The progressive march of tyranny through the Church

May 12, 2019 by

by Joe Boot, Christian Concern:

Over the last ten years or so, I have become increasingly accustomed to an unofficial evangelical embargo; a degree of kindly ostracism, a sort of smiling marginalisation from various Christian leaders in Canada – the evangelical establishment. If there is an evangelical version of ‘no-platforming’ then, looking back, I experienced it as a quiet drying up of invitations to speak at certain places, conferences and events where I had been previously sought after for years. At one point, I was so busy in the work of popular Christian apologetics in North America that I needed to keep a bag half-packed in my wardrobe. But after some time, I began to notice that my travel toothpaste was lasting much longer than before!

The narrowing of the gospel message

Competent Christian communicators who are willing to stick to an ostensibly ‘gospel-centred’ evangelical message of personal salvation in Christ, or limit their defence of the faith to God’s existence, the uniqueness of Jesus among religious founders and the reliability of the Bible (especially from an evidentialist or rationalistic perspective) will continue to find a ready audience in popular evangelicalism. These issues are intuitively regarded as a ‘safe zone’ of personal and private faith in a secularised culture.

There is a fairly narrow set of ‘faith’ questions that many believers regard as pertaining to a ‘religious sphere’ of life grounded in individual conviction and personal piety. Even though the traditional questions of Christian apologetics are rarely heard on actual university campuses these days, in this line of thinking, apologetics is regarded as a useful tool in aiding personal evangelism (the importance of which should not be neglected) and bringing people to personal salvation.

However, dare stray into the rich Christian legacy of cultural apologetics – which articulates and defends a total Christian philosophy of life in terms of the Scriptures; a worldview that touches every area of life and thought – and you are asking for trouble. Go to the religious root of the idolatry afflicting our culture and point to its key branches in various social, cultural, legal, political or educational aspects of society, and you will find that cultural prophecy is as unpopular amongst God’s people today as it was in the days of Amos or Jonah. Speak about the full implications of Christ’s Lordship and kingdom declared in the gospel – as well as the need to defend them in the public space – and you will witness the steady whittling away of those people who are willing to be seen with you in public!

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