We read of Christian heroes who under great pressure have defied the odds, obeyed God and achieved great things for Him, and we rightly admire them. But this can become a trap. We often think, ‘I wish I could do that, but I know I never could.’ Instead of being encouraged, we condemn ourselves, our confidence shrinks and we do nothing.
Few can be a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gladys Aylward or Richard Wurmbrand. But God does not ask us to become a Bonhoeffer, Aylward or Wurmbrand. God asks that we become ourselves, as fully and truly as we can. To do that in the midst of an unbelieving generation means getting on with what God has placed before us. Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ or the best opportunity, get on with what is before us today.
Living without reproach When in discussion with someone who rejects a biblical worldview, never give them the opportunity to point a finger and dismiss our arguments because of something we have done or left undone. Progressives are not logical and whenever possible they will use ad hominen argumentation, playing the man rather than the ball. If they can dismiss us rather than our argument, they will. Live moment by moment as God pleasers not eye pleasers and we will leave no room for accusation.
Don’t begin by surrendering Don’t be like Conservative politicians who reckon that if they want to get a hearing, and a television appearance, they must reject any socially conservative position and try to reach consensus. They fail to realise that with progressives consensus is a one-way street and gradually the centre ground moves ever in a progressive direction.
Through politicians wishing to appear reasonable, we have been left with abortion virtually on demand, an education system sliding down the world rankings, and an NHS in continuing crisis. Biblical Christians must choose our battles wisely, but once battle is engaged don’t give an inch.
Build Confidence We often hold back through lack of confidence. The mainstream media portrays biblical Christians as a tiny minority who hold outdated, unscientific and reprehensible views, so we hunker down and remain quiet. Yet most ordinary people, our workmates and neighbours, hold to the views that we hold. Those intent on fundamentally altering the nature of society rely on our silence. It is when we speak up that we find to our surprise that we are not alone: the people around us may not be Christians but they retain the values of a Christian-based culture.
We fear we might find ourselves in a discussion where we are unable to respond properly and make matters worse. Be confident. Do the right thing even when there seems little hope of success; do it because it is right. You think that there are only two sexes and that the transgender lobby creates confusion in the minds of youngsters doing no more than going through puberty? Then say so. You are highly unlikely to be confronted by a professor of gender studies at the local gym or WI. The vast majority of people we speak to on a daily basis are just like us, pretty ordinary. We don’t have to be renowned experts in any field, we just need to know the basics.
Do your homework Do some general reading on the subject and you will be much better informed than those you are speaking to. Grasp two things about progressivism: it is surrounded by a haze of ignorance and it is anti-science. They are on shaky ground and are unsure of them themselves. Take the initiative and ask questions; press them to define their terms. What do they mean by social justice, equality or critical theory? Nine times out of ten the answer is incoherent.
Progressives can’t tell you when life begins. They can’t tell you what truth is, what is right and wrong, they can’t even tell you what male and female are. Progressivism has by and large turned its back on the hard sciences and uses emotion as a battering ram. You just need a few facts and figures. As Ben Shapiro says, ‘My facts trump your feelings.’
Progressives use emotion, abuse, emotion, political correctness, emotion, no-platforming, and if these fail they fall back on emotion. They reject facts and employ dogma with the fervour of fundamentalists. Progressives are like apocalyptic Bible students who, when the Second Coming doesn’t arrive at their appointed time, readjust the figures and proclaim with utter certainty that it will arrive tomorrow.
The only way to avoid distressing a progressive is by agreeing wholeheartedly with him; anything else results in accusations of homophobia, transphobia etc. Do not be bullied into compromising. Christians are called on to be peacemakers, we don’t have to compromise to be a peacemaker. Luther said, ‘Truth at all costs, peace if at all possible.’
Finally Always remember I Peter 3:15 and discuss matters ‘with gentleness and respect’. This can be difficult. When being abused and called ‘fascist’ and all manner of ‘phobe’, our natural reaction is fight or flight, leave off the discussion or go at it hammer and tongs. Just keep calm, speak rationally and make your point gently.
If we want a culture of religious freedom, we need to live that culture today. We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God, by loving Him with passion and joy, confidence and courage, and by holding nothing back.
This is the final part of What Should We Do? for the moment. It will be resumed at a later date. Meanwhile back to normal.