“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” said Pat Robertson. He also said, “Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many were homosexuals – the two things seem to go together.”1 Non Christians that are not going to church, not seeing the helpfulness and ministries of God’s people get their perceptions of what a Christianity is from T.V. shows and radio programs; some that “sounds insane” and “paranoid”. 2 Christianity’s biggest threat seems to be itself, it is its own worst nightmare. The message of the love of God, His faithfulness and living a transformed life gets lost when some of most dominating Christian representatives seem to do and say things that make most people cringe.
Douthat writes, in Bad Religion: How we became a nation of heretics, about the history of American Christendom that has brought us to where we are today. Some preachers would say we are now teaching the watered-down version of Christianity so as not to be offensive. Whether this is so or there has been a change in language so our post christian society can understand Christ, there has been a shift in the public perception of the Church. “Douthat acknowledges the flourishing of traditional Christianity in a variety of subcultures; the continued existence and even vibrancy of orthodoxy is not the problem. His problem is the public irrelevance of orthodoxy in the culture at large…[Douthat misses the nostalgia of orthodoxy] This nostalgia wants the Time cover, the Oxford job, the ear of the president.”3 When Christianity doesn’t influence politicians, doesn’t call people to oppose certain practices, do we then cease to be a light in the darkness? Some would say yes. The church’s place in society and its influence has been one of controversy in many generations.
From Constantine’s legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire, there has been those that wanted to politicize it. Even Augustine lived, worshiped, and taught under a Roman Empire that claimed to be more Christian than its practices displayed. I am sure he loved his culture and saw the decline of what he thought the world should be. He challenged heresies in his day and continues to teach many the ways of the Lord. Throughout our known history, there have been those that have tried to move faith out of temples, synagogues and churches and into the political arena. The United States long thought to be the new promised land, should have been humbled when Abraham Lincoln publicly called it a land of “almost a chosen people.” 4 Even in his day, people were elevating themselves to be equal with the Jews and equal to those that God is blessing. Like every great country, people see their own potential and attribute their greatness to a special blessing of God. Even in China today, there are Christians that believe the financial success and growing power of this nation is due to the favor of God and the growing Christian community.
In America there are deep and life altering concerns of how to live out the faith that has shaped our life. Christians have always had to find a way to live in this world and not be only loyal to it. This is difficult as we are naturally tied to the countries, areas and denominations that we were raised in. “Faced with two choices, accommodation or resistance, most Christian leaders chose the former.[He goes on to suggest]the possibility that Christianity might be an inheritance rather than a burden.” We choose to find a middle ground, find a compromise when given a choice. I don’t know if accommodation is always a wrong stance to take. Finding a place that conversations can take place is important in having understanding and openness between people that disagree. The problem comes when our compromise moves us away from our beliefs or makes us on see the speck in our neighbors eye.
“The biggest threat on Christianity is godlessness among Christians… many of us don’t understand that. We’re too busying identifying the “sinful problems” around us that we’re missing the godlessness creeping into the Church. If we spent the same effort identifying and disciplining ourselves away from potential godlessness, and pursued authentic holiness, any threat against Christianity would be minimal…We’re too caught-up in our pleasures, rights, and personal desires, that we miss out on being a disciple of Jesus.5
Whether you live under the thumb of Theodosius I, Xi Jinping, Donald Trump, or Pat Robertson the kingdoms we are supporting and building are not of this earth. Mark reminded me last week that we are “living in exile” in a world whose focus is building itself, its own power and its own legacy. How we represent Christ, how we faithfully embody the shalom of God is what will ultimately bring about true change and transformation. “Because ultimately this faithful presence and witness…is the best thing we can offer the world.”6
1Quoted in https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-greatest-threat-to-Christianity-today accessed March 22, 2018
3https://www.9marks.org/review/bad-religion-how-we-became-nation-heretics/ accessed March 22, 2018
4Dohthat, Ross; Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics. (New York, Free Press. 2012)254
5http://andrewholm.com/whats-the-biggest-threat-to-christianity/ accessed March 22, 2018