One of the top news stories today is the fact that the Chinese stock market is experiencing a massive selloff, and the effects are expected to be felt in US markets. Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America “succumbed to the inevitable” and made way for gay adult leaders.
A quick survey of our culture yields quick moving changes, many with potential consequences to our faith. Question that are being asked in many people’s minds are “What does this mean for the future of the Christian church? Is Christian influence on the culture going away? Will church and faith continue to be relevant?” My answer is a resounding YES! Allow me to share my perspective.
“Is Christian influence on the culture going away? Will church and faith continue to be relevant?”
First, 21st Century American Christians must understand that we live in an unusual period of history. During our lifetimes, America and American culture has by and large been lived from a Christian perspective, and that has not been the case throughout most of history. Throughout time, and in various countries today, Christianity and its followers have been reviled, persecuted, and shunned. Just a few years after Jesus died, severe Roman persecution of Christians resulted in widespread suffering and persecution. And in spite of all this, God’s church not only survived, but flourished. History bears witness to the fact that the more the church is persecuted, the stronger it becomes.
“The more the Church is persecuted, the stronger it becomes.”
The most important reason the church will continue to thrive is the fact that the church was, is, and will continue to be God’s chosen instrument to reach lost people. Commenting on Peter’s confession of Jesus being the Christ, Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” It is through the church that sacrificial love and acceptance are demonstrated. The church is the safeguard for the tenets of our faith, and it is the microphone from which the Gospel is preached. The church is the place where forgiveness is offered, relationship skills are learned, the truth is told, accountability is practiced, and the principle of putting others before ourselves is learned. Church is a place where imperfect people learn to tolerate each other.
It will take more than a stock market crash to endanger the existence of the church. It will take more than a Supreme Court decision or a change in the direction of the Boy Scouts. The church is, and will continue to be, the place where hope is found in a lost and dying world. Churches aren’t perfect, we have our problems, and we can certainly be more effective. But make no mistake- the church of Jesus Christ will survive. It has survived much worse conditions than are present in 2015, and it will last until Jesus comes back.