“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
In America today it seems that Christians and Christianity are under a relentless attack. The ACLU has been fighting for years to have the Ten Commandments and any other Biblical or Christian symbols removed from public display. Christians are sued for not baking cakes for gay weddings. In Houston, the mayor tried to demand that local pastors turn over their sermons to her for review for potential hate speech. And many Americans feel that Christians have no right to express their religious beliefs politically.
Christians today are perceived as bigoted, out of touch, homophobic, intolerant and a danger to society. A recent Barna Research report found that the majority of Americans see some Christian activities as extremism, such as handing out tracts or praying in public (Five Ways Christianity is Increasingly Viewed as Extremist, February 23, 2016 release, www.barna.org). These are very recent trends and it would have been hard to imagine this happening even 10 years ago.
But this is the America we now live in. Our nation has not only turned its back on God (as I wrote in my book About Face), but it is now looking to destroy or marginalize any aspect of Christian values or beliefs in our society. Today, Christians are the enemy!
How did this happen? Where did all of this anti-Christian sentiment come from? What did we do to deserve such a backlash from our own countrymen and women?
I believe that the answer to that question can be found in two reasons.
First, our society has become more socialist. Many Americans have come to believe that capitalism does not work anymore. President Obama declared this in Kansas back in 2011. The government has grown much larger in the past 10 years and many Americans are looking to the government for answers and help. As a result, we are seeing more people on government support programs and calling for free healthcare and free college educations. One candidate for President, Congressmen Bernie Sanders, is a self acknowledged Socialist and is campaigning on all of these issues. And there are many Americans who are supporting him for President, especially young people! These Americans want the “state” or government to run and control our society and economy.
Why does this matter? Because Christianity is the enemy of the State! Christianity places God above man, and therefore our allegiance to God above allegiance to the state. The state cannot tolerate this because it must make everyone stay in line with the secular program. No exceptions are allowed. History show us what happens when the state gets this kind of control – it produces the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and North Korea, just to name a few. Anytime we give more power to the state we will lose more of our freedom. The two go hand in hand. So as more Americans call for more government action and put their faith in the State, it is inevitable that Christianity, and Christians, will be viewed as the enemy!
Second, our society has become more accepting of individual rights with virtually no limitations. That includes the right to have sex with whomever one chooses regardless of the dangers or consequences, the right to have free healthcare, the right to marry anyone or anything, and the right to kill innocent babies for their own convenience. All of these behaviors are against God’s Word. When Christians stand up and call some of these behaviors sinful, harmful, or evil, they are viciously attacked in the media, on social media, and in political activities.
Why does the culture respond this way? Because Christian values (and God) are a threat to them doing whatever pleases them regardless of the dangers to society or others. Again it is placing man’s desires above God’s desires. And these two desires will always be in conflict. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with one another so that you do not do what you want.” In other words, they are mutually exclusive. You cannot have both! So one must be eliminated. So for Americans who only seek man’s ways, God’s way’s will always be a threat to them and they must not be allowed at all!
I don’t believe that the Christian Church has changed much at all in the past 10-20 years, at least not in their teaching or presentation of the gospel. What has changed is the attitude of many Americans towards Christians, the Church, and Christianity due to the 2 factors mentioned above. Many Americans have developed what God calls a hardened heart.
But we should not really be surprised about this. It just means that we now have to work that much harder to overcome this “hardness of heart” in our culture today by continuing to share our faith and the gospel despite the resistance. We must also recognize that it will be the Holy Spirit working in us and through us as we seek to influence America with the Word of God that will bring about any change.
I want to encourage you with the words of the Lord to Joshua in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So let us not worry about how we are perceived by anyone other than God. Let us continue to “fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith” (1 Timothy 4:7) and leave the results up to Him!