By Henry Neufeld
I’ve seen a great number of words from Christians here in America recently, some of them coming from Facebook or Twitter, some in blog posts, some in words spoken directly to me, or on Television or the Radio. I’m not going to cite specific sources, because I’m not writing about what some particular person said. Rather, I’m writing about an atmosphere.
The atmosphere is one of defensiveness, reflecting a Christianity that is on the defensive. Sometimes this refers to the church as a whole losing ground or being in danger. Sometimes it refers to one’s personal position or standing with God. Sometimes it refers to personal safety. At other times it’s about the course our nation is taking.
Now I want to be clear that I’m talking about American Christianity here. I would hate for my brothers and sisters in places where they are truly threatened to think I’m talking about them.
We American Christians live in a land of plenty. Yes, we’ve had some times that have been harder than usual, but we’re still doing well financially when compared to the vast majority of people on this planet. We also live in a nation where we are in the majority. Now I know many will question this by asking how many true Christians there are as opposed to just nominal Christians. My response to that is simply to point out that we tend to claim all those who identify themselves as Christians when we want to emphasize the strength of Christianity. Should we be permitted to change the definition in another context so we can call ourselves a minority?
By defensive, I don’t mean that we actively defend our faith. I think apologetics is a good discipline. We should be able to give an answer for our faith.
What I mean is that we live our Christian lives in a state of fear. We’re afraid that our young people will learn something in college that will make them lose their faith. We’re afraid that a book that teaches something heretical will lead us (or someone we call “weaker”) astray. We’re afraid that a Mormon president might make heretics of us all, or that a liberal Christian as president will change the face of the country. We’re afraid that the language in party platforms or the content of political speeches will make or break our lives here.
We think that the results of this upcoming election may bring disaster and that we have to get desperate and persuade all our friends and relatives to vote the same way we do, because if the right person doesn’t win, our country is finished. We think we need to pray for God to make things go the right way, lest the wrong person get into power.