Are you a Christian?
A real Christian?
Why be Christian unless one is altogether Christian, don’t you think? All or nothing.
There are many who think that we the United States Christians live in what is called the:
That is, as our dear President Obama has said, America is no longer a Christian country but a country built upon religious diversity of which Christianity is one. In other words, Christianity as a religion is just one of many.
Os Guinness, Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford and senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics says that Western societies, both in Europe and the United States, are in what he calls an:
ABC stands for ANYTHING BUT CHRISTIANITY. West societies, so says Guinness, are turning against the Jewish and Christian faiths that have made them what they are, and attempting to replace them with varieties of post-Christian secularism and other philosophies. Indeed they are. Not a day goes by but that there are more attacks on Christianity and Christians, even physically the world over and of course constitutionally and philosophically in our very own country.
The universities are leading the attack on Christianity. Even though our very best universities grew out of directly Christian origins, these powerful institutions now disdain or disregard Christianity and at best, the Christian faith is now regarded are purely private and IRRELEVANT to academic thought, curriculum and priority. In fact, at so many universities, Christians are labeled as faith-heads and in a derogatory way, dismissed as irrational, reactionary and bigoted. Christians are today, Os Guinness says, viewed as being on the wrong side of history, irrelevant to today’s world. In place thereof, there now comes a very aggressive even virulent secularism, the new absolute which has no quarter with religion generally and especially Christianity. Christians in secular universities can be constantly attacked, criticized and belittled.
But general society, says Guinness, can still be much more congenial toward Christian faith than universities. But even that is changing and there are what is called the:
The old nominal Christians who no longer find it fashionable to identify with the Church. These individuals retain some affiliation with Christianity but practice little. Beliefs change, Christian theology is watered down and accommodations are made to secular society and beliefs. Even corporations and other financial institutions, especially many non-profits, eschew anything Christian, will not support it and in fact will put resources behind efforts to mitigate or even boycott Christian causes and purposes. That is so as well in the United States which Os Guinness thinks of as:
Even though he says the United States is not yet NON-CHRISTIAN. The game, that is Christianity at large and at work, is “far from over.” Indeed it is, good sir, far from over for there are so many passionate, becoming ever more aggressive champions of the faith at large and at work.
The principal challenge to the Christian faith, says Guinness, stems from the intellectual dismissal of the faith as:
UNTRUE AND FALSE
Mythological, one would say at best but otherwise, simply false. Such charges are made by both modernist and post-modernist philosophers. With such attacks come accusations that the Christian faith is full of prejudice, abuse and bigotry. Christians are accused of racism, sexism and of course homophobia. Christianity is wrong and Christian practices should therefore be forbidden, especially on university and college campuses. Universities are determined to limit Christian damage and especially, prevent evangelizing or proselytizing in any fashion. Witness such oppression not only on university campuses, but in the military, government, corporations and non-profit organizations among others. No matter that Jewish and Christian faiths are the source of such critical concepts as human dignity, freedom and equality, these rabid secularists play the blame game and Christians of course are the targets. As Christianity crumbles, the West, says Guinness, is already beginning to reap the consequences of this FOLLY. And the worst is yet to come.
That has led, says Os Guinness, many Christians to think of themselves as victims. As such, they become inactive, even paralyzed and refuse to deal with current society’s attacks on all religions and especially Christianity. They refuse, these victims, to take up the cross, to fight the fight of faith and to otherwise be “on the frontlines” championing the age-old faith of the saints. Broad-shouldered should we be, says Guinness, as we live out our very special faith.
Yet, at the same time says Guinness, even as we aggressively defend and witness, Christians are required to “love our enemies.” That presents difficulties in conduct for on the one hand, we should be aggressive in defending the faith and on the other hand, loving our enemies, turning the other cheek. Only those, says Guinness, who walk with the Lord and delve deeply into the Word in prayer can in fact walk this fine line.
As secularism advances, Guinness bemoans what he calls the “abandonment of evangelism.” It is the duty of a Christian to GO YE into all of the world and preach the Gospel to everyone, to witness lovingly, passionately but aggressively for the faith, to spread the Gospel and to challenge non-Christians with the Good News. So much of that is being abandoned and Christianity becomes internalized, something little more than individual, practiced within the four walls of the Church or otherwise in privacy without impact on the community at large. The Church, says Guinness, fails in its primary responsibility to witness and spread the Good News. So-called soul winning has become passé, even forbidden. In fact, says Guinness, the abandonment of evangelism has been replaced by an undue emphasis on social justice. That of course is critically important, a necessary component of the Kingdom of God and its Good News. But social justice, worthy as it is, should never replace evangelism, equal to it but not more important. It is tragic, says Guinness, that American evangelicalism has lost its way. So much of the evangelical movement is in the process of melting down and following the disastrous trajectory of mainline Protestant liberalism which has betrayed the Gospel, so says Guinness. Indeed it has for liberal Protestantism seems to be an amalgam of philosophies, watered down Gospel, social thinking and injection of current philosophies all foreign to the true Gospel message. There needs to be revival, recommitment says Guinness so that Christians return to a state of boldness and courage. Christianity needs to reclaim the supernatural power which lies behind it, the power of its faith so that such boldness and courage can be the hallmarks of this great and true faith at work.
Guinness says that Christians in the west have been comfortable far too long. There has been no real challenge to the faith as there now is. As a result, Christians have grown complacent, assumptive and far too tolerant. Christians, says Guinness, have forgotten that there is a cost to discipleship. For now, he says, Christians face only “mild discrimination” and not the open, sometimes brutal persecution that Christians are facing elsewhere such as under ISIS in the Middle East. There are no killings, no martyrdom in the United States of Christians as there is the world over but perhaps that day will come. Guinness fears that Christians will not have the courage or boldness to stand and face the enemy, boldly championing their true faith. What do you think? If you are in fact a Christian, are you one bold, courageous, passionate and zealous about your faith?
The single greatest challenge, says Guinness, to the Church in our day is:
That is, to live with integrity, Christian integrity, not to compromise or fold under the pressures of the modern world. Guinness coins the term:
Christians, so many of them, seem far too willing to accommodate, incorporate without boldly defending and challenging. When this amiable accommodation occurs, evangelicalism is simply too feeble to take a stand and there are so many Christians who are termed:
Who have accommodated, given in and otherwise lost the power and zeal of the faith. Are you one of those?
Our world changes. And dramatically so. Religion of all kinds is on the defensive, especially so Christianity. It is time to take a stand, a time for revival, regeneration anD renewal. It is time to fight the fight of faith more than ever. Os Guinness and so many others wonder if we the people, the followers of the Christ are willing to do that. Are you?
Now is not the time for accommodation. Now is the time for accountability. Now is the time for Christians to say what they mean and mean what they say. All or nothing so to speak, all on the altar, the taking up of the cross no matter the cost. If you are Christian, are you willing to do that?
REAL CHRISTIANS HAVE NO CHOICE!