Monday 18 May 2015

Ashamed of the gospel?

The days of socially acceptable Christianity in the West are surely over. The days of comfortable Christian orthodoxy are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic Evangelical witness to the truths of the gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a "Christian," and even be seen going to worship services at church. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call "political correctness" do not assume that identifying as "Christian" or going to church necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.

The choice for real Christians is often presented as an impossible dilemma: either capitulation to secular politically correct Leftism or some kind of crusade embracing martyrdom.

But this would be a crusade which opposed the leadership, the priesthood, of most of the mainstream Western Christian denominations - including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and most other nonconformists. So, in practice, for many or most people, this would be a one-person-crusade... which is asking a lot more than most people have to give, and also guaranteed to fail in terms of the visible, public realm of discourse.

However, the visible public realm of discourse is not the only measure of success; and is indeed a shallow, ephemeral and ultimately irrelevant criterion.

The strength of individual Christian belief is measurable in the spiritual realm, and the success of resistance is to be measured in this realm. If there is to be a spiritual revival in the West, it will emerge from this invisible realm: having its effects by mysterious and apparently non-causal means.

In this sense, real Christianity is simpler and more powerful than ever before. Simply determining to be always honest, and to repent every failure in this aim, is now an idea of astonishingly radical import and implications - even when this honesty 'merely' takes the form of silence, and refusal to endorse. Such'negative' acts now have vast, potentially explosive, force in the real and vital realm of the spirit.

Thus nature balances itself: as the scope for public heroic positive action diminishes, so the significance of personal, private, micro-acts of refusal is amplified.


1 comment:

Adam G. said...

It is hard to be ashamed of the gospel, when it is so glorious.