Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Do Christian churches in the West have a "plan B" ?

I wonder how many evangelical churches in the West have given any more than vague thoughts to this question: if and when the state becomes explicitly and directly hostile to the Christian faith (in the sense of deciding to directly forbid its activities or teachings on the grounds that they are themselves wrong, not simply through indirect means), what is your plan for that?

The last few decades have consistently seen Christians accommodating themselves to whatever the secular state comes up with. The church has generally accepted the state's declarations that the public square is secular (not under the lordship of Christ), that children should be educated in a secularist context (not one saturated in the assumptions and directives of the word of God), that the source of law is secular humanism (not the revealed will of God), that the church's voice is irrelevant in public affairs, and so on and so forth. Now that the church has accepted its position as irrelevant to life outside of its own four walls, the reasonable question is: what next? This is a necessary question because secular humanism is not an ideology which has any grounds for saying "we will stop 12 inches outside of your front door, and the front door of your churches". Only a Christian worldview has a basis for distinguishing consistently been sin and crime, and resolving some matters by looking to the future (whether on earth as the influence of Christ's power spreads, or on the final day of judgment). Secular worldviews are necessarily and inevitably totalitarian, regardless of how long the interim period before the consistency works itself out may be. Christians have benefited greatly from the remaining vestiges of the influence of the Christian worldview in society and culture. But, I repeat, what next?

As we all know when it comes to other spheres of life, "hope is not a strategy". And action-less hope is still not a strategy even when coated with a few true-in-themselves Christian platitudes such as "we will pray" and "our trust is in God" and "we need revival". Pietistic slogans are not Biblical manliness.

So, I repeat, what is "plan B"? When the mood changes from tolerating Christians to actively repressing them, what does your local church plan to do about it? And what is it doing now in preparation for that? Yes, it's preaching the gospel. Excellent. But, what is the application of that gospel to your current cultural context? Is the gospel actually preached when it is not applied at levels beyond the personal and individual? What about the cultural and institutional level? And given that God is a God of means and works through second causes, how do you see the lines joining up between your means and the production of a strong, confident generation of Christians who will pass on the faith and the institutions that nurture godly fruit to the generation after them?

And for bonus points: what is the reason why these questions are so rarely even posed?