Today, Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage have the same status in culture and, increasingly, in law, as racists. The culture war that began with the sexual revolution in the 1960s has now ended in defeat for Christian conservatives. The cultural left—which is to say, the American mainstream—has no intention of living in postwar peace. It is pressing forward with a harsh, relentless occupation, one that is aided by the cluelessness of Christians who don’t understand what’s happening.
We in the American church are facing a time of testing. Our testing may not look like the testing of what the church in China is undergoing, or the church in Nigeria. But it is still a test. This anecdote, which I repeat in The Benedict Option, is more typical:
True story: a couple in suburban Washington, D.C., approached their pastor asking him to help their college student daughter, who felt a calling to be an overseas missionary.
“That’s wonderful!” said the pastor.
“Oh no, you misunderstand,” said the parents. “We want you to help us talk her out of ruining her life.”
Christians like that couple won’t make it through what’s to come. Christians with sacrificial hearts like their daughter’s will. But it’s going to cost them plenty.
When Father Cassian of Norcia told me that Christians who don’t do something like the Benedict Option aren’t going to make it through the time of trial to come, he was talking about just this kind of thing: the soft apostasy of assimilation …
Here in exile in American Babylon, if we are going to retain the vision and build the inner strength to resist assimilation, we are going to have to build the institutions and the practices (that is, ways of life) that prepare us for the world that is and is to come in the next decades. The world of comfortable Christianity is over. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear know that a great flood is coming, indeed is already here, and that it’s time to build our arks.
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“The truth is that the thing most present to the mind of man is not the economic machinery necessary to his existence; but rather that existence itself; the world which he sees when he wakes every morning and the nature of his general position in it. There is something that is nearer to him than livelihood, and that is life.” (G.K. Chesterton)