Ben Higgins is the most famous software salesman in America. The six-foot-five graduate of Indiana University loves children and the Chicago Cubs. He also stars on this season's The Bachelor. And he is a strong evangelical Christian.
You wouldn't know the last fact from watching the show, however.
According to Slate's Ruth Graham, Higgins makes his faith clear—he blogs about Jesus, quotes Christians on his Instagram, and wears a tattoo of Proverbs 16:3. But the show's producers blur or minimize his commitment to Christ, so viewers get only a glimpse of generic religion as they follow his story. And they don't know that Ben plans to abstain from sex until he is married.
Why is his faith so secret on the show? I could not find any information about the personal faith of Mike Fleiss, the show's producer. But his goal for The Bachelor is clear: to attract as many viewers as possible. Fleiss says the average Bachelor sleeps with three women each season. This is clearly part of the show's allure.
Unfortunately, biblical morality doesn't draw an audience.
It makes sense that genuine faith wouldn't sell in today's culture. Deadpool, an R-rated superhero action movie, leads the box office. Game of Thrones, known for its violence and nudity, is the most popular television show. People characterized by "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22–23) don't generate much controversy.
As a result, the larger culture seldom sees true Christianity. Ministers make headlines when they fail; denominations make the news when they split. And people who don't go to church don't know what happens to those who do.
What do we do? What faithful Christians in faithless cultures have always done.
I recently read The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, an expert on the persecuted church. He interviewed more than 700 persecuted believers in seventy-two countries. Of all the incredible stories he shares, this statement from an Eastern European pastor who was jailed for his faith especially struck me: "Don't ever give up in freedom what we would never have given up in persecution!"
If you pay a price to take Christ to your culture today, you will not know on earth the significance of your sacrifice in heaven. But mark this: The more courageous your faith, the more powerful its impact—now and forever.
Publication date: February 25, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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