able to hide. They will be forced by the opposition to actively choose sides.
For myself, I am doing two things, and I encourage you to do the same.
First, I have been adjusting my expectations. Of course, the Lord can do whatever He wants, but I no longer look to the next election cycle or even a fresh movement of the Spirit to blow across our land to rescue us from being aliens in our own country. The fact is, we have always been foreigners in this world. Though relatively easy times for us as Christians in the West have made us forget that, our brothers and sisters in other regions have always known otherwise. Maybe God is “giving our culture over” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28) for a season to remind us what realm we truly belong to.
Second, I am fortifying my resolve to be true to Christ, by God’s grace, no matter what hostilities or obstacles confront me, no matter what cost I am asked to pay. I want to be prepared so that, having done everything, my family and I can “stand firm” (Eph. 6:13) regardless of the opposition. Things may get easier or they may get much more difficult. Only God knows. The old, easier days may be “gone for good,” as Guinness put it, but that should not matter to Christ followers.
What matters most can be summed up in words carefully painted on two little stones—one for each pocket—that were given to Os as a young lad by his missionary parents when they sent him from Nanjing to boarding school in Shanghai. The stones simply said, “Found Faithful,” and “Please Him.”
That is my resolve. I encourage you to make it yours, as well. And at Stand to Reason, as God allows, we will always be working for you and with you helping you be true to those words.
To help you stand firm, I’d like to send you a new DVD, No Other Name, when you support STR with a gift this month. In it, I answer two of the most hotly debated questions you and I face as Christian Ambassadors.
First, “Does the Bible teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation?” And second, “Why is Jesus the only way of salvation?” In this relativistic age, you need a compelling answer and I give you that answer in No Other Name. It’s our thanks to you when you send a generous and much-needed gift this month.
Can I count on your support today? Your generosity now is crucial to help you and others stand in competent defense of Christianity. And be sure to request No Other Name as you give.
Thank you for partnering with me as we stand together for the truth of God’s Word.
Standing firm with you,