It is as frightening as it is shocking to consider this fact: during the course of my lifetime I have seen the West move from being basically Christian to post-Christian and now, anti-Christian. All over the West a once pro-Christian culture is rapidly becoming an anti-Christian culture.
The secular state is increasingly siding with and implementing radical anti-Christian agendas by various activist groups. Two years ago in my book Dangerous Relations I offered over 160 cases of Christians losing their jobs, being fined, or even jailed, simply for standing true to their beliefs, especially on things like marriage and family.
As the homosexual activists and gender benders freely do their thing, usually with the heavy hand of the law helping out, things are getting very ominous indeed for any believer who takes his faith seriously and refuses to compromise with evil.
And things are getting worse by the day. As an indication of all this, let me briefly mention six books which have dealt with this ominous trend. The first three were penned a decade ago and warned back then of the increase in anti-Christian bigotry and very real clampdowns on the faith. These books are still worth getting:
-David Limbaugh, Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Harper, 2004.
-Janet Folger, The Criminalisation of Christianity. Multnomah, 2005.
-Donald Wildmon, Speechless: Silencing the Christians. Richard Vigilante Books, 2009.
I have reviewed all three of these volumes. See here:
And this year three more volumes have just appeared which are also well worth getting:
-Matt Barber, Hating Jesus. Barbwire Books, 2016.
-Mary Eberstadt, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies. Harper, 2016
-Erick Erickson and Bill Blankschaen, You Will Be Made to Care: The War on Faith, Family, and Your Freedom to Believe. Regnery, 2016.
I hope to get around to doing reviews of these three excellent volumes as well. But between these six volumes – and many dozens of articles on my website – you should be getting the message: soft persecution is well and truly part of life in the West, and one can only expect this to develop into more hard-core persecution as time goes on.
We of course do not want to minimise the very real suffering of our brothers and sisters elsewhere, especially in Muslim-majority nations where torture and death are becoming routine for followers of Jesus Christ. But when people here are losing their livelihood and worse, then things are certainly getting serious.
I wrote about this earlier, as I looked at how passages like Revelation 18 might be coming into play here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/19/babylon-its-fall-and-the-mark-of-the-beast/
In part I wrote:
Many people are losing their jobs or being fined or even jailed for refusing to go along with these agendas. Obviously all three types of penalties and punishments will greatly impact our buying and selling abilities. So I often wonder if part of the mark of the beast might be tied up with where the West is now headed in this respect.
Again, I certainly am not saying this is what those mysterious portions of Revelation refer to. But I can see how it might fit in somewhere along the line. As ungodliness and unrighteousness increase and abound, and as enmity towards Christians steadily grows in the West, we can see how the political and social and legal and financial systems of the world are so powerfully turning against the people of God.
This is becoming an increasing reality for many believers: as iniquity and ungodliness increase throughout the West, many Christians are finding that even their employment is now at risk. When a conflict arises between your Christian faith and some hostile demands of the work place, this becomes a genuine area of concern.
If you are seeking to feed your family, but things get worse and worse where you work, and a very real threat of being fired arises if you refuse to violate your conscience and Christian convictions, then this is a tough call. That is why I have been warning about this for some time now.
We need to decide ahead of time how we will proceed in such situations. Will we simply cave in and compromise, just to hang on to that job? Sure, it is no small thing to consider losing work when you are struggling to provide for your own family. That is certainly a biblical thing to do (see 1 Timothy 5:8).
But as things hot up and we are more and more being forced into doing things or being part of things at work or elsewhere which really do violate our Christian faith and values, we need to think and pray carefully. Do we seek to stay in our position (at work, or at school, etc) at all costs, or is there a line which once crossed means we must go, no matter how difficult that might be.
And this is no mere theory. I have documented plenty of cases where Christians were forced to violate their conscience or face the consequences. Think of all the cake makers, venue owners, florists, photographers, etc., who have been forced to lose everything because they refused to participate in homosexual “marriage” ceremonies.
Those being adversely affected by all this are multiplying by the day. This is now reality. Do I stand for what is right and face the consequences, or do I just capitulate and give in? These are tough calls, especially when you have a family who depend on you to put food on the table and pay the bills.
As hard as it may be, I hope most believers will trust God and stand for what is right, even if it means losing a job or a university degree or career advancement, or respect in the eyes of the world. Sometimes we have to decide for Christ and be willing to pay the price. Jesus did this for us, so how can we do any less for him?
Each individual in this situation must pray and think carefully about how to proceed. But I trust that faithfulness to Christ will be our top concern. Do we really trust God? Do we really believe he is Jehovah Jireh, our provider? Do we really have faith enough to believe that he will look after us as we stand firm and refuse to bow the knee to the powers that be?
This is as important for individuals as it is for groups and churches. I have already written about how it may be time for Christian ministries, churches and parachurch groups to wean themselves off government funding. If they will compromise their mission and their values just to keep that government pay cheque coming, then they may have already sold out. See here for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/07/10/start-shutting-churches/
Let me finish by mentioning an email I just received today. It comes from a very concerned Christian who teaches at a large school. To protect his identity I cannot go into details here, although I would love to share his entire letter with you. He is quite worried about a transgender transitioning taking place in his school which directly impacts on him.
Does he go along with this charade and pretend everything is just peachy, or does he stand for truth, which he says he is committed to? He cares about this student and wants to help her, and not go along with the harmful gender bender agenda.
He closes his letter by saying he has a family to feed, and he is in a real bind. He wants to remain loyal to that which is right, and not cave in to this dangerous ideology. But he also knows he must provide for his wife and children. So he wrote me, begging for help. In part my reply to him is this article.
He also asked me for legal counsel. I am not a legal expert, so I cannot advise him directly on those matters. But I do know this for certain: such things will only get worse. As more and more transgender agendas and the like are being pushed onto us in our schools, our workplaces, and even in our churches, these situations will simply increase.
More laws will be passed forcing us to submit to these nefarious agendas, and more penalties and ominous consequences will be forthcoming for any recalcitrants. In part we need the wisdom of Solomon here. And we need real determination to honour Christ above all else, even if it means paying a heavy price for doing so.
And we will need what already exists in the US: Christian legal support groups who will for free – or at low cost – be willing to take up such cases. The cases will multiply and legal help will be part of the way we fight back. Another way will be for Christians to start acting like Christians for a change, and be willing to share food, clothing and even accommodation to those who lose all to the militant state.
This is where our faith runs into a reality check: will we offer real help to those in need because of such anti-Christian bigotry, or will it be business as usual? Will we open our homes to such folks? Will we open our wallets and give generously to those in need?
Or will it be every man for himself? I did not title this article, “What To Do If Persecution Comes”. It is already here, and it is getting worse by the day. In the light of this, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions. Will we stand true for Christ, even if it means we lose everything? And are we prepared to help those who are losing everything as a result?
The time for playing games is long gone. It is now time to take our faith seriously. As Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me”. Where do you stand?
Bill Muehlenberg is an American-born apologist and ethicist in Melbourne, Australia. He has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), an MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston). He is currently completing a PhD in theology. He has his own ministry called CultureWatch, which features Christian commentary on the issues of the day, including extensive writings on issues surrounding Islam. He is a prolific author, and a much sought after media commentator, and has been featured on most television and radio current affairs programs. Bill teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. He is the author of Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality, Freedom Publishing, 2011. Bill is married, with three sons.
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