Pastor and author Alistair Begg on Sunday urged Christians in the U.S. to maintain a biblical worldview as they live in a culture that has "dismissed" their beliefs, saying today's church is under constant pressure to affirm sin and secularism.
Begg, the voice behind the Truth for Life radio broadcasts and the pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, made the comments nine days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The high court's decision and the backlash against it, he said, underscored a major clash of worldviews. Begg quoted a BBC article that said the United States is inhabited by "two tribes that have completely different values, beliefs and goals."
"We are increasingly aware of the reality that we are living as sojourners and exiles ... in a world that was once very, very familiar to us, and one in which we felt increasingly at home," Begg said, referencing Christians.
Believers today, he said, are increasingly asking themselves: "What does it look like to live in a Christian country that doesn't like what Christians believe?"
Begg based his sermon on 1 Peter 2:11-12, noting that the Apostle Peter called the Christians of his day "sojourners and exiles."
"There is no social benefit now to being a Christian in North America," Begg said. "... There is a prevailing hostility against the teaching of the Bible, and therefore against those who will affirm the teaching of the Bible," Begg said. "… We're living in a culture that has actually dismissed Biblical Christianity."
The modern debate over pronouns and terms such as "marriage," Begg said, is another example of the clash of worldviews. The modern worldview, he said, is based on relativistic beliefs that prioritize what the individual feels.
"The self, the you, the me … is actually at the center of the [modern] moral universe," Begg said. "... Young people are growing up being told [that] how you think, and how you feel, and what you desire is the key to your entire existence.
"... Either we are operating from a worldview that is framed by the thought-forms of the age or by a worldview that is grounded in the will of God – no possibility of compromise," Begg said.
It is essential, Begg said, that Christians love individuals who promote unbiblical beliefs. Referencing individuals within the LGBT community, Begg said, "We do not hate but nor do we affirm."
"We cannot hate because of God's Word. And we cannot affirm because of God's Word. And we have to be prepared to say that we are unprepared to rewrite the Bible in order to accommodate a society that needs the Bible – and that needs the Jesus who is the focus of the Bible."
Regarding homosexuals: “We cannot hate [them] because of God’s Word and we cannot affirm [them] because of God’s Word.”— Becket Cook (@becketcook) July 3, 2022
—Alistair Begg pic.twitter.com/4wPxDKB7Ep
Christian during Peter's day, Begg said, also faced a clash of worldviews.
"Our focus is not on a kingdom on this Earth – not a British kingdom, American Kingdom, Chinese kingdom … but on the kingdom of heaven," Begg said. "Our enemy is not a tyrant, not an emperor, not a president. Our enemy is the great dragon, Satan, the evil one.
"Let's make sure that we understand our identity, people of God, people who are free servants of God, sojourners and exiles. Let's make sure that we engage in the activity that we're called to engage in – abstaining from that which may bolster our self-esteem and destroy our souls. And instead, let's make sure that we are an advert for the gospel."
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Ben White
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.