Throughout history and the world, those who worship the Father in Spirit and in truth have done so under a variety of different circumstances. People are Christians under massive physical persecution, threats of death, and still, go to their grave proclaiming the gospel. The history of the church paints a grim picture of the bloody martyrs who allowed themselves to be murdered for the sake of the Lord. But today, Christians face very difficult challenges. We are in a secular, relativistic, anti-Christian world. How can I be a Christian in this society?
Well first and most importantly, we must build our foundation on the Lord Jesus Christ. At the Passover dinner with his disciples, he told them something that was, and is, so bizarre, so outlandish, and yet it is the most profound theological truth that every Christian who has ever lived has lived by. He said of the bread, “this is my body,” and of the wine, “this is my blood.” (Luke 22:19). This means that Jesus Christ must be our sustenance. In him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). That the most fundamental principle in being a Christian in any society.
Further, and critically, we must be guided by the work of the Holy Spirit. I mean that we cannot allow ourselves to stay into sin. We must discern and recognize his discipline (Hebrews 12:8-9) and strive to follow his guidance. We must bring forth the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), living a holy lifestyle (1 Peter 1:15). We cannot do that by the power of the flesh, but we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart (Colossians 4:2).
However we must stay grounded by reading the word of God. We have to watch our doctrine and our life closely (1 Timothy 4:16). If somebody tells us some spiritual truth, we have to measure it against what the word of God says. Within the Bible, Christ and the apostles taught us how to strive toward righteousness. The prophets and wisdom literature of old, which Christ himself studied fervently, contains practical advice, which transcends culture and era, for living a godly life.
But a manifestation of living a godly life is sharing the gospel. Men desperately need to understand that they are depraved sinners, heading for death and destruction; that is, God’s righteous condemnation. They need to see that and then see the good news that Christ died for their sins, absorbing the punishment that they deserve (1 John 2:2), was buried, he rose again and then appeared to the disciples (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Thus you need to make sure that you understand the gospel, and then go and share it with others. For Christ commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19).
However in this society, you need to be prepared to defend the hope that you have within you. (1 Peter 3:15) People have every kind of question prepared. They want to know who created God, how miracles are possible, why a good God would create Hell, and whether there are any good reasons to believe. People want to know these things. If you are engaging non-believers as per the command of Christ, then you need to be engaged also with the intellectual answers associated with sharing the gospel. Paul said, “I have become all things for all people so that by all means I may save some.” (1 Corinthians 19:23). In this culture, we need to become apologists to give good answers to difficult questions.
On a related note, we must not compromise biblical authority. When we allow modern science to reinterpret the Scripture for us, people see what we are doing and they laugh. 50 years ago, “Thus saith the Lord,” would convince most people in the United States. Since society is drifting away from biblical authority, Christians tend to cry out, “No! Come back! We do not believe this book either!” So, do not compromise biblical authority, because that really exposes your position and makes the non-believer wonder why they should bother believing the Bible at all. Do not allow science to reinterpret the Bible for you.
At the same time, do not be dismissive of modern science. When we reject all of modern science with one fell swoop, we appear as though we are anti-intellectual. What we should bear in mind is that the natural world was literally written by God himself. So we cannot just dismiss all of science. Of course that does not mean that we have to swallow everything scientists say. But there is much science that we can learn from, and in fact, even defend our faith by. We must not be dismissive of science lest we lose this culture.
Far from being dismissive, Christians can rejoice that science has made strives to prove our faith. In fact, many atheists are denying the Big Bang because they do not like where it leads. As the agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow said, “Scientists have now found that they have painted themselves into a corner, because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation, to which you can trace the seed of every star, every planet, every living organism in the universe. That there are supernatural forces at work, I think, is now a scientifically proven fact.” Overnight, science has become an enemy of the atheist, and a friend of Christians. I briefly sketched a few of these arguments here.
In following these principles, Christians can help create a culture in which the gospel can be given a fair hearing. Right now, it is not given a fair hearing. Christians do not know how to answer difficult questions. But the arguments and evidence can be very convicting. Men can constantly be reminded that there is a God. They will not be able to lay their head on their pillow taking solace in questions like who created God?
Be a Christian with answers. Create a blog. Help people to come to faith, remembering that you are but dust and ashes, being used by God Almighty. Salvation will not come by your ability to persuade, only by the will of God (John 1:13) however God does use men to speak the truth. We can strip this society of its’ pseudo-intellectual shield that it has put in front of the Christian faith.
If you would like to discuss further, come join our Theology Discussion Group