Many people in the US today feel as if their world has been turned upside down. They feel almost adrift in a tumultuous sea. They feel that events swirl around them completely out of control.
What causes this feeling?
Probably one of the big issues is the nagging feeling that somehow the threat voiced long ago in the Soviet Union that “we will bury you” has come true. After all, the Soviet Union was a place where the government owned everything. Everybody worked for the government. Businessmen were reviled as filthy capitalists. All healthcare was free, but it was administered by the government, and many people waited so long for service that they died waiting. Healthcare institutions looked more like prisons than hospitals. Christians and their churches were scorned and even punished. The government confiscated churches, stole anything valuable from the buildings, and turned them into government offices and agencies. Five-year plans for economic recovery never recovered anything and the country ultimately collapsed. Former refugees from the Soviet Union cry out that they came to the US to escape this sort of thing, yet it has now caught up with them. Both the culture and the government in the US are starting to look a lot like the former Soviet Union.
The refugee testimony that verifies the changes taking place makes it clear that Christians are not crazy when they feel battered on the one side by rampant secularism expressed both in the culture and in government and on the other side by Islam, which for reasons unknown, is accommodated by the government in deference not accorded to any other religion.
Secular pressure on Christians arises spontaneously in the culture with rising numbers of secularists who claim no connection to any religion while scorning those who do connect. Government in the US has historically been neutral or even benevolent toward religion in the culture, but in recent years it seems to be developing an aggressive and antagonistic attitude toward Christianity. (It might look equally antagonistic toward other religions if their adherents were as numerous as self-identified Christians.) Rulings forbidding prayer in schools or Christmas displays in parks or monuments to the Ten Commandments portend future policies and legislation that will make it difficult to exercise Christian faith in the public realm. Laws that upend moral codes that Christians believe to be the revealed will of God make it hard to express Christian teachings in public.
Islam presses for change in the culture more than it presses directly on Christians. Yet Christians are caught up in the pressure, because Christians are affected by every trend that develops in the culture. For example, there is no outcry from Muslims in the US to make Christian evangelism illegal, (as is normal in Islamic republics) but there is an outcry to apply sharia law in the courts when a Muslim is involved. The ultimate effect of invoking sharia in the courts, however, would be to risk suppression of Christian evangelism if a Muslim were involved. The Quran teaches that it is a deadly sin for a Muslim to convert to any other religion, and the Christian who may have led the Muslim to conversion would also be regarded as a threat. Couple Muslim rejection of a right for Christians to evangelize Muslims with secular demands that Christians refrain from “proselytizing” and a Christian is caught in a pincer attack from secularism and Islam.
Christians experience such challenges every day in the US. This threat level will not likely be reduced in the foreseeable future. How can Christians remain strong and faithful when under threat?
Christians in the US must look to the persecuted church around the world for inspiration and education in standing strong. Christians must learn from the persecuted church worldwide to be fearless in using the weapons God provides for this sort of warfare – truth, Christ’s righteousness, ready testimony to the gospel, faith, salvation, the Bible, and prayer. Read Ephesians 6:10-20 to get the whole picture of the way God intends for Christians to defend themselves. In many countries, the church thrives under oppression US residents have never seen, because the persecuted church uses these weapons with fervent commitment. US Christians must live the love of Christ in the cultural “no man’s land” between secularism and Islam. Christians must be the love of Christ to everyone who enters the “no man’s land” which is God’s workspace where he transforms darkness to light and death to life in the hearts of humankind for Jesus’ sake. There is a reason Christians feel battered; they are under attack. Nevertheless there is a way to thrive and live fulfilled lives if they use the tools God has provided for their well-being. This blog is devoted to helping people find and use these tools for blessing in their own lives and the lives of others.