Never in my lifetime have I seen as much antagonism toward the Christian faith as I am seeing today. Such attacks drive many believers away from cultural engagement, leaving the field to the aggressors and convincing those on the sidelines that our critics are the winning side. But the more our culture rejects biblical truth, the more it needs biblical truth. And the more it needs biblical truth, the more we need to share that truth with courageous compassion.
Two California pastors, John MacArthur and Greg Laurie, have responded in different ways to restrictions on houses of worship because of the coronavirus. While MacArthur is outrightly pushing back against the ban and is hosting indoor, in-person services, Laurie is choosing to hold outdoor, socially distant, services. Their responses beg the questions, how are we to balance the relationship between church and state?
Oswald Chambers observed: “God does not give us overcoming life: he gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength.”
Just as people judge Islam by Muslims, people judge Christ by Christians. As a result, we must strive to be the people we want others to become. If we will seek God’s help every day in manifesting the "fruit" of his Spirit and emulating his Son, he will empower us and use us to draw others to himself.
In these days of cancel culture, those who oppose biblical truth have unprecedented means of attacking Christians. At the same time, we are clearly called to be Jesus’ “witnesses” where we live and around the world (Acts 1:8). We are to be prepared “always” to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15), whatever the circumstances or cost.
Historians will look back on 2020 as another pivotal year in the struggle for racial equality. This time, however, we are also battling the worst pandemic in a century and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, all during a presidential election year. In these days, I am convinced that God is calling his people to step into cultural leadership that speaks courageous truth in the character of Christ.