Responding to an Antagonistic Culture

There seems to be a different approach to handling antagonistic attitudes in today’s church culture than in the time of the apostles.  To many church-goers, the solution to viewpoints that contradict their own is to sign a petition or rely on government officials to make the right call.  For others, they are turning to activism and protests to make the difference for their viewpoint.  But there is only one problem, none of it seems to be working.  

People grow weary of making a stand.  Soon the petitioners will need to pick up a dress and a gallon of milk and make an exception to go back to the store that they swore off.  They’ll grow frustrated with their current government official, vote them out and start over again with someone else that promises to “bring America back” but, in reality, doesn’t have the ability accomplish that goal, but it looks good on a bumper sticker.

So, what’s the answer?  How can we effectively fight back against the rising tide of a changing culture?  First, we have to accept that the culture, whenever and wherever we live, isn’t inherently “Christian” or “postChristian“, it’s fallen.   The biggest problem with the Christian culture’s attempts to bring about change in today’s evolving culture is that we’ve played by their rules, which is why we continue to lose.  The world isn’t in need of moral reformation they are in need of Messianic redemption and restoration. If we want to see a change in our world, then we have to stop playing by the world’s rules and start playing by God’s.

So, how do we do it?

Thankfully, this is something that the early church already dealt with.  Following the death of Stephen in Acts 7, the church came under attack and the people were targeted for annihilation.  But there are two verses that give us indication to how they responded to the changing culture that surrounded them:

  • Acts 8:2 – Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.

  • Acts 8:4 – Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

In the midst of persecution the church continued, faithfully, doing two things:

  • Serving One Another
  • Taking the Gospel to the World

If we, as the church, follow the model of the early church by serving one another sacrificially and taking the Good News of the Gospel to the world, in word and deed, then we will, eventually, see lasting change take place.  But we must start today.

God had a purpose for the persecution in Jerusalem; it was to drive the message of Jesus Christ out to Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost part of the world.

Similarly, God has a plan in the midst of what we are going through.  The question is, will we be faithful to do what is expected of us even in the midst of the persecution that we may face?

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