In case you haven’t noticed, things in the world are generally not going the Christian-way in politics, law, education, business, marriage, religion…or anything else.
Evil seems to winning all around us.
American Christians who once thought of themselves as the “moral majority” are now the “imperfect minority.”
We thought we could change the world through the ballot box.
We were wrong.
Call it “post-Christian” or whatever you like. The fact remains that Christian authors for the most part are writing about things that the majority of the world considers idiocy.
This reaction is actually not that big of a surprise.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, first chapter, verses 18-31 contain a simple explanation of the world into which we publish and the challenge for the Christian communicator: (From the New Living Translation)
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:24)
Christians around the world look at America through a number of lenses. One of them is not envy. In fact, while most believers around the world yearn for the freedom to worship we have in this country, they are concerned by our lack of dependence on God, and an insidious culture that combines faith and self-interest into a strange new religion of comfort and personal fulfillment.
Some churches in other countries are sending missionaries to the U.S.
Most Christians in the world live under various levels of attack and persecution. And they tend to flourish in their faith because of it. Something about heat refining gold and pressure making diamonds.
Today is election day in some parts of the U.S. and a year from now, voters will elect new or re-elect current leaders to solve all our problems. Two thousand years ago when Jewish leaders discovered Jesus wasn’t going to get rid of the Roman occupiers and wasn’t the kind of “savior” they wanted, they killed him. He didn’t play the political card.
So, get ready Christian authors and publishers. Be prepared to be strong and courageous, two traits we haven’t needed to exhibit much at least in the U.S.
Who knows, maybe persecution is the missing ingredient to church-growth and the expansion of Christian publishing.
We always had God, the Bible and the U.S. Constitution on our side to protect us, but now it seems like we only have God and the Bible to depend on.
I assume that was God’s desire for us all along.