are U.S. Christians headed toward persecution?
Have you ever found yourself doing something you would rather not do and realizing you’re totally to blame for having to do it in the first place? Obviously, the answer is yes because anything worth doing involves parts you’d rather not do.
That’s this post—and ones to follow in the coming weeks.
I had the bright idea of asking a group of women I trust to think of a couple of questions they would ask me if we were sitting down for coffee together—things they thought I actually knew something about. That was my first mistake!
I’d hoped to get some softballs—questions I could quickly sit down, type out some thoughts and hit publish. Let’s just say that’s not what happened. These women came at me hot and heavy with some profound questions—questions I’d rather pretend they weren’t thinking about and I that I hadn’t agreed to try to answer.
As a leader in the church and a woman who loves Jesus and is compelled to equip the saints to do ministry, I’m gonna go where these women led us—to some hard, uncomfortable places.
As I perused the list of questions I had, I thought I’d start with an easier one. But as I prayed, I felt God urge me to this question.
What do I say to postmodernism culture rising up such as Richard Rorty’s “Religion in the Public Square” that labels the Bible as “hate speech” against homosexuals and preachers that preach this should be ostracized, despised, and shamed? Is this the beginning of Christians in the US being seriously persecuted for their beliefs?
See, I told you—no softballs with these women.
But, here goes.
Let me start by saying, I think this is a very Western-Christian-Worldview kind of question. I don’t mean that as a criticism. I just mean Western Christians tend to view our faith as an entitlement and a place of comfort.
Our faith IS a place of comfort and peace, but at no point in Scripture are we promised comfort and peace because everyone likes us or agrees with us or because they like our Jesus or agree with our Bible.
The promise of comfort and peace comes as an accompaniment to people’s disgust of us and our Jesus and our Bible.
Read that last sentence again.
It seems crazy and wrong because why wouldn’t someone love Jesus—He’s the Best, right?!?
Jesus is, in fact, the best. But, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that not everyone is on board. And they aren’t just not on board—they hate Him, and because they hate Him, they hate us.
This is where it gets interesting for Western Christians who don’t want to be hated for their faith. They want to be loved and praised and patted on the back. And when they aren’t, they start fretting. They worry about where our nation is headed. They are burdened over what it means for our children and grandchildren.
So, what I have to say about this is really just what the Bible has to say. It just so happened that in my time with the Lord this week, I was in Psalm 37, and this is what it says in verses 1-7:
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this: (note: HCSB says “he will act.”)
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Do you find yourself fretting because of evildoers—those who hate Christ, His Christians, and the Word?
What reasons does this psalm give for why you shouldn’t fret? (Seriously, go check it out above.)
So, what do I think of the rise of postmodernism?
I think we as Christians have to decide where we stand and where our allegiance truly lies. Because as history has shown us (this is why Biblical literacy is so critical), genuine faith isn’t about what country we live in, it is about a laser focus on the God we serve and the humble part we get to play in the story He continues to write even today.
Let me wrap this up with a post I read by my friend Amy Cate Smith earlier this week. She so beautifully addressed what so many of us are asking in our culture today.
I saw a comment yesterday that said “I’m tired of having an opinion.” In today’s cancel culture, weariness easily comes when it seems having an opinion is no longer a viable option. Day after day we see world-praised people suddenly cast out for one opinion that does not comply.
There is one agenda in this world. The Bible tells us that. Jesus tells us in John 15, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” We should not be surprised at the bias.
This week we walk through the ultimate hatred towards Jesus, but as Christians we know it was not just this week. It was not just during His Life and it did not stop at His Death.
From the beginning, the enemy has been at work. This week (Holy week leading up to Easter), we see the Victory that we get to have every day. As followers of Christ, our good news does not just stop at salvation. Our lives don’t stop at who agrees with us, who sees us, who likes our words or who allows our opinions. The Victory has been won and we get to live that every day!
‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’Galatians 6:9 —Amy Cate Smith
What about you? What are your thoughts on the postmodern movement?