There was a growing number of Christians who no longer wished to support a culture (monetarily, philosophically, or socially) that they saw as flying in the face of their faith. They no longer wished to perpetrate the corrupt "Babylonian" culture of this country. As author, Rod Dreher explained it, "The contemporary values of this nation no longer corresponded to the values of [their] faith, and so they sought to construct alternative forms of community that enabled them to withstand long-term chaos and the inevitable breakdown of the broader social and cultural order."
Of course that philosophy covered a broad spectrum of Believers, but what was becoming apparent to me was that it covered people who chose to surround themselves with like-minded Believers who shared the common goal of serving God as the Bible dictates; not as the culture demands, or as a prescribed brand of "American" Christianity. A simple example of that would be Christians who were struggling with established denominations within Christianity who were not standing up for Godly principles and commandments as they pertained to our changing culture, and who, instead, chose their loyalty to their 501(c)3 status over their obedience to Christ. So, in the ensuing years, I have seen many Believers choose to return to a "Book of Acts" home church model. That doesn't mean they traded one "building" for another. It means that, just like in the First Century AD, small groups of 15-20 followers of Christ gathered together in a home to study the Word [in all its instruction and wisdom] and to equip each other to do the work of the Lord.
I have seen many Christians naturally following this path. As we are faced with the reality that Biblical Marriage is no longer the law of the land, and as the leaders of our government have chosen to continue to use our tax dollars to fund an organization that promotes and profits from abortion, it is clear that our beliefs are in conflict with that of the nation. If we are to be true to our faith and our calling as followers of Jesus Christ, it will be necessary that we strengthen ourselves against the infringement of the culture upon our lives. I tend to liken it to living "in this world", but not being "of this world".
But now, here we are eight years later, and we find that the institutional Church still fails to see the truth of how we are failing the culture. Yes, we may appear as strong as ever within our own subcultural of Religion. But the Church needs to take off its blinders and see that Christians are now seen as outside the "norm" of modern American values. Add to that, the notion that our "American Christianity", which has always stood on the pillars of God, Country and Tradition, could be seen as being in conflict with Biblical faith, which is centered on sin, Christ, and His blood. Jesus's message was all about denying the power of sin, seeking His righteousness, and sharing the Good News that He brought His Father's Kingdom from Heaven down to earth.
I am not advising the kind of faith that renounces or disavows the culture in which we live. On the contrary, I would hope that we would do as Jesus did, and engage the culture, showing compassion and love to those who are lost in their sin, yet never wavering from, nor betraying, God's guiding tenets and commandments. How are we to affect the culture, if we do not ever enter into encounters with the culture? How can you share the Good News of Jesus Christ, if you are not willing to develop friendships with those who don't know Him? Jesus didn't compromise on sin, and neither should we. But if my goal is to tell someone of the saving power of Christ, how do I do that if I ignore or avoid them?
Let's be honest, those of us who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and live our lives accordingly, are most likely in the minority of Americans who call themselves "Christians". That term is beginning to cover a lot of different belief systems -- from those who accept gay marriage and abortion as approved by God; to those who believe in the political definition of Social Justice; to those who don't believe in Evil and Hell; to those who think the Bible is no longer relevant ... and they all call themselves "Christians"!
But, that doesn't mean we Biblical Christians stop loving them or being who we are -- followers of the Son of God -- and living our lives as He commanded us. It means that we must detach ourselves from the un-Godly ways of society, as well as recommit ourselves to the spiritual doctrines of the Bible as we proudly and boldly engage with those in the culture who do not agree with us. Let's not yield to compromise or concessions in order to make ourselves appealing to the culture. At the same time, let us not adopt a Pharisaical, holier-than-thou attitude towards our fellow Believers. Instead, let's be proud of how different we appear to the culture, and glory in our "strangeness"; let's be separate, but inviting, and continue in this manner for as long as we can. After all, that's how our Lord lived His life on this earth. He marched to a different drummer within the culture to which He was born; yet, He never compromised His allegiance to our Father, while inviting everyone who "had an ear to hear" to accept the glorious promises of the Kingdom of God.
But, I would be remiss, if I did not also say that the Lord warns us in His Word that eventually the world will no longer be tolerant of us. We must not be blind to the truth that evil is not only escalating in the world, but being tolerated on a greater scale. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the rapid changes in science, health care, and technology that increasingly diminish the divine nature of man. The attributes that we share with God no longer seem of value to our culture or the world. In fact, man is encouraged to reject God -- the One who created him -- and has begun to worship his own creation, leading to futile thinking, unrighteousness, and hearts that have grown cold and dark. As man worships his own creativeness, his wickedness grows in proportion. And those of us who possess true faith are increasingly scorned and ridiculed.
But you'd be surprised how insulated and isolated many Christians are to what's happening in the world outside their Churches. Which is why I often fear that the deception the Enemy is planning will find too many of my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ unaware of the warning signs. The Church must pay attention to the red flags that Jesus, Himself, speaks of in the Bible. In Matthew 24:24, Christ tells us, For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). Jesus is telling us that the AntiChrist will deceive the masses -- and, yes, even some Christians! How can that be possible? It's easy to contemplate when you think of how our politicians and the media are complicit in deceiving the masses. They lie in order to convince us that the evil we are seeing is really for our own good -- all so we will remain tolerant of it... until it is too late. But do we see the Church countering that message in an effective way?
Please do not misunderstand me! I am not trying to bash "the Church", which I prefer to call the Body of Christ, who will be composed of a Remnant who refuse to be deceived. They will be the Believers who steadfastly uphold God's Word because they have eyes to see and ears to hear! They will not willingly put on the dirty veil that clouds their spiritual sight. Instead they will remain true to their God and try to help others see the warning signs of the coming deception which is designed to lead to chaos and destruction. So, I ask you to listen when the faithful ones [who make you feel uncomfortable] try to warn you to pay attention. Remember that God tells us His people perish for lack of knowledge. And that lack of knowledge leads to ignorance, and ignorance leaves you vulnerable to the deception of Satan. Let us be determined to be a part of the Remnant; those who are not afraid to stand alone, if need be, to protect the sacredness of God's Word and His plan of redemption for the world. In the midst of the growing evil, chaos, and deception, we CAN be effective for the Kingdom! It is our duty and our obligation to our Savior; and it is our privilege to shine His Light into the coming darkness for all the world to see!
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Jude 17-23. But as for you, beloved, remember the [prophetic] words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They used to say to you, “In the last days there will be scoffers, following after their own ungodly passions” .... keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy but with fear, loathing even the clothing spotted and polluted by their shameless immoral freedom.