WHAT SHOULD WE DO? Pt 1 MAKE A DECISION

In previous posts it has been pointed out that, small as we are, the only group able truly to resist the onslaught on Christian values are biblical Christians. In the next few posts I wish to outline how biblical Christians can exist and be useful in the conditions of the soft intolerance we shall increasingly face.

Realise the Importance of Christian Distinctiveness

We must first grasp the significance, personally and socially, of not going with the progressive flow. To allow our Christian faith to be increasingly diluted to accommodate unbelieving standards is to turn our backs on Christ. Only consistent Christians are able to maintain the standards upon which our society is built; if we are not clear the West as we know it is lost.

Mainstream Christians are prepared to adjust their faith in the belief that if they are more accommodating to the world, the world will be more accommodating to them; the increasing pointlessness of mainstream churches shows how that has worked out. There are bishops whose opposition to Brexit is crystal clear but whose interpretation of the Virgin Birth or Resurrection is somewhat ambivalent, and so the mainstream church sinks into irrelevance. Meanwhile the Emergent Church sees itself as the spiritual arm of the progressive movement.

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This leaves biblical Christians not only as the sole bulwark defending Christian values but as the sole body able to begin the recovery of those values in broader society. We are a very small minority, but the history of the church demonstrates that when a Christian minority are dedicated to the cause they can change the world.

Decide To Be A Christian Dissenter

If we recognise the importance of maintaining the faith, what should we do? Before anything else we have to decide that we are going to follow Christ whatever the cost. Holding fast to Christian truth in an unbelieving world is not something to be undertaken lightly.

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None of us wants to be like the seed on rocky ground which springs up but when trouble or persecution comes withers and falls away (Matthew 13:20-22). This means that we have to be firmly settled in our faith position. We don’t have to be perfect Christians living exemplary lives, although that is what we aim for. Rather we determine that we are heading in the right direction and we are going to keep on in that direction whatever befalls us.

Count the Cost

We all like to be liked, but if we wish to live as consistent Christians and resist the progressive onslaught on the virtues and values of the Christian faith, we must stop being wimps and rise to the challenge God has placed before us. This will not be easy and will entail increasing opposition. We should engage in the struggle only if we are prepared to pay the price (Luke 14:25-34).

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If we are to be Christian dissenters, we must count the cost and read the signs of the times (Luke 14:27-28). In today’s world we do not live in a post-Christian society: we live in a post-Christendom society. The privileged position which the church once had in the Western world now exists only symbolically, and those consistent Christians who do not conform to the world’s way will encounter opposition.

This will range from rolled eyes and ridicule, to loss of friends, to loss of employment and even to broken relationships. We are moving into a society where biblical views are censored and biblical Christians increasingly shunned. When compared with what our brothers and sisters endure elsewhere we have it easy. During the last few centuries Western Christians have lived in a privileged position; we have not had to face the trials that most of the church has had to face in most of its lifetime. Opposition to biblical Christianity is the norm.

Accept the Reality of Intolerance

There is a spectrum of intolerance towards Christian beliefs, and it is growing. We have already seen Christian business owners being targeted by progressives with the intent of forcing them to deny their faith or close down their bakery or B&B or florist. This is not the same as imprisonment, torture or having your children taken away. But it can be emotionally draining and bankrupt a business which has taken years to build up through court cases costing thousands of pounds.

Even in our own small everyday lives we will encounter opposition. It will not be easy, but nowhere in Scripture does God promise us that being His follower will be easy; in fact He does the opposite. In the Lucan Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-23) Jesus tells us our blessings are poverty, hunger, weeping, hatred, exclusion, insults and rejection. These are the inevitable result of taking up our cross which Jesus says is a mark of discipleship (Luke 14:27), not something to be done when convenient (Luke 9:23-36). As Martin Luther put it, ‘If our Lord wore a crown of thorns, why should His followers expect a crown of roses?’

Prioritise Christ

We have to ask ourselves what really matters to us. Christians in the West have lived so long in a privileged position that we have become effete. We have to learn once again to hold loosely to the things of this world and stop seeking the acceptance of the world. This means trusting in God and prioritising Him in our lives and considering seriously just what we value most (Matthew 6:19-21).

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We are a very long way from the outright persecution our brothers and sisters elsewhere know in daily experience, but we are going to find out just how intolerant progressive tolerance can be. Speaking on any moral issue from a biblical perspective when in conversation with neighbours already encounters opposition and rejection. In days to come such opposition is only going to get worse. Unless we have clarity about who we are and what we truly value we could be swamped.

12 thoughts on “WHAT SHOULD WE DO? Pt 1 MAKE A DECISION

  1. I’m not so sure that the intolerant attitude towards Christians I even in the”soft”, range anymore, it seems to me that from the point of view of the “progressive extremist”, they are now emboldened and firming up their attacks.
    I also see their us of the word “Christian”, here in the western first world former safe high trust democratic countries as the go to choice of word for the establishment backed anti family, anti men, anti white extreme left.

    1. When we look at what has occurred elsewhere in the world what we experience is still relatively ‘soft’, we are a long way from the shedding of blood which our brothers and sisters in too many places experience. You are perfectly correct when you point out that the progressive extremists ‘are emboldened and firming up their attacks’. We can be pretty sure we shall reach reach the stage of what Dreher calls ‘soft totalitarianism’.

      It is interesting to note that 88% of members of the US Congress are Christians. When we consider some of the legislation passed recently you are right to question just what ‘Christian’ actually means in the West.

  2. Agreed. Except for, “…the soft intolerance we shall increasingly face”. We’ve been facing soft intolerance for quite a while. What we are now facing, and will increasingly face, is outright hostility and persecution. Can I recommend listening to Rob Breher interviews concerning his new book (Live not by LIes) and the rise of “soft totalitarianism”

    1. Rod Dreher’s ‘Live Not By Lies’ is to be commended. As an Orthodox Christian he has access to the stories of those who live behind the Iron Curtain and endured genuine persecution. Many of those who have experienced this warn us in the soft West about what is coming. Dreher uses the phrase ‘soft totalitarianism’ to describe the next stage in the rejection of Christians by society. However, I believe that we are still living in the phase of soft intolerance and have a way to go before it finally hardens into soft totalitarianism.

      I would recommend Dreher’s previous book ‘The Benedict Option’ although I don’t do along with it entirely. Dropping out of mainstream culture and forming quasi monastic communities of like minded Christians is a last resort and unlikely to work in practice. There is a crying need for great contact and supportive fellowship between biblical Christians which I hope to cover later in this series.

  3. Thanks for this well written and thoughtful article. It gives solace to know we are not alone in the experience you describe.

    1. One of the greatest weaknesses amongst biblical Christians is the sense of isolation we can experience, it can drain our energy and resolve when we think we are alone. Just remember Elijah who cried out that he alone was left which there were thousands of others who remained faithful. hope to cover supportive fellowship later in this series.

  4. An excellent and most relevant article Campbell. Interesting times. Thank you.
    BTY – your email of this article arrived and then suddenly disappeared (on both my desktop and iPad) – most strange.

  5. Thank you Campbell for this article. There is so much in it and I am looking forward to the next two. There is so much to say about this topic that it is difficult to know where to start. That is why the time you take to order your thoughts and put them down in a coherent way is appreciated.

    We definitely need more biblical Christians coming together to teach, encourage and support one another. One small suggestion I would make is that we need to rediscover the language of the bible which was radical when it was written and is more so now. For example, 2 Cor 3:17 ‘…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.’ Christians have given the ground of freedom and liberty up to the progressives and wokesters, even though what they advocate is anything but liberty! Or, Acts 4:20 ‘For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ If that isn’t an endorsement of an call to freedom of speech I don’t know what is.

    True Liberty and freedom to speak with one’s conscience doesn’t frighten God. In fact, he encourages it. It is the progressives and the politically correct who fear free speech and that is why they are trying to end it. That is a direct attack on God but the modern church doesn’t see that. Let’s take this ground back.

    Finally, Luke 8:35, ‘…and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.’ An encounter will restore and renew our minds. We will see as we were created to see. But notice, for the majority this will be a frightening thing, to see people restored to sanity. Better and safer for them to have ministers and priests saying women can have penises and men vaginas. This insanity is comforting. That is why we are persecuted. Because the world doesn’t want to know the Truth. Christ gives us that. Let’s start telling the world, using the language of God.

    As for intolerance and persecution the level of intensity will be set just where it needs to be by Satan and his followers. It is ‘soft’ in the West because our years of opulence, abundance and luxury mean that even the suggestion of losing these things is enough to pull many of us into line. But when the Word of God is proclaimed once again across the land and people start to listen and hear then you can be sure the persecution will be raised to the necessary level to cow Christians.

    Gordon

    1. Thank you for your insightful comments, especially the reminder that this is not just a political and cultural struggle but underneath it all we are fighting a spiritual battle.

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