Are you a sore loser? We have seen a lot of this rhetoric recently in our culture, mostly in regard to politics. In general at least in our fallen world Christians and Christianity are often equated with losing. Social philosophers point to the decline of our culture beginning in the 1960’s. I was a child then and remember only slivers of the unrest and sexual revolution, antiwar protests.
Author Os Guinness said in 1983: ``The dissolution of faith's authority and disappearance of any positive force for truth and goodness turns into a high-density, negative, and devouring force for evil—in short, nihilism.''
Even then where we are now could be seen approaching.
Religion and the Christian way of life are being marginalized and pushed out of mainstream culture, that is not in dispute. Christians are being forced to accept things that are anathema to our faith, if not we will be totally marginalized. Recent examples are the “Transactional” approach wherein Christians accept the rule of a lawless politician in exchange for perceived Christian policies in government. And there are other examples.
We are all aware of the Great Commission, where Jesus 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). It should not be forgotten that Christians in the earliest days of the Church did not keep silent about their faith, stating it openly in the public arena often unto death. Among others Paul debated at the Mars Hill with Greek and Athenian scholars (Acts 17). Some welcomed his insights and reasoning while others, including civic and religious leaders, wanted him to keep his views to himself.
Just a few hundred years after Christ was resurrected Rome had been completely changed by the faith. This was done not by Sunday Church but by living out their Christian life and being open about it with everyone.
I recently had a conversation with someone who was pointing out to me how Christians/Evangelicals were just another interest group fighting it out in our culture, no moral high ground, or values just the will to win above and over everyone else.
Many Christians have been looking for a savior in politics with claims of a Cyrus sent by God and many wildly inaccurate prophets making claims that have yet to manifest themselves. Again we know that as Christians we must be in the world and not part of it. That often is very hard to do. And of course it is not by our power or intelligence that we do this but through the Person of the Holy Spirit and Christ.
I personally been chastised by some Christians that civility is no longer possible we must get in there and fight fire with fire. I get it yet I can’t help but cringe, are we becoming like the world as we fume and feud with unbeliever’s and other Christian’s? Are we losing any respectability and does respectability no longer matter?
Christianity in America is losing traction quickly and it shows no signs of letting up.
There is one thing we seem to be unable to understand and that is the fact the measure of Christian influence is not found in our involvement in politics and culture. God’s Kingdom has never been rooted in the things of this world. Have we today so invested ourselves, our identity as Christians in America that we cannot bear the thought of losing in worldly terms?
Have we indeed become poor losers? As Christians we are never losers.
There are many examples of when Christianity confronts cultural and worldly evil, we see things like Wilbur Wilberforce freeing the slaves.
Paul challenges people in the Book of Romans to "be transformed by the renewing of your thinking." (Romans 12:2). Will the Christian way of thinking be welcome in the "court of public opinion," or will we just settle into being just one more group of people, fighting to win, to vanquish those who oppose us by whatever means? Will we use Christ as a mascot to gain points in the public discourse? Will we let theses differences of opinion divide our churches?
Many of you are tempted to fight with the sword have trouble understanding those who are tempted to fight with words and scripture, and vice versa. We are all susceptible to being Peter. Christ called Peter back from his sinful and foolish ways to take the good news into the world. Persecution may be ahead and closer than we think and then it may not be. Our expressions of gloom and doom are never in line with God’s reality. Even as losers in the world we are comforted by the reality that Christ has overcome the world.