Brother Paul, we are writing with burdened hearts. Ultimately, we would like your advice on how we can be a better witness for Christ in 2020. To say it’s a different world than when you were here is an understatement. Today, people are sinning with a high-hand and arrogantly defying God and mocking the Christian faith.
Paul, much has changed since you preached around the Mediterranean. The Bible isn’t even read in schools anymore and the Ten Commandments are out-the-window. One is almost afraid to say he is a Christian. Sometimes we feel like the world treats us as the scum of society.
We haven’t read much about the prevailing culture of your day; but, compared to what we have to put up with today, yours was probably a piece of cake.
There are gambling casinos everywhere that actually provide funds to governments. There are massive corporations that know how to manipulate laws and politicians to minimize their obligations to society.
Oh, Paul, it’s horrible! We don’t know where to start or how to spend our time or energy.
Liquor stores are everywhere and some governments see them as revenue generators – while thousands lose their lives because of drunk drivers. There are even pot shops now. Abortions are legalized. Immorality exists in every colour and shade – without even a hint of shame. Evolution is being taught and Christians are being scorned for their faith. There are so many issues to fight and so many things to take a stand against.
There are government-sponsored safe-injection sites where addicts can get their next fix administered safely. Open-air Gospel meetings in residential neighbourhoods have been banned by some municipalities. There’s a move-a-foot to encourage the state to become more active in managing society in the area of education, health, and social services.
In some places, it seems other religions are claiming the same rights, and indeed, securing the same privileges Christians have always enjoyed since the Resurrection!
Pornography is pervasive online, and minds are being corrupted. Euthanasia is being legalized in some jurisdictions. Oh my – the list is endless!
Paul, we hate to burden you with all the issues but, honestly, we are at our wit’s end. We are beginning to wonder if we can even stop the decline – not to mention reverse it. What do we tackle first?
Atheists are getting more airtime on networks than preachers. NASCAR, airshows, the retail industry, and professional sports treat the Lord’s Day as if it were like any other day.
Reverence and respect for God have gone out-the-window. Some municipalities are banning road-side signage with Bible verses on them. We’re almost panicking about the decline.
Paul, we value your spiritual insights and wisdom. We have been having special prayer meetings trying to figure out how to prioritize the list of evil practices we should protest. The big question is: which ones are we most likely able to reverse or at least slow down before the Rapture?
As Christians where can we have the greatest impact? Dear brother Paul…
- Do you think we should get involved in politics at some level?
- Should we organize petitions?
- Should we set aside funds from the Lord’s Day offering to hire a lobbying firm to get our message into the ears of sympathetic politicians and judges?
- Should we have our own parades and marches?
- Should we band together with other churches in signing and promoting a manifesto to restore moral order to society?
- Should we take a class-action lawsuit against the government to guarantee the restoration of all our rights as Christians?
Even as a local church, we are experiencing disputes over where to go from here and what to do. How can we guarantee our rights as Christians will be preserved and how can we make this world become more God-fearing and more supportive of Christian beliefs and more comfortable for us and a rising generation?
Dear troubled Believers,
I appreciate your concerns. They are very real. I recall when I was there – the world’s philosophies and systems weren’t exactly what I would call ‘aligned’ with the Christian faith. Contrary to your perceptions of my day, I don’t recall the culture back then being particularly Christian-friendly or God-honoring. Personally, I didn’t have the easiest time down there. Hostile is one way to characterize our environment. I mentioned it more than once in my Epistles. For example, I wrote this:
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1Corinthians 4:11-13
Also, read my words in 2Corinthians 11:24-27.
In our day, we stuck to promoting and preaching Christ and showing the love of Christ to all. There were just as many and even more issues in my day that could have derailed us or side-tracked us from preaching Christ. Everywhere we looked there was something in society that was immoral or profoundly anti-God or unfavourable to the spread of Christianity.
However, our focus was to promote Christ everywhere we went – regardless of the opposition we faced. Preaching Christ, with a Christ-honouring life to back up our words, was our singular focus.
I wrote: “We preach Christ crucified.” 1Corinthians 1:23
Brother Philip in the Samaritan city “preached Christ unto them.” Acts 8:5
And of course, the Lord Jesus Himself gave us the Great Commission: “Go into all the world and protest and politick everywhere.” Is that what He left us here to do? No! My Blessed Saviour and Lord saved me on the Damascus Road to carry His wonderful Name to the nations. To all believers of all generations His commission remains unchanged:
“Go into all the world and preach or proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15
Finally, I will leave you with the very words I wrote to Timothy:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:1-4
Obviously, that was a piece of verbose creative writing and a poor attempt at best; but some may get the point. Perhaps your heart has been stirred to think of more points that could have been added to Paul’s imaginary response – based on other portions of the New Testament.
Many of the attitudes of so-called Christians and much of what we see happening under the evangelical big-tent of 2020 is foreign to what the Scripture teaches. May the Lord preserve us and help us to refocus on our Scriptural purpose and mission on Planet Earth.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,
Warmly in Christ
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