Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hope For Christianity in America

There are many who think that the best days of Christianity in America are in the past. I am not one of those thinkers. I fully understand that our country is deeply divided and difficult financial times appear to loom. To top it off, many, including our president, have declared, “We are no longer a Christian nation.” So why do I think the best days of Christianity are ahead?

Rather than giving a ten-page explanation, I’ll simplify things and site two reasons. First: The opportunity to share and show the gospel to people who do not know it has never been greater in this country. In many ways America has become a pure missionary context. Second: A growing group of Christians are learning what it means to be Christian in a society not predominated by “Christian” thought.

I believe great things are in store for churches and Christians that understand their call and the times. Many will ignore both and become culturally irrelevant and ineffective for the kingdom. Many will seek to maintain a cultural and social Christianity that has all but died. Keep in mind, if we fight the wrong battle, the best case is we win the wrong war. I don’t believe that Christians will win the cultural-social war we are engaged in.

Others will follow the way of Jesus. Have no doubt that Jesus came to change everything, including the political, social, and cultural order of things. But He didn’t do it by demanding the world around Him change. He accomplished it by living differently and inviting others to follow Him in the way He lived. He certainly could have demanded that Rome change its ways. He is God in the flesh. But He chose a different way-- a way I believe He is calling you and I to follow. Paul explains it this way in Philippians 2:5-11, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Not only is the world looking for humility and a servant attitude from Christians, it is actually our original calling from God. There are some that will see this as American Christians retreating from the cultural war, but it is actually the higher calling. I look forward to the day when people can look at Christians and marvel at how we care for the poor, the widows, and the orphans in our country. I look forward to seeing many who call Jesus as Lord become a blessing to the nation rather than be a burden to the system.

I believe this will happen in communities all over our country as we continue to preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God and live it out. Look around. Who needs to hear and experience the Good News? "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:15