Thursday, August 6, 2015

We're in the Minority and Making People Angry

Russell D. Moore makes the claim in his book Onward that Christians in America are in the minority and probably always have been. He also makes the claim that if we really want to be like Jesus and make an impact on the world, we need to follow Christ in such a way that the world around us views us as strange. The world views what they are doing as normal, so righteousness is one of the strangest things they’ve ever seen. Like most Christians, I’ve read verses like 1 Peter 2:9 and said, “Yes, we’re peculiar,” but I hadn’t thought about how strange we ought to be and I hadn’t thought about just how much of a minority we are. Until this week.

The news story was about a teenager registered on the sex offender list. This nineteen year old used a hookup website to find someone to have sex with, but the woman he hooked up with lied about her age. She was only fourteen. So, he ended up being convicted of a sex crime. My comment was that though I didn’t think he should be classified as the same risk as a serial rapist, he was not innocent. He shouldn’t have been having sex in the first place, but even so, he had also created this problem for himself by not taking the time to get to know this woman. Very few supported anything close to my position and most of the comments were very much in favor of sex outside of marriage.

If I had said something against gay marriage, the reaction to my comment would’ve been mixed, but it would’ve had support. If I had said something against abortion, again, it would’ve been mixed, but it would’ve had support. The impression you get is that biblically based views are taking a hit, but Christians are a strong force in America. But then you look at the issue of chastity. If you really want people to think you’re weird, tell them you’ve never had sex and you don’t go on dates expecting to have sex. Even the church going folks find that weird, but that’s the life to which Jesus calls those of us who aren’t married.

Part of the problem is that there are a lot of closet fornicators. There are so called Christians who have learned that churches see having sex outside of marriage as a bad thing. They go right ahead and have sex, but they don’t talk about it around other Christians. So, when the topic comes up, they might be able to quote the scriptures, but they aren’t very motivated to speak against sex outside of marriage because they’ve been doing it themselves. One of the things Russell D. Moore mentions in his book is that Christians are not sticking to what the Bible teaches, but rather they are sticking just a little closer to it than what the rest of society is. The picture is that Christians aren’t leading toward God, but they are following society while dragging their feet.

It is true that people take notice when we embrace the strangeness of the gospel. More than that, they’ll call you ignorant. They’ll accuse you of judging people. They will criticize God himself. But oddly enough, it seems like it is easier to bring the Bible into the conversation when people are arguing against my comments than when we are in agreement. I don’t know how many will be persuaded, but using the Bible to teach an angry man has got to be more effective than not teaching from the Bible at all.