I was working out in the gym recently when I saw a younger man who had the word “valor” emblazoned on his t-shirt.
It struck me that I hadn’t heard that word, much less seen it, in a very long time.
But it’s a good word.
If someone is marked by valor, it means they bear the marks of strength, courage and bravery. When facing challenges and adversity, they go forward with confidence.
Christians need more valor today.
In the West, we are the first generation facing a post-Christian culture since the dawn of the Christian faith. Let that sink in. No other generation has lived in such a post-Christian culture – meaning a culture that was once Christian but now is not – until ours.
To gain a sense of what kind of valor is called for, we have to go back to those first Christians, living in a pre-Christian (but hostile to Christianity) world. Their spokesman was a man named Paul. He didn’t mince words about what was being called for:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (I Corinthians, 10:3-5, NIV).
That doesn’t sound like shrinking back before a secular worldview.
That doesn’t sound like burying our head in the sand at shifting moral tides.
That doesn’t sound like anything but,
It reminds me of even earlier words, the ones that sparked the entire revolution:
“I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out” (Matthew 16:18, NIV).
I think I may just be buying a new t-shirt.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.