Regardless of the Opposition
December 4, 2019
by Samuel Molind, DMD
Last year I read a book by Os Guinness entitled Impossible People. I read something that really set me back on my heels:
“The truth is that the world, as Christians have known it for many centuries, has gone—gone and gone for good…gone so decisively, any simple return or reclamation is out of the question—Christian culture warring has been in vain” (p. 45).
Though I did not expect to read those words, I realized as I let them sink in that this same conviction and concern had been growing deep inside me for some time. I guess I did not want to concede that we wouldn’t be able to turn the clock back to the days when the Christian worldview was the foundation for our understanding of the good, the true and the beautiful.
Have you noticed how aggressive the resistance to our entire worldview has been since 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court passed its ruling on same-sex marriage? Emboldened, I think, by the legal decision, the opposition has moved forward forcefully both socially and politically around the country.
The challenge is broader, though, than the “pelvic issues”—homosexuality, same-sex marriage, the gender “bathroom and changing room battles,” the hook-up culture, etc. Indeed, there is not a single issue dear to us as faithful followers of Christ and critical to our Christian convictions that is not being vigorously challenged: the existence of God, the authority and reliability of the Bible, the singular role of Jesus in the salvation of the world, morality grounded in God and not our personal preferences, what it means to be human, and even our fundamental liberty to express our views without fear of reproach, censure or government interference. And the list goes on.
We are facing a full-court press against everything we cherish and value. And I am convinced things are going to get much more difficult in the short-term, and probably for the long-term as well.
This is no time for cowards or for fence-sitters. It is no time for going with the flow or compromising our message to make it more palatable. Christ’s words are often hard and seem brash and daring, even divisive at times, and the world will never accept anyone who is faithful to them.
The days are over when Christians could quietly coexist with the culture without being able to give an answer for the hope that is in them, “but, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV 1984).
For myself, I am doing two things, and I encourage you to do the same.
First, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, NIV 1984), as the Lord our God moves about with His perfect plans. The fact is we have always been foreigners in this world. We have experienced relatively easy times as Christians in the West, and it has made us forget that our brothers and sisters in other regions have always known otherwise. Perhaps God is “giving our culture over” (Romans 1:24-28) for a season to remind us of the realm to which we truly belong.
Secondly, I am fortifying my resolve to be true to Christ, by God’s grace, no matter what hostilities or obstacles confront me, no matter what cost I am asked to pay. I made this decision years ago on the mission field, and I find it important to reinforce often through prayer. There are two qualities necessary to be successful in God’s kingdom: obedience and faithfulness. I want to be prepared so that, having done everything, my family and I can stand firm, regardless of the opposition (Ephesians 6:13). Things may get easier or they may get much more difficult. Only the Lord knows. I want the next generations in my family to be prepared and be found faithful. It should not matter how difficult the times are to followers of Jesus. He will never leave us or forsake us in our journey. Hallelujah!
What matters most can be summed up in words carefully painted on two little stones: one for each pocket that were given to Os Guinness as a young lad by his missionary parents when they sent him from Nanjing to boarding school in Shanghai. The stones simply said, “Found Faithful” and “Please Him.”