Maybe it has been a problem in every age, but it is certainly a temptation in ours to look back to previous decades or centuries wishing that those conditions could be repeated now. We see religion in general and the Christian church in particular under attack in our culture. We see values that would not have been questioned as few as 50 years ago now viewed with derision.
This evening I ran across the following paragraph that speaks to this. This was written by Sinclair B. Ferguson in the introduction to The Reformed Faith by Robert Shaw.
“ . . . we must not make the mistake of either passively accepting the influences of our age, or of wishing we had been born in another era. Instead we must learn to live wholesomely non-conformist Christian lives, increasingly transformed by the renewing of our minds (as Paul puts it in Rom. 12:1-2).”
First, we need to acknowledge the fact that some of the derision Christians are under is deserved. One needs look no farther than the antics of Westboro Baptist Church to see why some view Christianity as a group of brutal and judgmental neanderthals. Those who claim the title of Christian do not always behave in accordance with the teachings and example of the one they claim to follow.
But this leads us to an amazing opportunity. If we are appropriately non-conformist we will be so to both the mutations of Christianity that we have experienced and we will be so to the surrounding culture.
We, as the true Church, have the opportunity to understand the Gospel in the context in which we find ourselves. We will have the opportunity to live out that Gospel as a light to those around us. If we do those things well, then we will have the opportunity to tell those around us about the Christ and what he really did and taught.
I love that phrase, “wholesomely non-conformist.”
That sounds a lot like Jesus.