How do Christians live faithful and gospel-intentional lives in a culture that seeks to eliminate the uniqueness of the Christian message from the public square? It’s a difficult question that seems to be coming more and more of a reality.
This was seen recently in President Obama’s request for evangelical pastor and speaker Louie Giglio to offer the benediction at the upcoming inauguration. Giglio has been a leader in the Passion Conferences for college students for nearly two decades and a tireless voice to end human trafficking. Then a sermon he preached in the 90’s about the biblical position on homosexuality surfaced, and he was suddenly under fire.
The details are a little murky, but at the end of the day, Giglio was no longer offering the benediction. Words like ‘hate’, ‘bigot’, and ‘judgmental’ were being associated with a man who by all accounts is none of those things.
Sadly, this is becoming far more the norm rather than the exception. University campuses, supposed bastions of free speech, have recently tried to limit Christian clubs and organizations. Some universities have established ‘free speech zones’ as the only areas where free speech can take place. Workplace restrictions regarding religion are common and we are all too familiar with what happens if a political candidate speaks of the role his faith plays in his life.
So what should we do? Maybe the teaching of Jesus can help us through this. In John 15-16, Jesus offers several important reminders for believers living in a world that is hostile to the gospel. We need to remember…
– the world hated Jesus (therefore, we are not alone)
– the disdain for Jesus and by extension His followers comes from not knowing Jesus (therefore the importance and necessity of sharing Christ)
– as followers of Christ, we should expect opposition
– the context and circumstances of our culture’s attitude toward the gospel can’t deter us from our calling of faithfully living and speaking the whole truth of the gospel
May God grant us the grace to courageously and lovingly live out the gospel in our lives and words despite the intolerance of a tolerant culture.