The current state of culture towards Christians, especially those closely aligned with orthodox Christianity, is one of increasing hostility. It can be seen in the public square on issues like gay marriage or abortion. Any time a person makes a legitimate claim to a belief based on Christian principles it seems they automatically lose endorsements, funding and, ultimately, votes.
In a recent episode of the radio show Stand to Reason, Greg Koukl said something very thought provoking on the subject. He said he has noticed this same increase in hostility towards Christians, then spoke of Paul’s willingness to wear the label of “fool” when it came to his belief in the Gospel. The world labeled him a fool for his beliefs, but he was fine to take up that cross and bear it for God.
Then Koukl applied the same idea to gay marriage today. He pointed to the fact that if you say you are against gay marriage, the label you must now wear is “bigot.” It doesn’t matter what is right or wrong, or even justified, anymore. If you say you stand for the biblical view of marriage, you will be labeled a bigot.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Mr. Koukl, for it is far too obvious this is the case. Tolerance and outright acceptance are the laws of our day to which every other law must bow. Because of this, any attempt to align yourself with anything other than those values results in outright dismissal of your views, followed by swift and vicious attempts to demonize you for them.
Don’t believe me? Just yesterday, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said the following:
I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God...And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
I have seen the clip myself (you can see it at the bottom of the page here), and his words were delivered with conviction and civility. This was no man on a rant against “evil baby killers.” He was simply (and boldly, in my opinion) stating where his beliefs landed him on the topic of abortion. And based on the quote above, this is where any Christian should land. According to some reports, Mourdock even appeared to be choked up as he made the comments.
So what do you think happened?
His opponent in the race immediately released the following statement:
The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen — ever...What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.
Disrespectful to survivors of rape? I watched the clip and read the transcript, and nowhere in it did Mourdock make any defamatory or demeaning statements about women who have been through that horrible tragedy.
Not long after that, Mitt Romney’s campaign issued a statement distancing themselves from Mourdock. All day long, the reports came across the airwaves delivered with an ever so subtle, yet very effective, twinge of condemnation. This I cannot prove. But news source after news source delivered the “news” in the very same way, and not just the liberal ones. Listen to reports like this with a discerning ear and you will find the same thing.
I am proud of Mourdock for two things:
- He did not (as of the time of this writing) fold under the scrutiny of the ordeal.
- He was willing to wear the labels of “sexist” and “intolerant” for his faith. (Surely he knew what the consequences would be.)
I bring all this up to ask a question. It is one all thinking Christians need to honestly ask themselves in light of the fact that we live in increasingly hostile times.
It is this: what label are you willing to wear for Christ?
Because make no mistake, you will be forced to make a choice one day. You will be forced to answer for your beliefs, and you can do one of two things: you can fold under worldly pressure, or you can take up your cross and affirm your belief in the Truth.
Standing firm in the Truth will not be easy. You will be mocked, just like the Carpenter. There will be days when it seems your cross is more than you can bear. On days like this, these words from J.C. Ryle can bring comfort:
We shall marvel that we made so much of our cross, and thought so little of our crown. We shall marvel that in “counting the cost” we could ever doubt on which side the balance of profit lay. Let us take courage. We are not far from home. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a consistent believer; but it pays.
Grayson Pope is a Christ-follower, husband, and father, right in the middle of his story. But mostly he's just a parched soul in search of God's Living Water. You can read more from Grayson here.