Forces on the Rise
Two forces are gaining substantial power very quickly in the Western world. The first is Islam and the second is the homosexual community.
The Advance of the Homosexual Agenda
The increase in power of the homosexual movement in the United States across the past decade or so is breathtaking. Who could have predicted 20 years ago that everything homosexual in our society would be celebrated and that anything opposed to homosexuality would be viciously assaulted? Yet that is the situation in the United States today.
The trouncing of the legislation in Arizona designed to protect the rights of Christians not to violate their consciences related to doing business with homosexuals provides a prime example. Despite the innocuous nature of this legislation, it seems that every element in our society rose up to assault it, not because of its content but because anything favoring Christian over homosexual is diametrically opposed to contemporary American culture. Corporations threatened to withdraw business, and there was even some talk of the NFL changing the location of the Super Bowl next February.
The Advance of Islam
The numerical advance of Islam is most threatening in Europe where sections of cities have been taken over by Muslims and the growth of the Muslim population, especially in contrast with the non-Muslim population, is astounding. In America we are experiencing not only the growth of the Muslim population in Canada and the United States, but even more significant, the growth of its influence.
Though it seems to be the elephant in the room that no one is allowed to talk about, the reality is that we currently have a Muslim President. Though Barack Obama may have attended Reverend Wright’s church for many years, his cultural roots are Muslim: the father that he admired so greatly being Muslim, and his formative years being spent in a Muslim country. And for most people those roots determine who they are. The fact that virtually all of President Obama’s instincts are Muslim reveals that Islam constitutes the orientation of his heart. This orientation is displayed in his hostility toward the Jewish nation and Christianity, and his consistently pro-Islamic decisions. Many examples could be given of the latter, but an obvious case in point is his handling of the Fort Hood massacre. His support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt provides another graphic example.
While concerns for Christian sensibilities in Arizona were squashed, as a nation we bend over backwards to cater to the feelings of Muslims. Already Muslims are pushing for the observance of Sharia Law in Canada, and there is even some movement in that direction in the United States. The presence of Al Jazeera on American airwaves provides yet another indication of growing Muslim influence in the United States. Many other indicators exsit.
The Common Denominator
These two cutting-edge societal forces are by nature archenemies. Islam calls for the execution of homosexuals, and homosexuals naturally don’t like the idea. There is only one common denominator between these two groups: both are hostile toward Christianity.
The hostility of Islam to Christianity can be witnessed in virtually every nation or territory with a Muslim majority. In northern Nigeria, which is predominantly Muslim, Christians are being slaughtered by the hundreds. Likewise in Syria. Even in Muslim majority nations where Christians are not being killed, they are severely disadvantaged. In Indonesia, noted for being one of the more religiously tolerant Muslim nations, prior to being granted a building permit a church must acquire the signature of a large number of Muslim neighbors, and even then often the church is not allowed the build. In many Muslim countries conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.
The homosexual aggression toward the Arizona law, and their push to make Christians violate their spiritual convictions in order to serve them when they easily could get service elsewhere, warns us that they are not interested in peaceful coexistence.
Meanwhile Back at the Church
Though the sprouting and growth of megachurches gives the impression that Christianity in America is on the rise, in reality the American church is shrinking. This decline is not only numerical, but also in terms of the church’s vitality and influence. We are losing the culture war, we are losing our youth numerically, and we also losing our youth theologically, many of those remaining displaying leanings toward a more relativistic set of beliefs.
So while those hostile to Christianity are on the rise, Christianity in America is in decline.
The worst aspects of this situation resides in the fact that the church seems not to notice, and where it does notice seems not to be substantively addressing these issues. “Oh by the way, that I mentioned that the house is on fire.” “Where did that remote go. Another commercial just came on.” That seems to pretty well sum up the attitude of the American church. On any given Sunday our situation, though desperate, is not included in prayer or in sermons. From the perspective of the church, this threat just does not exist.
If the church in America doesn’t step up to the plate soon, it will be too late.
But what can the church do? I plan to devote the next number of posts to provide an answer.