The Colorado Civil Rights Commission was determined to bankrupt bakery owner Jack Phillips because he refused to decorate a cake that would violate his Christian conscience. Phillips had to fight the Commission all the way to the Supreme Court to defend his religious liberty. He won the case in 2017—but the Commission filed a new suit against him the following year (that case and Phillips’s countersuit were dropped in 2019).
The Commission was determined to destroy a Christian business owner for obeying the teachings of the Bible.
It seems that as Christ-followers, turmoil and conflict are part of God’s plan. Let’s look at how to survive the challenge.
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Some Love to Hate Chick-Fil-A
The Christian-owned fast-food restaurant, Chick-fil-A, has been targeted repeatedly by activists and government agencies ever since 2012, when CEO Dan Cathy gave a speech in support of traditional, biblical marriage. Though Chick-fil-A restaurants are hugely popular nationwide, airports in New York and Texas have recently banned the chain from their concession areas.
Why? LGBTQ activists claim Chick-fil-A violates political correctness. But does Chick-fil-A display hate or discrimination toward any group of people in its hiring or its service? Absolutely not. The company’s policy is clear: “Chick-fil-A embraces all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
But if the company’s CEO expresses his support for the biblical model of marriage, activists and government agencies will do everything they can to shut Chick-fil-A down.
Salvation Army and FCA Under Fire
Organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have recently come under fire because they are accused of “proselytizing” and refusing to hire personnel (such as gay rights activists) who are diametrically opposed to their mission.
The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes are evangelistic organizations. Their core mission is to share the good news of Jesus Christ, in obedience to the Great Commission.
Evangelizing and witnessing are activities protected by the First Amendment under the free speech and freedom of religion clauses. Condemning these Christian organizations for “proselytizing” is a secularist ploy to make a constitutionally protected activity seem evil and underhanded.
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Modern Culture Seeks to Silence Christians
Our society seeks to deprive Christians of the right to follow the Scriptures, obey the Lord, and proclaim the Good News. Clearly, we live in a post-Christian world. Our culture has become hostile to Christian beliefs and the Christian message. Government agencies now seek to punish Christians for obeying their Christian conscience.
We have to ask ourselves: Can our Christian faith survive and thrive in a hostile post-Christian world?
For centuries, the Christian worldview held primacy throughout Western civilization and especially in America. But Christianity’s respected place in society has declined rapidly during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The church is under assault by rampant secularism, humanism, hedonism, leftist “political correctness,” postmodernism, and militant atheism.
Has the Church become Weak?
Our present crisis is not the result of these adversaries being too strong, but of the church becoming internally weak. The 21st century church has been hollowed out from within by supposedly “Christian” teachers, preachers, and authors who have abandoned an orthodox, biblical understanding of the Christian faith.
They proclaim various “new” versions of Christianity that are not new at all—just variations on ancient heresies.
The desire to become known for inventing some “new” take on Christianity has lured many a preacher or teacher away from a biblical faith. It’s a satanic appeal to a preacher’s ego—and I pray I never succumb to it. I don’t ever want to be known for proclaiming a “new and improved” Christianity. There’s nothing I preach that you haven’t heard before. When I teach and write, I remind people of the old truths they’ve heard before but may have forgotten.
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The Gospel Is Not to Be Compromised
Faithful Christians in the first-century church refused to compromise the truth of the gospel. They suffered unthinkable consequences for their rock-solid stand for the gospel. Some early Christians were fed to lions, some were plunged into boiling oil, some were coated in tar and burned as torches in Nero’s garden.
Why did they refuse to renounce their faith in the face of such monstrous threats? They stood firm because they were determined to deliver a pure and uncompromised faith to future generations, including our generation.
Yet many Christians today are willing to compromise and defile the faith those early Christians died for, merely to win favor with the secular world. They have eliminated the Cross, the blood of Jesus, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, and salvation and judgment from their message.
They think they are “saving” Christianity by updating Christianity for a 21st-century audience, but their best intentions are merely the paving material on the superhighway to hell.
Biblically Correct, or Politically Correct?
Eager to win the approval of the world, desperate to avoid being criticized for preaching a “politically incorrect” gospel, many “Christians” have compromised the gospel and defected from biblical Christianity. Some proclaim themselves “progressive Christians” and have replaced the Good News of salvation with an agenda of social and political activism.
But Jesus did not come as a social reformer or a political activist. He came as the King of kings and Lord of lords. His gospel of eternal life not only changes lives, but transforms nations and societies. Century after century, the uncompromised truth of the gospel has produced the very social transformation the “progressive Christians” say they want.
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Christianity Is Biblical, Not Just “Progressive”
It was biblical Christianity, not “progressive Christianity,” that inspired John Wesley, John Newton, William Wilberforce, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon to fight to abolish human slavery.
It was biblical Christianity, not “progressive Christianity,” that led the Christian abolitionist Jonathan Blanchard to found Wheaton College in 1860 as a Christian institution of higher learning—and a way station on the anti-slavery Underground Railroad.
It was biblical Christianity, not “progressive Christianity,” that established the first hospitals and universities in the world.
It was biblical Christianity, not “progressive Christianity,” that compelled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to risk his life to end segregation in America.
It was biblical Christianity, not “progressive Christianity,” that founded a network of crisis pregnancy centers to offer women and girls a caring Christian alternative to the callous exploitation of their bodies by the abortion industry.
Awaken from Spiritual Apathy and Remain a Steward
God is sounding an alarm to awaken the church from its spiritual apathy and its neglect of His Word. God is calling us to take an uncompromising, unashamed stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for every word of the Bible, both Old Testament and New.
The pure, biblical faith we have received from previous generations is a trust. We owe it to God and to generations of Christian martyrs to be faithful stewards of the gospel. We must hand it down to future generations uncompromised and undefiled.
Can Our Christian Faith Survive and Thrive in a Post-Christian World?
It can and it will—if we boldly “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:3).
I believe that many trials and persecutions lie ahead for the 21st-century church. But the Lord founded His church upon a solid rock, and the gates of hell can never overcome the bold witness of God’s faithful people.
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