Henri Nouwen once observed that “Something very deep and mysterious, very holy and sacred, is taking place in our lives right where we are, and the more attentive we become, the more we will begin to see and hear it. The more our spiritual sensitivities come to the surface of our daily lives, the more we will discover—uncover—a new presence in our lives.”
Many in our secular culture caricature Christians as weak. Friedrich Nietzsche warned that faith in God would keep us from becoming the “overcomers” we could and should be. Karl Marx taught that religion is the “opiate” of the masses subjugating them to their masters. “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” is the way many people see our Savior.
But those who know Him know better.
The great need of our day is for followers of Jesus to experience him with such transforming passion that we cannot help sharing his truth and love with our broken culture. The rising secular ideology of our day can replace religion, but it cannot replace Jesus. Nor will it hold allure for those whose hearts and lives are being changed by him each day.
In 1789, French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille. The ensuing French Revolution tried to excise all vestiges of religion from French society. In October 1793, all public worship was forbidden, church bells were pulled down and melted, and crosses and relics were seized and sometimes destroyed. In their place rose the Cult of Reason which recognized no god but worshipped the goddess of reason in former churches now known as “temples of reason.”
Are we witnessing a similar movement today?
C. S. Lewis stated in a sermon that “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” For Christians seeking to influence our secular culture, this often entails utilizing secular arguments for spiritual ends.
The Church is not above our critique, of course, but too many who embrace the habit of criticizing her soon find themselves as no longer part of her. Make no mistake, the Church is Christ’s bride. She will outlast the world. As her members, we work toward her sanctification, but we should be incredibly wary about shouting her imperfections from the pews, especially to those outside the building. We heckle this Bride at our eternal peril.