Contemporary Wisdom Dictates Christians Should Be Leaving Faith at the Door
There is the old saying that dictates that in polite society you never discuss religion or politics in public, work or family gatherings. Moreover, “sage” advice tells you that leaving your faith at the door when you go to work or other places is the best practice. This used to mean at the door of your destination. Leaving your faith at the door has taken on new meaning in the last ten or so years.
As we move further and further away from Reformation and the First Great Awakening the demands of culture and society require that people of faith set aside their convictions to adapt to the environment around them. In each scenario that is going to look a bit different.
However, the truth is that the demand to leave your faith at the door is being required more stringently of a certain group. No group is experiencing the pressure more than Christians. What I am going to do with this article is explore the ramifications of this demand. Leaving your faith at home may be the societal requirement, but it has far reaching ramifications on society as a whole. Similarly, those who acquiesce to that societal demand are also in jeopardy.
The Expectation for Leaving Ones Faith Behind is Detrimental to Society
For years Christians labored under the heavy burden of the unorthodox belief that their good-works endeared them to God. It was believed that moral uprightness earned you God’s favor. This was never the contention of the earliest of Church Fathers and certainly never the understanding of the Apostles.
Martin Luther (and his predecessors) and those following in his footsteps, recaptured the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone and made it the rally cry of the Reformation. It was in this moment of time that people began to understand that good works were of no value in saving them. Well their own good works at least.
One of the most profound statements of Luther has stuck in my mind and it speaks to the influence of Christians on society. In a moment of utter brilliance Luther uttered these profound words.
“It is not God that needs your good works. It is your neighbor.”
In that short quip Luther captured the intent of Christians loving their neighbors in a tangible way. While society and culture cannot be “saved” in the sense that men may be saved, there is a sense in which society can be sanctified by the presence of Christians. However, this can only happen when Christians bring their faith to bear on every aspect of their life, to include their public presence.
When Christians either willingly, or are forced, to abdicate their public expression of faith, society and culture suffer.
When Christians Fail They Need to be About the Work of Leaving Their Failures Behind
To be sure there have been things done in the name of Christianity that we should work to distance ourselves from. Empire building being chief amongst them. I will go a step further with that if you will bear with me.
There are two strains of Christian conservatism that have been detrimental to certain cultures and societies.
The first strain is a brand of KJV Onlyism that requires that missionaries first teach the native population how to read and write English, so they can learn from the KJV. This is requiring a cultural shift away from the native people’s tongue and culture to become Christian. True Christian missionary work would learn the Gospel in the tongue of the “target” population.
The second strain is a form of fundamentalism that moves into a region and starts by imposing external moral rules on a people group. A culture and society where the women are used to walking around without shirts or other coverings over their breasts is not sinning against God. Furthermore, their freedom isn’t a sin against the Victorian mindset of the fundamentalists coming to them. These same folks will then go on to destroy cultural and ethnic dances because dancing is evil.
These are just two examples that have far reaching negative impacts on the cultures they are desiring to reach. It is tantamount to imposing a form of works righteousness on a group of people. They don’t need Victorian ideals, they need the Gospel. They need to hear Christ crucified.
These would be examples of leaving something unhelpful behind. To be sure, move into a region and preach against idolatry and wanton sin. However, do not impose your convictions on their culture.
Leaving a Positive Impact on Society Through Christian Exertion
So many times, throughout the history of the Church Visible, there have been advances made for the betterment of society. These are not few and far between. On-the-other-hand, they are common and dot the landscape of history.
Hospitals were a direct result of Christian love.
Higher Education, even in its current manifestation, is a direct result of Christian philosophy being brought to bear on education. Some of the most prestigious universities in the USA alone were once stalwarts of Christian thought.
The end of chattel slavery in Europe and North America is directly linked to Christianity. Particularly, Christians of the Reformed camp were almost entirely responsible for starting the campaign against slavery.
Representative Democracy as we see it practiced in so many places today, even where it fails, is a result of the sanctifying work of Christ in rulers. Orthodox Christian practice and dogmatics compels the Christian politician to govern justly.
Consider the work of the Salvation Army. The Booths were devout Christians with a mind to be of help to the poor and destitute in their midst. That work continues to this day.
The YMCA and YWCA both started as exclusively Christian based ministries bent towards the goal of helping youth avoid the snares of the world.
When we consider charities today we cannot help but consider the impact that Christian ministry had on such work. Before the inception of government run, or the take-over of welfare programs, in the west it was almost exclusively churches and denominations that ministered to the poor and needy.
Even adoption agencies were once the exclusive domain of Christians
I could go on for quite some time, but I believe the point has been made. Christians have a positive and sanctifying effect on society and culture that cannot be ignored.
Leaving our Faith at the Door
No longer is society happy to settle for Christians leaving their faith at the door of the office. Generally, we are being asked to not bring into public period.
Political parties that were once Christian friendly are now rejecting conservative Christians who refuse to abandon their principles and convictions. People decry the idea of a religious litmus test if the person using the test is orthodox in their beliefs.
Employers once welcomed Christian employees because they could be counted on. Consequently, they would bring some semblance of order to an often-disordered workforce. Consider Wales and her coal miners. They were drunk, foul-mouthed and unreliable. When revival swept the island droves of miners were swept up with it. Hundreds and hundreds were converted and subsequently transformed. The change was so staggering that the mules had to be retrained because they could only understand commands given by way of curse-words.
Prior to the advent of government run schools, schools were almost exclusively the domain of local churches. Often meeting in the same building that the local congregations met in. School teachers were expected to keep a certain level of decorum in public. As recently as the 40s-50s some districts would not even allow teachers to date locally or go to local bars for the sake of the children. Dewey (the inventor of the public-school concept) was a rabid Marxists atheist. He saw schools as the way to end the influence of the Christian thought in the West.
Now the demand is not for all religion to be left at the door, but chiefly Christian thought. As Christian prayer was removed from schools it has been replaced with wanton sin and debauchery.
This is what broader society wants. If the Enemy cannot oppress us, he will oppress our influence.
Christians Leaving Their Faith Behind Won’t End Well for Nations
Some out there have declared that we now live in a post-Christian culture. I understand the argument. However, I do not know if I can agree with the assertion. I guess I am not ready to give up the ground and give my concession speech.
Look, I work in an environment where I have been told I have to keep my values and beliefs to myself. I have even been told that my religious beliefs have no bearing on my work. In one instance I have been flatly directed to keep my thoughts to myself. Of course, none of this comes as surprise to anyone who knows me and shares my doctrinal convictions. I understand the pressure that Christians are under to remain silent. My co-workers can swear and blaspheme and use all sorts of sexually explicit language around me and in front of our customers, but if I so much as mention Jesus I can be written up if someone complains.
Canada has begun to arrest Christians for “hate-crimes” when they refuse to refer to transgender folks by their preferred pronouns. The same is happening all over the world in any nation that is considered to be influenced by Western Thought. Ironically, the term Western Thought used to include Christian values.
Subsequently, this will not end well for our civilization. Any nation that once embraced Christian thought and then pushed it off was destroyed. I do not mean to imply that this is a judgement. No geo-political power, (yes that even means geo-political Israel for my Dispensational friends) is promised a future. However, when the influence of orthodox Christian doctrine is pushed off to the sidelines or removed all together, the end will be disastrous.
Just ask Rome, Germany, Russia and North Korea.
Agreeing to the Notion that Leaving Our Faith at Home is fine Won’t End Well Individually
I get it. It would be so much more comfortable to cave-in to demands to keep our beliefs to ourselves. Agreeing to the notion and then actually leaving your faith at home would cause so much less conflict. No more angry co-workers because you mentioned Christ. No more uncomfortable silences at the holiday family gathering when you speak about the Gospel to your heathen uncle or false-convert sibling.
Doesn’t the bible tell us that as much as it is possible for us we are to be at peace with all mankind? I mean it’s true isn’t?
The issue is that we are called to so much more than that. It is that exact mentality that has stifled public evangelism around the Western World. Even the YMCA which was founded on Christian values once sent its members out to preach in the public. Now, instead, the Y has compromised and abandoned Christ and fallen to the way of the world. So much so that it is widely accepted that in many locations the clubs are known meeting places for a certain sexually debased culture of the West.
Hence, Scripture speaks to those who are willing to compromise. Jesus has warned us that compromise is deadly to the soul. A willingness to leave our faith behind is denying Christ before men. It is a demonstration of our fear of man. Moreover, it is a display of our shame in the face of Gospel.
Jesus has promised all that deny Him before mankind He in turn will deny before the Father. Who do you think is in the greater peril? If fear of discomfort is enough to make you deny Christ, what would you do in the face of true persecution?
Can you even call yourself Christian?
A Definition of Leaving Your Faith at Home
We all have moments where we allow fear to overtake us. It will always be a part of battling against the flesh. Christ intercedes for that. However, there is a difference between the momentary shame or apparent denial of Christ and actual denial of Him.
Many people (ok all 6 of you) may read this and think about yourselves or someone you love. We all have that person in our lives that we love that claims to be Christian. Particularly, they hold to all of the right positions according to the bible. They hate abortion, they oppose the normalization of sexual debauchery and they embrace traditional family values (allegedly).
However, when pushed, they will not talk about their faith. The idea of speaking about Christ and His completed work, even on their behalf, causes a chill to run down their spine. This person you are thinking of is far more likely to join in with the crowd then they are to defend you. Even in the rare instances where they may defend you, they make it clear that you are an embarrassment and do not speak for all “Christians”.
These are the folks that we love that insist that their faith is deeply personal, and that God knows of their love for him. Most likely they rarely if ever attend worship forsaking the gathering together commanded in Scripture. Simply put they will assert, “I am just not as gung-hoe as you are.”
Let me be the first to say I cannot ascertain any person’s final destination. Yet, we are told to judge those inside the church. These people display all the fruits of false converts and their constant denial of Christ before men indicates their willingness to go along with leaving their faith at home. They are in grave danger.
A Word to Employers That Insist on Christians Leaving Our Faith at Home
To all the secular employers out there that insist that your Christian staff separate their faith from their work. You know who you are. You really do not want any of us to walk away from the One who has saved us. As much as you may dislike us the way we are now, you would despise who we would be without Christ.
If we are reliable employees who strive to do our work well, it isn’t us. It is Christ in us driving us to do all things to glorify God. You must understand that even when we irritate you it is our obligation to serve you with honor and respect and treat you with dignity. Often times with a level of dignity that you do not treat us with.
The “us” that would be working for you without Christ, may be less irritating on matters of faith, but ultimately, we would be far worse. We are less likely to steal from you than our secular and atheist co-workers. Why? It isn’t because we are afraid of the consequences of the law. It is because we know what Christ suffered to redeem us.
We are the individuals who will come in to work on a Sunday, even if it means missing worship with those we love with nary a complaint. Yet, others that work for you will call in sick, so they do not miss the big game.
We are the individuals that will give up certain privileges or even days off to ease the burden on others. Yet, others will cling selfishly to their time no matter who else suffers for it. Why? Because Philippians 2 means so much more to us than you could ever imagine.
Concluding the Leaving of Our Faith at Home
Culture, society, Western World views cannot afford to push Christians off to the sidelines. In his book “How Should We Then Live” Francis Schaeffer addresses the demise of Western Culture as Christians are pushed to, and at times willingly abdicate their responsibilities to the world. He details the detrimental affects with such profound prose you wonder if he was a prophet. If you have the time and the inclination I would urge you to undertake the tome. It will help you to understand what is at risk if Christianity falls in the West. So much of what Dr. Schaeffer had to say has been proven true it would be terrifying if we didn’t know that God is in control.
While the world is striving to bring massive pressure to bear on us to succumb to their designs on the planet, it is imperative that we stand firm and refuse to back-down. I do not know about anyone else, but I will never be comfortable denying Christ before men. It hurts me to see how so many churches and “Christian” organizations are already compromising with the world in the name of being relevant.
We can be relevant to the world and adopt its message and fail. Conversely, we can be relevant to the world by preaching the Gospel to them and be seen as successful in the eyes of God.
Now is the time for all of us to decide who we will serve. The gods of this world or the gods of the old world. But for me and my house we will serve the LORD!
Soli Deo Gloria!