In past decades Christians enjoyed a favorable status. Any "church" endeavor in a community received special consideration. Commonly, preferential treatment was extended, "red tape" was "cut," opportunities were created, and help was offered.

The community considered spiritual values to be an asset. Our moral values and ethical principles were "good." Christians were a community asset to be encouraged.

To an extent (depending on the geographical area) that is still true. However, it is a shrinking reality. In our society, growing numbers do not regard Christian influence to be a community asset. Christian moral values and ethical principles are increasingly regarded to be contrary to the "best interests" of society.

Certainly, the existing situation is complex. Oversimplifying it is not to the spiritual benefit of Christians or to the best interests of society. Many (who are unquestionably devout in their convictions) send distressful messages to society. The first Christians never used destructiveness or lawlessness to defend or preserve Christian values.

Christians are in conflict with our unspiritual society. This is not just a war for minds and thinking. It is a war that assaults Christian values and emotions. It assaults our feelings as well as our lifestyle. It challenges our standards and attacks our principles. It seeks to turn our priorities upside down.

For generations we existed with society's blessing. This opposition confuses us. We are "the good guys." Why assault "the good guys"? This opposition also angers us.

We want to reclaim what we think is "ours." We do not want to be controlled by those who oppose us. Yet, controlling those who reject our faith and life seems desirable.

Christianity began in a hostile society. It became a world movement in a hostile world. In both it not only survived, it flourished. We are not Christians because it is convenient. Spiritual success does not depend on ideal conditions in favorable circumstances. We are Christians because in our trust of God we belong to the Christ. The war will not be won by controlling an unbelieving society. It will be won by allowing the Christ to be our Lord.

"I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 March 1999

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell